How the world is reacting to Obama's reelection

11. Iran

Iran offered mixed and muted reaction to Obama's victory.

For Tehran, the good news is that a war over its nuclear program is less likely. The bad news is that a president who first came to office determined to “engage” Iran in 2009 has since then engineered crippling sanctions against it, writes Monitor reporter Scott Peterson.

“Relations with the US are not easy and after all the US pressures and crimes against the Iranian people, such relations are not possible [to establish] overnight,” Iran’s judicial chief Sadegh Larijani was quoted as saying by the Fars News Agency. “The Americans should not imagine that they can blackmail our nation by sitting at the negotiating table with Iran.”  

“Four years ago, Obama … announced he would extend the hand of cooperation to Iran,” Mr. Larijani further said, according to the official IRNA news agency. “But he pursued a different path and imposed unprecedented sanctions and it is natural the Iranian people will never forget such crimes.” 

That narrative about how, in 2009, Obama had extended an “iron hand covered by a velvet glove,” has been repeated several times in the past by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

Still, credible reports have circulated in recent weeks about back-channel talks between US and Iranian officials, as another round of nuclear talks loom later this month. 

“Talks with the US are not a taboo, nor forbidden,” said Mohammed-Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s Human Rights Council and brother of Sadegh, according to Mehr News.

“Iran needs a strategy of interaction with its enemies,” said Mr. Larijani, in remarks that Mehr News inexplicably removed and then restored on its web page. “If it benefits the [Islamic] system, we will negotiate with the US even in the depth of hell.”

Fars News gave a different rendition of Larijani’s words: “Negotiation with the US due to pressure is not acceptable to us,” and could only be “contemplated” as part of a “strategy” laid down by Ayatollah Khamenei.

11 of 11

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.