President Obama is the first American leader since Jimmy Carter to find a friend and pen pal in Iran. President Rouhani said in an NBC News interview broadcast on Wednesday that the tone of Mr. Obama’s letter was “positive and constructive.” Rouhani stated, “It could be subtle and tiny steps for a very important future.”
Obama had a pleasant exchange of words with Rouhani in an interview on the Spanish-language network Telemundo on Tuesday, stating that there were positive indications that Rouhani “is somebody who is looking to open dialogue with the West and with the United States, in a way that we haven’t seen in the past. And so we should test it.”
Later, Rouhani showed an eagerness to arrange a meeting with the American leader. President Obama has indicated that he is open to meeting with President Rouhani at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
For several powerful, legitimate, and credible reasons, this political move by the Obama administration would work against former American administrations’ foreign policy goals and the international community’s efforts to contain the Islamic Republic of Iran, its nuclear defiance, and its theocratic Islamist leaders.
First of all, it is necessary to closely understand the reasons behind the Iranian leaders’ move to make diplomatic headway with the United States and the West. This political step is not due to Iranian leaders’ sudden realization that they have mistakenly had malevolent, spiteful, terrorizing, and vindictive foreign and domestic policies for decades; nor have they abruptly woken up to reality and began attempting to be a democratic, benevolent government that aims to respect human rights, rule of law, as well as the sovereignty of other countries like Israel and other Western nations.
This political move is indeed a tactical, calculated, and strategic action by the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The fact is, that decades of accumulated and concerted efforts by the international community, the United States, P5+1, Western, and European countries have brought the Iranian regime to the verge of political and economic collapse.
Here are some fact and statistics: Iran’s oil sales and exports were roughly 2.5 million barrels a day just a few years ago. The international sanctions have slashed these sales by more than half, and Iran is now exporting and selling less than 1 million barrels a day. The sanctions have caused an unprecedented level of inflation, domestically. The spike in the inflation— 35 percent— has then caused an increase in domestic discontent. The rial, Iran’s currency, has been significantly devalued from 9,000 rial to an American dollar, to 31,000 rial to an American dollar. In addition, political repression has tremendously increased up under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two terms, particularly against minorities, Christians, Jews, Baha’is, human rights activists, women, lawyers, etc. The convergence of these factors has seriously and severely endangered the Iranian leadership’s grasp of power.
The reason behind the softening of language from Iran’s Ayatollahs comes from their sense that the economic and political sanctions have endangered their power. They are attempting to evade further sanctions by making diplomatic headway with President Obama, one of the only friends they have found.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) were absolutely accurate when they wrote in a recent letter to President Obama —sent on the eve of the possible meeting with President Rouhani— that “These measures have had an overwhelming impact on the Iranian economy, causing a sharp drop in the value of Iran’s currency and crippling key sectors of its economy, such as energy, banking and shipping,” adding, “The impact of these sanctions may finally be bringing Iran to the negotiating table, and now is not the time to delay, remove or loosen these measures. Doing so now would be extremely counterproductive. Instead, we should continue to move forward with strong implementation of our sanctions unless Iran suspends its nuclear program.”
Secondly, this new shrewd and even Machiavellian strategy by Iran’s leaders is the most effective way for the nation to buy time, continuing to enrich their nuclear program. According to several reports, Iran is extremely close to turning the 20 percent enriched uranium into nuclear warheads and bombs.
Furthermore, while Rouhani has hypocritically shown that he is eager to make diplomatic headway with the rest of the world, Iranian, Syrian, and Russian media have been spreading propaganda that the United States is in tremendous decline with the Obama administration begging Iranian leaders to make relations with the United States. These claims have worked towards tremendously weakening and undermining the American geopolitical position.
President Obama has unprecedentedly softened his language with the leaders of Iran, even indicating that he is open to meet with President Rouhani next week. Iranian clerics are currently overjoyed at accomplishing their political objectives, as Obama has changed his tone, reinforcing their position and messages. Behind the scenes in Tehran, the Ayatollahs are holding parties for successfully deluding the American government.
The main reasons Rouhani is extending this “charm offensive” to the United States, stem from the decades of sanctions and efforts by Western powers. President Obama is scuttling years of concentrated efforts by not only the international community, but four former American presidential administrations to contain the Islamic Republic of Iran.