Ahmadinejad is Not the Principal Decision-Maker in Iran?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Speaking on Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer today, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is in charge of Iran's foreign policy.

"Ahmadinejad is, in fact, as we well know, not the principal decision-maker when it comes to foreign policy and national security," Ambassador Rice said. "It is the Supreme Leader. That was the case before the election; it is the case now. And we will proceed in pursuit of our national interests, using all elements at our disposal, to try to achieve the goals that are most important to us, which are obviously to prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear weapons capability, preventing a regional arms race, ensuring that our partners and allies in the region and indeed the United States remain safe."

Ayatollah Khamenei may be in charge, but his apparent proxy, President Ahmadinejad, continues to escalate the rhetoric with President Obama. This week Mr. Obama highlighted the "bravery in the face of brutality" by those protesting the re-election of Ahmadinejad, and noted that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi has "captured the imagination" of the Iranian people hoping for change.

For the U.S. and other nations, the political machinations and posturing are linked to preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capabilities and spawning a regional arms race.
The U.S. has left the door open for bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, she said. "We need to see how that plays out. We need to see if indeed the offers that have been made by the international community will be opportunities that the Iranians choose to accept. They face a stark choice: Greater isolation, or ending their nuclear program and their other destabilizing activities and rejoining a responsible community of nations. That prospect remains their choice. But it's in the United States' national interest to make sure that we have employed all elements at our disposal, including diplomacy to prevent iran from achieving that nuclear capacity."


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