Iran has five American hostages and yet they are making demands of the United States. Iran wants talks with the United States, but they want to set the agenda and ... they do not want to talk about the most important subject, their nuclear program.
"We and the U.S. are at odds over a good number of issues, including the nuclear question," said Mohammad Javad Larijani, one of the architects of Iran's Islamic justice system and the brother of its chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani. "But simultaneously, our interests in a good number of areas, like preventing the spread of terrorism around the world, are convergent.”
They make those statements with a straight face, while at the same time threatening to strike U.S. military bases in the Middle East and holding four, possibly five, Iranian-Americans on spy charges. They promise to sentence the Americans within the next few days.
Iran wants the United States and coalition to "give more power to the Iraqi government so it can succeed on its own." Actually they want the government to fall so Iranian agents can step in. They may get their wish. It seems the Iraqi Parliament is proving to be a complete failure.
Iran tells Fox that "Iran would pledge not to allow explosives and land mines produced in Iran to get into Iraq, where they have been used against U.S. troops." In the same breath Naser Razavi says the Iranian government "is not involved" in the flow of arms to Iraq, but "Regardless, that can be stopped.” If they are not involved, and do not know who is doing this, how do they plan to stop it?
Larijani also said Iran would help secure Iraq's border with Iran and vowed to use its influence to quell violence from Shiite-backed militia like Muqtada Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. Razavi, the intelligence ministry director, said the Iranian regime does not consider Al-Sadr, ... to be a terrorist. "Nevertheless, any action or declaration taken by him in opposition to the Iraqi government, we don't support,” Razavi said. [snip]
Larijani went so far as to say that the future security of Israel — which Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said should be destroyed — could be discussed in talks with the United States. "Destruction doesn't necessarily mean bombs or bulldozers or pushing people into the sea,” Larijani said. "Why can't Jews, Christians and Muslims live together in Palestine under some new arrangement?”
These are the hostages:
Ali Shakeri is a member of the University of California Irvine's Center for Citizen Peacebuilding.
Haleh Esfandiari of the Woodrow Wilson International Center is known to favor dialogue rather than confrontation
Kian Tajbaksh is a consultant for George Soros' Open Society Institute, which has cooperated with the Iranian government.
Parnaz Azima is a journalist. [snip]
Sir Eldon Griffiths, former chairman of the World Affairs Council and author of the new book “Turbulent Iran,” said the Iranians may well try to connect the imprisonment of these Americans with the five Iranians now being held in Iraq by the U.S. or the Iraqi government. (CNJ online)
Julie Christensen at Stone Cupid Real in "It's the War Economy, Stupid" blogs on Risk of "Nuclear Warfare Rising" by Karl Ritter at The Associated Press . What countries are importing weapons, who's exporting weapons, and what's the cost? Go read it.
When you are sitting right on the edge of something daring and scary and creative and powerful and perhaps wonderful... and you blink and take a step back.
That's the moment. The moment between you and remarkable. Most people blink. Most people get stuck.
All the hard work and preparation and daring and luck is nothing compared with the ability to not blink.
Seth Godin is not talking about the confrontation with Iran, but his article could apply. The West may get one opportunity, one fine moment, to respond to Iran in the appropriate way and save the world from a terrible future event. Will we blink? Will we get stuck? Will we? I sure hope not.
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UPDATE: It looks like we blinked:
Barring a "catastrophic development," Middle East Newsline reports, President Bush has decided not to attack Iran. An administration source explains that Washington deems Iran's cooperation "needed for a withdrawal [of American forces] from Iraq." (New York Sun)