By Amir Taheri
The Wall Street Journal
"WE DO NOT AGREE TO A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE GREAT SATAN; WE WANT TO DESTROY YOU"
In a report released this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed "serious concern" that the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to conceal details of its nuclear weapons program, even as it defies U.N. demands to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
Meanwhile, presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama " in lieu of a policy for dealing with the growing threat posed by the Islamic Republic " repeats what has become a familiar refrain within his party: Let's talk to
There is, of course, nothing wrong with wanting to talk to an adversary. But Mr. Obama and his supporters should not pretend this is "change" in any real sense. Every
Just two years ago, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice proffered an invitation to the Islamic Republic for talks, backed by promises of what one of her advisers described as "juicy carrots" with not a shadow of a stick. At the time, I happened to be in
"We don't wish to set preconditions," was the answer. "We could raise all issues once they have agreed to talk." I suppose Ms. Rice is still waiting for
The Europeans invented the phrase "critical dialogue" to describe their approach to
The Arabs, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have been negotiating with the mullahs for years â?" the Egyptians over restoring diplomatic ties cut off by Tehran, and the Saudis on measures to stop Shiite-Sunni killings in the Muslim world â?" with nothing to show for it. Since 1993, the Russians have tried to achieve agreement on the status of the Caspian Sea through talks with
The reason is that
A nation-state wants concrete things such as demarcated borders, markets, access to natural resources, security, influence, and, of course, stability " all things that could be negotiated with other nation-states. A revolution, on the other hand, doesn't want anything in particular because it wants everything.
In 1802, when Bonaparte embarked on his campaign of world conquest, the threat did not come from
The problem that the world, including the
So, how should one deal with a regime of this nature? The challenge for the
When it comes to
As a nation-state,
As a nation, Iranians are among the few in the world that still like the
Mr. Ahmadinejad is talking about changing the destiny of mankind, while Mr. Obama and his foreign policy experts offer spare parts for Boeings or membership in the World Trade Organization. Perhaps Mr. Obama is unaware that one of Mr. Ahmadinejad's first acts was to freeze
Mr. Obama wavers back and forth over whether he will talk directly to Mr. Ahmadinejad or some other representative of the Islamic Republic, including the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Moreover, he does not make it clear which of the two
The Islamic Republic might welcome unconditional talks, but only if the
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