Are we getting ahead of ourselves hoping for a diplomatic breakthrough between the U.S. and Iran?
Yesterday at the U.N.'s annual General Assembly meeting both President Obama and Iran's newly elected President Hassan Rouhani gave speeches that indicated diplomacy was the approach needed to be taken by both countries to resolve their long standing dispute over Iran's nuclear program.
Obama, during his address said, "The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested", this after saying, "This mistrust has deep roots. Iranian's have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs and America's role in overthrowing an Iranian government during the cold war," (an acknowledgement first of its kind by an American president and an admission the CIA was behind the coup of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossedeigh, the legitimately elected leader of Iran in 1953, an event that contributed directly to the overthrow of the American backed dictator Shah Pahlavi, sparked the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the subsequent hostage taking of American embassy personnel by the new Ayatollah Khomeini government). The president went on to say, "His administration is not pursuing regime change in Iran and respects its right to pursue a peaceful nuclear energy program", although "I don't believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. Suspicions run too deep", (another reference to the 1953 CIA coup in Iran)." As far as the issue of Iran's nuclear energy program, that can serve as a major step down on a long road toward a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect".
Meanwhile Rouhani, during his address given later in the afternoon said, "Iran is ready to engage immediately in results-oriented talks," saying he was "convinced the two countries can arrive at a framework to manage our differences and his government has no desire to increase tensions". But he made clear Iran had its own issues with the U.S. He condemned the U.S. imposing punishing economic sanctions against Iran, for using missile-firing drones against innocent people and for threatening military action against Iran", (obviously making it clear the U.S. was hardly on high moral ground with some of the egregious actions it had taken).
To say the least, this will not be a walk in the park between the two long time antagonists, but it's certainly better than "bomb, bomb Iran" idiotic rhetoric and bully tactics we've too often heard from the neo-cons and other far right crazies in the U.S.
As for Rouhani, he's a huge step up from his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose own crazy rhetoric denying the Holocaust and Israel needs to be wiped off the map bellicosity just fueled the fires of the U.S. warhawks wanting to attack Iran.
But let's remember, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, even with Obama's flowing rhetorical oratory and Rouhani's apparent desire to end the confrontation, there are mine field's aplenty standing in the way.
Israel and the Netanyahu led Israeli government are obsessed with the possibility of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and are suspicious (paranoid?) of any U.S./Iran diplomatic breakthrough removing the threat of a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Then there's AIPAC (America Israel Public Affairs Committee), the hard right Jewish lobby that may be even further right of the Israeli government itself, has had the Congress in its pocket for years, support anything the Israeli's do and has beat the drum for regime change in Iran mirroring the neo-con fantasies of the American military bringing regime change in the Muslim Middle East while defending Israel at all costs.
As for the Congress, besides following the dictates of AIPAC and Israel, any negotiations between Obama and Iran after demonization of Iran has been all but complete, those members on the far right will become apoplectic with any Obama led diplomacy with Iran and considered an appeasement with the devil.
But hey, Russia's President Putin's diplomacy saved Obama from the corner he placed himself in with his "red line" rhetoric over Syrian President Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons last month and his threat to send missile strikes into Syria, so Obama may be fumbling his way into serious negotiations with Iran and hopefully away from the usual warlike bombast of the "military option is still on the table".
So despite the harsh economic sanctions on Iran that does nothing to cripple the Iranian regime, but has hurt the Iranian people, Rouhani, presumably with Ayatollah Khamenei's blessing, seems determined to end the U.S./Iran poisoned relationship, convince Obama Iran has no nuclear weapons ambitions, resume normal diplomacy and away from any potential U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran.
Let's face it, the U.S. needs to step back from its war making belligerency, commit to engage in real diplomacy and away from the brink of committing further worldwide instability.
Lastly, getting back to Obama's CIA coup in Iran admission in his speech, when was the last time a U.S. president acknowledged and admitted his country committed a heinous crime against another country?
He may have sidestepped his admission slightly by blaming it on the cold war, but there it was out from the shadows, out in the open and heard around the world.
Is it possible Iran and the U.S. are on the verge of conducting serious diplomacy and negotiations over the impasse that began in 1953?