Obama Brings Mix of Hope, Skepticism to Iran

President Bush once again lashed out at Iran today, declaring their civilian uranium enrichment program a “major threat to peace” and vowing that “for the safety of our people and the peace of the world, America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”

It should come as no surprise then that Iran, in the face of Bush’s regular condemnations, growing economic problems and the ever looming threat of an Israeli attack, Iran should be eager for the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama, who ran a campaign punctuated by calls for dialogue with Iran.

But after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s congratulatory letter to Obama was followed up by the new President-elect condemning Iran for what he termed “development of a nuclear weapon,” Iran’s hope for rapprochement with the United States is undercut by a growing amount of skepticism. At this point, while signals are that Iran would welcome improved relations, they are leaving it up to the incoming US administration to make the first move.

Obama’s team has been surprisingly tight-lipped about their intentions toward Iran, with spokeswoman Brooke Anderson saying they “intend to respect” the fact that President Bush is still in office. Why this should hamstring their ability to comment now when it didn’t during primary season is unclear.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.