A widely published Reuters news service article entitled “Iran Leader Suggests U.S. Ties Possible in Future” indicated that Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei stated that restoring ties with the United States now would harm the Islamic state, but that he would not rule it out in the future (Reuters, January 3, 2008). Further high points from his speech included statements that he would be the first one to approve a diplomatic relationship with the U.S. when it was useful to do so, in addition to his consistent declaration that Iran will not suspend atomic work so it can generate its own electricity, something that the U.S. claims is really geared towards developing atomic weaponry. In addition, Khamenei indicated that the example of Iraq showed that the U.S. would remain a “danger” even if the two countries developed diplomatic relations.
Ali Khamenei does not speak publicly often, and his communication seems to rarely make it into the U.S. media. Most of Iran’s political statements are funneled through Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has a history of spreading controversial rhetoric about the U.S.
Here are a few points of interest:
After the release of a recent National Intelligence Report (NIE) indicating that Iran ceased developing a nuclear weapon, Ahmadinejad demanded an apology, and furthermore suggested that Iran was ready for discussions with all nations, including the U.S. It is unlikely that he misspoke or was misinterpreted.
The U.S. government reacted strongly to Ahmadinejad’s statements about Israel, nuclear power and a weapons program. In fact, it is the basis of the Bush administration’s call to a possible military conflict with Iran. Yet Khamenei’s speech clearly indicates that any relationship or action is the call of the supreme leader, not president Ahmadinejad’s. This theory that Ahmadinejad’s power is severely limited is not a new one and has been well publicized before in the U.S. media. Yet his statements have caused frequent talks of a possible invasion. Where is the U.S. logic here?
The Bush administration policy has been to not talk to Iran— unless you count recent talks specifically regarding Iraq— until they come clean about their past weapons development program and cease enrichment of uranium. This is well documented in the media via speeches from President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Part of the U.S. strategy with regards to United Nations sanctions has been to isolate Iran from the rest of the modern world, pushing it into acceptance of terms and conditions amendable to the West’s policies. The American public has had the impression that it is the U.S. that will not engage in diplomatic talks, yet we see Iran really has no desire to speak to us either. In fact, they think that we are dangerous.
Clearly though, Iran is talking to China, Germany and Russia as reference in the numerous economic and trade deals of late, prompting a thought— who is really isolated here?
One also has to wonder if there could be diplomatic backdoor conversations going on between the two countries that the media and public are not privy to. One would hope that this is the case. It was often rumored that the U.S. and Russia always maintained unofficial back channel communications during the Cold War, and even rumored that U.S. and Cuba communicated for years during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Posturing from the heads of state of these governments prevents the core of these discussions to be revealed.
While you could chalk all of this up to propaganda from both sides, and maybe relax a bit on that thought, you should consider the possibility that one side, the U.S, is basing its military plans and foreign policy decisions on reaction from the other, and furthermore, reacts to propaganda from a powerless president.Pages: