Empty Handshakes

The world was agog with the anticipation of a handshake that was supposed to take place in New York on September 24, 2013 and perhaps be the start of international rapprochement between Iran and the United States after the breakage of relations in 1979. However, the friendly overtures to the West and to Israel by the new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and his charm offensive, so different from his predecessor, did not lead to a personal meeting at the United Nations with President Barack Obama. There was no meeting of minds, let alone of hands. Apparently, according to official sources, a handshake at this point was too complicated for the Iranian leader, who has to be conscious that he could be attacked politically by hardliners in Tehran for touching Obama. It is an enticing notion to learn from this of real political dialog in Iran, usually considered a monolithic society, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, where dissent is dangerous and sometimes deadly. More likely, the...(Read Full Article)