Middle East
Mar 12, 2009
Iran wants chess, not American football
By Emrullah Uslu

…The Iranian side says that the United States should take the first step toward Iran. Mottaki has stated, “The prospects for the establishment of relations between Iran and the US will not be bright until the US changes its approach.”

Iranian leaders see the US attitude as aggressive. Mottaki describes the differences in approach between the United States and Iran with an analogy to American football and a game of chess. “We have no interest in American football. Rather, we are interested in a fair chess match, which requires fortitude and patience because in chess an unnecessary or illogical move will lead to defeat.”

With this “chess game” mentality, Iranians misunderstand Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Ankara “as a calculated move to reduce tensions between the two sides”, wrote Siaset-e Rouz in the Iran Daily on March 9. One of the challenges between Ankara and Washington that Siaset-e Rouz lists is the “differences between the two countries regarding regional developments, in particular how to interact with Iran, Palestine, and Iraq, plus the excessive demands of the US in its relations with the Turks“.

While the United States seizes every opportunity, including Turkey’s good relations with Iran, to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Iranians think that Clinton visited Turkey to reduce the tension with the United States. Overcoming Iran’s misunderstanding of world politics, even Turkish-US relations, will be Ankara’s biggest problem in convincing Tehran to come to the negotiating table, if such a mediatory role is requested by both sides.

Moreover, Iran’s “chess game” with the world would make a Turkish role even more difficult. On February 26, for example, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that Iran had asked Turkey to mediate between the United States and Iran during the George W Bush administration; but a week later Hasan Gasgavi, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, told the conservative Iranian daily Kayhan that “Iran has asked neither Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan nor any other foreign dignitary to serve as a mediator between Iran and the United States”.

Here is the full article.

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