Finding ways to communicate—let alone compromise—with the Iranian government over divisive issues has been a key U.S. goal since the outset of the Obama administration. The Iranian obstacles to successful diplomacy are well documented: authoritarian governance; warring political elites; and a disputed presidential election that shattered an already fragile semblance of regime unity.This analysis is so wrong.
1) The Obama administration has never seriously engaged Iran's leadership. It is not interested in diplomacy and it never was. When Iran made a nuclear deal in 2010 with Turkey and Brazil that addressed the absurd demands of the White House, Prez. Obama rejected the deal. It proved that Obama was never interested in reaching an agreement with the Islamic Republic. Talking to Iran was never on his agenda.
2) There was no proof of fraud in the 2009 Iranian presidential election. A "disputed presidential election" is a Washington-created phrase that serves to delegitimize a regime that is popular in Iran. It's not the greatest government in the world, but at least it is more popular than the war criminals in the U.S. government who want to bomb Iran.
To learn about the inaccuracy of the "election fraud" claim, read this excerpt from Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett's 2010 article called, "Who's Really Misreading Tehran?":
From literally the morning after the election, the vast majority of Western journalists and U.S.-based Iran "experts" rushed to judgment that the outcome had to have been the result of fraud. These journalists and commentators largely succeeded in turning the notion of a fraudulent election in Iran into a "social fact" in the United States -- just as journalists like Judith Miller, formerly of the New York Times, and "experts" like Kenneth Pollack, an analyst at the Brookings Institution, helped turn myths about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction into "social facts" before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
But there has never been a shred of hard evidence offered to back up the assertion of electoral fraud. For many, a "preliminary analysis" of the official results by University of St. Andrews Iranian studies professor Ali Ansari and two collaborators, published by Chatham House nine days after the election, was taken as scholarly ratification for an already dominant Western narrative about what had happened. But the extent of the evidentiary and analytic flaws in the Chatham House report is breathtaking. Don't just take our word for it. We refer anyone who is interested to two impressively meticulous and thorough reviews of the 2009 election process and results. One, by two Iranian scholars living outside the Islamic Republic, systematically goes through all the points adduced by Ansari and his collaborators -- alleged irregularities and anomalies in voter turnout, the sourcing of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's votes, the alleged underperformance of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi (an ethnic Azeri) in Azeri-majority provinces and his fellow disappointed presidential hopeful Mehdi Karroubi in his home province, perceptions of statistical anomalies in the official results, etc. -- and offers devastatingly persuasive rejoinders on every point.
The other paper, by Eric Brill, an American lawyer, also offers a powerful refutation to Ansari and his colleagues about the official results. But Brill goes on to review the various complaints about the electoral process and results that have been widely alleged -- though never in any formal or documented way -- by Mousavi and his supporters: registered observers turned away or later ordered to leave, Mousavi votes thrown away, ballot boxes stuffed with Ahmadinejad votes, pens with disappearing ink, and vote counts either misreported from the field or altered once they reached the Interior Ministry in Tehran.
Brill dismantles all these allegations. He also underscores a critically important point: To this day, Mousavi has not identified a single polling station where any of this supposedly occurred. During our most recent visit to Tehran earlier this year, we spoke with Iranians who said they had voted for Mousavi (one had even worked for Mousavi's campaign) and, when Mousavi charged afterward that there had been electoral fraud, turned out to protest in the first few days after June 12, 2009. But, when Mousavi failed to produce evidence substantiating his public claims, these people lost faith in him.