FYRP: Rouhani’s Charm Offensive

The post you have been waiting all week for!

David Horsey – LA Times | This week, both President Rouhani and President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly, but were afraid to actually be seen in mortal contact.

Eric McCann – The Guardian | A few days later, the Two Presidents had a 15 minute phone call and a Tweet fest where they discussed New York City traffic jams (and just maybe nuclear power and proliferation).  Feeling the pressure of the Basiji for his wearing “Bad Hijab”, one President took his Tweets back.  I wonder who ran Rouhani’s security detail?

Fouad Ajami – Bloomberg | Mr. Ajami believes that Obama has already been outwitted by Rouhani.  His most poignant statement:

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, who once proclaimed that he hadn’t become the king’s first minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the empire, Rohani hasn’t risen to the presidency of Iran to barter away the regime’s nuclear assets.

Leading into the meeting, everyone had an opinion (or two) on what would transpire in the nuclear negotiations.

Fredrik Dahl – Reuters | Talks have resumed in Vienna between the IAEA and Iran, and actually went somewhere!  Negotiations are expected to continue between the IAEA, U.S. and Iran in Geneva (and later the P5+1).  President Rouhani says he wants quick results.

Jeffrey Goldberg – Bloomberg | The good doctor seems to have quite the sense of humor!  Sadly, he was right about the Giants (hey, I always have the Jets!).  I hope that Rouhani got out of Bloomingdales long enough to take a chopper ride.

We hope you have enjoyed this edition of FYRP.


  1. Gridlock (History)

    The irony implicit in quoting Churchill when the subject is gassing people appears lost on him.

  2. Anon2 (History)

    “The irony implicit in quoting Churchill when the subject is gassing people appears lost on him.”

    It appears to me that intentional irony is Ajami’s point: that Churchill wrote memos in World War II to use poison gas on the England German invasion beaches in the prospective Operation Sea Lion, and later in a strategic campaign against Ruhr cities (and was vetoed by his own general staff). The present day analog is that Iran up to this point (pre-Rouhani) implicitly permitted it’s satellite Syria to use any means, include poison gas, to prevent defeat. Ajami is by quoting Churchill, subtly implying that Rouhani may use nuclear weapons for the same purpose, i.e. insuring the continuation of the Islamic Republic as founded by Khomeini.

    Hopefully Ajami is wrong.

  3. Hass (History)

    How exactly is Rouhani on a “charm offenseive”? Iran’s position has been consistent — it won’t give up its right to enrichment but is willing to make compromises on things such as capping enrichment levels, limiting centrifuges etc. This has LONG been the case. It is only now that the US has even acknowledged these.

    • Anon2 (History)

      ? How exactly is Rouhani on a “charm offensive”?

      A. President Rouhani is actually talking with Obama, the U.S. President rather than using the Great Satan rhetoric from the time of the revolution. Ahmadinejad refused to talk. Talking is a start. It is possible that the two sides can come up with a negotiated settlement that allows Iran to pursue nuclear power without weapons capability. To me this would be the optimal outcome. In the long term, I would like to see the United States and Iran become strong friends, ending this cold war that has gone on since the revolution.

    • Hass (History)

      Ahmadinejad went before the UNGA and repeated Iran’s offer to suspend 20% enrichment. Iran has consistently offered concessions on the nuclear issue. Whether Ahmaidnjead wanted to talk to Obama or not is pretty irrelevant in comparison. The problem wasn’t a lack of talking as much as it was the US insisting that Iran has to give up enrichment — and that’s not resolved so don’t hold your breath about Rouhani either.

    • Anon2 (History)


      What I think needs to be done is to essentially negotiate an agreement to remove the weapons risk from the Iranian nuclear power fuel enrichment program. This (removing the weapons risk while keeping the fuel cycle) is an engineering problem that is has a solution. I believe the 20% fuel for medical isotopes foisted on the negotiators by the Ahmadinejad administration was a clever but false mission, a cover, for a weapons program. Recall that Ahmadi next floated the “need” for 90% fuel for submarine reactors. This is all perfect cover for a nuclear weapons program.

      If Rouhani is willing to negotiate away the sprint capability by down-blending the 20% fuel, get rid of the heavy water plutonium production reactor at Arak (it has no other economic or scientific purpose), and do all his nuclear fuel manufacturing in the open under IAEA inspectors such that any reconfiguring of the centrifuge arrays into a sprint configuration can be detected in real-time (and destroyed before the sprint is completed), I think we have engineered a workable solution.

      On the other hand, if Rouhani wants to keep negotiating for time to keep amassing sprint enriched fuel stock, and for a sprint capable enrichment capability, we are at a negotiating impasse that will not be solved by more time. I leave it “up to the reader” to decide what should be the next policy move at that time.

      I think Rouhani calls the shots and can get through any solution to this problem that he wants. He is intelligent and experienced in nuclear negotiations. He has mandate from both the electorate and Khamenei. He can make peace or he can escalate this cold war by continuing to move to nuclear weapons capability. He is the man of the hour. I am hopeful.

    • Anon2 (History)


      Todays WSJ Headline:

      “Iran Readies Offer to Limit Its Nuclear Program”

      “In an opening salvo in the negotiations, Tehran is expected to offer to stop enriching uranium to levels of 20% purity, which international powers consider dangerously close to a weapons-grade capability.

      Iran is also expected to offer to open the country’s nuclear facilities to more intrusive international inspections, the officials said. And Iran is considering offering the closure of an underground uranium-enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom, which the U.S. and Israel have charged is part of a covert Iranian weapons program, which Tehran denies.”