23 July 2008

Another Public Service Announcement: Ahmadinejad

Fox News reports Iranian President Ahmadinejad as saying, “The Iranian nation will not retreat one iota in the face of oppressing powers. The Iranian nation has chosen its path.” That was the bluster. His other words tell more about why the Iranians have been so keen to get US negotiators at the table.

Mr. Ahmadinejad: “You (U.S.) took a positive step. It was a step toward recognizing the rights of the Iranian nation, toward justice, toward repairing your image in the world, toward cleaning 50 years of crimes you committed against the Iranian nation.”

There it is. That one statement clears up any ambiguity on why the Iranians would want US negotiators at the table. Secretary of State Rice even said that the Iranians were “not serious” about the talks. But that’s predictable. The Iranians got what they wanted as soon as the US negotiator walked into the room. They could plop any intentions they wanted at the feet of the US. The Iranians choose to propagandize the “negotiations” as a validation of its nuclear ambitions – always peaceful – by the US. Everything after that was, in their eyes I believe, meaningless.

This was all too predictable, as I’ve mentioned before. But I don’t blame the Bush administration or Secretary Rice in particular too much for trying. It was worth a shot, I suppose. But what needs to happen now is an implementation of harsh sanctions – particularly of gasoline imports – on Iran. If the UN will not impose them, then all willing countries should join in an effort outside of the UN structure.

What the US should not do, under any circumstances, return to the negotiating table without verifiable preconditions met. And there is no doubt Iranian leaders want the US back at the table. It serves their purposes well.

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