Iran News ...


08/07/13

Iran's Rohani Says U.S. Sending Mixed Messages

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

Just a few hours after the August 4 inauguration of Iran's new president, Hassan Rohani, the White House issued a statement saying that Tehran would find a willing partner in Washington should it choose to engage "substantively and seriously" on the issue of its controversial nuclear activities.


"The statements of the White House are not in line with some of the behavior we're seeing," Iranian President Hassan Rohani said in Tehran on August 6.

 

That sentiment bore little resemblance to what many members of Congress have been saying recently, which is that now is not the time to scale back tough sanctions. In fact, dozens of lawmakers are working to enact even tougher sanctions against the Islamic republic.

Rohani focused on what he characterized as Washington's mixed signals in his postinaugural press conference on August 6. "The statements of the White House are not in line with some of the behavior we're seeing," he said. "Overall, I'm not pessimistic about the future of negotiations."

The 64-year-old moderate cleric said the Iranian establishment had "strong political will" to resolve the nuclear issue while preserving the rights of the Iranian people.

The former nuclear negotiator said constructive dialogue and negotiations based on mutual respect could lead to a "win-win" situation. He said Iran was ready to engage in serious talks without wasting time, and would respond appropriately to practical measures by the United States.

But he seemed to express doubt that elected U.S. leaders are on the same page. "This dual track is putting the honesty of U.S. officials in question," Rohani said. "Of course I don't want to say if there is some hidden agenda between the Congress and the U.S. government. But practical U.S. policies will be the criteria for us."

An 'Ultimatum' Ahead Of Talks

Rohani was reacting to a bill that passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives last week that would tighten restrictions on Iran's oil industry and other industrial sectors. The legislation is likely to be become law after the Senate votes on it in September.

On August 5, 76 U.S. senators called on President Barack Obama to take a tougher line against Iran. "Until we see a significant slowdown of Iran's nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran," the senators wrote in a letter to Obama.

Greg Thielmann, a senior fellow at the U.S.-based Arms Control Association and a former State Department intelligence analyst, says the letter gives the impression of inconsistency from Washington. "The way that the language in the letter is framed, and the increased sanctions called for, and the bill already passed by the House really gives the impression that the United States is delivering an ultimatum rather than trying to enter negotiations which will seek a win-win solution," he says.

The State Department has expressed reservations about the sanctions legislation. "We do have some concerns over the specific contents of the legislation and look forward to working with the Congress as this legislation moves to the Senate," deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said last week.

Harf did not provide details about those concerns but said the sanctions needed to be implemented "in a responsible manner."

Thielmann believes Congress is making talks with Iran more difficult for the White House. "Instead of giving the president of the United States some running room in terms of wavers for some aspects of the sanctions that are already in place," he says, "instead the Congress is insisting on new sanctions and the removal of waivers, which makes it particularly difficult for the president to negotiate an agreement with Iranians because obviously the Iranians are going to want some evidence that their cooperation will allow for a scaling back of the sanctions that are definitely hurting their country."

At his press conference, Rohani did not mention any concrete steps Tehran wanted to see the United States take to show its goodwill, but he warned against the use of threats and sanctions. He said talks were the only solution to the nuclear impasse. "If logic is the basis of negotiations, the doors are open," Rohani said.

Ali Vaez, an Iran analyst at the International Crisis Group, says the action by Congress, and Rohani's reaction, is a reminder that the fundamentals of the crisis over Iran's nuclear program have not changed. "Differences over reciprocity, sequencing, rights, and responsibilities will continue to bedevil nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1. Misperceptions and misguided expectations are also going to persist," Vaez says.

Rohani dodged a question on whether he was ready to meet with Obama during September's United Nation's General Assembly in New York. He said his trip was still under review and that no final decision had been made.


Copyright (c) 2013 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org


Related Articles:

NIAC Deplores House Vote on Iran Sanctions Bill

- The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) deplores the House of Representative's passage of H.R.850, a broad new Iran sanctions bill. "This does not send a message of good cop President and bad cop Congress, it projects an image of the bad cop running amok and the good cop having lost control," said NIAC President Trita Parsi. 8/1/13

U.S. House Of Representatives Passes Tough New Iran Sanctions

- The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would impose new sanctions on Iran. Just days before Iran's new president is sworn into office, the House voted 400 to 20 on July 31 to approve the bill. The legislation would tighten sanctions and result in cutting Iran's oil exports by around 1 million barrels per day over the course of a year, with the goal of ending all Iranian oil sales worldwide by 2015. 8/1/13

NIAC Condemns Sen. Graham's Call for Iran War Authorization

- Washington, DC - The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) condemns the recent calls by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for war against Iran. Graham today told a Christians United For Israel conference that he plans to introduce an authorization for the use of military force in Iran in two months. - 7/24/13

Unprecedented: 131 in Congress Call for New Iran Diplomacy

- The National Iranian American Council commends Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), Rep. David Price (D-NC), and all of the 131 representatives who signed a bipartisan letter encouraging President Obama to reinvigorate diplomacy with Iran. 7/20/13

Interview: U.S. Lawmaker Discusses Letter Urging Reengagement With Iran On Nuclear Issue - More than 120 members of the U.S. Congress have signed a letter calling on President Barack Obama to reengage Iran diplomatically over its nuclear program following the election of the Islamic republic's next president. RFE/RL's Radio Farda correspondent Fred Petrossians spoke to one of the co-authors of the letter, U.S. Representative David Price... 7/20/13

Congress, Former Policymakers Urge Obama to Revitalize Diplomacy with Iran

- After an initial hard diplomatic push at the beginning of his first term, President Obama has overwhelmingly relied on economic pressure over diplomacy in an attempt to force Iran to satisfy international concerns regarding its nuclear program. But economic pressure has undermined prospects for a negotiated solution ... -Ryan Costello, NIAC 7/19/13

For a New Approach to Iran

- Could this be the year for an engagement with Iran that "is honest and grounded in mutual respect," as President Obama proposed over four years ago? That goal seems unlikely without a shift in Iranian thinking and without a change in American diplomatic and political strategy. But two developments, one in Iran and one in the region, provide reason to think that diplomatic progress might be possible. -William Luers, Thomas R. Pickering, and Jim Walsh, NY Books - 7/18/13

Former Officials Call on Obama to Reinvigorate Iran Diplomacy

- Twenty-nine prominent former government officials, diplomats, military officers, and national security experts are calling on the White House to pursue direct negotiations with Iran once the country's new president, Hassan Rouhani, is inaugurated. In a letter to President Obama today, the group called the election of Iran's new president "a major potential opportunity to reinvigorate diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear program." - 7/16/13

... Payvand News - 08/07/13 ... --



comments powered by Disqus

Home | ArchiveContact | About |  Web Sites | Bookstore | Persian Calendar | twitter | facebook | RSS Feed


© Copyright 2013 NetNative (All Rights Reserved)