Obama Administration Offers Direct Talks with Iran

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


On Saturday, the Obama administration’s efforts to maintain the fantasy that diplomatic efforts will get Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons was again on display for all the world to see, courtesy of Vice President Joe Biden. During a speech at the Munich Security Conference, Biden contended that the United States “would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership.” “There has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to,” Biden added. “We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise.” The Iranians, meanwhile, are hailing the new approach the Obama administration is taking with Tehran and are no doubt looking forward to the extra time it will afford them to continue on the trajectory of their nuclear weapons program.

One is forced to ponder what outcome Biden could possibly be envisioning that would rise above the level of a futile “exercise,” given Tehran’s continual intransigence and the Obama administration’s indulgence of the regime’s games. The latest failure to move the needle occurred as recently as January, when nuclear inspectors from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were denied access to the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran. Parchin is where it has long been suspected that the Iranians are working on a nuclear trigger for a bomb. IAEA deputy inspector Herman Nackaerts expressed his frustration at the time: “We had two days of intensive discussions. Differences remain so we could not finalize the structured approach to resolve the outstanding issues regarding possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program,” he said at the time. The two side are scheduled to meet again on February 12.

So what has changed? Nothing on the part of the Iranians. Yet Biden insisted that Iran still had time to change course and resolve the issue through diplomacy. “The ball is in the government of Iran’s court,” said Biden. “It is well past time for Iran to adopt a serious good-faith approach to negotiations. Abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.”

Watered-down sanctions and poor oversight are already incentive enough for Iran to stay the course. For instance, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko revealed that an audit of U.S. defense spending in Afghanistan shows that the Pentagon may have spent a “significant amount” of money for fuel purchased from Iran, due to a “lack of oversight” on the billions of dollars of taxpayer funds used to support the Afghan military. “The fact that the United States has paid for the acquisition and delivery of imported fuel for the Afghan National Security Forces — nearly $1.1 billion for the Afghan National Army alone between fiscal years 2007 and 2012 — raises concerns that U.S. funds could have been used to pay for imports of fuel potentially in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran,” said Sopko.

No doubt this is due to a certain level of bureaucratic sloppiness that is endemic to the kind of ever-expanding government this administration champions. And while that may be somewhat understandable, this administration’s ongoing diplomatic approach seems destined to do little more than give Tehran the time it needs to finally cross the nuclear weapon threshold.

Thus it was completely unsurprising that Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was pleased with Biden’s offer. “As I have said yesterday, I am optimistic, I feel this new administration is really this time seeking to at least divert from its previous traditional approach vis-a-vis my country,” Salehi told the German Council on Foreign Relations. Salehi, who also attended the Munich conference, went further. “I think it is about time both sides really get into engagement because confrontation certainly is not the way,” he added.

Such a statement is a typical rewriting of history. Negotiations between some combination of the P5+1 countries (United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany) and Iran have been ongoing for a decade. In all that time, not a single proposal has gained acceptance from all the parities involved. Such orchestrated futility is the essence of what a diplomatic approach has produced. Yet once again the P5+1 is offering Iran another chance to engage in negotiations on February 24, possibly in Kazakhstan. While Salehi called this “good news,” the Iranians have yet to accept. Even if they do, Salehi has offered a hint as to where they are likely to go. “And another thing: this issue of the nuclear file is becoming boring,” he said during the same interview.

In London, Hossein Mousavian, one of Iran’s former nuclear negotiators, also hinted at the likely futility another round of multilateral negotiations would produce, claiming that they are meaningless without “parallel dialogue” between the Obama administration and Iran. “I believe they should start immediately. They should put all issues on the table. They should start with issues of common interest like Afghanistan in order to create a positive momentum,” he said.

Senator John McCain, who also spoke in Munich, proved once again that willful blindness with regard to Iran is a bipartisan problem. He favors direct talks with Tehran as well, even as he cautioned that optimism may be unwarranted. “I think we should learn the lessons of history and that is that no matter what the talks are, if you still have the fundamental problem–and the fundamental problem is Iranians’ commitment to acquisition of a nuclear weapon–it doesn’t matter to a significant degree,” he said. “We’ve seen this movie before. And obviously, I think any venue we would support, but to have grounds for optimism I think would be a mistake.”

After more than ten years of fruitless negotiations, one might be forgiven for wondering when anyone involved in this ongoing fiasco will “learn the lessons of history.”

