Archive for the ‘discussion’ Category

Facing An Obama Apparently Ready To Talk, Iran Now Backs Out?

November 13, 2008

Since 2006, Iran’s leaders have called for direct, unconditional talks with the United States to resolve international concerns over their nuclear program. But as an American administration open to such negotiations prepares to take power, Iran’s political and military leaders are sounding suddenly wary of President-elect Barack Obama.

“People who put on a mask of friendship, but with the objective of betrayal, and who enter from the angle of negotiations without preconditions, are more dangerous,” Hossein Taeb, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Wednesday, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.

By Thomas Erdbrink
The Washington Post
Page 1
November 13, 2008

Iran tests a missile that its defense minister said has a range of 1,200 miles, meaning it could reach Israel.

Iran tests a missile that its defense minister said has a range of 1,200 miles, meaning it could reach Israel. (By Vahid Reza Alaei — Fars News Agency Via Associated Press)

“The power holders in the new American government are trying to regain their lost influence with a tactical change in their foreign diplomacy. They are shifting from a hard conflict to a soft attack,” Taeb said.

For Iran’s leaders, the only state of affairs worse than poor relations with the United States may be improved relations. The Shiite Muslim clerics who rule the country came to power after ousting Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a U.S.-backed autocrat, in their 1979 Islamic revolution. Opposition to the United States, long vilified as the “great Satan” here in Friday sermons, remains one of the main pillars of Iranian politics.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent Obama a congratulatory letter last week, but by Wednesday his welcoming tone had dissipated. “It doesn’t make any difference for us who comes and who goes,” he said in a speech in the northern town of Sari. “It’s their actions which are studied by the Iranian and world nations.”

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The six powers trying to scale back the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which is accused of trying to build an atomic bomb, will meet in Paris on Thursday, French officials have said.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

On Wednesday, Iran test-fired a two-stage, solid-fuel rocket, Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar announced on state television. He said the missile had a range of 1,200 miles — meaning that it could reach Israel and U.S. targets in the Middle East.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said that he could not “independently confirm media reports indicating an Iranian missile launch,” but added that “Iran’s missile program is a concern that poses a threat to its neighbors in the region and beyond.”

In recent interviews, advisers to Ahmadinejad said the new U.S. administration would have to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, show respect for Iran’s system of rule by a supreme religious leader, and withdraw its objections to Iran’s nuclear program before it can enter into….

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Did Obama’s Staff Inappropriately Release “Private” Details of His Talk With President Bush?

November 12, 2008

The Drudge Report, the Associated Press and the New York Times are quoting segments of the “private” Oval Office discussion between President Bush and President Elect Barack Obama, quoting Obama aides.

The quotes started from the Obama side soon after the Oval Office meeting.  Yesterday the White House added some detail.

A President-Elect putting pressure on a lame duck president seems inappropriate, unnecessary and a breach of protocol.  One side’s aides discussing details of the agreed upon provate discussion? Ditto.

But this may just be part of the routine activities of the Kabuki Dance that is a time-honored part of the transition of a new president…..


President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the ...
President Bush and President-elect Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office, November 10, 2008.(White House photo by Eric Draper/Handout/Reuters)


By Jackie Calmes
The New York Times

The struggling auto industry was thrust into the middle of a political standoff between the White House and Democrats on Monday as President-elect Barack Obama urged President George W. Bush to support immediate emergency aid.

Bush indicated at the meeting that he might support some aid and a broader economic stimulus package if Obama and congressional Democrats dropped their opposition to a free-trade agreement with Colombia, a measure for which Bush has long fought, people familiar with the discussion said.

The Bush administration, which has presided over a major intervention in the financial industry, has balked at allowing the automakers to tap into the $700 billion bailout fund, despite warnings last week that General Motors might not survive the year.

Obama and congressional Democratic leaders say the administration has all the authority it needs under the bailout law to extend assistance.

Obama went into his post-election meeting with Bush on Monday primed to urge him to support emergency aid to the auto industry, advisers to Obama said. But Democrats also indicate that neither Obama nor congressional leaders are inclined to concede the Colombia pact to Bush, and may decide to wait until Obama assumes power on Jan. 20.

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Aides to President Bush and President-elect Obama are revealing a bit more about yesterday’s wide-ranging discussions in the Oval Office.

Among other things, Obama pushed for the government to take urgent action to help struggling automakers. Aides say Obama also raised the idea of an administration point person on autos. They say that official’s role would be to improve the long-term health of the auto industry.

Aides to Bush say the president remains open to helping U.S. automakers.

There’s also word that the two discussed the need for more economic stimulus spending, which Obama favors. Bush has stressed that his main priority for any postelection action by Congress is approval of a long-stalled free trade agreement with Colombia.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said, however, that there’s no implied “quid pro quo.” She said the president mainly discussed the overall “merits of free trade.”

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Arabs lament lack of dialogue on Iran nuclear crisis

November 9, 2008

Arab diplomats complained on Sunday about a lack of dialogue with the West over Iran‘s nuclear ambitions during a briefing on the crisis by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice attended the meeting in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh alongside French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and their counterparts from Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

“The Arab countries wanted to be informed of the state of negotiations” between Iran and six major world powers — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — said an official who attended the talks.

Another participant said the Arab diplomats expressed “deep concerns” at the meeting and complained of “insufficient dialogue” between Arab countries and the six world powers on the standoff over Iran’s nuclear drive.

Western nations led by the United States accuse Tehran of secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons but Iran vehemently denies the charges, saying its programme is solely aimed at generating electricity.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Salah Bashir told the meeting that “the nuclear crisis became a crisis (for the West) but for us the Iranian surge for hegemony has become a crisis,” according to the participant who asked not to be named.

Sunni Arab governments like Egypt, Jordan and the six oil-rich Gulf monarchies have repeatedly expressed concerns over what they see as the growing influence of Shiite Iran in the region, namely in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for failing to heed international demands to halt uranium enrichment but the major powers have offered Tehran technological, economic and political incentives if it suspends the process.