Active diplomacy already going on between the Obama Administration and Iran

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Here's an image that turns up when you search for the term "mutual respect" (احترام متقابل) in Persian.

For a fairly detailed look at what is going on behind the scenes between the U.S. and Iran, see this article from Foreign Policy. The part near the end is probably the most interesting:

"I am seeing actions that seem to be really quite different," says Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, a Washington group that promotes U.S. engagement with Iran. "Obama was not president for even 20 minutes when he said ‘mutual respect.' That is an Iranian buzz word. No one in the Middle East uses that more than Iran."

"By [Obama] speaking directly to the Iranian leadership and the Iranian people the way he has," says Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, "and the way he may be answering Ahmadinejad's letter, it presents his views unfiltered and it shows his respect for the Iranian nation. That's very important."

Meanwhile, the diplomatic calendar marches on. Most immediately, the Obama administration will send a representative, most likely Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns, to next week's meeting in Berlin of the group of U.N. Security Council permanent five members plus Germany. The P5+1, as it's known, has been the nucleus of recent international efforts to pressure Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program in exchange for fuller international recognition and engagement and other incentives.


"If I were doing the negotiations [for the U.S. government], I would really press at a principals meeting [about] whether at the end of the day, we are going to accept" if Iran can enrich uranium to low grade or not, says former ambassador-at-large Robert Gallucci, now president of the Georgetown School of Foreign Service. "I don't think we have enough folks to [make a determination] actually yet in place" -- not just assistant secretaries, but the principals, and deputies.

The word for mutual respect seems to be this: ehtehâm-e-moghâbel (احترام متقابل); you can see it in this article for example from Obama's inauguration. A Google image search shows it to be used in the same way in English as the first image shows a happy couple staring at each other in bed, implying mutual love and respect, and the fourth image shows Ahmadinejad and George Bush on the cover of time, showing that it applies to mutual respect in terms of diplomacy as well.


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