Fareed Zakaria just Iviewed Iran's Foreign Minister - the semi creepy (un) Honourable (?)Manouchehr Mottaki for his TV show "GPS" on some cable channel and it was a hoot!
Mottaki - as underground Persian Cat 'Rooz' reveals in a dossier is one of the mullahs most precious minions.
"Mottaki joined the Foreign Ministry at a time when members of the Islamic Students Association were rapidly replacing diplomats and even experts at the ministry. After completing his first assembly term, Mottaki joined the ministry and was appointed director of the ministry’s seventh bureau in 1984.
A year later, in 1985, Mottaki was appointed as Iran’s ambassador to
Turkey. At that time, Turkey was a desired destination for many Iranians who belonged to opposition groups and were fleeing either to Europe or Iraq through Turkey.
During Mottaki’s tenure, many of the Islamic Republic’s dissidents were killed across Turkey, prompting Turkish officials to accuse Mottaki of instigating instability and issuing him a persona non grata status, which meant he had to leave the country within 24 hours."
Fareed tried verbally fencing with the Fo Min and it was like watching a waltz or maybe a wrestling match. Subtle dances and feints that ultimately resolved little.
Here's a sample mix
ZAKARIA: Mr. Foreign Minister, one of the questions people have is really about Iranian intentions. What are your intentions in the region?
And one thing that gives a great deal of suspicion to people are the statements of your president with regard to Israel. Your president has said, "The occupying regime" -- meaning Israel -- "must be wiped off the map."
He has said, "This new wave started in Palestine. Eliminate this disgraceful stain from the world."And most recently, just a month or two ago, he said, "Israel will disappear from the geographic scene."What does he mean?
MOTTAKI: Our approach with regard to the Israeli regime is
clear. An event happened in Europe, a horrible war ensued. Tens of
millions of people were killed, and some were survivors. And it was said that these victims of war should be taken care of, restored in some way.
What we believe, what happened in World War II was a crime. We also have to ask ourselves: Who committed that crime?
So, Mr. Ahmadinejad's question is: If these victims are to be taken care of in terms of restoring some of what they lost, why should another place, another people pay from their own pocket the price for this crime?
For 60 years, this regime, as far as the public opinion of the region is
concerned, does not have legitimacy, and has not reached a point where it can be liked by the people.
Of course, we cannot force others to accept what we say. But we think that, in a democratic country we have the right to say what we think.
ZAKARIA: Are you, then, categorically saying, as the foreign minister of Iran, that you have no intention to attack Israel in any sense or in any way?
MOTTAKI: We will defend our own country in the case of any
attack or invasion, or any threat.
And the history of the past several years of our land, Iran, demonstrates
that our country has never initiated an invasion or an attack that was carried out by the Iranian people against another people in the region.
This is the nature of our people, of our history, of our system, as well,
in the past 30 years as the Islamic Republic of Iran.
ZAKARIA: You all have said recently that, were Israel to attack Iran, that it is possible that you would also attack not just Israeli targets, but also American targets.
And I want to be clear, why would you attack American targets, if there were an Israeli attack on Iran?
After all, the United States appears, at least in some ways, to be trying to move diplomatically, not militarily.
MOTTAKI: The Israeli regime is principally in no position to engage
in another adventure in the region -- militarily. We do not believe that Israel is in a position to engage in a military act in the region.
However, if this were to happen -- as much as I would still add,
the possibility of it almost very, very nonexistent -- but at the same time, if it were happen, it's quite possible that independent countries like Iran would see their first responsibility is to defend themselves.
ZAKARIA: Mr. Minister, you said recently that, in recent months, America's psychological warfare against Iran has increased exponentially. What exactly do you mean? Is it covert operations against Iran? Is it threats? What exactly are you referring to there?
MOTTAKI: But in the past two years, on certain cases, at different
time junctures -- I'd say about every six months -- it would become a hot topic, meaning the idea of the possibility of a military attack was raised at some points of time in the last two years. There would be people who actually came to us to inform us, saying that on specific dates there would be an attack on a specific location.
So, our analysis at that time -- including now -- is that these
measures are, in fact, sort of an attempt to add a spice to the political trends that have been going on from the past, but have never been serious ones.
So, our analysis is, in fact, that neither the region nor the
United States of America, nor anyone elsewhere in the world, has the capacity to witness another military attack in the region.
So, I believe it's time that the West changes its eyeglasses and
look at Iran through a different lens. By changing the eyeglasses, I would say they'd be able to see issues more clearly and better. Iran is committed to its constructive approach and the resolution of regional and international affairs and problems.
ZAKARIA: You know, when I listen to you, Mr. Foreign Minister, your words are different from before in some ways. Your tone is different.
I have met with President Ahmadinejad, and he speaks in a very different way
Now, what I am wondering is, is this part of an effort to confuse us? Is this what in America would be called a "good cop, bad cop" routine, where he says some things that are very fiery, and you say things that are very sweet? Or is there a genuine shift in Iran's attitude?
MOTTAKI: We hear new voices in America. We see new approaches. And we think that the rational thinkers in America can, based on these new approaches, see the reality as it is. We are ready to help them in this endeavor.
After the show hoes like Christiane Amanpour (CNN Internat'l Correspondant Babe), Vali Nasr (Tufts University) and Mikey Ware (CNN Baghdad's Palestine Hotel Balcony correspondant cat) gave up some fly and some not so fly analysis which ranged from informed to uninformed to highly suspect.