That would be anyone on the Western side of the equation. Iran is learning that the Obama administration is seemingly determined to find some sort of accommodation with the fanatical mullahs , and nothing says this better than the president’s attempt, and likely success, in getting Chuck Hagel appointed Secretary of Defense. In 2007, Hagel voted against designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group. In 2008 Hagel, like Biden, also favored direct negotiations with Iran, despite noting that “they support terrorists, they support Hezbollah. They’ve got their tentacles wrapped around every problem in the middle East. They’re anti-Israel, anti-United States. Those are realities. Those are facts.” In his Senate hearing last week, Hagel “explained” his reasoning in a jaw dropping moment when he noted that the U.S. had never “designated a part of a legitimate government [Iran]” as a terrorist organization. Realizing his mistake he corrected himself. Iran’s government is “recognizable,” he said.

So is Hagel’s cluelessness. It is all the more amplified by another gaffe during which he said he supported the Obama’s administration policy of “containment” with regard to Iran, even though the administration has repeatedly ruled that out as an option. In fact, Iran would probably like nothing more than to be at the stage of “containment” after securing a nuclear weapon.

So what policy should the United States be pursuing with regard to Iran? Writing for PJ Media, Middle East expert Andrew McCarthy explains that focusing solely on nukes is “delusional.” “Exportation of their Islamist revolution, hatred of America and, within that sweep, the destruction of Israel have been the operating premises of Khomeinist Iran since 1979,” he writes. “The facilitation of terrorism–a barbaric way to pursue national interests–has been the regime’s principal means of operation. The mullahs have killed or aided and abetted in the killing of thousands of Americans, and every day they try to kill more. The regime is an incorrigible enemy of the United States. There should be nothing they can do at this point, after over 30 years of this, to convince us otherwise.”

Apparently the Obama administration remains unconvinced. Though ten years of pursuing diplomacy have produced no tangle results, this administration still believes it is capable of getting an apocalyptic regime to alter its divine objective: hastening the second coming of the Twelfth or Hidden Imam whose re-emergence must be preceded by a period of chaos. And as the U.S. continues down the road of appeasement, expect fanatical Iran to respond accordingly.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Should anyone, who has been paying attention, be shocked by this development? Of curse not. Those who study geo-politics, as well as the Middle East, surely knew this was afoot.

    In fact, the following commentary posited said scenario – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/02/valerie-jarre

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama has been jaw-jawing with the Iranian mullahs for a long time. The American people had no idea.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • http://twitter.com/TophStewart @TophStewart

    They can talk all day long for the next 2 years .. It doesn't matter. If Israel has to solve the problem it will but only at the last possible moment. One issue Israel or even the US faces with araid or armed conflict with Iran is that they risk turning the average Iranian person against them and more towards this despot that at the moment the majority cannot stand. It's a catch 22 at the moment- politically that is. When that fails no one can say Israel and others didnt try.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    ”There has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to,” Biden added. “We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise.”

    Sure Joe. The agenda is to continue Islamic appeasement. The Iranians are all ears.

    • SAM000

      2005 Conference of Davos Joe Biden said that Israel should admit a nuclear Iran.
      Joe Biden and Chuck Hegel have always taken Iran's part, in the Iranian side, the Mullahs are very happy and comfortable with Obama's administration.
      This offer of direct talks falls inside a very special political situation where an open war ignited between Ahmadinejad and parliament last week while khamenei had warned both parties that any kind of public clash before the incoming presidential election will be a treason.
      The Fracture inside the rulers is huge, last night the ex general prosecutor who has a high ranked level in Ahmadinejad's government was arrested.
      In this internal war climate where the whole regime is collapsing, offering the credibility and appeasement of USA to the most dangerous regime of the world is really questionable.
      one can see inside this level of USA appeasement the enemy for the world's security.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "In this internal war climate where the whole regime is collapsing, offering the credibility and appeasement of USA to the most dangerous regime of the world is really questionable."

        You're far too kind to the American president. Hang on. He can't actively stop any internal effort to topple the regime.

        If you are able to find the time, study Indonesian culture and Islam's history. You'll see why 0'Bama might be totally deluded about what is possible when all the Islamic supremacists calm down.

        1) We don't want to be like Indonesia in any case
        2) Not even any other Muslim nation could hope to replicate the relatively benign "Islamic culture" because pre-Islamic traditions are too embedded there. Islamic tyrants were never able to impose sharia as they often did in other environments.

        Everyone deserves religious liberty. There is no way anyone in the USA should ever stand against it, nor should they assist any regime that denies it. they way that we do in the name of compromise.

  • kafir4life

    Hey! Isn't that monkey the moon god worshippers are going to send into space?

    • Mary Sue

      Here's hoping for a new reality show:
      Ahmadinejad: LOST IN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!

