October 25, 2021

Iran Leader will not meet with President Obama – U.S. getting ISIS fight all wrong

 

The United States is calling on Iran to join the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“CBS This Morning’s” co-host Charlie Rose spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about his plans not to meet President Obama at the U.N. this week.

“It will not be fruitful today,” Rouhani told Rose, suggesting there was still too much animosity and mistrust between Washington and Tehran for direct talks at the presidential level to be effective.

“We do not want to put on a show,” he continued. “Our people do not enjoy a show or theater certainly. That is something that the people of the United States do not either.”

Nor does President Obama.

“Let’s let the time mature,” Rouhani said, adding that “such talks and such meetings can be fruitful for resolving problems and issues” at some point, just not right now.

Rhouani’s opinion on the attacks against ISIS in Syria by the U.S. and other Arab countries was less well certain.

“It is not clear for us what they are seeking,” he told Rose, wondering allowed whether Washington and its five allied Arab states “are after a tangible, real objective in the region.”

“But (what) I can tell you unequivocally is no terrorist group can be eradicated and destroyed through aerial bombardments,” Rouhani said.

For the White House though, Arab countries know they are supporting the U.S. Along with the airstrikes, however, the U.S. and its allies are focusing on training the “moderate” rebels of the Free Syrian Army — to combat terrorists in their own country.

Rouhani was skeptical of that objective, also: “So in other words they want to put more fuel on the existing fire?”

“This is not the way, sir,” he told Rose. “The way to combat terrorism, sir, is not for us to give birth to another terrorist group in order to stand up to an existing terrorist group. These are the series of mistakes that have composed the rings of the chain that have taken us from where we were to where we are today, we must accept the realities. We cannot organize armed groups of fighters in order to reach our objectives.”

Rouhani will meet in New York with British Prime Minister David Cameron. Britain is still deciding whether to join future airstrikes in Syria.

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(USA Today) — President Obama used his address before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to extend a hand to Iran, while calling on Security Council members to back a resolution that would mandate consequences for Syria if it fails to cooperate with a plan to turn its chemical weapons over to the international community.

While the White House had left open the possibility that Obama would have an encounter with the newly installed Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani, on sidelines of the annual summit, a senior administration official said on Tuesday afternoon that the two would not meet face-to-face.

The administration official said that the Iranians informed U.S. officials on Tuesday afternoon that it was “too complicated” for Rouhani because of internal political dynamics in Iran to even have the Iranian leader have even a brief face-to-face encounter with Obama.

Obama said the U.S. and international community’s disputes with Iran over its nuclear program can’t be solved overnight but said he sees an opportunity to take a “major step down a long road toward a different relationship.”

“The roadblocks may prove to be too great, but I firmly believe that the diplomatic path must be tested,” said Obama, who noted that he’s instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to take part in face-to-face negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program set for later this week.

Obama’s speech focused broadly on U.S. policy toward the Middle East and North Africa, with a particular emphasis on ridding Syria of its chemical weapons stockpiles, ongoing direct Middle East negotiations, and renewed efforts to nudge Iran to give up its nuclear weapons.

He also appeared to take a direct shot at Russian President Vladimir Putin when he referred to the United States as “exceptional” and defended its role in shaping international affairs. The reference was a rebuke of Putin, who chastised Obama in a New York Times op-ed last week for citing American exceptionalism in making his case to the American public to support military action against Syria if it doesn’t give up its chemical weapons.

The latest push on Iran comes as Obama has expressed cautious optimism about the new Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani, who has made overtures to Obama about finding a political solution to resolve years of crippling international economic sanctions over its nuclear programs.

 

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