Monday, April 06, 2009

Obama asks Khamenei to Tango!

How IRI Iran reacts to Obama’s Norouz message

By Omid Habibinia - Media Researcher and Journalist

A few days before Norouz, (first day of spring, which is celebrated by Iranians as the New Year) rumors circulated that this time there would be a different message from the White House.

For the first time, a US president sent a video, rather than a written message, marking Norouz and addressed the people and leaders of the Iranian Islamic Republic together.
The message made some opposition groups angry, since the Iranian people were addressed equally with the Islamic Republic’s leaders.

On the other side, in Iran, everybody waited for a response from Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme (political and cleric) leader. When he talked about the message the day after, in Mashhad, he said in his speech: “We still couldn’t see any real change in US diplomacy toward Iran, if (the) US government continues its animosity with Iran, we would be the same (men) as (the) last 30 years.” This was interpreted as the official Islamic Republic’s response to Obama’s message.

In his messages, the US president asked for an ending to the animosity between the two countries and stated:

“My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the United States, Iran and the international community. This process will not be advanced by threats. We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.”

After the Islamic Republic’s leader gave his response, some of the regime’s leaders, including Rafsanjani (Iranian president from 1989 to 1997), also exhibited the same reaction asking for real change in US policy toward Iran, some of them such as Ahamadinejad insisted and repeated Khamanei’s opinion that they could see little if any change in US policy yet.

Since the White house called Obama’s message ‘just the beginning’ of new a diplomacy to insure Iran’s regime for real change, the new opportunity of direct talk came up.
When the US Foreign Office asked Iran to participate in the Afghanistan summit at The Hague, Iran actually sent its “B Team”. At the summit, the only direct talk between the two countries was greetings and the shaking of hands, which also came with different stories from both sides.

However, it seems due to a huge economic crisis in Iran, that the Islamic Republic’s leaders prefer to have more hidden economic talks with the US administration than direct talks that might form a relationship with the US.

Based on an Associated Press analysis, Iran was one of the highest benefitting customers of US exports in 2008. The two governments have no official direct relationship and in fact, Iran is still under US sanctions.


Please Read More in GER

GLOBAL ECONOMIST REVIEW (PDF) © VOL1. Issue 6, April 15 2009