  • rlqretired

    A so-called containment policy for Iran’s nuclear weapons has been the goal of the ½ Black Muslim usurper who sits in our oval office in the Whitehouse from the very beginning and will, as a last resort, do whatever he can to assure Israel does not succeed in an attack on Iran.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      It is indisputable that as a child, obama went to school in a islamist school.

      Some of that islamist crap rubbed off on him.

      • kafir4life

        I would think so. It's funny too that most Black Americans follow that fool. He doesn't even share a history with any of them. It turns out that Stinky's (bo) family was on the "other" side of the slave equation than most. His family assisted in the "capture" of Michelle's family for sale. In fact, Stinky's ancestors used Michelle's ancestors as "belly warmers" prior to sending them overseas. There's even a genetic link between the two families.

        • SCREW SOCIALISM

          Obama is not a direct descendent of American slavery, unless his white mothers family owned slaves..

          Obama should have never been a beneficiary of Affirmative Action in education, employment, or politics.

          • Mary Sue

            yeah he was in no way disadvantaged. He can't even relate to regular Americans.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    This new round is another new round of talks or attempted talks that go no where and rebranding
    the shuck and jive is beyond getting old, it is past dangerous and aids Iran in it's quest for
    nuclear weapons. Obama's new ploy to help the enemies of America and all free people
    rises from his scurrilous attitude towards non Islamists, he aids Islamists at every turn. When
    the Middle East is glowing like the Sun and death and destruction prevail those who voted
    for the Imam in Chief will be so proud, the Obama regeme is gearing up to openly aid Iran.
    William

  • http://twitter.com/USnavy1967 @USnavy1967

    We have been cursed with the most incompetent, disgusting, Marxist, stupid, lying, corrupt administration in the history of the United States.

    • mickeyobe

      Obama will talk and talk and talk until BOOM!
      He knows very well what he is doing.
      Unfortunately the American people are deaf and blind to his machinations.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    Obliterate the Islamofascist Regime of iran!

    LONG LIVE PERSIA!

    • Drakken

      Persia has been dead since islam put it's slimey grip on them.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    RE: "Obama Administration Offers Direct Talks with Iran"

    ~Marxist / Fascists like OBAMA, Stalin, Hegel, & Mao – HITLER & Benito Mussolini….

    Know Conflict Resolution!

  • STEVEN CHAVEZ

    STRANGE how he can talk to our enemies, invite the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House and negotiate with them, AND YET, he can't even meet with Republicans!

    • Mary Sue

      that's because he's got NOTHING IN COMMON with them! (Except Brother Chuck!)

  • JacksonPearson

    Iran is Syria's closest regional ally, and Jalili used his three-day visit to pledge Tehran's continued support for Assad's regime.

    "The Islamic world will not allow aggression against Syria," he said. "Syria stands on the front line of the Islamic world against the Zionist regime. … The Islamic world must react appropriately to the Israeli aggression."

    Israel has been growing increasingly concerned that Assad, fighting a civil war with rebels who want to overthrow him, is losing his grip on power and on his country's arsenal including chemical weapons.

    The strike was apparently meant to prevent Syrian and Iranian ally Hezbollah from acquiring more sophisticated defenses that could have limited Israel's ability to gather intelligence on its enemies from the air.

    For years, Israel has been charging that Assad and Iran have been arming Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006.

    Still, the airstrike was criticized by some countries vehemently opposed to the Assad regime.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Israel engaged in "state terror."

    "Those who have from the very beginning looked in the wrong direction and who have nourished and raised Israel like a spoiled child should always expect such things from Israel," Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News quoted Erdogan as saying.

    Saudi Arabia also criticized the strike as a "flagrant violation" against Syria's territory, the kingdom's official SPA news agency reported Monday.

    With turmoil in Egypt, an unsettled Libya, Israel gunning in the heart of Syria, Obama's plans to reestablish a Middle East Caliphate has been tripped up, and are temporarily on hold. Poor baby!

  • polnick

    Bribes from one politician to another cannot be done by phone they must be negotiated in person. That is why Ahmadinejad is seeing Mursi, there is no other possible reason to have taken the trip.

