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Updated: Iran’s president urges Obama to ignore ‘warmongering pressure groups’

Israel/Palestine

Update: 5:30 p.m. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani urged President Obama not to listen to “warmongering pressure groups,” but to abide by international law in his dealings with Iran.

In a speech to the UN General Assembly just concluded, Rouhani said he had listened carefully to Obama’s speech earlier, then warned that the dominant voice in Washington has been: “the military option is on the table.” This voice must give way to one of peace and conciliation, and respect for Iran’s right to develop nuclear power for domestic energy-production.

Rouhani also said that Palestinians experience “nothing less than structural violence” and that the term “apartheid” hardly begins to describe Israeli “aggression” against Palestinians.

Update: CNN reports: Officials: Obama and Rouhani won’t meet at UNGA

United Nations (CNN)[Breaking news update at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won’t meet during the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, even on the margins for a handshake, two senior U.S. administration officials told reporters. The officials said such an encounter proved too complicated for Iran back home. Earlier Tuesday, a senior administration official said the White House had “left the door open” to some kind of face-to-face interaction between the presidents. Obama is scheduled to leave New York on Tuesday night.

Reuters reports it’s “too complicated for Iranians“.

A potential encounter at the United Nations between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani failed to take place on Tuesday as the Iranians indicated it was too complicated, senior Obama administration officials said.

“There will be no meeting,” one official said.

Update: Big Day at the UN, watch the speeches live here. Obama spoke this morning, now everyone is going crazy over a possible Obama/Rouhani encounter, and the warnings from Israel have begun. Time Magazine: A Handshake that Could Shake the World. NBC WorldNews: Hand-wringing precedes possible Obama-Rouhani handshake. The Forward: Israel Hopes Barack Obama Avoids Handshake With Iran Leader Hassan Rouhani. While the New York Times calls it “the diplomatic big tease of the year” and relies on the lobby stalwart Dennis Ross to warn against an opening to Iran with worn-out dumbed down, “rope a dope” messaging.

“It will certainly play to the Rouhani charm offensive, making the new Iranian leadership appear more moderate without any overt change in behavior,” said Dennis B. Ross…

Mr. Ross drew a distinction between a handshake and photo opportunity, and a working meeting. But he said, “We will still need to manage expectations and Israeli fears that we will end up in a rope-a-dope dialogue while the Iranian nuclear program creates facts on the ground.”

As if Obama is the dope.

Original Post:

Obama has done it. He has seized the opportunity and given an opening to Iran in a bold speech at the United Nations. John Kerry will meet on Thursday with the Iranian foreign minister and everyone on the cables is saying that “signals” are that a handshake will happen today between President Hassan Rouhani and President Barack Obama at the U.N.

Spectacular. Obama all but apologized for the American overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953, and said not a word about Hezbollah or terrorism or All options are on the table, while saying that Iranian-American suspicions will not be overcome “overnight.” Translation: the relationship will change overnight.

Wolf Blitzer and Andrea Mitchell both say a meeting of the presidents is inevitable today. While Jim Acosta, CNN’s senior White House correspondent, says that Obama has surprised him by overcoming his temperamental resistance to any bold move.

Can enough be said about Obama’s speech at the U.N. this morning? Leave out the claptrap about Israel and the Jewish state, he also mentioned the occupation as destructive of Israeli democracy, and Palestinian aspirations to freedom at last.

But the earthquake is Iran. Israelis and the lobby are in complete turmoil. Obama has extended his hand to Iran in a moment worthy of Nixon and China. We are at last altering our role in the Middle East. And the special relationship is about to become a lot less special.

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33 Responses

  1. kma
    kma
    September 24, 2013, 12:37 pm

    pay attention to what happens to the Palestinians. the ethnic cleansing is not slowing down. Israel does not care if Obama snuggles up with anyone as long as they agree on the one thing Israel wants. watch out.

    • Krauss
      Krauss
      September 24, 2013, 4:31 pm

      U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won’t meet during the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, even on the margins for a handshake, two senior U.S. administration officials told reporters. The officials said such an encounter proved too complicated for Iran back home.

