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  • 11/11/2008

Tehran Waiting for Obama’s Actual Foreign Policy



Tehran is waiting for US president-elect Barack Obama to put into practice his "Yes We Can" slogan, Iranian foreign ministry said, adding that Iran is not, of course, expecting any great difference in Washington’s policy towards Tehran when Obama takes over as president in January.

Speaking to reporters during a weekly press conference here in Tehran on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said that Tehran would reply favorably to any change of policy by Washington towards Iran.

Tehran hopes the time is ripe for the US to put an end to almost three decades of political hostility towards Iran, especially since the president-elect had during his campaign indicated willingness to hold direct talks with Tehran.

The United States and Iran broke diplomatic relations in April 1980, after Iranian students seized the United States’ espionage center at its embassy in Tehran. The two countries have had tense relations ever since.

Meantime, the spokesman said that Iran is not expecting a big change in Washington’s policy towards Iran even during an Obama administration.

"We should not expect much change or development in the strategic fundamentals of US foreign policy," Qashqavi said in response to the question if Iran expected Obama to talk to the current government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or wait until after the June presidential election in the Islamic republic.


Qashqavi said Iran’s strategies were not determined by changing governments.

"The macro and strategic policies of the Islamic republic are outlined by the will of the Imam (Founder of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini), the guidelines of Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the nation’s Constitution," he added.

In an unprecedented move since 1979, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Obama last Thursday for "having been able to attract the majority of votes in the elections" and hoped he would "leave a good name by moving in the line of people’s real interests".

Obama indicated in a press conference that he would reply to the Iranian president.

Elsewhere, Qashqavi said that Iran was evaluating an offer by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to hold another meeting with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.


Tehran is ready to hold talks with the five United Nations veto powers plus Germany (5+1) to seek a settlement of the dispute, but it has ruled out any suspension of its uranium enrichment activities.

Observers believe that Iran would prefer talks with the 5+1 after Obama’s presidency begins in January so the new US administration would be present in the talks.

Washington and its Western allies accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program, while they have never presented any corroborative evidence to substantiate their allegations. Iran denies the charges and insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Despite the rules enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) entitling every member state, including Iran, to the right of uranium enrichment, Tehran is now under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions for turning down West’s illegitimate calls to give up its right of uranium enrichment.

Tehran has dismissed West’s demands as politically tainted and illogical, stressing those sanctions and pressures merely consolidate Iranians’ national resolve to continue the path.

Many world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure against Iran unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports, stressing that Tehran’s case should be normalized and returned to the UN nuclear watchdog due to the Islamic Republic’s increased cooperation with the agency.

nuclear energy
Observers believe that the shift of policy by the White House to send William Burns - the third highest-ranking diplomat in the US - to the latest round of Iran-West talks happened after Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran lost steam due to the growing international vigilance.

Political observers believe that the United States has remained at loggerheads with Iran mainly over the independent and home-grown nature of Tehran’s nuclear technology, which gives the Islamic Republic the potential to turn into a world power and a role model for other third-world countries.

Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicts a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

other links:

Ahmadinejad Tells Obama

Bush’s Baggage

US and EU Plan Iran Sanctions

Obama: I want Bush to succeed with Iran

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