The United States President Barack Obama literally finds himself at a crossroads on Iran where, as the poet Robert Frost wrote, two roads diverge in a yellow wood. Of course, he can’t travel both and “be one traveller”. The big question is whether he will take the grassy road which “wanted wear”, the one less travelled by, which as Frost found out, could make all the difference.
By the weekend, it was becoming apparent that Obama was nearing the crossroads on the Iran talks. The talks were slowly, steadily, unmistakably gaining traction, disproving detractors and snipers. Now comes the confirmation as the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency Yukiya Amano returned to Vienna on a rainy, windy day after a surprise trip to Tehran.
He confirmed that the IAEA and Iran have reached accord on UN inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites. Even the Guardian, which said many a unkind thing about Iran in the past, admits that the “mood music is changing.” Reporting the big news Amano brought, Guardian commented, ” A tome of cautious optimism has crept into the flurry of diplomatic activity taking place in the shadows ahead of the Iran ncuelar talks in Baghdad on Wednesday. For once, it looks as if there is a real prospect of launching serious negotiations.”
Obama gambled and won. But now comes the hard part. He needs to press ahead. To embark upon such high risk diplomacy in a dicey election year is an extraordinary feat. Vultures are flying above in the skies looking for carcasses on the landscape of US-Iran standoff, which is littered with bleached bones. The US Senate passed unanimously a resolution on Monday urging Obama to impose new sanctions against Iran, underscoring that the Israeli Lobby is doing the utmost to torpedo his initiative on Iran.
What a bizarre coincidence that the venerable senators voted within hours of Amano’s productive talks in Tehran!
Will history repeat itself? There have been occasions in the past, too, when the US and Iran like strangers in the night exchanged glances, but only to move away. Obama faces the single biggest foreign-policy challenge of his presidency on how to proceed with Iran. The curious part is that he first needs to fight and win a battle at home
before he ventures abroad.
Iran’s chief negotiator Saeed Jalili just flew into Baghdad disregarding a raging dust storm sweeping through the Iraqi capital earlier today. Will Obama take the untrodden path at the talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Baghdad on Wednesday? At the moment, ironically, it is the Iranian side which is displaying the audacity of hope.
Posted in Diplomacy, Politics.
– May 22, 2012