The Iranian media response on Obama’s discussion of the Mideast nuclear issue essential said, following numerous leadership statements in the recent past, “Walk the talk.” The press report notably avoided repeating various negative statements about the U.S. that have been made by Khamenei and others in recent weeks.
US President Barack Obama has admitted Washington’s past mistakes toward Tehran, saying Iran has right to peaceful nuclear technology.
Cartoon courtesy of Palestine Chronicle
In a keynote Thursday speech at Cairo University, Obama said “any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Tehran has repeatedly argued that as an NPT-signatory, it has the right to use nuclear energy for civilian purposes.
This is while Israel — believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East — has so far refused to sign the treaty.
“No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons,” Obama said.
In a reference to Israel, Obama said he understood protests “that some countries have weapons that others do not”, adding that there should not be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
The US president acknowledged that it will be hard to “overcome decades of mistrust” but said he is committed to moving forward in relations with the Islamic Republic with mutual respect and without preconditions.
Since taking office as the US president in January, Obama talked of a policy change toward Iran, saying the US would extend a hand of peace to Iran if it “unclenched its fist”.
Iran was invited to an international conference on Afghanistan in March. Washington has also backed Tehran’s participation in a G8 meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan later this month.
Tehran demands that Washington manifest a ‘genuine’ change in action rather than a change in tone by withdrawing its allegations against the country and lifting anti-Iran sanctions which were extended for another year by the Obama administration.
Throughout the Muslim world, “walk the talk” seems to have been a common reaction, as in Pakistan where one man observed that it did not matter since “they’re droning us to death” and Palestine, where a noted commentator wondered why it was so difficult to recognize the Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign. Indeed. Just words – simply admit it. Words are supposedly Obama’s forte, but even he could not get the words out.
Hamas concurred but with a precision and balance that essentially lays out a framework for negotiating U.S.-Hamas accommodation:
the Hamas movement welcomed the speech, hesitantly describing Obama’s speech as a refreshing change, despite being “full of contradictions.” Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum said that the speech was focused on “improving America’s image in front of the whole world, yet it was full of contradictions. It lacked practical on the ground steps and policies to curb [Israeli] assaults and to support the Palestinian’s right of sovereignty on their land, despite the call for ending Israeli settlements and the occupation.”
He added that “Obama mentioned the popular support for Hamas but did not talk about lifting its isolation and respecting its legitimacy,” adding that “he confused the facts when he described Hamas’ defense of the Palestinians as violence, while he did not talk about the real Holocaust and war crimes that the Israeli army carried out in front of the whole world.”
Barhoum noted that Obama’s “repeated demands for Hamas to recognize Israel and the conditions of the Quartet would be legitimizing the occupation, giving it a cover to continue with its criminal policies against the Palestinians.” “Recognizing the conditions of the Quartet means approving the righteousness of the policy of collective punishment, which the US imposed on the Palestinians as a penalty for their democratic choice.”