Iran over the decades has loved to play the game consisting of making a mockery and fool of the West – it’s a popular vote winner and also creates a lot of power and flexibility as a nation amongst other Arab nations who bow down to the west.
The president did the same thing here, especially with an election looming. This was a perfect opportunity to use the stage to deflect his electoral problems on to Israel. He knew full well that the UN conference was in relation to racism and even assured Ban that nothing racist would be said.
But remember, this is the Iranian game, where nothing is made certain or promised in order to keep the West on their toes. Ahmadinejad could have rightly criticised Israel on other issues. But the very fact that he chose to focus on racism and include Israel in that category, produced the very typical response that he was looking for.
This latest version of the game - consisting of a battle of the ego’s and vested interests - represents the very un-evolved and immature diplomacy amongst diplomats that continues to make conflict resolution so slow and hard to achieve.
Most nations, as well as Iran, know deep down that Iran’s words and actions does not represent what they really think or what they are going to do. The diplomats, before they started to walk out at the president’s speech, should have known full well that it was only a game and hence not react in the way the president most probably would have wanted them to act in the first place.
Iran therefore once again won the game, claiming to be the victim and now no doubt winning much more support and power amongst the Iranian hard-line electorate and other Arab nations with its performance and the reaction from it.
Iran however needs to be careful with its game. With Obama coming into office, the U.S. has shown that it is tired of the game and no longer wants to play it with Iran and other similar nations such as Cuba and Russia. The U.S. has also finally learnt that in order to win the game in political diplomacy and conflict resolution, you must end the game.
Unlike Cuba and Russia who have been willing to put the game to one side in response to the U.S.’s willingness to stop, Iran has no such intention, yet, to show that it is being influenced and dictated by the U.S.’s latest strategy.
The UN speech, along with the arrest of the Iranian American reporter, has been Iran’s way of testing to see just how far Obama and his U.S. administration are not willing to play the game. In addition, with an election coming up, this is understandable, especially in pleasing various hardliners in the Iranian government.
They will therefore be looking to test this U.S. end-game further until they feel satisfied that the U.S. has truly ended its game by complying with some of Iran’s demands. The U.S. and Obama in particular, just need to hold their nerves until the election has passed in Iran and hope that the next person in power will also want to stop playing the game.