It’s time for Iran to talk directly to America, said Davoud Hermidas Bavand in Etemaad (Iran). Surely it’s no accident that Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani have publicized their recent exchange of personal letters, a thaw in relations without precedent in the past three decades. Both leaders are preparing for a historic negotiation to resolve the dispute over Iran’s peaceful nuclear programs, which has crippled this country with economic sanctions. Such a negotiation is greatly desired by Iranians, who voted for Rouhani this summer in the hope that he would get the sanctions lifted and turn the economy around. While the sanctions regime has been imposed by a consortium of countries, it’s clear that “America is the behind-the-scenes force in the talks and, therefore, Iran should accept the offer of bilateral talks with America to protect its interests.”
It won’t be that simple, said Mohammad Imani inKayhan. “The problem between us and the U.S. does not stem from emotional issues to be cleared up with a handshake and a hug.” Obama’s hand “is the hand of a criminal.” It’s the same hand that, “directly or indirectly, authorized a cyberattack on Iranian nuclear installations and the killing of prominent Iranian scientists in cold blood.” It’s the hand that signed the orders to oppress the Iranian people with sanctions, causing a currency collapse and shortages of food and medicine that hurt millions of women and children. Like every American leader, Obama can’t be trusted.
Don’t worry—Rouhani isn’t that naïve, said Saleh Eskandari in Resalat. The Western press has seized on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement that Iran should practice “heroic flexibility” and interpreted it to mean that Iran is ready to capitulate to American demands. They should take a closer look at the origin of the phrase. It was the Prophet Mohammed who invented the tactic of heroic flexibility when he concluded the Hudaybiyya Treaty with the tribes of Mecca in 628. The Prophet compromised on the wording of that treaty, omitting references to God, and many of his followers were upset. The pact, though, brought peace for two years, and during that time Mohammed vastly increased his army, “paving the way for the conquest of Mecca” soon after. The end result, of course, was victory. In that spirit, Iran can practice heroic flexibility in negotiations today, while never forgetting that “America, the Zionist regime, and the arrogant supporters of that cancerous cell are the sentinels of oppression and injustice in the world.”
In fact, said Hossein Shariatmadari in Kayhan, the Supreme Leader himself said that heroic flexibility should be understood as the flexibility of a wrestler, who can bend, even tumble, during the course of a match. “But he does not forget who his opponent is,” or that he is engaged in combat. Each wrestling match has a winner. “Flexibility does not mean retreat.”