Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani held the first direct talks between American and Iranian leaders since the 1979 Islamic revolution, exchanging pleasantries in a 15-minute telephone call today.
The US and Iran have been archenemies in word and deed since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and Jimmy Carter toppled the Shah and Iran’s new Islamist leadership decided to keep much of our agency personnel hostages for 444 days.
According to the White House, the idea to hold the call came at short notice from the Rouhani team. Having turned out the chance of a face-to-face meeting at the UN because it would be “too complicated”, Rouhani said he wanted to talk to Obama before he left for Iran.
The call took place at 2.30pm ET, it lasted about 15 minutes and was conducted through an interpreter. A senior administration official confirmed that Rouhani’s Twitter feed had accurately reflected the tone of the conversation, and noted: “We’ll be continuing to watch that Twitter account.”
“It was quite cordial in tone,” the official said. “Both leaders expressed their determination to solve this [nuclear] issue expeditiously. Both leaders expressed that sense of urgency.”
The official said that the Israeli government and congressional leaders, both sources of resistance to a rapprochement between Washington and Tehran, had been alerted before the call began. The official recalled that in his first inaugural address in January 2009, Obama declared, in a phrase directly aimed at Tehran: “We will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.” The official added: “What we are have seen here is a unclenching – hopefully – of that fist.”
No we haven’t. Just because the Iranian President says he is trying to be nice doesn’t mean he has earned a discussion with the President of the United States.
President Rouhani says Iran will never develop nuclear weapons–Ahmadinejad said the same thing, however the UN’s atomic agency indicates they are both lying and that Iran has purified its nuclear fuel way past what is necessary for purely energy reasons, but Obama swallowed the bait, eagerly.
Iranian forces are taking part in the massacre of innocent civilians in Syria against the policy of Obama’s administration and still supports terrorism throughout the world. Iran which still refuses to comply with nuclear treaties it signed or UN Security Counsel resolution. Ignoring the facts, this President has damaged the prestige of the office of the President with today’s Rouhani phone call.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t talk to Iran if they make overtures. However it’s supposed to be a big deal to talk to the President of the US. Any discussions should have been held at lower levels until Iran demonstrates with action that it is looking to moderate. Direct talks with President of the US is supposed to be an incentive which Obama gave away for nothing.