Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Obama’s message to Iran: BBC’s breakdown and Iran’s response

March 20, 2009

The BBC deconstructs Obama’s message to Iran: (that’s my boy!)

Incidentally, the US position now diverges quite strongly from the Israeli. The Israelis have recently been making increasingly worried statements about Iran’s potential nuclear weapons capacity, suggesting that while diplomacy might come first, military action might come second.

Iran seems open to the overture, with an aide to Ahmadinejad saying he “welcomes” the approach from Washington:

Iran today hailed an unprecedented direct appeal by the US president, Barack Obama, for better relations between the two countries, but urged the US to “realise its previous mistakes” as well as end sanctions and drop its support for Israel.

I can’t call the man crazy when he talks like that—sanctions should end when we address their desire for nukes; either by offering them more attractive carrots, or, the highly unlikely but perfectly just course: denuclearize the entire Middle East to stop the escalating arms race (ahem, Israel?).  And there is also this component:

However, there was no official response from Tehran to a far blunter message from Shimon Peres, the president of Israel, who called on Iran to “return to the enlightened world” and halt the uranium enrichment that could allow it manufacture nuclear weapons.

It looks like the Iranians have a real opportunity here:  their hostility to Israel is mostly driven by their strategic sovereign interest–given that Iran is an emerging power whose dominance in the region was secured by Sadaam’s ouster but is challenged by Israel–and they may very well see that it is deeply in their own interest to highlight their moderates, push for reconciliation with the US, and “enter the international community” as Obama mentioned…this all makes it very hard for us to keep supporting Israel’s push for war against Iran and Israel’s push to generally subvert and weaken it.  I recently read an Israeli columnist who commented along the lines of “what happens if Iranians elect (an Iranian moderate) while we have Avigdor Lieberman as our foreign minister…who will the international community say is more extreme then?”  I think that logic very-much applies to us.  We want to stabilize the shit out of that region, while Israel’s private interests lean toward instability (freeze’s the peace process, enhances their claim to being the only non-savage in the region and therefor worthy of our protection and aid).  Obama is more likely to take the pragmatic road of stability and peace in the region over Israel’s (then increasingly deranged) cries of “wolf” regarding some imaginary existential threat from Iran.  We simply can’t afford to ignore the costs in favor of blind adherence to principle–not since Iraq, and not against Iran.


Final Comment:  I am hopeful that Iran tries to subvert Israel by improving its relations with America.  My goodness; the political potential energy of this situation!  Our problems in Iraq diminish, our beefs with Syria and Lebanon cool-off.  I bet if the situation thaws down enough, the Arab players in the region may back off their nuke-pursuit, feeling confident that their normalization of relations with the USA will prevent Israel from attacking them (we will not support, and hopefully not tolerate, a unilateral Israeli attack amidst our succeeding efforts to ease tension and increase cooperation).  And what if Israel does attack, with or without our consent?  Well then Iran simply beats the shit out of Israel. (Citizens, Iran is not Iraq.  They have a conventional, generally modern military…which is far bigger than Israel’s band of nationalist boy scouts).  If Israel uses its nukes against Iran, my bet is that the international community will cut them off.  And the US will not be able to save them in the face of the diplomatic and political winds that would follow a preemptive nuclear strike by Israel.

A Nowruz Message from President Obama (Iranian New Year)

March 20, 2009

I can’t help but agree with Ezra Klein of The American Prospect on this one:

There are times when it’s hard to believe that this is how my country acts now. That somewhere in government, some young bureaucrat had the idea that the President should publicly honor the Iranian New Year, and that bureaucrat felt that her superiors would also think this a good idea, and, indeed, the thought went all the way to the President, who agreed that a display of engagement and goodwill was consonant with our national values and foreign policy goals. It is hard to believe that five years after we were ordering “freedom fries” in the congressional cafeteria, we’re posting Persian translations at