During the past eight years of Bushism relations with Iran have gone from bad to terrible since the president continued to issue threats and warnings about what might happen if the Iranian government did not do as he demanded. The arrival of Barack Obama to the presidency offers new opportunities for dialogue which were confirmed by President Ahmadinejad in a recent TV interview. He called upon the Obama administration to implement real changes. “If they accept the rights of the Palestinians, the Afghans… if there is a a real change, relations can change.” He repeatedly emphasized in the interview that his nation was “waiting to see the change.” However, he also made clear that Iran was pursuing a nuclear development program and that topic was not negotiable.
Ahamadinejad’s comments are not unexpected given that his nation just witnessed a dramatic drop in its oil revenues caused by the world wide recession. He has over committed billions in aid to various groups in his own nation and he can not deliver what he promised. The Iranian president tries to come across as though he has the upper hand, but in reality, he is economically in a weak position and needs outside help. Iran lacks facilities to make gasoline and it has an ever rising unemployment rate. A reasonable approach to negotiation might well produce a compromise.