May 11, 2006


U.S. Under Pressure To Talk to Tehran (Glenn Kessler, May 11, 2006, Washington Post)

The administration has dismissed the letter from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- the first such communication since U.S.-Iranian relations were broken more than a quarter of a century ago -- as not a serious diplomatic overture.

"It really was a kind of philosophical and indeed religious attack on U.S. policies," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday on NBC's "Today" show. "There was nothing in it that suggested a way out of the nuclear stalemate."

But Albright said yesterday that the letter, despite its invective and religious musings, should be viewed as an opportunity both for a dialogue with Iran and to influence world opinion. She likened it to President John F. Kennedy's choosing to selectively respond to -- and ignore -- conflicting messages from his Soviet counterpart during the Cuban missile crisis.

"In diplomacy, you make your opportunities," Albright said. "Acting in a dismissive way doesn't get you anywhere."

Do you suppose she's even aware that all JFK got was 60 years of brutal dictatorship for the Cuban people? Or is that a victory in her book?

Iran's President says country ready to negotiate (CHRIS BRUMMITT, 5/11/06, Associated Press)

Iran's President said Thursday he was ready to negotiate with Western powers over Tehran's nuclear program, but warned that threats would make any talks more difficult. [...]

“There are no limits to our dialogue,” he said. “But if someone points an arm [a weapon] at your face and says you must speak, will you do that?”

While Washington has said it favours a diplomatic end to the dispute, it hasn't ruled out military force and is pushing at the United Nations for economic sanctions against Iran.

Despite Mr. Ahmadinejad's hard-line rhetoric, there were hints of a possible solution to the escalating international crisis from other quarters.

In a letter to Time magazine published on its website Wednesday, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered new possibilities for solving the impasse with the United States and its allies on the issue.

Hassan Rohani, Iran's former top nuclear negotiator, said Tehran would consider ratifying an International Atomic Energy Agency protocol that provides for intrusive and snap inspections and would also address the question of preventing a pullout from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

President Bush should travel to Iran himself for talks, but exploit the splits by meeting with Reformers and Ayatollah Khamenei and not Ahmedinjad. While there he could deliver then an address that points out that the current regime structure of Iran is inconsistent with Shi'ism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 11, 2006 8:31 AM

No, JFK got a propaganda bonanza. It was the Cubans who got the dictatorship and they don't vote, do they?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at May 11, 2006 9:21 AM

If Bush visits Iran he needs to make a stop in Iraq first and meet with Sistani, just so everyone gets the point of the trip.

Posted by: John at May 11, 2006 9:42 AM

Some might say whack job issued a da'wa.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 11, 2006 10:54 AM

When it goes south we'll know who gets blamed.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 11, 2006 12:27 PM