Was It Really So Hard To Pick Up The Phone And Call Rouhani?

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Guest Blogger

You may be wondering who is this person named Rouhani and why would it be hard to call him/her on the phone?  Would you think differently if you knew that Rouhani is Hassan Rouhani and he is the current President of Iran?  As reported this past week, after President Obama and President Rouhani had both spoken at the United Nations in New York City, it was rumored that the two might actually meet in person.

While that meeting did not take place, it was reported that President Obama actually called President Rouhani on the telephone.  As you can imagine, it was considered a big deal in the media that the Presidents of the United States and Iran had actually spoken on the telephone.  On one level, I can understand the importance of the first direct contact between the heads of these two countries since 1979.  Additionally, in light of the level of sabre rattling over Syria recently and Iran constantly, I guess it is a big deal..sort of.

“President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone on Friday, the highest-level contact between the two countries in three decades and a sign that they are serious about reaching a pact on Tehran’s nuclear program.

The call is the culmination of a dramatic shift in tone between Iran and the United States, which cut diplomatic relations with Iran a year after the 1979 revolution that toppled U.S. ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.”  Reader Supported News

I do understand the political realities of talking directly to a country that many US politicians consider a terrorist cabal and one that it is claimed is attempting to develop a nuclear weapons program.  I also realize that President Obama has mentioned in the past that all options “were on the table” when it came to dealing with the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program.  Who can forget John McCain’s famous “Bomb, bomb bomb Iran” song and the continued distrust that hardliners express when Iran is mentioned?

However, is it really so difficult to just pick up the phone and call another chief of state?   If it was so easy to jump start talks between Secretary Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, why wasn’t the call made years earlier?  I wonder what “news” will be broken in the near future alleging continued Iranian nuclear misdeeds and actions and who will be behind the breaking of that so-called news.

Call me a skeptic, but I will not be surprised if this 15 minute phone conversation will be ridiculed and alarmists will once again claim that you cannot talk to your sworn enemies.  It will be charged that President Obama is negotiating with terrorists and the heavens will open up now that direct contact has been made by the two Presidents.

The critics of the now infamous phone call are already lining up. ‘ “Iran’s government remains — in spite of President Rouhani’s rhetoric — a brutal, repressive theocracy,” Cantor said later in a statement. “… The President suggests there is ‘new leadership’ in Iran, yet Supreme Leader Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei remains the true ruler in Tehran, and we are only fooling ourselves when we suggest otherwise.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, saw the discussion not as a breakthrough but as a capitulation.

“Our damaging sanctions have gotten Rouhani on the phone,” Royce said in a statement. “We must increase the economic pressure until Iran stops its nuclear drive.” ‘  NBC News

As stated earlier, I submit that this phone call should have been undertaken years ago.  It may not have led to anything concrete, but can it ever really hurt to maintain contacts with people and countries that you disagree with?  Do those who are against any direct discussions really care if the tensions are eased or are they playing a less than honest game?

A phone call is just two people speaking with each other.  What harm can be done by listening to and talking to the “other side’?  Speaking with Iran is not tantamount to allowing them to build an offensive nuclear weapons program, is it?  If we refuse to speak to Iran and other countries that we consider enemies of the state, is there ever a chance of breaking the ice between the countries?

While we should proceed cautiously, it is vitally important to the United States, Iran and the rest of the world for the two countries to have an open dialogue on all pressing issues.  I am glad the call was made before the government is shut down.  I can only imagine President Rouhani’s disgust if President Obama had to make a collect call!

Do you think the phone call was an important first step?  What protections should the United States insist upon when negotiating with Iran over its nuclear ambitions?  Will the Military Industrial Complex sit idly by while the Obama Administration talks and negotiates with Iran?  Finally, do you think the NSA was listening to this phone call??  🙂

25 thoughts on “Was It Really So Hard To Pick Up The Phone And Call Rouhani?”

  1. The government of Iran is betraying the interests of its own people if it is not attempting to acquire nuclear weapons obviously made necessary by the bellicosity of Israel and Israel’s client state the USA.

