Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Iranian mullah rejects Obama's back-channel peace message

Now we know why President Obama was silent for three long days while protesters died in the streets of Tehran, Iran. He thought his so-called silver tongue would work magic with the Iranian mullahs and bring about world peace. Today we learn Obama sent a letter to the head mullah himself prior to the election that sparked the current protests, offering some sort of peaceful overture, according to a Washington Times exclusive report this morning. And Ayatollah Khamenei bit a bloody chunk out of Obama's extended hand of peace.

In a lengthy sermon Friday that reaffirmed the disputed re-election of Mr. Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khamenei made an oblique reference to a letter from the U.S. but embedded the reference in a diatribe against purported U.S. interference in Iranian affairs.

"The American president was quoted as saying that he expected the people of Iran to take to the streets," Ayatollah Khamenei misquoted Mr. Obama as saying, according to a translation by

"On the one hand, they [the Obama administration] write a letter to us to express their respect for the Islamic Republic and for re-establishment of ties, and on the other hand they make these remarks. Which one of these remarks are we supposed to believe? Inside the country, their agents were activated. Vandalism started. Sabotaging and setting fires on the streets started. Some shops were looted. They wanted to create chaos. Public security was violated. The violators are not the public or the supporters of the candidates. They are the ill-wishers, mercenaries and agents of the Western intelligence services and the Zionists."

Obama sounded outright indignant at yesterday's news conference when he commented that the Iranians had "misquoted" him. Why Obama is surprised shows what a rank amateur he is with not only foreign affairs -- supposedly his strong suit due to his "multi-cultural background" -- as well as domestic affairs. (So how's Obama's economic stimulus plan for working for you so far? Same here. It sucketh.) The Iranians and all the rest of the Arab world have been blaming all the ills of the universe on the Jews since Abraham's sons Ishmael and Isaac began feuding, so why should anybody expect them to do any different now? The only modern update to that ancient feud is adding CIA spies in particular and the United States and Western allies into the mix.

The Washington Times offer a sober reassessment of U.S. vs. Iran relations in today's editorial.

Engagement is dead

Even if the regime in Tehran decides for some reason to extend an unclenched fist, President Obama would be shaking a bloody hand. The human-rights violations shown on America's computer screens make it impossible for the president to engage in some 1970s-style detente with Iran. Even the realists realize that is now unrealistic.

The diplomatic climate necessary for the Obama administration's engagement policy is gone. The subtle signaling dance of the last few months is impossible now. The Obama team's original timetable, calling for progress by the end of the year, has been overcome by events.

Iran's bomb now can't be ignored

Iran's quest for nuclear weapons now worries more Americans than ever. If the regime is willing to be this cruel to its own people, could the American soldiers or Israeli citizens living within reach of Iran's missiles expect any mercy? United Nations nuclear overseer Mohamed ElBaradei said last week that he had concluded the regime was seeking atomic weapons to send a message to the rest of the world: "Don't mess with us." With the frailty of the regime broadcast worldwide, its sense of insecurity will have increased and, with that, the need to have a nuclear insurance policy. It is extreme folly for the United States to continue the official charade that the Tehran regime is not actively seeking such weapons. Politicizing this intelligence must end. The Obama administration should take this opportunity to demand an immediate halt to Iran's bomb program.

The time has come to face the Islamic Republic without the comfortable blindfolds we have worn over the past few decades. The reality of Neda Soltan, dead with her eyes open, should open our eyes too.

Perhaps Neda's death will not be in vain. Perhaps Obama will wake up and smell the coffee burning on his "multi-cultural background" rangetop. But I suspect he's much too vain and egotistical to ever admit his rookie mistakes and start acting like the leader of the free world.

God help the people of Iran and God save America and Israel from this gathering storm.

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