During the campaign and after assuming the presidency, Barack Obama repeatedly stated his willingness to engage in negotiations with Iran without any preconditions. But that was and is not true.
The events of the past two weeks, including the revelation that Obama sent a letter in May to "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, reveal that there is one precondition to negotiations which Obama willingly embraces: United States acceptance of Mullah rule in Iran in perpetuity.
Acceptance of Mullah rule, notwithstanding what the people of Iran may want or basic human rights, is the key to the Grand Bargain the Obama administration seeks to strike with Iran. In fact, U.S. help to perpetuate the Mullahtocracy appears to be the ONLY precondition.
Making continued Mullah rule the only precondition to negotiations has two negative effects. First, it demonstrates the falsity of the notion that Obama stands for positive change in the Muslim world, particularly for women. Second, it takes off the table the only issue which really matters to the Mullahs, and thereby makes negotiations over Iran's nuclear weapons program less, not more, likely to succeed.
Only someone who never has had to negotiate anything of significance in his life would pursue a policy of conceding his best negotiating point as a precondition to negotiations. Only someone who is supremely cynical would make a "historic" speech to the Muslim world promising to work for fundamental human rights, yet concede that issue before negotiations with Iran have started.
We all know what you call someone who can look you in the eye and say that he is on the side of the Iranian people, yet be willing to sell out the Iranian people as part of a Grand Bargain.
Remember "Ahmadinejad Won. Get Over It."
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