Obama greets Brazil President Luiz Inácio
da Silva at the White House: By all accounts, the
leaders have a blossoming partnership.
Iran Progress Shows Obama and Lula Made the Right Call
endorsed President Lula's intention to maintain a dialogue with Iran (on the
nuclear issue), agreeing that because it would be counterproductive, not
everyone on earth should put the ayatollah regime's back to the wall. ... In sum, it seems clear that 'engagement'
has scored a solid point. But
the game is not nearly over."
Let us recall the important elements
of a dialogue on Iran between Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Barack
Obama, based on Lula's account, conducted on the sidelines of the recent G20
Summit in Pittsburgh. One can believe the Brazilian president's version, based
on the version of the encounter given by Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, of a
previous conversation between the two presidents on the same topic in Italy.
So here we go. According to
Lula, Obama endorsed his intention to maintain a dialogue with Iran (on the
nuclear issue) agreeing that because it would be counterproductive, not
everyone on earth should put the ayatollah regime's back to the wall.
One detail: this exchange took
place on the same day that Obama, along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, expressed sharp criticism of Iran - accompanied
by threats - after having just revealed the existence of a [second] nuclear reactor
near the city of Qom, which is considered the Shiite Vatican.
a notable show of unity and verbal resolve, President Obama, followed
British Prime Minister Brown and French President Sarkozy, arrive to
a statement on Iran's admission that it has built another uranium
facility, during the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, Sept. 25.
All in all, Lula's position
seems more correct than the "heavy-handed," considering the agreement
between Iran and the major nuclear powers by which much of Iran's uranium will
be enriched in Russia and perhaps France, which reduces the possibility and
immediacy of fabricating The Bomb.
Of course, one must always
qualify any such agreement: first, because it will have to be submitted to the
supreme Iranian authorities. Second, because the remaining uranium can always
be diverted for military purposes.
Given these caveats, now take
note of a comment to British newspaper The
Guardian, from Abbas Barzegar, a
PhD candidate in religious studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
The astute Juan Cole pointed out after the October
1 Geneva talks that Obama managed to get more out of Iran in seven-and-a-half
hours than Cheney [Dick Cheney, vice president under George Walker Bush and the heaviest
hand among heavy hands] did in seven-and-a-half years." Juan Cole is president
of the Global Americana Institute, a research center that is obviously from the
Based on this interesting
comparison, Barzegar points to this as a demonstration that "diplomatic engagement
almost always works."
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
this, in essence, the same thing that Lula told Obama and that Obama accepted?
But it's also worth
mentioning that the assessment of this pre-agreement among analysts is far from
linear or consensual. It depends a lot on who's doing the analyzing.
HUMOR FROM BRAZIL - OBAMA AND LULA IN DANCE-OFF
On the Israeli side, for
example, Yossi Melman writes in Haaretz, which is arguably Israel's best
newspaper, that the agreement "removes any justification for an attack on
Iranian nuclear facilities."
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Around the world, the notion
of an attack by Israel was the nightmare scenario - of course for the Israelis
themselves, the nightmare is the acquisition by Iran of The Bomb.
In any case, it should be
noted that diplomatic circles elsewhere are of the opinion that the problem
with Iran is not verification or otherwise this pre-agreement, but the
reliability of the regime of the ayatollahs.
This is a view very similar
to that of Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations, which he expressed to
the Financial Times. According to Haas, it is the political character of
the Iranian regime, not its capacity to manufacture The Bomb, that
should define the international community's response to its nuclear ambitions.
In sum, it seems clear that "engagement,"
an essential principle of Obama's foreign policy, has scored a solid point. But
the game is not nearly over.
Clovis Rossi is a special correspondent and member of the Folha
editorial board, is a winner of the Maria Moors Cabot award (USA) and is
a member of the Foundation for New Ibero-American Journalism. His column
appears on Thursdays and Sundays on page 2 and on Saturdays in the World
Notebook section. He is the author, among other works, of Special Envoy:
25 Years Around the World and What is Journalism?
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