We have written about the sanctioned foreign minister of Iran, Ali Akber Salehi, and his adventures in Europe. Despite his sophisticated propaganda campaign, some elements in the international media continue to take him seriously.
Just last week, Bloomberg, normally a reliable source when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program, painted Salehi in all the wrong colors.
They quoted the wanted FM, noting:
For the first time during any of the international nuclear talks, “we witnessed signals that the other side is acting in good faith,” Salehi told a news conference in Tehran today, referring to discussions last month in Almaty, Kazakhstan. “We hope they continue to do so.”
The West wants “to deal with Iran; they are not after confrontation,” Salehi said in comments translated from Farsi and broadcast by state-run Press TV.
What a moderate he is that Mr. Salehi!
He was talking about the recent negotiations in Kazakhstan of which we were particularly critical. At the time, we were perturbed by the Wash Post’s skewed understanding of the results:
The Post’s reporting wing, for some reason adopted the Iranian spin and led with this positive headline: ‘Iran nuclear talks end on upbeat note‘, pointing out:
Under the proposal, Iran would freeze production of a more highly enriched form of uranium that can be quickly converted for use in a weapons program. It would also have to agree to more intrusive inspections of its nuclear facilities and to halt uranium enrichment at Fordow, a plant built inside a mountain near the city of Qom.”
This is something Iran still refuses to do — a fact warranting mention.
Bloomberg seemed to have been hit by the same wave of misplaced optimism.
In Farsi, Salehi no longer sounds like a peace-loving teddy bear:
“We have successfully exhausted the enemy like we have dealt with them for 34 years, we will stop them from exacerbating the sanctions, and from today we will gradually reduce the sanctions, just as we have not allowed the sanctions to paralyze Iran, despite the predictions.”
He also noted that:
“Enforcing the sanctions on a country like Iran, a country which borders 15 countries is almost impossible… if the enemy invests 100 dollars in imposing sanctions on Iran, he does not get back any more than 10 dollars.”
He is oh so brave in Farsi, with his ‘enemy’ talk.
Meanwhile, the Saudis refuse to fall into the trap. This transcript of FM Saud’s meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry shows that Iran’s Sunni rivals are far from convinced about the ‘genuine’ nature of Iran’s intentions.
FOREIGN MINISTER SAUD: Basically, any negotiation should have a time limit. We can’t be like philosophers who keep talking about how many angels a pinhead can hold. We have to talk seriously, we have to talk honestly, and we have to put our commitment clearly on the table. That’s what negotiation is. Negotiation is not to get somebody that negotiates to trick you into a position along with the negotiation because it still is not told. A negotiation must be serious. It must – the negotiation must show intent. A negotiation must show his motive is really settlement.
(Inaudible) they have not proved to anybody that they are sincere in their negotiation. They have continued to these negotiation to ask for to add to more negotiation in the future. They reach common understanding only on issues that require further negotiation, and so this is what (inaudible). They continue to negotiate and all it comes down to building an atomic weapon continues unabated in an area where it is already dangerous with the availability of atomic weapons. So we have to insist on Iran showing the motivation and a clear understanding that they are there to negotiate for a period of time and then come to terms with the conditions of IAEA and NPT.
Next time you see Salehi quoted as a moderate… Just remember who Ali Akbar Salehi really is.