      I think the Americans cancelled the meeting after a royal Israeli freakout.
      Bibi probably went ballistic behind the scenes and went hysterical, so they felt he needed to be contained for a while longer.
      The Irianians were willing right up until the end and there was no domestic pressure not to meet with the U.S. as American officials try to spin it.

  2. American
    American
    September 24, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Maybe Obama has been ’emboldened’ by the public reaction he saw on Syria?
    But dont know if he’s bold enough to do the handshake.
    I am guessing maybe not–that USA-Iran will be back channeled and kept under wraps
    But open to a miracle handshake…would change world conversation like a Cat 5 hurricane.

    PS
    If anyone has W&M book read chapter 10 on Iran .

  3. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 24, 2013, 1:41 pm

    RE: But the earthquake is Iran. Israelis and the lobby are in complete turmoil. Obama has extended his hand to Iran in a moment worthy of Nixon and China.” ~ Weiss

    ISRAELIS AND THE LOBBY ARE IN TURMOIL BECAUSE: “Israel needs an existential threat.”*

    * SEE: “Israel’s Defense Chief OK’s Hundreds of Israeli Deaths”, By Ira Chernus, CommonDreams.org, 11/11/11

    [EXCERPT] . . . An essential motive of Zionism from its beginning was a fierce desire to end the centuries of Jewish weakness, to show the world that Jews would no longer be pushed around, that they’d fight back and prove themselves tougher than their enemies. There was more to Zionism than that. But the “pride through strength” piece came to dominate the whole project. Hence the massive Israeli military machine with its nuclear arsenal.
    But you can’t prove that you’re stronger than your enemies unless you’ve also got enemies — or at least believe you’ve got enemies — to fight against. So there has to be a myth of Israel’s insecurity, fueled by an image of vicious anti-semites lurking somewhere out there, for Zionism to work. Since the 1979 Iranian revolution, Iran has gradually risen to the top of Israel oh-so-necessary enemies list. Iranophobia is rampant in Israel, as one Israeli scholar writes, because “Israel needs an existential threat.”
    Anyone who has grown up in Israel, or in the U.S. Jewish community (as I did), and paid attention knows all this. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/11/11-2

    P.S. ALSO SEE – “Iranophobia: The Panic of the Hegemons”, by Ira Chernus, Tikkun Magazine, November/December 2010
    LINK – http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/iranophobia-the-panic-of-the-hegemons-3

  4. BillM
    BillM
    September 24, 2013, 1:42 pm

    With respect, I’m not sure you and I heard the same speech. Strip out the rhetoric, and what did he say?

    And our approach to Egypt reflects a larger point: The United States will at times work with governments that do not meet, at least in our view, the highest international expectations, but who work with us on our core interests.

    Nevertheless, we will not stop asserting principles that are consistent with our ideals, whether that means opposing the use of violence as a means of suppressing dissent, or supporting the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    I.e. the US will talk the language of human rights, but will work with any regime that supports our “core interests.” What are those interests? He listed them:

    The United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. We will confront external aggression against our allies and partners, as we did in the Gulf War.

    We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world. Although America is steadily reducing our own dependence on imported oil, the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.

    We will dismantle terrorist networks that threaten our people. Wherever possible, we will build the capacity of our partners, respect the sovereignty of nations, and work to address the root causes of terror. But when it’s necessary, defend the United States against terrorist attack, we will take direct action.

    And finally, we will not tolerate the development or use of weapons of mass destruction.

    So, we will support any regime that supports US allies, ensures the free flow of oil, fights against entities the US has declared as terrorist, and stops WMDs (recognizing he also specifically accused Iran of “pursuit of nuclear weapons”).

    How is this position even slightly different from the US position in the last 20 (or 50) years?

