September 28, 2013

America And Iran: Get The Niceties Out of The Way And Get Down To Business

Raise your glasses. The leaders of America and Iran are on speaking terms for the first time in over three decades.
"The United States and Iran made diplomatic history Thursday as Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talked for a half hour on the sidelines of a multilateral meeting on Iran’s nuclear program. 
The meeting, which Zarif described as “more than a chat,” took place at the United Nations, and marked the highest-level and most-substantive encounter between officials of the two sides since the 1979 Islamic Revolution." - Barbara Slavin, "US, Iran Officials Make Diplomatic History" Al-Monitor, September 26, 2013.

"President Barack Obama and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by telephone on Friday, the highest-level contact between the two countries in three decades and a sign that they are serious about reaching a pact on Tehran's nuclear program.

The call is the culmination of a dramatic shift in tone between Iran and the United States, which cut diplomatic relations with Iran a year after the 1979 revolution that toppled U.S. ally Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to the U.S. Embassy hostage crisis in Tehran." - Jeff Mason and Louis Charbonneau, "Obama, Iran's Rouhani hold historic phone call" Reuters, September 28, 2013.
America and Iran are on speaking terms for the first time in over three decades. This is a significant achievement by the Obama administration and the Rouhani administration that should not be downplayed.

Obviously, talking to a foreign leader is not exactly splitting the atom, but considering where relations between America and Iran were just a couple of years ago, this is good news. 

President Rouhani even called America "great." He must have forgotten the Satan part, but we can let that slide this time. Making a good first impression is more important than being precise at this point in his presidency.

Seriously, though, who knew that American and Iranian leaders are actual adults who don't hold silly grudges? Shouting "Death to America" has gotten boring. Enough with this madness. It's time to turn the page in both countries. End the sanctions. End the violent rhetoric. End the threats. End the suspicions. End the "I'm not talking to you until you do what I want you to do."

America and Iran need to start acting like grown-ups. The phone call between President Obama and President Rouhani is a good sign that both sides are maturing and changing. Let's hope this change will last.