Moussavi Engages in Public Diplomacy Via Joe Klein
Joe Klein sat down with Mir Hossein Moussavi and got a couple answers directly salient for a U.S. audience. They confirm some of the impressions left by Moussavi’s al-Jazeera interview, particularly regarding certain consensus positions in Iranian foreign policy. Moussavi tells Klein something President Obama would find very heartening:
In regard to nuclear energy, there are two issues. One is our right to nuclear energy, which is non-negotiable. The second issue is related to concerns about the diversion of this program toward weaponization. Personally, I view this second part, which is both technical and political, as negotiable. We will not accept our country’s deprivation from the right to nuclear energy.
There’s a lot of room for dialogue there, as President Obama said in Prague that he ”will support Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy with rigorous inspections” and reiterated in Cairo that “any nation — including Iran — should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
Moussavi’s broader conception of the presidency sounded some typical themes. Unlike the reformist president Mohamed Khatami, whose promises of openness went unfulfilled, Moussavi stressed to Klein that he better understands the levers of power with Iran’s clerical rulers. Given that he’s talking to an American audience through Klein, it’s safe to assume that he’s sending a message to the United States that he can deliver on his rhetoric. Invited (subtly) to criticize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Moussavi answers:
The criticism that I’ve had is that we have not used the vast potential that we have to create good foreign policy. In our foreign policy we have confused fundamental issues and matters that are in our national interest with sensationalism that is more of domestic use.
In other words, Ahmadinejad is a demagogue, using the threat of a nefarious foreign enemy to consolidate his power, and it’ll be easy to jettison his bellicosity without damaging core Iranian interests. Consider this public diplomacy.