In his new book, former Iran nuclear negotiator Dr Mousavian writes that the head of the IRGC Quds force warned him that after Iran’s cooperation with the US against the Taliban in 2001, the US could “betray” Iran.
Dr Mousavian says that IRGC Quds commander Soleymani told him:
If the United States decided to betray Iran afterward… the Americans would become trapped like the Soviets before them and eventually leave Afghanistan in defeat.
Dr Mousavian sees the lack of US response as a missed opportunity, one which boosted the hard liners in Iran.
I think thats only half the story.
3000 Americans had been killed in 9/11, and the IRGC (not the government) secretly gives refuge to a number of Al Qaeda leaders and operatives and bin Laden family members. This is a clear sign that the IRGC which takes its orders directly from the supreme leader also had no intention of allowing cooperation over Afghanistan to develop into something bigger.
The hardliners in Iran had already stymied president Khatami’s (who was president back then) repeated efforts to improve relations with the West on repeated occasions. This included the arrest of 13 innocent members of Iran’s Jewish community. They were not about to allow the brief cooperation between Iran and US over Afghanistan to turn into something bigger and sustainable.
The only thing that both the regime in Iran and the Bush administration wanted was for the Donkey to cross the bridge (I.e for the Taliban to fall). Once it did, they burned the bridge, because at that time bridge building was not in either side’s agenda.