Since the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a speech on Sept. 17 that he is “not opposed” to diplomacy and that he supports a “heroic flexibility,” many Iranian officials and media have sought to explain and expound on the term.
While Reformists’ publications have generally responded positively and optimistically to “heroic flexibility,” a term Khamenei coined himself when translating a book on Imam Hassan, hardline media and officials have attempted to temper their enthusiasm with their own interpretations.
In a live program on Iranian TV yesterday, the deputy commander of the IRGC (Sepah), Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, spoke about how he viewed “heroic flexibility” within the goals of the Islamic Republic.
Salami said that “heroic flexibility is an exalted and invaluable concept and it is in need of a theoretical and operational expansion.” He continued: “The concept of heroic flexibility means that in no way will we retreat from fundamental lines and national and vital interests and this right is not something that without any concessions can be exchanged.”
“Our fundamental framework is permanent and it is inflexible and our ideal goals will never be reduced,” Salami said, adding, “for instance, the right to have peaceful nuclear energy according to the criteria that has been secured for us; and this right cannot be modified and there is no flexibility on it, however, within this framework a political flexibility as a tactic is acceptable because we do not want to create a dead end in solving the political issue.”
Salami said that “solving this political issue must be in an environment that is just, balanced and respectful.” He added that “heroic flexibility does not include passivity or surrender.”
In response to the widespread coverage and analysis of “heroic flexibility” and Khamenei’s support of diplomacy, hard-line Javan Online wrote that some appear to be “overwhelmed with joy” at the prospect of negotiations between Iran and the West.
In an article titled “The Wall of Mistrust Will Not Collapse With a Diplomatic Smile,” Ali Rezaei reminded readers that the “imagined news” of a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barrack Obama in New York at the UN General Assembly session “has not been confirmed by either side.” Some have suggested that Rouhani and Obama may greet one another there.
While Rezaei wrote that “just and wise” negotiations are acceptable, Iranians should not forget that the root of conflict between Iran and the US runs deep.
In regard to the “complete trust in negotiations” some seem to have, Rezaei wrote that “the behavior of the Americans toward the Iranian government and nation proves something in contradiction to this.” Rezaei continued that the “differences and conflict with America is not about the nuclear issue or human rights [but] our main issue with America is the accumulation of several decades of American interference and Iranian resistance.”
Rezaei wrote that the roots of our differences could be seen in “1953 coup, imposing an eight-year war on the nation of Iran, giving chemical weapons to Saddam to bomb Iranian women, men and children and events such as these that today has built a dark image of the American government in the minds of Iranian people, a dark image that with a diplomatic smile will not be erased.”