Roger L. Simon

Iran Talks - A Not So Modest Proposal

It seems the US is going to talk the happy talk with Iran (or at least listen).  According to the AP: “In a break with past Bush administration policy, a top U.S. diplomat will for the first time join colleagues from other world powers at a meeting with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator…”

Well, not to quibble but we have been here before, although perhaps not on nuclear issues, but who knows even about that?  Secret back channel negotiations have always been a diplomatic staple.  Still it seems Ahmadinejad is obsessed with meeting the Americans face-to-face and mano-a-mano: “At the same time, though, he said he would welcome direct, bilateral talks with the U.S. if both parties are on ‘equal footing’ and told state television such talks could happen ‘in the near future.’ He did not elaborate nor say whether any definite plans were under way.”

Equal footing?  Well, let’s give the man what he wants.  Why not propose the President of the United States meets with his Iranian counterpart to iron things out?

That, however, is of course not Ahamdinejad.  As the bien pensants are repeatedly reminding and reassuring us when Crazy Ahmad makes one of his apocalyptic/racist pronouncements, he is not the real power in Iran. We should not be alarmed.  The real power is Ayatollah Khamenei.

Fine. That being the case, why should a President Bush (or Obama… or McCain) waste time negotiating with a semi-elected figurehead who goes around making statements like there are no gays in Iran?  It’s insulting and unequal.   So I propose our President request a direct meeting with his peer, their head of state, Khamenei. I know the State Department would snort because such things are “not done,” but why?  We are at a moment of historic impasse with drastic actions being contemplated.  Why not talk with the Ayatollah, exposing his answers for the world to see?  Perhaps whatever President could begin by asking him if he supports a period of global chaos to bring forth the Shia Mahdi. That would be interesting.  So I say, let’s start negotiating – but with the right man.