Who’s Got the Last Word Now? Not Iran

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Iranian President Rouhani and US President Donald Trump (Photos: Noah Seelam/AFP/ Getty Images and Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
Iranian President Rouhani and US President Donald Trump (Photos: Noah Seelam/AFP/ Getty Images and Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

A week ago, President Donald Trump offered to talk to Iran without preconditions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani responded, calling the offer a “humiliation.”

Now, with new U.S. sanctions set to go into effect today and the Iranian economy in a rapid and downward free fall, Rouhani is “generously” offering to talk to Trump “right now.”

As only the Iranian mullahs can do, Rouhani is spinning the offer as a challenge to Trump.

“I don’t have preconditions,” he said. “If the US government is willing, let’s start right now.”

“If there is sincerity, Iran has always welcomed dialogue and negotiations,” he said just hours before the start of the new sanctions.

It sounds like a great offer, but not so fast. No preconditions? The Iranian president forgot to mention he requires just two small things: the U.S. must first pull back on the sanctions before the Iranians will talk.

“If somebody puts a knife in its opponent or enemy’s arm and says we want to negotiate, the answer is that they must first pull out the knife and then come to the negotiation table,” Rouhani said.

Then there are reparations for American “intervention in Iran,” Rouhani said, that the “U.S. [still] owes.”

“If the U.S. government is ready to negotiate about paying compensation to the Iranian nation from 1953 until now,” Rouhani graciously would agree to talk.

(This was a reference to a CIA- and UK-backed coup that overthrew Iran’s elected prime minister and installed the shah instead.)

Very slick. Not.

A word to Rouhani and the rest of his regime cohorts: the time to talk is over. That ended a while ago when your country failed to keep commitment after commitment to the world powers. (Let’s just start with the obvious example: the nuclear agreement. You fudged getting rid of uranium enrichment, you refused international inspectors and you insisted on keeping your ballistic missile development program. This is not to mention how you defied the deal altogether by secretly usurping nuclear technology from Germany.)

No, now is the time for action. Let me name just a few that would go a long way:

  1. Shut down your nuclear program. Your country is so rich in oil (and the world so needy for it) that we all know that your desire for “civilian nuclear power” is a ruse.
  2. Stop developing and testing ballistic missiles.
  3. Pull back your forces from Syria, cease funding terrorists (Hamas and Hezbollah for starters) and stop engaging in proxy wars in Yemen and Iraq.
  4. Stop fomenting dissent in Africa and meddling in South, Central and Latin America.
  5. Stop threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz
  6. Open your country up to democracy and stop imprisoning dissenters.
  7. Cancel all laws mandating that women must wear hijabs and chadors.

Meanwhile, the new sanctions will target:

  • Purchase of U.S. dollars
  • U.S. dollar transactions
  • Iran’s automotive sector
  • Purchase of commercial planes
  • Acquisition of gold and other precious metals

Perhaps Rouhani you might want to reconsider your preconditions to talks with the U.S. Looks like good sense from this side of the world.



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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org