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Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Monday, 21 July 2008 14:10 UK

Robert Baer

Robert Baer
Former CIA Middle East specialist, Robert Baer
In a HARDtalk interview broadcast on 21st of July, Stephen Sackur talks to Robert Baer.

President Bush has likened direct diplomatic engagement with Iran to appeasement of Hitler.

But Washington has sent a top US diplomat to meet Iran's nuclear negotiators.

There is also talk of an American diplomatic representation in Tehran.

What is behind this apparent change of strategy?

Robert Baer is a former Middle East specialist with the CIA.

He says America is slowly facing up to the truth that Iran is a regional superpower.

Robert Baer talks to Stephen Sackur

HARDtalk is broadcast on BBC World News at 03:30 GMT, 08:30 GMT, 14:30 GMT, 20:30 GMT and 22:30 GMT.

Hardtalk can also be seen on BBC News at 04:30 & 23:30.

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