In his first substantive foreign policy statement, before taking office, President-elect, Barack Obama, has discussed the general approach of his administration to the Iranian question. During this interview with ABC TV, on Sunday January 11, 2009, he once again reiterated his intention to ‘engage’ Iran. Mr. Obama further spoke of “…. new emphasis on respect and a new willingness to being willing to talk.” He then added “we also have certain expectations.” There was no immediate clarification as to who should be the subject of ‘respect’- the oppressed Iranian people or the leaders of the regime in Tehran? At the same time he declined to elaborate on the nature of his ‘expectations’ from the Iranian regime; leaving one to wonder whether violations of basic human rights, continued execution of women and children and similar crimes by the regime remain as issues on the agenda of this administration or they will be sacrificed in favor of more pressing objectives? While all people of good will should welcome any move that would lead to de-escalating tensions and possible war, skepticism is very hard to avoid.
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