The Obama administration’s charm offensive with the Islamist regime in Tehran has gotten off to a bumpy start.
The Iranians announced today that a women’s team representing USA Badminton would not be allowed to enter the country to take part in an international tournament, despite being invited by the Iranian Badminton Federation.
The response from the State Department was shock that the administration’s recent overtures have been batted out of the court.
”This is a very unfortunate situation,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters, adding that the U.S. had not received any official notification of the reason for the visa refusal. He noted that both President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton remained committed to engaging with Iran under the proper circumstances.
”It’s not a good sign,” Wood said. ”You know, as the secretary and others have said, when the Iranians unclench that fist, there will be a hand waiting to greet them.”
The tournament had been touted as “the first educational, cultural, or sports exchange between the United States and Iran under the Obama administration.”
No doubt after listening to all the eyewash from Obama and his minions about the “tough diplomacy” and “smart power” that they will use to bridge the gap with the Muslim world, the Iranians have decided to remind the new team in Washington that a “why can’t we all just get along” and play badminton together philosophy won’t be enough to buy their cooperation.
Obama has come into office believing that he can use the force of his personality and good intentions to deal with Iran. But Iran’s support for terror and nuclear ambitions are not a game. The Islamic Republic is a deadly threat to the region and to the West. Tehran seems to view Obama’s sweet talk as weakness and they have, predictably responded to it with contempt.
The question is, how long will it take the president to realize exactly whom he is dealing with?