  5. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    September 24, 2013, 1:48 pm

    RE: “It will certainly play to the Rouhani charm offensive, making the new Iranian leadership appear more moderate without any overt change in behavior,” said Dennis B. Ross…

    SEE: “Is the Iranian President Sincere in Wanting a Nuclear Deal?”, Posted By Stephen M. Walt, ForeignPolicy.com, 9/20/13

    [EXCERPT] . . . In fact, the United States and Iran are facing a classic problem in international relations (and other forms of bargaining): Given that an adversary could be bluffing or dissembling, how do you know when a seemingly friendly gesture is sincere? Political scientist Robert Jervis explored this issue in depth in “The Logic of Images in International Relations” (1970) and drew a nice distinction between “signals” (i.e., actions that contain no inherent credibility) and “indices,” which he defined as “statements or actions that carry some inherent evidence that the image projected is correct.”
    More recently, this basic idea was resurrected in economics (and borrowed by IR scholars) in the notion of a “costly signal.” Unlike “cheap talk,” a costly signal is an action that involves some cost or risk for the sender and therefore is one that the sender would be unlikely to make if they didn’t really mean it. A classic example was Anwar Sadat’s 1977 offer to fly to Jerusalem and speak directly to the Israeli Knesset in search of a peace deal. Because this move was obviously a risky step for Sadat (who was condemned throughout the Arab world), his Israeli counterparts had good reason to believe that his desire for peace was genuine.
    So should we take Rouhani’s overtures seriously? I think we should. As noted above, the possibility that Iran is genuinely interested in a deal is inherently credible, because we have in fact been squeezing the Iranians quite hard. To repeat: Isn’t what they are now doing exactly what we’ve been trying to achieve? Equally important is that Iran has taken a wide range of actions that were not cost-free. . .

    ENTIRE COMMENTARY – http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/09/20/is_rouhani_sincere_iran_nuclear_deal

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      September 25, 2013, 4:09 am

      @Dickerson: Iranians are sticking their neck out. The description ‘costly signal’ applies. Obama on the other hand has given a speech. The actual detente may be with Europe. Rouhani has met Hollande.

  6. amigo
    amigo
    September 24, 2013, 1:52 pm

    “But he said, “We will still need to manage expectations and Israeli fears that we will end up in a rope-a-dope dialogue while the Iranian nuclear program creates facts on the ground.”ross.

    Listen to the apologist for the world,s longest creator of facts on the ground.
    The arrogance of these slime is breathtaking.

    • Kathleen
      Kathleen
      September 24, 2013, 3:19 pm

      “Israel’s lawyer” Dennis Ross representing Israel the country that continues to refuse to sign the IAEA’s NPT agreement yet demands that their neighbors abide. While Israel sits on a massive stockpile of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that go un inspected and have and continue to threaten peace in the middle east. Ross..”Israel’s lawyer” One would think Wilkerson would have Ross on his “traitor’s list”

  7. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    September 24, 2013, 1:58 pm

    Bold opening?! Are you so easily fooled by obama’s speech?

  8. joemowrey
    joemowrey
    September 24, 2013, 2:22 pm

    How many times does he have to say one thing and then do another before people quit drooling over this con man’s ridiculous, lie-filled speeches? Remember the Cairo speech, reaching out to the Arab world? That was before attacks since then on how many Muslim countries? Remember Senator Obama promising to personally filibuster any telecom bill that provided immunity for the telecom industry? That actually was the same Senator Obama who not only voted for the ensuing bill, but actually worked overtime to insure its passage. Remember Obama telling us in his cute, folksy way, how he would put his tennies on and walk the picket line with striking workers? That’s was the same Obama who has turned his back on labor time and time again since being elected.

    Here is a link to an article by Andrew Levine outlining just a few of Obama’s reversals.

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/30/obamas-wisconsin-betrayal/

    By now, surely even the most optimistic observers understand that the more eloquent the speech by ObamaCon regarding any course of action, the more likely it is that the opposite course of action will take place.

    How about we wait and see what our Assassinator in Chief actually does on the matter of Syria and Iran before we award him another Nobel Peace prize based on what he tells us he might do.

