Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Los Angeles Times

On Iran, Obama's Speech Could Be a Game-Changer 
By Robin Wright
If the new diplomatic initiative now endorsed by both President Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani leads to diplomatic talks -- and potentially even a deal on Iran's nuclear program -- Obama's speech could well be his most important UN address and one of the most important foreign policy speeches of his presidency.

The speech represented the most serious US public outreach to resolve disputes with Iran since the 1979 revolution. It was a particularly stark contrast with the secret (and disastrous) arms-for-hostage swap under the Reagan administration in the mid-1980s.

Obama clearly sought balance. His overture acknowledged past American attempts to manipulate Iranian politics, notably the CIA-orchestrated coup against a democratially elected government in 1953. Now, he said, Washington is not out to change the regime in Tehran. But Obama also pointed out the many transgressions by the revolutionary regime, including seizing the American embassy in 1979 and backing extremist movements that have targeted Americans.

But by empower Secretary of State John Kerry to deal directly with Tehran - in collaboration with five other major powers - Obama took a vitally important step in testing whether new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani does have the will and ability to solve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

So it could be a game-changer -- if the words are converted into action by both countries.  

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