US officials say they “understand” comments made by the Iranian Foreign Minister accusing them of flip-flopping on diplomacy this week, insisting they believe it was a product of domestic politics.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made the comments in response to President Obama’s most recent threats to attack Iran,which came just days after an historic phone call and amid signs of a major diplomatic push. Zarif warned it undermined trust in the diplomatic process and harmed US credibility.
Obama’s threat came after a high profile meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been an outspoken opponent of diplomacy, and was said to have demanded the US change its rhetoric and return to threats.
The “flip flop” is actually quite in keeping with the Obama Administration’s position on Iran, which seems to change dramatically depending on its intended audience. Officials often make pro forma threats to attack Iran in the wake of any meeting with top Israeli officials, but seek to portray themselves as serious about diplomacy on other occasions. Though it may well undermine US credibility, it is nothing very new.