  9. MHughes976
    MHughes976
    September 24, 2013, 2:31 pm

    The plan must have been to make a show of force against a weak enemy, Syria, followed by a conciliatory move towards a stronger one, Iran: this is a well-known move in 11-dimensional chess, I believe. The decision now seems to be to take the second step without having completed the first, which suggests weakness. But possibly both sides have serious problems and need a rapprochement.

  10. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Got to give a big hand to Obama and Kerry on this one…this is huge! First direct meeting with Iranian leaders since 1979. Prof Cole has a good one up over at Informed Comment about this issue.

    While I don’t think Obama’s intentions are to kick Israel and the I lobby in the cajones the way they were kicked by Netanyahu and team this is clearly one swift kick. Obama and Kerry seem to be sincerely and publicly going after a real deal

  11. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2013, 3:16 pm

    If you were an Iranian official or lived in Iran why as legal signatories to the NPT and having the legal right to enrich up to 20% would you want to give up this right? Especially being pushed by the very nation….Israel who has for decades and continues to refuse to sign the NPT and has massive stockpiles of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons that go un inspected by the international community. If you are Iran all you have to do is look next door at Iraq and say we need to have this “breakaway” capability on hand in case Israel or the U.S. attacks.

    Quite awhile back the Leverett’s wrote a fair amount about I think it was Brazil and I forget what other country offered to supply Iran with enriched uranium for their medical programs and the U.S. and Israel stood in the way of this deal. What do people remember about this?

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      September 24, 2013, 3:36 pm

      “If you were an Iranian official or lived in Iran why as legal signatories to the NPT and having the legal right to enrich up to 20% would you want to give up this right? ”

      You wouldn’t; nor should you. The fact is that this about nothing other than the fact that israel was a free hand to go and kill as many Palestinians, Lebonese and Syrians (Jordanians and Egyptians, too, if the mood strikes; the “peace treaties” mean nothing to the israelis) as they want without opposition. I’m no fan of the Iranian regime — quite the opposite — but they clearly aim to be an alternative power base in the Middle East to prevent the murderous thugs in israel from having free reign. So, the israelis get their puppets in the USAipac Government to wage war on the Iranian people and are looking to up that war. The nuclear issue is an excuse and a scam by the israelis; even their own spooks don’t believe that Iran is going for a bomb. They just need an excuse.

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      September 25, 2013, 3:35 am

      Quite awhile back the Leverett’s wrote a fair amount about I think it was Brazil and I forget what other country offered to supply Iran with enriched uranium for their medical programs and the U.S. and Israel stood in the way of this deal. What do people remember about this?

      It was Turkey, in 2010. And it was a bit similar to the current CW situation with Syria in the sense that the US makes an empty offer that they are certain will not be acceptable to the other side, and then the other side accepts it. In the case of Turkey and Brazil the US just cancelled their offer.

  12. American
    American
    September 24, 2013, 3:32 pm

    ”Can enough be said about Obama’s speech at the U.N. this morning?”

    I am willing to allow for one game O may be playing with Isr and the Lobby—-the same game Isr plays on I/P—–the ‘lip service’ game.
    I promise you dear I will take special care to not destroy your rose garden while I excavate the back yard for a swimming pool.

  13. annie
    annie
    September 24, 2013, 3:43 pm

    meeting called off , check update above.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      September 24, 2013, 3:54 pm

      This is the issue, there was no meeting planned at all, as I told you yesterday.

      There is no reason to hype things up.

    • kalithea
      kalithea
      September 24, 2013, 4:47 pm

      Ahhh, shucks! And I was holding my breath all this time…NOT.

    • Walid
      Walid
      September 24, 2013, 4:50 pm

      Annie, did I miss that there was a meeting actually planned or was it simply hoped for or guessed at by the press?

      Oooops; just saw the official update, but it still doesn’t tell me if a meeting was actually scheduled.

      • annie
        annie
        September 24, 2013, 5:06 pm

        no, there was never an official meeting scheduled walid. my guess is obama caved to the lil whiners. but maybe they will get some meet n greet in a back room somewhere away from the maddening lights. who knows!

