Why should Iran trust President Obama?

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett write:

In the run-up to a new round of nuclear talks between the P5+1 and Iran on Monday, Western commentators are re-hashing old arguments that the Islamic Republic is either too politically divided or too dependent on hostility toward the United States for its legitimacy to be seriously interested in a nuclear deal. From this perspective, the Obama administration has been more than forthcoming in its efforts to “engage” Tehran; the obstacles to diplomatic progress are all on the Iranian side.

But a sober examination of the Obama administration’s interactions with Iran since President Obama took office in 2009 reveals a dismaying mix of incompetence and outright duplicity that has done profound damage to American interests and credibility. In light of this record, the question is not whether the United States should have any confidence it can productively engage the Islamic Republic. The real question is: why should Iranian officials believe they can trust President Obama and his administration to deal with them straightforwardly and with a genuine interest in finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff?

The recent release of the Wikileaks cables confirms the assessment we have been offering since May 2009: The Obama administration has failed to follow up on President Obama’s early rhetorical overtures to Tehran with bold steps and substantive proposals to demonstrate its seriousness about rapprochement. Strategic engagement — think Nixon and China — is not the same as “carrots and sticks”. In fact, strategic engagement requires a self-conscious effort by the United States to put “sticks” aside in order assure Iran that it is serious about realigning relations. And that is something the Obama administration has never been willing to do. (Obama’s vague letters to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — dispatched as Obama ignored two letters sent by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — were seen in Tehran as just the latest U.S. attempt to “game” Iran’s political system rather than to come to terms with it.)

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5 thoughts on “Why should Iran trust President Obama?

  1. blowback

    Even if Obama were honest in his dealings with the Iranians, any agreements would probably require ratification by Congress and the Iranians know exactly what will happen there. The Republicans (and Democrats, for that matter) have their noses so far up Israel’s arse that they will ratify absolutely nothing.

  2. Vince J

    The US of A has been loosing credibility long before ObaOba.
    One that does not follow international law and treaties also does not have any credibility whatsoever.
    Remember that the US, after the WMD lie was exposed they came up with “Democracy promotion” crap talk. All you have to do was to check the US’s historical record as a ‘democracy promoter’ to realize what kind of lie you have been fed to.
    There isn’t one thing that ObaOba promised, apart for the puppy dog for his doughters, that he has fullfilled.
    Anyone who possesses two functioning brain cells and listened to the War Criminal Hillary Clinton express satisfaction with the ‘democratic process’ in Honduras can say with confidence that you can not trust the US of A.
    I’m always amazed how can Obama or Clinton or Bush and Chenney deliver their speaches full of empty rethoric with a straight face. They must know that no one in the face of this planet trusts them.
    Remeber that War Criminal dog, C. Rice, giving assurances on camera, in front of the congress, that “The USA does not TORTURE!”? Remember that? This is recent history! That cow was presiding the official USA Torture program and had meetings about it in the WH with high levels USA official criminals and terrorists.
    There was a time people conected the image of USA with Mark Twin, apple pie, Bewitched, Lost in space, Emily Dickerson…
    Today that image is etched forever with cluster bombs, nuclear ploriferetion, drones, torture, secret prisons, mega illegal bases, illegal invasion and occupations, war criminals and US’s terrorism and support/silence for the genocide of Palestinians.
    Obama wants to have some credibility… how cute!

  3. Vince J

    Turkey and Brazil managed to have a fuel swop deal with Iran. The US rushed to crush that deal and impose sanctions.

  4. Christopher Hoare

    How can the Iranians trust Obama when Americans cannot? Close Guantanimo; abandon the Bush program; real health care for everyone; end the surveilance state; etc; etc.

    Right, Vince J, the girls got their puppy. That’s a hell of a legacy.

  5. Norman

    Does it really matter anymore? “O” became P.O.T.U.S., the first of his race, though he’s mixed. But then, I suppose all that are born in the U.S. are. I don’t really think anyone, either in country or out, can/will take serious any thing that comes out of Washington anymore. Aside from the Military might of the U.S., it seems that the Government has become a “Paper Tiger” as was labeled many years ago. Perhaps that’s the reason that each P.O.T.U.S. has embarked on the mass expansion of military might in just about every corner of the World. But like others before them, they to will fall, in not already doing so. What a shame that the leaders drink that power koolaid, then let the country fall apart because of their egos!

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