Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ahmadinejad Wants To Talk With Obama--Obama Loses Either Way

Ahmadinejad says he wants to talk with Obama--publicly:
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he wants to engage President Obama in "negotiations" before international media, a semi-official Iranian news outlet reported on Saturday.

Speaking at a meeting of medical school deans, Ahmadinejad said Iran "will soon pursue a new round of diplomatic activity" amid a new position of strength for the Iranian government, the Iranian Student News Agency quotes him as saying.

"I will go to the United Nations and will invite Obama to negotiations," Ahmadinejad said, adding that such talks would be "in front of the international media, not a sit-down behind closed doors in order to talk about matters."

Well, that's awfully nice of him, considering what he was saying about Obama and the US just last week:

"You were standing against the Iranian people in the past 60 years," Mr Ahmadinejad said during an address in the western region of Khermenshah that was broadcast by state television.

"Those who speak of change must apologise to the Iranian people and try to repair their past bad acts and the crimes they committed against Iran."

As to the troops, he said he expected two kinds of "deep and fundamental" change.

"Meet people, talk to them with respect and put an end to the expansionist policies. If you talk about change it must put an end to the US military presence in the world, withdraw your troops and take them back inside your borders."

Mr Ahmadinejad said the advocates of change must "stop supporting the Zionists, outlaws and criminals".

He called on the United States to "stop interfering in other people's affairs".

He also said the US government should "let the American people decide their own future ... Stop pressuring them," he added, without saying what he was referring to.

Yeah, that last part was a nice touch--completely incomprehensible, considering what he and the Iranian regime are doing to crush demonstrations.

The fact remains that Ahmadinejad has not come out of the current turmoil in Iran unscathed--both within Iran and outside, Ahmadinejad has found that he is not welcome by everyone. What better way to strengthen his position than to pay one more visit to the UN and to engage in dialog with Obama publicly.

The situation is thick with irony: the same Obama who refuses to recognize the actions of Honduras which in accordance with its own laws removed Zelaya, who was trying to circumvent his country's constitution--this same Obama will publicly engage Ahmadinejad in dialog, thereby validating the Iran election.

Of course, Obama has not agreed to meeting Ahmadinejad yet. But if he does not, Obama will be contradicting his stated willingness to talk to Ahmadinejad.

Obama risks either validating Ahmadinejad as the winner of the election--dealing a major blow to the demonstrations, or going back on his word to talk with Iran. After all, if the UN lets him speak as the leader of Iran, who is Obama to refuse?

Of course, Obama could take a stand and refuse Ahamdinejad entry to the US altogether, but chances are we will see a more 'nuanced' approach instead.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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