America, Obama and Iran

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Javid Qorbanoghli

1. As of January 20 Obama has become the new tenant of the White House for at least four years. He is the first black American in the history of 200 plus years of the country to have occupied the highest place in the pyramid of political power in America. But in addition to distinction of color from the majority Americans and the Anglo Saxon race, Obama hails from a Muslim African father and apparently he is the first US president with a Ph.D. Without intending to pass any judgment about the future and Obama's performance, it must be admitted that if there is no positive mark in the evaluation sheet of the new American president, there is at least no negative mark either.

True that we are all creatures of God, nevertheless, during the takeover of the American embassy (better known as the den of spies) three decades ago, the Islamic Republic of Iran showed Islamic leniency towards the women and black hostages and did not keep them as long as 444 days other hostages were under detention. This is despite the fact that a number of the released black hostages were American gunmen guarding the US embassy in Tehran.

2. During his election campaign, Obama chose "change" as his publicity dictum. Recalling the situation under George Bush and the harm the Neo-Conservatives did to the global image of Washington, the choice of the publicity slogan (change) was inevitable not only for Obama but for the United States in general. By waging two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the pretext of war of terror, the Bush administration and its new team of NeoCons made things so worse for America – even in its relations with European allies – that many elites were counting down the end of the Bush term and expected changes in US policymaking. Obama and his team of advisors were smart enough to take on this wave created by a tarnished US image and the need for rebuilding the future and promised the people a future under the slogan of "change".

The destructive impact of Bush's ambitious policies on foreign policy was an economic recession which is said to be unprecedented since 1929. This policy has caused problems that the Bush administration failed to fix despite numerous efforts in the last months in power. In spite of the measures started by Obama, there is no clear prospect for an economic improvement in the US and some other economies depending on America.

3. From the very first days of his election campaign, Obama put `Iran' and 'how to treat Iran' at the top of its priorities. In a pre-election debate with his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton who is now serving the new president as secretary of state, Obama openly challenged Clinton's view that Washington should not hold talks with so-called rouge states. Obama voiced his resolve to hold direct talks with Tehran without any preconditions. Again, after inauguration and in his first interview with Al-Arabiya, Obama repeated the same words about Iran. There is no intention here to cover up the negative points in Obama's remarks, but we all know that the world of politics is a world of interests. It is like playing chess: you may be simply checkmated should you make a wrong move with your chessman!

4. If Obama has taken this position out of desperation against the Iranian nation's resistance, Iran has two options vis-à-vis this stance of the new American president.
The first choice is to underline this weak point and humiliate Obama in a merely propaganda reaction and by uttering cliché words which would result in boosting the opponents and restoration of previous (anti-Iran) stances at the White House.

The second approach however could be to welcome this stance (of Obama) and support this faction at the US administration.

By taking a new approach towards Iran and the Islamic world, Obama intends to ride on the public opinion wave and repair the extremely damaged image of the United States.

By creating a powerful expert team, Iran can list its rightful demands and dues by relying on strong legal and historical documents in order to turn them into agenda in the future possible direct talks with the US. It is for the Iranian foreign diplomacy machine to skillfully manage this sensitive juncture in history of Iran-US relations.


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