William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SUCH A SHOCK; LET ME GET MY PILLS – AT 8:41 A.M. ET:  The Iranians, recipients of endless "outreach" exercises under Barack Obama, have rebuffed a direct, dignified offer of direct negotiations with the United States.  Why?  Did we offend?

(Reuters) - Iran's highest authority, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Thursday slapped down an offer of direct talks made by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden this week, saying they would not solve the problem between them.

"Some naive people like the idea of negotiating with America, however, negotiations will not solve the problem," Khamenei said in a speech to officials and members of Iran's air force carried on his official website.

"If some people want American rule to be established again in Iran, the nation will rise up to face them," he said.

"American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and Americans now need to play a new card. That card is dragging Iran into negotiations."

Khamenei made his comments just days after Joe Biden said the United States was prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership. "That offer stands but it must be real and tangible," Biden said in a speech in Munich.

With traditional fiery rhetoric, Khamenei lambasted Biden's offer, saying that since the 1979 revolution the United States had gravely insulted Iran and continued to do so with its threat of military action.

COMMENT:  Please note that this character is writing on behalf of a regime that murders its own citizens in the streets.  But hey, who are we to question other cultures?

I note his line, "American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and Americans now need to play a new card."  There is some truth to that.  This is what we get when we exhibit weakness and indecision.  And, of course, the Iranians would much rather negotiate with the Europeans, many of whom couldn't care if Tehran develops an atomic bomb, as long as the trade flows.

This may be the year of decision for us involving Iran's nuclear program.  Or, we can kick the can down the road and hope, or distort information for public consumption.  We noted last night that the aircraft carrier Truman is being held at Norfolk, rather than deploying to the Mideast, for budget reasons.  What an utter disgrace.  What a signal to send.

February 7,  2013