The nation of Iran did its utmost to put a damper on the Obama victory party by warning the President not to expect a resumption of talks on Iran’s nuclear program. The head of the Iranian judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, strongly condemned US sanctions on his country and gave a cold shoulder to recent rumors the negotiations would recommence if Obama won a second term.
“After all this pressure and crimes against the people of Iran, relations with America cannot be possible overnight and Americans should not think they can hold our nation to ransom by coming to the negotiating table. Four years ago, Obama… announced he would extend the hand of cooperation to Iran. But he pursued a different path and imposed unprecedented sanctions and it is natural the Iranian people will never forget such crimes.”
Prior to the election, rumors were swirling about secret, back channel meetings between Iran and the United States to jump start the stalled talks. Democrats cited the reports as proof of the President’s dedication to preventing a nuclear Iran, while Republicans accused Obama of planning an “October Surprise” to undermine Romney’s candidacy. In reality, there is no official confirmation that off the record discussions ever took place, and Mr. Romney managed to undermine his own candidacy without any help from the President.
The comments by Sadeq Larijani come on the heels of the incendiary remarks made by the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard last Friday at the 33rd anniversary celebration of the Iran Hostage Crisis. Addressing a massive crowd in Tehran, many of whom were carrying mock-ups of ballistic missiles with “Made In Iran” painted on the side, General Mohammad Reza Naghdi told the protesters, “Today we commemorate the conquering of the castle of Satan! Hear me now, we condemn all sorts of secret talks!”
While the White House is yet to comment on Mr. Larijani’s statement, the harsh words from Iran have raised a stir in the Israeli press. Several major newspapers, including the Jerusalem Post, are covering the issue, amid speculation on how Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will react to the latest slap in the face from Iran. Meanwhile, the world continues to teeter on the brink of a nuclear abyss unlike anything we have seen since the peak of tensions during the cold war.