Friday, September 20, 2013

Rouhani Replaced Ahmadinejad?!

Great. I finally learned how to spell and pronounce Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s name and now he’s out.

I just found out that he was succeeded back in June by Hassan Rouhani, a moderate from Tehran’s Jamaran neighborhood.

Rouhani and Ahmadinejad
President Rouhani’s coming to New York soon to address the United Nations; some people want President Obama to sit down with the guy while he’s here to discuss issues of mutual concern. (There’s even a petition you can sign at if you agree with the 46,000 others who’ve already signed.)

I never cared for Ahmadinejad – I was among those who thought he stole his country's 2009 presidential election – but I’ve kept an open mind about Iran itself. I cling to the na├»ve belief that the U.S. and Iran will someday manage to replace our acrimonious relationship with one that’s mutually beneficial and free of hostility and rhetoric. (This can only happen, of course, after we’ve stopped kowtowing to Israel, Iran’s mortal enemy, and doing its bidding without pause or question.) Establishing a direct line of communication with Iran’s top official seems like a good first step.

Of course conservatives, hawks and pro-Israel lobbyists want us to continue to isolate Iran, maintain harsh sanctions and stick our fingers in our ears and our heads in the sand. This, to me, is akin to embracing childishness and ignorance rather than advancing sound foreign policy. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as my grandma used to say.

I hope Obama refuses – for once – to pander to the far right and meets with Rouhani while he’s in the Big Apple. It can't hurt.

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