Forums / Political & Legal / Iran Rebuffs Obamas' plea for a dialogue.... I think this is funny! Now what Obama? LOL

5 years 15 weeks ago, 3:33 PM

samD

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Iranian leader's rebuff on Saturday to President Barack Obama's offer for dialogue was swift and sweeping: Words from Washington ring hollow without deep policy changes.

But Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's response was more than just a dismissive slap at the outreach. It was a broad lesson in the mind-set of Iran's all-powerful theocracy and how it will dictate the pace and tone of any new steps by Obama to chip away at their nearly 30-year diplomatic freeze.

"It's the first stage of the bargaining in classic Iranian style: Be tough and play up your toughness," said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a professor of regional politics at United Arab Emirates University. "The Iranian leaders are not about concessions at this stage. It's still all about ideology from the Iranian side."

For Khamenei and his inner circle, that means appearing to stay true to the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the political narrative of rejecting the United States. Any quick gestures by the ruling clerics to mend ties with Washington could be perceived by hard-liners as a betrayal of the revolution.

Iran's non-elected leaders also are carefully weighing how any openings — even small ones — could affect the June 12 presidential race between their apparent choice, hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and reformists led by a former prime minister, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

"This is why this will be a very slow, very complicated process between Iran and the United States," said Abdulla. "Even the theocracy can be pragmatic. When they feel it's in the national interest to reach out to America, they will find a way."

There are no signs of a spring thaw.

Khamenei set the bar impossibly high — demanding an overhaul of U.S. foreign policy, including giving up "unconditional support" for Israel and halting claims that Iran is seeking nuclear arms. Iran insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful energy purposes.

"Have you released Iranian assets? Have you lifted oppressive sanctions? Have you given up mudslinging and making accusations against the great Iranian nation and its officials?" Khamenei said in a speech in the northeastern city of Mashhad. The crowd chanted "Death to America."

Despite Obama's offer, the State Department still lists Iran as a sponsor of terrorism for its backing of militant groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah. In Iraq, U.S. officials accuse Iran of aiding Shiite militias whose targets have included American soldiers.

"He (Obama) insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed."

Still, Khamenei left the door open to better ties with America, saying "should you change, our behavior will change, too."

Khamenei's response carried a particular bite following Obama's important shift in U.S. tactics in his video released Friday, offering to speak directly to Iran's theocrats rather than encouraging only pro-democracy reformists inside the country.

The move appears to recognize two key realities for U.S. policy makers: Iran's establishment is firmly entrenched and it holds all the cards in all important decisions.

"There's a thinking that they will do what the U.S. did with Libya: engagement and incentives in return for moderated policies," said Patrick Clawson, deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "Iran, however, is a vastly more complicated place that has influence in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the region."

The Obama administration hasn't outlined details of its next steps, but White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday that "many more" initiatives are expected.

Last week, U.S. officials raised the possibility of regular diplomatic contacts between U.S. and Iranian diplomats around the world. On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Iranian envoys will have an opportunity for informal talks on the sidelines of a U.N.-led conference on Afghanistan at The Hague, Netherlands.

In Iran, any contacts or messages will undoubtedly be viewed through the prism of the country's presidential elections.

Some experts believe that Ahmadinejad could benefit from Obama's overtures by claiming that his tough stance toward the West brought Washington to the table. Reformers, meanwhile, could struggle with an identity crisis.

"These are people who considered the U.S. an honest broker and committed to regime change," said Ilan Berman, an Iranian affairs specialist at the American Foreign Policy Council. "Now the reformers are going to feel left out in the cold."

Saeed Leylaz, a prominent Tehran-based political analyst, saw Khamenei's tough language as just an opening flurry in what could be a gradual easing of tensions — similar to the decades of slow rapprochement with Britain despite a history of troubles dating back to disputes over oil fields more than a century ago.

"The U.S. is the sole country in the world capable of destabilizing Iran. Khamenei is concerned about this," he said. "If Iran's concerns are eased, it will be willing to have relations with the U.S. in the same way it has relations with the U.K."

5 years 15 weeks ago, 4:15 PM

marten2nd

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samD Obama's Trouble?

Just in Time?,
Hillary Clinton?, Barack Obama?, and John McCain?
good people?

give the devil his due
5 years 15 weeks ago, 4:27 PM

samD

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marten

Hillary & Obama are bad people. They want us to be European Socialist like they are...

5 years 15 weeks ago, 4:21 PM

birdebyrd

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Just a hunch! Funny how a black man from Illinois can so closely resemble a peanut farmer from Georgia

Feedin' the till, for the "Stimulus" Bill (since 1974)
5 years 15 weeks ago, 4:30 PM

samD

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Obama will make Carter look good...

5 years 15 weeks ago, 9:41 PM

DEMO

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They must think

the United States are a bunch of pussies..........Bush was right.
I say we dig up Ronald Reagan and put him back in charge. Even with Parkansons and being dead he would still be better than chairman Oboma

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do
5 years 15 weeks ago, 8:07 AM

Manny G

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Why did Obama and Hillary both stick there thumbs up their butts as they heard the statement from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's ?

Thank you
5 years 15 weeks ago, 8:33 AM

samD

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Manny G

I think sticking their thumbs up each others butts is what they do best. 2 European Socialists on a mission to destroy our Republic!

5 years 15 weeks ago, 6:24 PM

runawaygun762

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Islam preaches, and Muslims will not be happy until, all people on earth are muslim or dead. It is not a matter of keeping the west out of the holy land, they want to expand Islam until it is the only religion and they will do it with preaching or violence. YOU CANNOT REASON WITH PEOPLE WHO FEEL THEY MUST TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!!! Only hot lead through a vital organ will get our desired results when dealing with these people.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
5 years 15 weeks ago, 1:52 PM

clintlebo

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or cold lead

I bet cold lead through a vital organ would do it too, maybe a bit more painful, but do we realy care at this stage of the game? Can you reason with someone who has already taken over the world, and y'all don't know it yet?

clint

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin & Hobbes)

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