  • Penny Haulman

    Colluding with the enemy of the USA

  • Daphne

    Can't add much to the excellent Comments above, except to say BEWARE of the entrance of John Kerry.
    In the vernacular – "You ain't seen nothen until you seen him". He took himself unbidden to the 1971 Paris Meeting where he met with Madame Binh (a senior North Vietnamese Communist leader and Foreign Minister of the PRG (Provisional Revolutionary Government ) of which the Viet Cong was its' military arm.
    He adopted Mme Binh's "7-Point Proposal" in answer to and displacing South Vietnam's proposal to reunite Vietnam through a truce and free elections. The 7-Point Proposal instead demanded complete evacuation of all US Military from Vietnam in return for the release of all U.S. Prisoners of War to the U.S.
    John Kerry acted on behalf of Mme Binh in Washington where he testified to the Senator Fulbright Committee on Foreign Relations, and also in a speech from V V A W (Vietnam Veterans Against the War) where he openly encouraged President Nixon to embrace the 7-Point Proposal. The final outcome was indeed an ignominious withdrawal of the entire US Military Force from S.E. Asia.
    From this piece of history one can only believe that Kerry will stop at nothing, will deviate around accepted policies, in order to successfully achieve his personally preferred ends. Whatever opinion one has regarding the military position of the US in Vietnam, the Kerry mode of influencing events is highly questionable.

    • Mary Sue

      Was Kerry always a libtard, or maybe possibly he was caught and brainwashed while in 'nam Alex in Clockwork Orange style…?

    • Drakken

      If we are lucky, hopefully a jihadist gets to scream a little allah akbar to Kerry before his most unforunate demise.

  • LibertarianToo

    My favorite Biden quote from the article: "Abandon the illicit nuclear program and your support for terrorism and there will be meaningful incentives.”

    Translation: "PLEASE let us pay you to sorta kinda do what we want."

    The administration's approach seems to be all carrot, bushels of carrots, and not even the pretense of a stick.

  • Mladen

    Take Iran at Its Word by DOUGLAS MURRAY

    How can it be, at this time and at this stage, that governments and publics are still not dealing with this issue with anything approaching appropriate seriousness?
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324

    Matthias Küntzel – Antisemitism, Messianism and the Cult of Sacrifice:The Iranian Holy War http://www.madisdead.blogspot.co.il/2012/09/matth

    There are other dictatorships in the world. But only in Iran are the fantasy-worlds of antisemitism and religious mission linked with technological megalomania and the physics of mass destruction. The specific danger presented by the Iranian nuclear option stems from the unique ideological atmosphere surrounding it – a mixture of holy war and high-tec, of antisemitism and weapons-grade uranium, of death-wish and missile research, of Shiite messianism and plutonium.
    We are dealing here with a steel wall of fanaticism which has repelled every educational effort, every offer of negotiations and every political approach. Certainly this is the record of the nuclear negotiations with Iran.

  • BS77

    Imagine negotiating with Satan…..the results will not be pleasing.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    The Islamofascist Regime of iran MUST SURRENDER, UNCONDITIONALLY to Jews, Christians, Bahais, Hindus, Buddhists, Zoroastrians.

    AND the ayatollahs who lead the Islamofascist entity must all end up on the gallows with nooses round their necks..

  • KKKK

    i believe the iran leaders are planing for a major nuclear attack on America soon. perhaps with an emp that will knock out power and then kil us indriectly by lack of resources. why is oabam doing nothing about this? OH YEAH-HE'S ON THEIR SIDE! TRATIOR!

    • Mary Sue

      I dunno if they'll go for the big dog first. They might go for Israel or maybe even Saudi Arabia first.

      • ffortnightly

        An EMP attack is quite practical. Especially if you have recently developed a crude life support system. In this case the "monkey" only needs to survive until orbit brings it over North America and the $100 GPS says it's party time. Then the trained "monkey" praises his deity and presses the button. Taking out that much US infrastructure would make backing Israel up almost instantly difficult. If they are successful, they earn a great deal of Middle Easternand European fear. Hard to say what they might be biting off with that. Besides, the "Monkey" could miss and plunge Africa into darkness!
        Grobbbbbbbbb

  • turtlemom

    Chamberlain Alert! Chamberlain Alert!
    "Peace in our time!" riiiiiiiiight!
    Obama is more than a traitor. He has willingly weakened our country and is now opening it for an attack by our enemies. An attack we cannot defend against.
    Stock your stuff and be prepared for the long haul.

  • Ghostwriter

    It seems that President Obama's going on the same track that Neville Chamberlain went down. Unfortunately,history showed what happened a year AFTER Chamberlain got "Peace in our time." Those lessons were lost on our current president and those like him.

    • edgineer1

      Are you really that naive? The President, with the leaders of the Democratic Party, is a Communist.

  • edgineer1

    Every problem the US faces today was imposed on us by the treasonous dogs in the Democratic Party. Now they attempt to legitimize their allies in the Mid East.

  • Barakus abomidas

    Emp shee no such thing, ya'll worried about nukes and fantasy things that cannot happen. Muslims can't pull off suprise attacks that can kill thousands in one day! Or in this case, millions of people. ;)