THE IRANIAN PROPOSAL, JUST ONE BIG JOKE
By Micah Halpern
Thursday September 17, 2009
Natan Sharansky, former Soviet dissident, former minister within several governments of Israel, present head of the Jewish Agency and acknowledged chess pro, once said to me, when referring to the conflict between Israel and her Arab neighbors "they are playing with us chess and we are playing with them checkers."
I was reminded of Sharansky's succinct summary of inept and ineffective foreign affairs and diplomatic maneuverings as I assessed the reaction of the United States of America to the proposal put forth by the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
At best, it's a joke.
There is no logic in the decision by the United States to accept the proposal put forth by Iran as a foundation upon which to begin negotiations. No logic and no mental contortions will convince me that this is a sound, thought through decision by the greatest power in the Western world.
When the Iranians declared that they were preparing a proposal, I knew it would fall short of any serious dialogue on the issues. Unfortunately, I was not disappointed. I read all five pages, well, almost five pages. The document not only falls short in content and depth, it even falls short in length.
The Iranian proposal is well scripted, diplomatic spin.
Iran titled the document "Cooperation for Peace, Justice and Progress." It begins with the words "In the Name of the Almighty." By the second paragraph Iran comes straight to the point. It reads: "Resolution of these problems and creating a world filled with spirituality, friendship ... prosperity, wellness and security requires reorganization and creating an opportunity for broad and collective participation in the management of the world." From there the document cum proposal goes on and on about reorganizing the world - in other words, about ousting the United States and removing all traces of Western orientation.
There is not one word about Iranian nukes. There is not one word about the issue at hand. This proposal should have been publicly dismissed as a non-starter. It was not. On the contrary, it was embraced by the Obama Administration. The Iranians knew what was expected of them, made their own calculation and chose to solve the problem by saying that the problem is not with them but with United States domination of the world.
That the United States accepted this high falutin' gobbly gook at face value and will now use it as a foundation for serious dialogue to help bring the world back from the brink of a nuclear Iran - is simply ludicrous. Iran wants to focus on the sins of America. Iran wants to focus on the problems inflicted on the world because of America. Iran does not want to talk about what Iranian President Ahmadinejad calls Iran's "inalienable rights," Iran's inalienable rights to develop nuclear technology. Yes, the Iranian president had the gall to borrow a phrase from United States President Thomas Jefferson and turn it on the United States.
The situation goes from ludicrous to surreal.
Add to that the diplomatic coup pulled off by Iran at the 53rd annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. The function of the IAEA is to be the nuclear watch dog of the United Nations. Iran proposed and successfully passed a resolution that makes it illegal to attack a nuclear site. The resolution was so resoundingly approved that it received the equivalent of the IAEA stamp of official approval.
Secretary of State Clinton pointed out that during the October 1st meeting between Iranian and US officials the discussion will cover nuclear issues. Clinton said she expects serious responses to the tough questions that will be raised. Don't expect too much. Ali Akbar Javanfekr, media adviser for Ahmadinejad, said that Iran will not tolerate threats. He said that accepting Iran as a nuclear power was the "first step" toward normalizing relations with the US and with the West.
How quintessentially Iran.
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