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article imageOp-Ed: Is President Obama Turning The Tables On Iran?

By Johnny Simpson     Mar 26, 2009 in World
The way events between Iran and the Obama Administration have been playing out, I have been quite harsh of the President's inaction vis-a-vis Roxana Saberi and Iran's rebuff of his video olive branch. But could the President actually be playing it smart?
You all know the history between Iran's Islamist leaders and the new Obama Administration. First, because of sanctions against Iran which have been in place since the 1979 Hostage Crisis, the President must personally authorize visas for Team Oscar to travel to Tehran. A Gold Plated Cultural Olive Branch.
Yet Team Oscar no sooner lands in Tehran than they are met with outrageous demands for apologies and self-censorship in film. Olive Branch #1 slapped out of both Team Oscar's and the President's hands.
Next, President Obama sends a heartfelt Video Olive branch to the people of Iran. Again, Iran's Islamist extremist leaders decry it as a slogan, then take to the streets of Tehran once again for the obligatory Death To America rallies. Video Olive Branch slapped out of the President's hand.
Meanwhile, American citizen and now-unlawful detainee Roxana Saberi's mental health is fading in the nightmare of Evin prison, possibly even to the point of suicide. Worse, the Iranians promised her release 'soon' on March 6th, a day after Secretary Clinton's formal demand. And now word from Tehran is that Roxana may imprisoned for up to two years, though she has yet to officially be charged with any crime. Given Roxana's mental state today, surviving a two-year hostage ordeal in Evin prison is very short money.
Looking at all these events progress, I cannot help but be reminded of the fecklessness of President Jimmy Carter and his 444-day-long shaming by the Islamist regime in Iran. Yet President Obama made a very astute analysis of the situation in his extension of sanctions against Iran on March 11. Also, the following was from a White House briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs from March 23.
Q. Did the President see a rebuff or any signs of hope in Iran's response to his message? And have you guys made any assessment as to how deeply this has penetrated into Iranian society, how much the (inaudible) has been passed, et cetera?
GIBBS: Look, the President, as you heard him talk about in the message, this was an effort and an opportunity to speak directly to the Iranian people and their leaders, to underscore the potential for a new and changed relationship based on our shared rights and responsibilities.
The President believes it's time for that change. And regardless of any response or -- the President is hopeful that the Iranian leadership will work to change the way that they do business.
Whereas I had been thinking this whole time the Islamist regime in Iran had been playing the Obama Administration like a cat on a string with Roxana Saberi, it may very well be the Obama Administration is actually backing the extremist regime in Iran into a very deep corner. Cannot the President say, even now, that he has tried every reasonable measure to extend a hand of friendship to the Islamic Republic of Iran, only to have it slapped away each time? Can he not point to Roxana Saberi, who is dying a little more day by day and say, is this not a prime example of Iran's contempt of international standards of law and civility?
If, God Forbid, Roxana Saberi should perish in that Tehran portal to Hell called Evin Prison, will not her blood clearly be on the regime's hands, and theirs alone? Certainly Mr. Obama by now must have no illusions as to the brutality and ruthlessness of the Iranian dictatorship, from intelligence reports you and I will never see. Yet even not seeing them, I have been able to put the horrific pictures of the real Iran together. Though the titles of my opinion pieces may seem extreme, YOU look at all the videos, photos, links, refs and history I have provided within them, and you tell me.
Secretary of State Clinton, now working through the Swiss to obtain Roxana's release from Evin prison (despite Iranian assurances that Roxana would soon be released on March 6th), will also be attending a conference on Afghanistan in the Hague next week, and actually proposed having a delegation from Iran attending, which one is. No face-to-face meetings planned, but the US and Iran will be interacting in multilateral fashion.
Again, neither Secretary Clinton nor President Obama can have any illusions as to Iran's hostile activities toward American and Allied troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, based on intelligence they must be seeing. Hell, I don't even have a clearance, and I can see what's going on!
So. Let's assume the hypothesis that President Obama, Madame Secretary and other key figures in the Obama Administration are onto Iran's game. Yet by Iran playing their old game now, they are exposing themselves to the world for who and what they really are, an Islamist extremist totalitarian regime. As of today, the EU has tightened the sanction screws on Iran once again over its nuclear enrichment programs.
Given all the unreasonable hostility the world is seeing from Iran toward the new Obama Administration, after such raised hopes of real change in the world, will not the world's eyes finally open to what the Islamist regime in Iran is all about? One can only hope. I know this President can be fast on his feet when he needs to be, and he really needs to be with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
I say hope, because I really hope President Obama is fully aware of all aspects of the situation vis-a-vis today's Iran. For if he is not, and clings to false hopes that the Iranian regime will see him as an Agent of Change, instead of yet another in a long line of Great Satans and Overlords of Hell, it will be a very long Presidency for him, and for us. But even as a conservative Republican, I'm willing to give him that chance because he's my Prez now. If he succeeds with Iran, we all do. Besides, we all deserve a chance, right?
But I would like to see firm action on Roxana Saberi as soon a possible. Her situation can't wait.
As always, the contact pages. Again! President Obama may have his plan, but I have mine, too!
Here's the White House. Here's the State Department. Here's Congress.
Feel free to thank and rally even further Roxana's true BFFs NPR, ABC, the BBC and the CPJ.
Please also phone it in to the Invisible Press: the New York Times, CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS, and AP
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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