    • yrn
      yrn
      September 24, 2013, 5:05 pm

      Ask Allison Deger, she still investigates if the talks between Israel and the PA continues….

  14. kalithea
    kalithea
    September 24, 2013, 4:24 pm

    “As if Obama is the dope.”

    Uh, you mean there’s still doubt? When he behaves as Israel’s dope 99% of the time; should he be excused for the measly 1% independent thought process?

    Methinks you and I heard a different speech. Condescending, hypocritical double-speak and the usual hubris or the usual gruel is how I would describe this. So he chose not to insult the Iranians’ intelligence on one historical issue and didn’t mention Hezbollah while he supplies Al-Qaeda’s friends in Syria and this is an earth-shattering breakthrough?

    I see hopeless hope for Obama STILL reigns. What will it take??? Never mind. Obama can always count on people who see hopey-changey between the lines where there’s nothing but hot air and nothing’s changed or will ever change with him.

  15. American
    American
    September 24, 2013, 4:40 pm

    ..so exactly what were the ‘complications’ for Iran?
    Rouhani afraid it might make him look too willing to be buddies wth US–too far in advance of real talks about Iran’s ‘right’ to develop nuclear energy sources?
    Might make Rouhani look too eager to the folks back home is all I can figure.

  16. ivri
    ivri
    September 24, 2013, 6:18 pm

    I mean, is there any concrete evidence that it was Israeli pressure that caused the change? Or, are assumptions are treated as facts? Obama may have its own considerations. For instance, his Arab allies are just as worried – Saudi-Arabia was alarmed at the time of the Egyptian revolution when Mubarak was instantly abandoned by Obama where they expected troubles and warned the US about that. Another possible reason: it is not clear that Rouhani came with any concrete offer (US diplomats would know if it was otherwise since they would have given signals by the Iranians) and Obama may not want to arouse illusions with smiling photos but talks that are really content-empty. Yet some secret and less public encounter, say not with Obama but with anoher high-up US official may be planned. So why jump into conclusions?

  17. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2013, 10:04 pm

    Hey let’s find some light in this situation Kerry meeting with Foreign Minister Zarif. Not a meeting like this since 1979. This is to be celebrated!

  18. kalithea
    kalithea
    September 24, 2013, 10:42 pm

    Hey, you wanna hear about a bold move by Obama???

    His administration is blocking an appeal by Gitmo prisoners to end force feeding in which the prisoners are restrained to a chair and force fed through plastic tubes in their nose. A U.S. judge ruled this torture. He also blocked an appeal to ban genital searches of Gitmo prisoners. Yes, the same Obama who promised to close Gitmo – you know, drone Obama. Really, really bold of him to block pows’ appeals to ban inhumane treatment, dontcha think? Obama can sell ice to the eskimos!

  19. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2013, 11:13 pm

    Over at Hardball Chris Matthews did two segments on the the Iran negotiations. Damn disappointing that Chris Matthews said Iran had been rushing to build nuclear weapons. How uninformed and sort of weasel like by Matthews. Matthews has never been willing to use his program to inform the American public about the facts about Iran by having the Leveretts or other experts on to discuss Iran. Pathetic that Matthews would repeat that Iran has been “rushing to build nuclear weapons” Pathetic Chris Matthews

    At least he celebrated diplomacy with Iran

  20. Kathleen
    Kathleen
    September 24, 2013, 11:25 pm

    Can not believe what Chris Matthews allowed this guy from Time Micheal Crowley get away with saying about Iran. No mention that Iran has the right to enrich up to 20% as signatories of the NPT. That Israel has not signed the NPT. That they will not give up their legal right to enrich.

    Crowley actually came out and said they could build a weapon in several weeks or a couple of months. Such hooey. When is Chris Matthews going to have some experts about Iran s on his program instead of people like Crowley and… Eugene Robinson.These are Chris Matthews experts on Iran. Pathetic. Have the Leveretts on or Professor Juan Cole…When will Chris Matthews get a bit more into the real details.

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