President Barack Obama took office promising to pursue a diplomatic solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, but so far, he’s gotten little out of Tehran. So little, in fact, that the President has given Iran a Sept. 15 deadline to respond positively to his offer of negotiations, or face a heightening of sanctions. As U.S. officials huddled with European, Russian and Chinese counterparts in Germany on Wednesday to review the issue, Iran signaled that it will, indeed, respond — by offering its own package of proposals to achieve a diplomatic resolution to the standoff. Western leaders at the meeting in Germany urged Iran to agree to a meeting with Russia, China, the key European nations and the U.S. before Sept. 23. But nobody is expecting Iran’s proposals to come close to meeting current Western demands, and that could leave Obama facing the unenviable choice either of being painted as feckless, or else moving down a road of escalation that puts a diplomatic solution further beyond reach. [continued…]
Will the real Ayatollah Ali Khamenei please stand up?
On June 19, a week after Iran’s disputed presidential election, the supreme leader shed the garb of the lofty arbiter to deliver a raging sermon in which he warned of “bloodshed and chaos” in Tehran if protests continued. They did, the next day, and I will never forget the blood that flowed at Khamenei’s behest.
Khamenei, abandoning the plausible deniability of the Prophet’s avatar, opting instead for perilous political partisanship, said then: “Please see the hungry wolves in ambush who are gradually removing their mask of diplomacy to show their true faces.” He identified the most evil of these foreign wolves as “the British government,” no less.
Now, 10 weeks later, with the Iranian revolutionary establishment still shaken by the brazenness of the June 12 electoral fraud and the rashness of the supreme leader’s gambit, Khamenei declares: “I don’t accuse the leaders of the recent incidents of being affiliated with foreign countries, including the United States and Britain, since the issue has not been proven to me.”
Well, sir, which is it? [continued…]