"As I said in my inauguration speech, if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us," American President Obama has recently said in an interview with Al Arabyia.
"It is very important for us to make sure that we are using all the tools of US power, including diplomacy, in our relationship with Iran."he said.
Iranian press is full of new and reactions on these developments. Some sound optimistic ,others are very cautious. The official National TV is however, restraining the news and analysis.
Iran is top on the agenda for not only the US President, but Secretary of State Clinton as well as UN Representative Susan Rice, who all commented on the US strategy on dealing with Iran. Even much has been said on that tone in Davos ,although the Erdogan -Peres debacle which has turned Erdogan into a national hero has topped the news on that matter.
The reality is that Americans do not have a clean reputation in Iran or in the Islamic world for that matter. They need to engage in confidence building strategies before any successful rapprochement occurs.
For the Islamic Republic ,there is no reason to pursue an antagonistic position if it sees any change in the tone and policy of Americans. I think the Government of President Ahmadinejad is prepared to engage within the well defined policy lines of the Supreme Leader. He is however, not the final decision maker on such matters which are classified as national security issues. Three issues have made things more difficult for both Americans and Iranians. First, the terrible assault of Israel against the civilian Gazan population, leaving about 400 children killed along with the biased support of the US government. Second, is the highly polarized political atmosphere in Iran in face of the up-coming presidential elections. Reformists have serious criticism on the economic and general performance of the government and this is giving them a difficult time internally. Third, are the attempts that seem to be pursued by satellite TV programs and other types of US funded activities which are endangering the civil society and internal opposition activity. The US Congress adopted funds to support opposition groups unaware of the fact that most Iranians active in the civil society or human rights activists seriously refrain from accepting any foreign assistance under such pretexts for fear that they would jeopardize their credibility not only in face of the Government but in face of the people as well. This American policy has put the civil society in Iran in difficult circumstances.
In any case , the rapprochement between Iran and the US needs more effort and action from the American side. For the moment it seems that the Iranian government is cautiously keen to pursue this line as it will positively influence their political conditions for the imminent elections.