PRESIDENT Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by phone recently, an event greeted with unbounded - and inadvisable - enthusiasm by the chattering class.
The substance of the call and the president's remarks afterward were deeply worrisome.
Whenever the president parrots the idea that the problem is "mistrust" between the parties - one an open democracy and the other a theocratic dictatorship - you know it's trouble.
In doing so, the president merely reinforces Iranian propaganda that we bear equal responsibility for this "mistrust."
Even worse was Obama's echoing the Iranian deception that it can't possibly be pursuing nuclear weapons because "Iran's supreme leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons."
It is frightful to imagine Obama takes seriously Iran's deceitful line.
The problem is not that Iran "mistrusts" us or that there is some religious prohibition on nuclear weapons; it is that the mullahs' regime sponsors terror, helps kill Americans, threatens its neighbors, represses its people, holds Americans against their will and violates sanctions prohibiting development of nuclear weapons.
Worse still was the administration flacking on behalf of the Iranian dictatorship.
Former White House aide and Obama super PAC head honcho Bill Burton tweeted indignantly that it was wrong to call Rouhani a Holocaust denier.
A White House spokesman said it was a positive sign that the Iranians were using social media. (For propaganda, we should note; their citizens are not afforded that right.)
The Obama team's willingness to take the bait and hold on tightly has been quite remarkable.