Bookmark and Share

Is Trip To Iran On President Obama's Agenda?

04/24/16 President Barack Obama will likely not visit Iran before his term in office ends, White House official Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, told reporters on Thursday April 21, 2016. Rhodes was speaking at a news briefing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia during President Obama's’s visit there where he met with Saudi King Salman and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders.

President Obma ready for Zoorkhaneh (Iranian traditional heroic sport)
(source: Cover of Iranian magazine Seda)

Ben Rhodes: "Oh, Iran. Yes. Well, I think the trip to Cuba was probably enough in terms of breaking a longstanding taboo. With respect to Iran, I think our approach has been that we will engage with the Iranians where we see an opportunity to make progress. The main vehicle for that engagement has been Secretary Kerry with Foreign Minister Zarif, not just on the Iranian nuclear issue but on Syria and other regional issues."

cartoon by Amin Montazeri

"The President has always indicated that he is willing to engage the Iranian leadership if he believes that that can make progress on different issues. He's spoken to President Rouhani on the phone. The fact of the matter is we haven't seen from the Iranians I think a desire for that level of engagement. They've really focused on the channel between our foreign ministers. And so that's where I think it's most likely to continue.

But that speaks to what we're trying to foster, which is a dynamic where we can have a diplomatic dialogue with the Iranians on issues related to these regional conflicts. Precisely because Iran has had a role in these areas, we would like to try to move them in a more constructive direction. And that requires some amount of dialogue. It also requires vigilance in the type of military capabilities."

President Obama in Tehran taking taxi to President Rohani's 's office
Taxi driver: "My brother, I'm not looking for trouble. There are too many detectable and undetectable security people in the street. If you walk, you'll get there faster!"
cartoon by Keyvon Varessi, Iranian daily Ghanoon

Read the full text of the Ben Rhodes's briefing.


© Copyright 2016 (All Rights Reserved)