La Herradura (Spain) "Where is the logic of not talking (to the Iranians) if the Americans can talk to North Korea”, the British news agency “Reuters” quoted a senior diplomat in Vienna, not authorized to speak on the record.
Indeed, compared to the last Stalinist regime of the world or to most of those in the volatile and explosive Persian Gulf-Middle East regions, the present theocracy which rules in Iran is an example of democracy.
The present days Iranian and American presidents have more in common than one might imagine.
Of course, contrary to the Pyongyang loonies who talk to the Americans – maybe because they are a nuclear power – In Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the leader of the ruling Mollahrchy who has divine powers had imposed a total interdiction on any kind of negotiations with the “Great Satan”. The ban included the press, all officials and even lawmakers.
However, ever since the victory of his protégé, Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad in the last presidential elections, Mr. Khameneh’i agreed to some limited exceptions to the rule, accepting direct meetings with the Americans on punctual issues like the situation in neighbouring Iraq.
“Though Iranian officials publicly project a unified mindset, in reality the country's ruling elites are divided into three broad categories: those who favor pursuit of the nuclear fuel cycle at all costs; those who wish to pursue it without sacrificing diplomatic interests; and those who argue for a suspension of activities to build trust and allow for a full fuel cycle down the road. Understanding and exploiting these differences should be a key component of any diplomatic approach”, wrote Iranian political analyst Karim Sajjadpour on 28 April 2006 in the Lebanese newspaper “The Daily Star”.
However, in order to complete Mr. Sajjadpour’s observation, one can say that because the Iranian theocratic leadership is divided on almost all major issues, being domestic or international, political or social, cultural or economic…. and even religious, decisions are taken collegially at three major decision making centres situated by order of importance in the office of the leader, at the Expediency Council and at the Supreme Council on National Security, places where all tendencies are represented.Bottom of Form
While the hate of Mr. Khameneh’i of the United States in particular and the West in general come from his political education, in the “glorious” years of Soviet Union’s might, Mao’s cult and Naser’s popularity, most of the present day Iranian rulers are ready to forgive Washington if it offers genuine apology for its blunt meddling in Iranian affairs, organizing in 1953 a popular uprising against the popular prime minister Mohammad Mosadeq who had earlier rubbed the noise of the British Empire by nationalising Iranian oil industries and putting back the young Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Thrown.
Actually, the Clinton Administration, in order to encourage the former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami to come forward, presented such an apology and tried a shake hand between the two presidents arranged to happen “incidentally” during the family photograph of the UN’s General Assembly, but Mr. Khameneh’i immediately ruled against any contact.
The Americans have also their own justified reservations about the Iranians, remembering, among other things, the humiliation they suffered on November 1979 after Islamic-revolutionary students seized the huge American embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans diplomats and staff hostage for 444 days.
Nevertheless, the present days Iranian and American presidents have more in common than one might imagine, starting with their religious messianism and their sense of nationalism: The first one being certain that divinity has trusted upon him the revival of Islam and the latter in the coming back of Christian crusaders. And while President Bush wants to secure the role of his country as the world’s only power guarantor of peace and democracy all over the planet, his Iranian counterpart wants to make his nation undisputed leader of the world’s one billion plus Muslims and the region’s recognized superpower.
However, as things stands and in the absence of solutions acceptable to both sides of the crisis, it seems that both men are prisoners of radical forces that wishes the surrender of the enemy rather a “peace of the braves”, the expression cherished by the late Palestinian leader Yaser Arafat.
Under pressures from the hard liners, the fundamentalist President of Iran is threatening to leave the Non Proliferation Treaty and end cooperating with the international nuclear watchdog in the one hand and in order to give himself a solid popular support, has transformed the controversial issue of nuclear into a matter of national pride, going as far as to creating similarities with the nationalization of the country’s oil industries, stating, repeating and reiterating unabatedly that “the nuclear technology which we achieved by ourselves is our legitimate and natural rights that we shall not abandon, no matter the costs and sacrifices”.
Our ideal is that the EU3 (Britain, France and Germany) plus the United States, Russia and China would come together and present Iran with a package of options with two paths -- isolation or integration
The response by George W. Bush is as categorical: “The United States and the international community would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, no matter the costs”.
But if he seems assured of the backing of the so-called “international community”, or to be more precise, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and some others to stop the ambitions of Iranian ayatollahs becoming a full member of the Atomic Club, he is less when he brandishes the awesome specter of a possible military intervention or talks about “regime change” in Tehran.
With the international community deeply divided on how to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis, more voices calls for direct negotiations between Washington and Tehran, as suggested by German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung.
"It is now time for us to talk directly to Iran", former US Secretary of State Ms. Madeleine Albright told Reuters Television last week.
"I do not see talking as appeasement and I think it would show our willingness to resolve an issue diplomatically -- obviously with the support of the international community", she added.
"Our ideal is that the EU3 (Britain, France and Germany) plus the United States, Russia and China would come together and present Iran with a package of options with two paths -- isolation or integration”, a European diplomat told Reuters.
Actually, the European Troika had offered such a package to Iran last year on condition that Iran suspend all nuclear activities and above all, enriching uranium, but it was rejected on the ground that it did not recognized the right of Iran to full nuclear cycle.
However, President Bush, his forces engulfed in the Iraqi quagmire, has authorized his Afghan-born Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Iraq to hold talks with Iran on what both Tehran and Washington stresses that would concern only the Iraqi situation.
While Reuters quotes U.S. and European officials as having said that Khalilzad has latitude to "listen" if Iran brings up the nuclear issue, Iranian sources tells Iran Press Service that he might as well ask Iranians helping to restore security in Iraq by fighting Islamic insurgents and Sunni rebels.
Many analysts view this as a test opening to a broader dialogue.
The problem is that contrary to earlier expectations, the talks have not taken place and some analysts say this reflects internal divisions in both administrations.
“Iranians insists that they have no plans to use the nuclear technology for military purposes. So far, the International Atomic Energy Agency has not been able to prove the Iranians are lying, or that they are not. The best solution in times on incertitude is to give them the benefit of the doubt, accompanied not with a soft stick, but with the serious and uncompromising menace of a devastating attack”, proposed a French diplomat asking not being identified. ENDS US IRAN TALKS 8506