Will Rowhani and Obama make U.N. history?

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard
Camelia Entekhabi-Fard
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Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the private militia Basij and hard-line clerics, don’t have a regular day job with salaries based on their education or skills. They are paid to spread fear, fear of the United States.

Spreading anti-U.S. sentiment is part of their daily routine: during Friday prayers, public celebrations and other occasions.

What will they do if Iran makes nice with the U.S.? Go back to their barracks and work like any other military?

In spite of Ayatollah Khameini’s recent efforts, the IRGC commanders won’t get involved in politics. Unhappy with current events, the Revolutionary Guards issued a warning on Saturday about the possibility of improved relations with the U.S.

Hours before Rowhani left Tehran for New York to attend the 68th opening of the General Assembly of the United Nations, he announced that Tehran was ready for negotiations with Western powers. However, he stated that the powers must not set conditions and that the world needed to accept Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

The IRGC commented on the situation.

“Historical experiences make it necessary for the diplomatic apparatus of our country to carefully and skeptically monitor the behavior of White House officials so that the righteous demands of our nation are recognized and respected by those who favor interaction,” said an official statement.

The world is waiting in anticipation of a potential friendly meeting between Rowhani and Obama who are set to be at the U.N. assembly at the same time.

I am sure that Rowhani would even kiss Obama’s cheek to ensure the end of sanctions.

Camelia Entekhabi-Fard

As an Iranian who has lived in America for over a decade, my heart is beating quick. But, what about my people in Iran and their aspirations?

I predict that if Rowhani and Obama greet each other in front of the cameras that there will be widespread jubilation in the streets of Tehran. It could even improve the value of the Iranian riyal. This development could decrease goods prices, giving hope for an improved Iranian economy.

Ok, we don’t have a fortune teller to predict what will happen during Rowhani’s 5-day visit to New York City but it seems that Rowhani and his team are out to impress the Iranian people.

Solving the nuclear dispute is one of the most important issues. Iran needs to make an immediate deal with the Western powers in order to lift some of the crippling sanctions in Iran. If the price of this is a handshake between Rowhani and Obama, so be it. I am sure that Rowhani would even kiss Obama’s cheek to ensure the end of sanctions.

No shirking

The signs are telling us that Rowhani won’t shirk his responsibilities. We won’t see a repeat of Khatami’s behavior in 1997 (he avoided a face-to-face with former U.S. president, Bill Clinton). Moreover, Rowhani opened the supreme leader’s ears and eyes to the fact that Iran has one opportunity to end the deadlock between the U.S. and Iran, in New York.

It seems that Khameini got the message and gave Rowhani “carte blanche” to do what is necessary to bring good news back to Tehran. Khameini can trust Rowhani.

The supreme leader talked about “heroic fallibility” in his recent speeches. It means sometime making peace with an enemy (in this case the U.S.), is not a defeat and should be seen as a heroic act.

But the IGRC has a different viewpoint to Khamenei said and warned “the traveling diplomats” of the dangers of dealing with the U.S.

The IRGC statement added that they would support initiatives that were in line with national interests and strategies set out by Iran's theocratic leader and highest authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The White House has left open the possibility that Obama and Rowhani could meet on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting and a U.S. official has privately acknowledged the administration's desire to engineer a handshake between the two leaders. This would be the highest-level of U.S.-Iranian contact since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

This trip is important for Iran, Rowhani and the Iranian diplomats are in the U.S. to improve the country’s image, ease the sanctions on Iran and erase the “diplomacy deadlock” with P5+1. To achieve this, they have to smile at the U.S. and graciously shake the hand of the main man, President Obama.

Here is my question: is Rowhani due to make history?


Camelia Entekhabi-Fard is a journalist, news commentator and writer who grew up during the Iranian Revolution and wrote for leading reformist newspapers. She is also the author of Camelia: Save Yourself by Telling the Truth - A Memoir of Iran. She lives in New York City and Dubai. She can be found on Twitter: @CameliaFard

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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