One telephone call does not ensure peace

A historic telephone call, the likes of which had not been seen since ’79, a turning point, a strategic step, a victory for Obama. The media did not hold back. Whether or not Obama’s greeting to Rouhani in Farsi (khodahafez, God be with you) and Rouhani’s “have a nice day” to Obama were a prelude to true nuclear negotiations, only a clairvoyant can tell. For now polite words were added to words, the ghost of the perfidious Ahmadinejad was dispelled, what a relief, and everyone hopes that the most feared bomb, that of the Ayatollahs, aimed at establishing a worldwide caliphate and destroying Israel, has been defused in time, along with the danger of war. Obama acts with good intentions, as he also did with the Cairo speech or when he called the Muslim Brotherhood “a primarily lay force.” He was mistaken. And now? The fifteen-minute telephone call was requested by the Iranians, which is certainly a sign of great interest.

Obama once more said that he is available for negotiation, but he did not speak of promises in the post-telephone press conference: only of opening a relationship that might lead to an “overall solution.” He said that the road is “full of obstacles,” and when he arrived home, Rouhani, who was met with cheers but also with boos, boasted of the great honors received as a turning point, but followed up immediately by saying that the nuclear plants are the unrenounceable “pride” of the Iranian people. A true dilemma: nuclear power for civilian use, as he said in New York. It is really difficult to believe. Rouhani is a President fathered by the supreme leader Khamenei, the only true boss. The other candidates were excluded or incarcerated. He was the negotiator who in 2005, when the Atomic Agency revealed that Iran had hidden the structures for aggressive nuclear power, said: “We talked to the Europeans in Teheran and we installed structures in Ishfahan.

By creating a relaxed environment, we were able to complete the work.” Obama quoted Rouhani’s statement on the religious prohibition to make weapons of mass destruction, which completely contradicts both the reality of the facts in all of Islam (Pakistan has at least 200 atomic bombs, and almost all of the Middle East has tried), while there are dozens of proofs of the systematic building of the bomb in Iran. Furthermore, it is well known that the “mumatilah” is a tactic that has been developed by the mullahs for centuries: to play for time in order to reach the objective. Moreover, an Iranian capitulation is inconceivable. It would indicate a comprehensive failure for the one who considers himself its head, its bridgehead.

Nevertheless, in order to have the sanctions lifted, which is Rouhani’s electoral promise, Iran may negotiate regarding the stockpiling of its enriched uranium, open up partially to the IAEA and conduct long-term negotiations that will satisfy the world and particularly Obama. The bomb would not disappear from the horizon but it would be shelved. When Obama received the Nobel Prize on October 9, 2009, many considered it a hasty gesture. But not he. It is instead very probable that that event, which expounded tolerance between peoples of different races and religions and called for the elimination of nuclear weapons, influenced him forever. Obama wishes to make his Nobel Prize come true at any cost. And Rouhani wants the sanctions on Iran lifted. Is it enough?


This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (September 25, 2013); English copyright, The Gatestone Institute

About the Author
Fiamma Nirenstein is a journalist, author, former Deputy President of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, and member of the Italian delegation at the Council of Europe.