In recent interviews, advisers to Ahmadinejad said the new U.S. administration would have to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq, show respect for Iran’s system of rule by a supreme religious leader, and withdraw its objections to Iran’s nuclear program before it can enter into negotiations with the Iranian government.
“The U.S. must prove that their policies have changed and are now based upon respecting the rights of the Iranian nation and mutual respect,” said Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, the president’s closest adviser.
This quotation from the article is getting along a buzz:
“People who put on a mask of friendship, but with the objective of betrayal, and who enter from the angle of negotiations without preconditions, are more dangerous,” Hossein Taeb, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Wednesday, according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency.
It’s important to remember that Ahmadinejad is really just the mouthpiece for the Revolutionary Guards, one of the three factions in Iranian politics (reformers, conservatives, revanchist revolutionaries). Obviously the reformers are a go on talks. The Revolutionary Guards want to axe the possibility because it could very likely cause them a mass decrease in power (if a deal is set their future goose is cooked). The question really is the Conservative Faction and most especially the Supreme Leader. They hold the balance of power and can tip it in either direction.
The line about recognizing the Ayatollah leadership as a precondition most likely comes from that faction. They are doing their bargaining in public beforehand. Recall the line about how dealing with Iranian leaders is like dealing with Iranian carpet sellers. Their first offer, whatever it is, you reject and threaten to walk out.
I think Obama might have rattled their collective Persian cages a bit with his line about them in his frist press conference. Watching this one will be VERY interesting. Mouse meet the new cat. [Note to Feline-in-Chief: You have to wait until after the Iranian presidential elections next year for major negotiations].