Iran Envoy Lauds Obama, Says Tehran Won’t Bargain Until Ahmadinejad Exits

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Mohammad Sadeq Kharazi, who served twice as Iran’s deputy foreign minister and as its ambassador to Paris and the UN, and who is also known to be close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has discounted the prospect of negotiations with the United States until after the June 2013 presidential election, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves office. Kharazi was also reported to have been highly involved in Iran’s so-called offer of a “grand bargain” to the United States via the Swiss embassy in 2003, which was dismissed by the administration of George W. Bush.

Kharazi made his comments at the 19th meeting of “Iranian Diplomacy.”
His speech reproduced on his website, Iran Diplomacy, makes interesting reading, in particular his significant praise for US President Barack Obama and his administration.

Kharazi writes:

“In my view, Obama was one of the most successful recent presidents of America. He was the inheritor of an America that was involved in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and handed over the government at a time when this country faced one of the biggest economic crises, frightful decline and an unemployment crisis.

The decisions he adopted regarding unemployment, social security and insurance were very brave and distinguished. Up to a point, he used power in the management of vast resources and criticized multinational corporations and enacted restrictions in American capitalism which regulated and controlled the domination of the system by capitalism and its influence on the American economy.

The republic of Obama was a republic of experienced senators and individuals, individuals who instead of viewing issues subjectively, acted on the basis of objectivity and extant realities.

With respect to foreign policy, Obama had many successes. Regarding Obama’s identification of the crisis, in my view, he intelligently recognized the pain and suffering of humanity and the world, but in the management and solution of them he is caught up with the massive centers of power and United States’ lobbies that during the last couple of decades have acquired roots and could not prevail over the body which has decision-making power in America. [Obama] did not assess the essence of the global security crisis from the perspective of the neocons, but took the root of division between the Western and Islamic worlds to be in threats and debasements. With regard to an interpretation he had of the social aspects of Islam and engagement between Islam and the West, he could speak of a kind of reconciliation between America and the Islamic world and express his own wishes.

A look at his speech in Egypt which was one of the most strategic speeches of an American president confronted with the issues of the Islamic world and his comments in Turkey and the essence of his comments at the time he obtained the Nobel Peace Prize, [shows that] something else in contrast to his predecessors can be gleaned from his views. Also faced with people’s uprisings in the Arab world and the Islamic awakening, he acted very intelligently. For the first time, America stood by the people’s side, in contrast to the traditional view which supported dictators; this time, America didn’t stand by the side of despotic powers. This is one of his most important strategic decisions.

Without doubt, the decisions of this politics are counted as a great event in the history of engagement between the Islamic world and America. Obama from the time of taking power has tried to restrain Israel and has serious disagreements with his own Secretary of State. The restrictions that he created at the beginning of his taking responsibility for the usurping Tel Aviv government met with the bitter and offensive reactions by the Prime Minister and President of the republic of Israel toward Joe Biden.

Regarding Iran, at first Obama made numerous efforts and with various messages tried to get close to Iran but despite the rhetorical steps taken, he was caught in the paradoxical behavior of the system, where he spoke of engagement with Iran while signing a bill furnishing credit and a budget for [the regime’s] overthrow.

Obama nonetheless even brought the Iran desk in the State Department to the White House and he wanted to have it in control, but he couldn’t take a courageous decision for the removal of sanctions for a positive gesture and step.

But a question today that is very high on the agenda is this: After the current presidential election in America, will a change occur in relations between Iran and America? Can Iran and America after this election undertake direct negotiations with one another and solve the problems between them? In my opinion, this will not happen and in the second term of Obama’s presidency we won’t witness the normalization in the relations between the two countries.

I reckon any kind of change in bilateral relations between Iran and America impractical and precluded until the holding of Iran’s presidential election. If they have understood well that the subject of foreign relations falls under the scope of the highest authority of the Islamic regime, namely the Supreme Leader, why weren’t they ready and aren’t ready to negotiate with Mr. Ahmadinejad and to solve the issues with his government? The government and president whose days left are ending fast and who enjoys a negative position inside the American political system because of some of the slogans he has offered.

In his [Ahmadinejad's] recent trip to New York, clear signs were seen of his inclination to negotiate with America, but the Americans didn’t give any importance to these positions and this approach, and serious reaction from their side was not forthcoming. This is because from the point of view of the Americans, the Ahmadinejad government in Iran has come to an end.

In these special circumstances, the government, by tying the economic problems to the debate over sanctions, has shown its inclination for negotiations with America. It is clear the government of Mr. Ahmadinejad is struggling in the last days of its incumbency to start negotiations under its own name so that this government solves the problem of relations with America. Whereas the high authorities of the country understand well the objectives of this group in government and so it is natural they don’t given permission for this, because it is natural that they limit the disingenuous behavior of the government politicians and decrease their power to maneuver.”