When it comes to international affairs, the world is a very multi-faceted place indeed, with glaringly disparate values and polar opposite priorities and visions of reality.
Here is an example. The Butcher of Teheran, Ebrahim Raisi, has been sworn in as president of Iran. The Western world knew he was going to be elected, and he was. We knew he would be inaugurated – and he has.
And what an inauguration it was.
One-hundred and fifteen officials from 73 countries were in attendance. There were 10 presidents, 11 foreign ministers, 10 other ministers, 20 speakers of parliaments, 10 presidential and vice-presidential envoys of presidents and vice presidents and a slew of representatives from other Parliaments.
The media was fed these numbers by a proud representative of the Iranian government, none other than Seyyed Nezam Al Din Mousavi, spokesperson of the Iranian Parliament.
If Iran is as evil and as isolated as the United States and the Western world claims they are, why is nearly half the world attending the inauguration of Iran’s new president?
The answer should be clear. Much of the world does not view Iran the way we do. For that part of the world, Iran is not evil, Iran is not duplicitous and is not untrustworthy.
For that very large part of the world we – the Western world led by the United States of America is falsely accusatory of Iran. They truly believe that Iran is unfairly called out, ridiculed and discriminated against by the United States.
One hundred and fifteen officials from around the world – from the other part of the world – came to Teheran to show support for Iran in their conflict against the West and most especially, against the United States.
There is no ideological difference between President Ebrahim Raisi and the Iranian Supreme Leader the Ayatollah Khamenei. That is why Khamenei handpicked Raisi to be the public face of his domain.
The Supreme Leader is the epitome of anti-Western religious leadership while the new president is the epitome of anti-Western diplomatic leadership.
Raisi’s oath of office was broadcast live on Iranian state television. This is the oath he swore to uphold: "In the presence of the holy Koran and before the nation, I swear to the omnipotent God to safeguard the official religion of the country and the Islamic Republic as well as the country's constitution."
And this is what he added: "The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their livelihoods ... All illegal U.S. sanctions aginst the Iranian nation must be lifted … The new government will work to improve the economy to resolve the nation's problems."
On the surface, that sounds very presidential, it sounds like an agenda for a man who cares about the country he is now tasked with leading. Raisi made a pledge to improve the lives of Iranians.
But how can he achieve that goal with such an anti-Western approach to diplomacy – an attitude that is up front and center and clearly elucidated in his first official comments as president?
The situation in Iran has become dire for the average Iranian. Iranians are convinced that their leadership spends more time on religious issues and foreign issues than on fixing the problems that they – the people – face. Problems like not having enough fresh water.
And looking at it from the point of view of the West, they are absolutely correct.
Raisi appointed Hossein Amirabdollahian as his foreign minister. The two are in perfect step.
He assumes his position at a time when the talks between Iran and the P5+1, scheduled to resume in Vienna, stalled. If he wanted to he could get those talks moving again.
He has the perfect opportunity to step up, grab the proverbial bull by the horns and improve the lives of Iranians by engaging in talks that would lift the U.S.-led sanctions against his country.
But that will not happen. He won’t do it. He can’t make himself do it. And his bosses do not want him to do it.
Instead, Iranian media is reporting that the Supreme National Security Council, which reports directly to hardline Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will take the lead in the talks in Vienna.
As Westerners we know that, sadly, if and when that happens, an agreement will never be reached. Large parts of the rest of the world know that, gladly, if and when that happens, an agreement will never be reached.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. Read Micah Halpern's Reports — More Here.
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