OBAMA ON IRAN: THE SUBSTANCE BEHIND THE “SIGNAL”
Yesterday, President Obama called a small group of journalists into the White House to talk about Iran. According to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, Obama’s agenda was to signal Iran that the United States might “accept a deal that allows Iran to maintain its civilian nuclear program, so long as Iran provides ‘confidence-building measures’ to verify that it is not building a bomb”. The President said that his Administration is prepared to lay out “a clear set of steps that we would consider sufficient to show that they are not pursuing nuclear weapons”. The President’s vision for renewed diplomacy with Tehran also included a proposal for talks on Afghanistan, where the two sides “have a ‘mutual interest’ in fighting the Taliban”.
That the President feels he must call in Western journalists to signal Tehran is a sad commentary on the Obama Administration’s failure to develop a discreet and reliable channel through which to communicate with Iranian leaders.