Iran Snubs Obama: What Will Media Think of Diplomacy Now?

President Barack Obama's olive branch to Iran was seriously snubbed in the past couple of days as key figures within the Islamic nation made it clear that they have no interest in talking with America unless we change our policies.

Even worse, an Iranian government spokesman said Obama's statement on Al Arabiya Wednesday concerning a willingness to talk to Iran "means Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed."

Might this alter the press's repeated view the previous eight years that tensions in the Middle East were largely caused by President Bush's refusal to talk to Iran without preconditions concerning that nation's nuclear buildup, and that all would be well in the world if we would just agree to meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on any terms?

Such analysis seems critical given Saturday's report from Xinhua:

Iran's government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham on Saturday urged the United States to change its policy towards Iran and the world, saying the country has no choice.

Responding to the U.S. offer of direct talks between Iran and the United States, Elham said that "there remains no choice for the United States but change, and this change is determined to be done," Iran's Mehr news agency reported.

Elham said that "the U.S. behavior of focusing on the secondary matters will not solve any issue. Negotiation and the like is secondary, the main issue is there is left no other choice in the world but change."

He said the U.S. request of the talks "means the passivity of the Western thought, the failure of capitalist thought and the failure of the system of domination."

Even worse, as NPR reported Friday, Ahmadinejad was also unimpressed with Obama's offer:

On Wednesday, Iran's President Ahmadinejad made it clear that as far as he was concerned, the U.S. would have to remove the perceived threat to his nation before Iran could believe the new U.S. president was serious about engagement.

Wherever there is war, Ahmadinejad told a crowd in the western city of Kermanshah, it is either because of America's military presence or America's improper interference. When they say the policy is going to change, Ahmadinejad said, it means they should remove their military forces and take them to their own borders.

Ahmadinejad went on to enumerate a well-known list of grievances that Iran has with the U.S. The U.S. will have to apologize for the CIA-organized coup that put the Shah of Iran back in power in 1953, for backing Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s and much more, Ahmadinejad said.

Actually in 2000, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did apologize for the 1953 U.S.-backed coup and for supporting Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran.

Ahmadinejad all but overlooked the language of engagement and dialogue that President Obama has used this week.

So much for diplomacy, huh?

Of course, more important in the days to come is how our media will report this snubbing.

Stay tuned?

Foreign Policy Iran
Noel Sheppard's picture