Would engaging in dialogue with Iran help or hinder ever-present international concerns?
By Micah Hanks
With the passage of economic sanctions against Iran as international concerns over their nuclear interests continue to grow, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a debate with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Expressing hopes that Iran will be present at the U.N. General Assembly later this year, Ahmadinejad expressed in an appearance in Tehran that he would be “ready for one-on-one talks with Mr. Obama,” under the conditions that the exchange would be televised. The goal: to engage in serious talks “to see whose solutions are better,” with Ahmadinejad claiming emphatically that Iran has “never, ever favored war.”
Ahmadinejad’s demands, on a base level, seem almost egotistical, although there may be merit to the circumstances he calls for, if carried out reasonably. While Iran has remained adamant that their controversial nuclear program is aimed at providing the country with energy resources, data suggests otherwise, and causes great concern among member nations of the European Union, as well as the U.S., Canada and Russia, who joined in enforcing sanctions against them. Still, there have yet to be any talks with Iran, in spite of Ahmadinejad’s request last September for a similar debate, as well as invitations extended in the past to George W. Bush. Diplomatic measures such as engaging in dialogue with Iran, while providing limited, if any new transparency as to their nuclear aspirations, may still help calm some of the international tensions that abound. Additionally, it may reflect more positively elsewhere around the globe if America is perceived as a fair, but firm negotiator, rather than a silent giant with its foot placed atop potential enemy nations in an effort to stifle them.
This isn’t to say many would argue that stifling Iran would be bad, however, since the U.S. has made it known already that the option of using military action has been explored. The U.S.’s highest-ranking officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, said on Sunday that a plan does exist, should it become necessary to engage Iran with militaristic force. Mullen warns, however, that instability in the region would likely make an attack on Iran “a bad idea.”
There are many variables that must be considered here, and just because you keep a mean dog behind a fence, doesn’t mean he won’t still bite. Despite sanctions and warnings from the international community, Iran remains defiant in its position on the production of nuclear facilities, and many would argue that talking to them would have little effect at this point in time. Still, considering the absence of any past attempts at doing so, would it hurt to try?
Image by Daniel Zalcman via Flickr.