May 15, 2007


Iran courts the US at Russia's expense (Kaveh L Afrasiabi, 5/16/07, Asia Times)

Iran's relations with the Arab world have taken a dramatic turn for the better, in light of Iran's overtures toward the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, as well as in President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's announcement that Iran is prepared to resume full diplomatic relations with Egypt.

That announcement was made on Monday as Ahmadinejad visited the United Arab Emirates and received a rousing official welcome. Widely interpreted as Iran's timely response to US Vice President Dick Cheney's tour of the region and his warning that the United States will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons or to dominate the region, Ahmadinejad's arrival in Dubai coincided with an Iranian olive branch toward not only Egypt but also the US. This is illustrated by Tehran's announcement that it has accepted the United States' invitation for direct talks between American and Iranian ambassadors in Baghdad.

"Iran's foreign policy is moving in the direction of constructive engagement on all fronts," a member of Iran's parliament, the Majlis, announced, adding that the resumption of relations with Egypt will have "positive effects on the whole region".

Tehran Both Warns And Reassures U.S.: Iran Cautions on Strike, Embraces Talks (Robin Wright, May 15, 2007, Washington Post)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned yesterday that Iran would retaliate against any U.S. strike on his country and urged U.S. troops to "pack their bags" and leave the Persian Gulf region. But during a visit yesterday to the United Arab Emirates, he also acknowledged that Tehran is "ready and prepared" to hold talks with the United States.

The first U.S.-Iran bilateral talks are tentatively set for May 28 or earlier in Baghdad, say U.S. and Iranian officials. Ahmadinejad's comments reflect a tempered tone from the hard-line leader, who said the decision was made in order to "support the Iraqi people."

Safe to say that Ayatollah Khamenei is calling the shots.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2007 12:00 AM
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