Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Rhetorical standoff

Did you read the one about Iran offering to talk with the U.S. and Iraq about improving security? It sounds like a joke, but that's yesterday's word from Iran. Maybe Tehran is just kidding. Why else would Iran make such an offer just a couple of days after its president, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, hosted U.S.-bashing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez? Ahmedinejad and Chavez boasted that they would defeat "deviant U.S. imperialism" together and end U.S. global dominance. Ahmedinejad and Chavez failed last week to get OPEC to stop using the U.S. dollar to set prices, a move that would mean huge price increases in the United States because of the slumping value of the currency. Saudi Arabia, as usual, blocked the effort. But Washington has accused Iran of selling weaponry to Shiite-aligned anti-government militias in Iraq. Washington has threatened war, but also is trying to step up economic pressure on Iran to force it to give up its nuclear program. Iran claims it wants nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but the U.S. accuses Tehran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. If Iran and the U.S. are ever going to get along, and they haven't since the 1979 revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed Shah, the over-the-top rhetoric will have to be toned down or neither will have any reason, or incentive, to trust the other.

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