[Marxism] Obama issues video greeting to Iran on desire for talks, and sends letter

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Mar 20 07:34:34 MDT 2009


Prof. Mark Jensen of the Snow-News list in Washington State sees these steps
as an indication that secret discussions are already taking place, which
sounds likely to me.
Fred Feldman


OBAMA OFFERS A FRESH START TO IRAN
By Daniel Dombey

Financial Times (London)
March 20, 2009

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/30eb72fe-150f-11de-b9a9-0000779fd2ac.html



WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Friday issued a widely awaited
message to the people and government of Iran in his bid to end a 30-year
diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic.  In an
Iranian New Year video message released on the internet, Mr. Obama
emphasized the benefits of increased cooperation with Washington rather than
stressing sanctions or military action.

"The U.S. wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in
the community of nations," he said.  "You have that right but it comes with
real responsibilities and that place cannot be reached through terror or
arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true
greatness of the Iranian people and civilization."

In an address directed at "the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of
Iran" and capped with a Farsi phrase wishing Iranians a happy new year, Mr.
Obama repeatedly praised Iran's "great and celebrated culture" and quoted
the medieval Persian poet Saadi on the unity of "the children of Adam."

He added:  "For nearly three decades relations between our nations have been
strained.  But . . . within these celebrations lies the promise of a new
day, the promise of opportunity for our children, security for our families,
progress for our communities, and peace between nations."

Mr. Obama said the U.S. was "committed to diplomacy that addresses the full
range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the U.S.,
Iran, and the international community."

In words that contrasted markedly with the language employed by former
President George W. Bush, Mr. Obama added:  "This process will not be
advanced by threats.  We seek instead engagement that is honest and grounded
in mutual respect."

Mr. Obama's address signally omitted any specific reference to the issues
that most trouble Iran's relationship with the U.S. and its allies --
Tehran's nuclear program, its links to groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah,
and its hostility towards Israel.

Instead, he set out a positive but general vision of a future "with renewed
exchanges among our people and greater opportunities for partnership and
commerce.  It's a future where the old divisions are overcome."

The U.S. President's remarks represent his most elaborate attempt yet to
begin a dialogue with Iran after his comments during his inauguration and
shortly afterwards that the U.S. would open its hand if Iran unclenched its
fist.  So far, Mr. Obama yet to respond to a letter of congratulation sent
after his November election victory by Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran's
president.

U.S. reluctance to engage with Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad, who faces a potentially
difficult re-election bid in June, is one factor complicating Mr. Obama's
diplomatic efforts.  But Washington has invited Iran to a conference on
Afghanistan next week, in a bid for a more constructive U.S.-Iranian
relationship.

The U.S. has also imposed new unilateral sanctions on Iran since Mr. Obama
took office.  But, despite administration arguments that the West should use
both a bigger carrot and a bigger stick in dealing with Tehran, Washington
is encountering difficulties in winning the support of its European allies,
Russia and China for a new round of punitive measures.

2.

BARACK OBAMA ISSUES SURPRISE VIDEO OFFERING 'NEW BEGINNING' TO IRAN By Anne
Barrowclough

Times Online (London)
March 20, 2009

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5942525.ece

President Barack Obama issued an unprecedented video appeal to Iran today
offering a 'new beginning' of diplomatic engagement to reverse decades of
distrust and animosity between the two nations.

In an extraordinary videotape, which will be aired today on selected
networks in the Middle East, Mr. Obama said Washington was committed to
pursuing "constructive ties" with Iran.  He promised that Tehran could take
its 'rightful place' in the world if it renounced terror and embraced peace.

"My administration is now committed to diplomacy that addresses the full
range of issues before us, and to pursuing constructive ties among the
United States, Iran, and the international community," Mr. Obama said in the
message marking the start of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, which is planned
to appeal direct to the Iranian people.

In a major shift from the isolationist policy toward the Islamic state
pursued by George Bush, he expressed an openness to direct diplomatic
contacts between the countries, saying: "For nearly three decades relations
between our nations have been strained.

"But at this holiday we are reminded of the common humanity that binds us
together."

Calling the Norwuz celebrations a time of 'new beginnings,' he said: 
"This process will not be advanced by threats.  We seek instead engagement
that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

The tape is the furthest Mr. Obama has gone since taking office in extending
an olive branch to Tehran, which has been locked in disputes with Washington
over Iran's nuclear ambitions.  However he tempered his experssions of
friendship with a warning that Iran should use its 'true greatness' to
create rather than destroy.

"You have that right (to take its place in the world) -- but it comes with
real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or
arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true
greatness of the Iranian people and civilization," he said.

"And the measure of that greatness is not the capacity to destroy, it is
your demonstrated ability to build and create," in a reference to Iran's
nuclear program and missile development efforts.

As well as being broadcast and placed online with Farsi sub-titles in the
Middle East, the appeal has been published on the White House website.








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