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Ayatollah Threatens Iran’s Best Hope For Peace

By James Donahue

Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has accused newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama of showing that he is not willing to make change in Middle Eastern affairs because he is following the same pro-Israeli path that former President George W. Bush maintained.

The Ayatollah, who apparently has the final say on all state matters in Iran, has indicated that attempts by the Obama Administration to open dialogue with Iran and settle disagreements on issues like Iran’s nuclear program and terrorism, cannot be achieved as long as Mr. Obama continues to support Israel. 

The new U.S. president, who came to office on the slogan of bringing change in the policies of the Bush administration, speaks of unconditional commitment to defend Israel’s security,” the religious leader said at a conference in Tehran. “This means the same wrong path as the Bush administration and nothing less,” he said.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has indicated that Iran would welcome talks with the United States, but has asked for “mutual respect” when representatives come to the table. He said he wants the United States to stop accusing his country of building nuclear weapons and supporting terrorism in the region, which Tehran has denied.

We understand the distrust expressed by the Iranian leadership. The United States has had a very bad track record in its dealings with Middle East nations for a very long time, and the actions by George W. Bush was like taking a sledge hammer to any chance for improved relations anywhere. On two different occasions, Mr. Ahmadinejad came to New York to speak before the opening assembly of the United Nations. On both visits, he extended a hand of friendship, inviting a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Bush. Both times he was snubbed.

Bush passed up two golden moments in which America might have opened important dialogue with that ancient Persian nation, and perhaps made it possible for diplomats to travel to Iran and see with their own eyes just what kind of nuclear research has been occurring there. His refusal to meet face-to-face with Mr. Ahmadinejad, even though both men were in the same building on the same day, was considered an insult by the Iranians.

It is true that the Obama Administration is carrying on with America’s long-standing support of Israel. But there also appears to be an effort to give other Middle Eastern nations a fair hand of diplomacy as well.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is in Israel this week, working hard to broker a workable peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians. The plan, as outlined by former President Jimmy Carter, calls for dividing the area into two distinct countries. It is an unstable situation because Israel is in the process of forming a new government under the leadership of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And Netanyahu does not appear to support the Carter plan.

We all know this will be a hard nut to crack. The ongoing conflict between the Israeli and Palestinian people has perplexed world leaders for as long as anybody can remember.

The administration also has opened dialogue with Syria, is starting the slow process of shutting down the Bush war in Iraq, and has asked Russia to help open the door to more friendly relations with Iran.

President Obama is not close-minded to the Moslem mind. His father was Moslem although he was raised by his grandparents in the Christian faith. He has demonstrated his sincere desire to go out of his way to avoid conflict in his dealings with the House and Senate, and is quickly reaching out to all world nations with this same gesture of an open hand of friendship.

The Iranian leadership would do well to take advantage of this era of change that is truly sweeping America and consequently the world. The sooner we all get on the same page, the sooner we can join forces to battle the real enemies, which are the economic collapse, climate change, overpopulation, and a shortage of enough food, water, energy and clean air for everybody.