How Should Obama Start With Iran?

One of the more controversial proposals Obama has made in foreign policy is starting diplomatic talks with Iran, possibly with Ahmedinejad. A lot of people have said talking with Iran shows naivety and weakness, and that Iran will exploit such diplomacy.

I don’t think this is the real problem at all. Instead, the real problem is the Ayatollah. The Ayatollah Khamenei, rather than the president, is the real source of power in Iran. Despite all his blather, Ahmedinejad, like past Iranian presidents cannot go against the Ayatollah, on issues of domestic or foreign policy. What this means is that if the Ayatollah resists talks with the US, they will be unsuccessful even if Ahmedinejad agrees to them.

If the Ayatollah does agree, one must still wonder how successful such talks will be, given the Ayatollah’s resistance on everything from the nuclear program to funding for terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. He insists that he will not restore relations with the US unless such a relationship is beneficial for Iran. This undoubtedly means Obama will have to offer some carrots.

What should he offer? Iran is a huge foreign policy challenge for Obama. How do you think he should go about engaging Iran? Sanctions aren’t working, and military strikes are a horrible idea. But will diplomacy be a suitable alternative?

Answer #1

The mullahs power is rooted in their rhetoric.

Obama has a chance to defuse the ‘great satan’ rhetoric by directly appealing to the Iranian people, if he’s willing to spin doctor his last name and his father’s religion and sell himself to the Iranians as a Muslim. It might not hurt to throw a little money around covertly and buy some good will among internal opponents of the mullahs, and catch a couple of them in compromising situations (even if it’s totally fabricated).

I think the US should relentlessly blast Iran with anti-mullah propaganda day and night via all means possible, as well as concoting Qu’ran based arguments in favor of the existence of Israel. People will believe even complete fabrications if they hear it repeated enough. This is an approach that the Iranian government might covertly agree to, since it serves their interests as well.

Combining a ruse like that with high level talks has a chance of undermining the power of the mullahs, which is the necessary precondition to peaceful coexistence.

If all we do is talk to the President of Iran, that isn’t going to accomplish much. Hearts and minds have to be changed.

Answer #2

I think in his press conference today, that he let Iran know where he stands if they want to develop nuclear weapons, or continue to aid terrorists…He “looked’ and sounded believable to me…as usual…we shall see.


Answer #3

he needs to get us out!!! this war really ended back in 2003 but dunba$$ buch never took us out. bush planned on keeping us there untill either all of them were dead or all of our people are dead. Bush didnt give a sh*t what happened to out people as long as he was happy he didnt care. now with obama we shouldnt be in much longer! he wants us out of there asap

Answer #4

Obama’s naivety about holding talks with Iran without preconditions is the problem. Do We remember the Iranian talks of the Reagen years???

A tremendous and embarrassing mistake at that point. Are we willing to repeat it?

Iran is obsessed with eliminating Israel. Are we willing to accept that??

The President of Iran is a “nut job” he is looking into a well searching for the savior. He is building nuclear weapons, and has stated that Israel should be wiped from the face of the earth. And we are willing to negotiate with him with no “pre-conditions”? This is insane foreign policy and diplomacy, Republican or Democrat.

Answer #5

To me Ahmedinejad is a sarcastic leader that is too set in his fundamental beliefs. I don’t belief trying to deal with him in a Democratic way will help Obama. I think Obama will be waisting his time to meet with him. If he is to be dealt with in should be in numbers like the United Nations. Not alone. That’s too vulnerable. I was married to an Iranian man. He was a nice person over all but some can be very set in their ways and very volatile. I believe Ahmedinejad to be volatile. Extreme measure should be taken in my opinion. I have a right to one here in America. I wouldn’t in Iran. Mama K

Answer #6

Iran could be the ‘test’ that Biden speaks of..and depending on obama’s stance on Iran, it may just come to Israel attacking Irans nukes before we ever get a chance to.. I know that sounds extreme, but what is obama’s policy going to be when it comes to Israel? Iran? the entire middle east? if left alone, Iran will eventually go after Israel , and after obama pulls our soldiers out, who will stop them? so the plot thickens, and obama’s policies will probably dictate what happens over there…and you’re right rig…the Ayatollah has the final say in all affairs inand out of Iran.. maybe, while we’re over there, oh never mind just a thought..but no matter how far obama gets with Ahmedinejad, it could all be struck down with a word…

Answer #7

I heard a sermon on TV the other day suggesting Iran could get a ship or sub 100 miles off the US coast and launch a small missile with a warhead on it. to destroy any US coastal city, including Washington DC.

I think what they were talking about, was the EMP (Electromagnentic Pulse Bomb)…which would basically send a power surge out, and bascially put all computer using to an end…from the power grid, to even cars with chips, etc…I can’t remember what the range is on these…but there has been discussion in Congress about “what to do”…


Answer #8

I agree with irris. Iran or Israel will make a move. Either Iran will attack Israel, or Israel will attack Iran.

Most likely Iran will run this mouth first.

Answer #9

The majority of Iranian people are very friendly to the west. There are many moderates within Iranian society who under the right circumstances could bring change. But with all of our sabre rattling, the mullahs have been able to maintain power. RG is right, Ahmedinejad is not the one in charge, and he is not even popular with his people. But he has made a good boogy man for the right wing to push for strong arm tactics against Iran. That approach is short sighted, and dangerous.

The Iranians are not going away, and war with them is our of the question. We can’t maintain our troop levels in Iraq now, what makes anyone think we can fight them?

Dipolomacy has not even been tried. Even Bush is now starting to open up low level discussions. We have no other choice.

At least we will have a real president representing us to the world, and not the smirking chimp anymore.

Answer #10

rickd, enough with the rhetoric. Nobody said Iran is a more preferable place to live than the US, and that their leaders are better than America’s. In fact, jimahl’s point was that many Iranians are actually fond of American culture and, now, the political system.

But he also made another interesting point, that being Bush’s foreign policy has boosted support for the Ayatollah and Ahmedinejad. You don’t think this has been the case? The US has had near skirmishes with Iran several times, and they are obviously a challenge to US interests in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This is why Obama needs to at least try to engage Iran diplomatically. If he extends the olive branch and is rebuffed by Tehran, that government will no longer be seen as having defied Bush, leader of the “Great Satan”. It will be seen as having said no to Obama, the most popular leader in the world. International opinion will undoubtedly fall on the side of the US, costing Iran support even from its traditional allies. And, not to mention, can you imagine how angry the Iranian people will be? Finally, a chance to improve ties with the US under a popular president, and their government shoots it down. They will be very upset with the mullahs.

toadaly’s RFE-like idea is interesting, although I think better to do down the road than now. We’ve seen how the Islamic world reacts to unflattering portrayal of its religious figures, and anti-Israel opinion is unlikely to change despite efforts to the contrary. I agree with winning hearts and minds, I just think that is more likely to happen in the form of policy changes at this point…the Iranians already do like much about the US. Given Obama’s election, many Iranians also expressed praise for the US democratic system.

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