April 7, 2009
“We will support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections.” Of all of United States President Barack Obama’s repeated references to Iran during his near flawless, message-wise, European tour this week, this was undoubtedly the most important, as it signified a new willingness on the US’s part to consent to Iran’s controversial nuclear fuel cycle.
But, if only Obama could remain consistent and withstand the mounting pressures from various corners, above all Israel and its supporters in the US. These aim to prevent what is increasingly appearing as a logical and necessary adjustment in the US’s policy toward Iran in the absence of any evidence of the military diversion of its nuclear program.
Close scrutiny of Obama’s speeches and actions with respect to Iran during his European visit leads one to conclude that the administration’s policy may be winding down, Yet it is not completely over, and that as a result it is best to describe the US’s current Iran policy as a contradictory hybrid in which elements of novelty coexist uneasily with policy continuity with the past.
What is beyond doubt, however, is that by repeatedly referring to Iran in his major foreign policy speeches, such as in Prague and in the Turkish parliament, Obama has prioritized the country and is determined to fulfill his promise of a “new beginning” in relations expressed in his new year message to Iran in March.
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