  2. This is #3 in a series of videos from October of last year in which some folks were giving their advice to the incoming POTUS. Stephen Kinzer talks about US/Iran relations – and other things.

  3. in other words the USA and israel are allowed to have nuclear weapons. in 40 and im 45 i have heard the usa call for this and that country to stop or turn over nuclear weapons but never say they will do the same!!!

  4. raff, Actions are what are important. My fear is this guy is stalling, not talking. I hope I’m wrong. The next thing Rouhani needs to do is stop the centrifuges, verified by the UN. That ACTION will show he’s willing to negotiate. If he doesn’t, he’s stalling. But I agree, this is a first step..baby step.

  5. yes, but what would they talk about.

    Obama; “seen any good movies lately”?

    rouhani; “ah, no”.

    Obama; “i hear Argo’s out on dvd”.

    rouhani; “no, no, casey affleck is satan”

    Obama; “no, this one has ben affleck”.

    rouhani; “oh, he’s not bad”. “is jaylo in it”?

    Obama; “you’re way behind bro, and the satanic brother you’re thinking of is billy baldwin”.

    rouhani; “speaking of behinds, how about them kardashians”.

    ————————————————————————————-

    see, the american media doing its job.

  6. I have been futilely saying for years: “Pick up the goddam phone and talk” but our government would rather steal resources thru endless war than pay $2.00 to obtain it lawfully, especially since the profits from endless war enriches the 0.01% from whom both war parties need contributions in order to fight over the same trivia year after year.

  7. nick,
    as I stated in the article, we should proceed cautiously, but any improvement in the rhetoric is a good thing.

  8. My brother Jack lived in Tehran and he says that one should never talk to a tent head.

  9. raff, The talking is not capitulation. However, capitulation is something we need to be wary about.

  10. My wife can’t watch it, she needs good guys. I’m talking the series, not the Bear/Lion game.

  11. raff, I can’t cheer for the Lions, w/ those punks Stafford and Suh. It’s like watching the Netflix series, House of Cards. There are no heroes in that DC set show. Like real life!

  12. Who calls who is alpha male horseshit. Attorneys and pols are the worst. It’s like comparing penises.

  13. I too don’t have a problem with phone calls being made between our president and the leadership of other nations in general. (as long as their are no backroom deals being made that bypasses our system)

    But what is the motivation for this? I would bet it is because there is still some lingering embarassment the president has over the Red Line of Syria and that Putin came along and for all intents and purposes saved the day but went a step further and began engaging other powers in the area such as Iran; which was concerning to the WH. So the phone call was made to re-assert the US and its president were still relevant in that area of the world and that the Russians are not) and domestically to show that the president is a man of diplomacy despire the “trivial matters” some see as his shortcomings. (NSA etc etc)

  14. I have no problem with the President speaking to anyone. I want to know what he promised but I guess that is for him to know and for us not to be told.

    On the other hand, I think the media and the WH makes this out to be a big deal because they want to distract us from the other things he is doing. I am a liberal, I admit it but OBAMA’s penchant for secrecy and “fast tracking” trade agreements has me worried. What I hear about the newest one is pretty disturbing. The agreement would literally lock every signatory into a set of very sweet rules for CORPORATIONS and virtually eliminate a country’s right to legislate any regulation or other law that would be inconsistent with the agreement. Environment, labor and even free speech is implicated in this so called trade deal. Senators and consumer and workers rights advocates have been kept out of the loop but big banks and other corporations including film and music have been at the very secret and exclusive table from day one.

    Let him call the president of Iran but I wish he would call the American people and tell us what he is really giving away. We have so little left to give.

  15. It already is…With A-Jad, No–it would have been a total waste of time. The question is what the next step is–it does not matter who initiated it, who asked for it or how it came about. They’ve broken the ice–and that’s what’s critical for the World to embrace. It is amusing, though, how some of the pundits of the US Talk SHow Circuit are saying that POTUS takes the time to talk to Rouhani, but not to the Hous Republicans…as if a POTUS can’t do two things @ the same time.

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