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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Iran Responds with Mixed Signals to Obama's Offer of a "New Beginning"
04 May 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Iran Responds with Mixed Signals to Obama's Offer of a "New Beginning"

Interview with Chris Toensing, editor of the Middle East Report, conducted by Scott Harris

During his campaign for the presidency, Barack Obama pledged to conduct a new foreign policy with an emphasis on diplomacy rather than war and a willingness to talk with America's adversaries. Since taking office, President Obama has toured the world where he acknowledged America's past mistakes and expressed his intention to listen to other points of view.

Perhaps the biggest test of the president's new approach is reducing tensions with Iran. In March, Obama released a holiday television greeting to the people of Iran where he spoke of his hope for a "new beginning" in U.S.-Iranian relations. The effort was greeted with a mixed response from Iran's government and religious leaders.

The Iranian government's arrest and conviction of Roxana Saberi for spying, sentencing the journalist with dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship to eight years in prison, could derail the Obama administration attempts to restart international talks on Iran's nuclear research program. Iran denies it is working to develop atomic weapons. Even as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that he is preparing to offer the U.S. and European nations a new framework for talks about its nuclear program, newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened to do everything necessary to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Chris Toensing, editor of Middle East Report, who assesses the results of Obama's attempt to open a new dialogue with Iran, which will be holding its presidential election on June 12.

Chris Toensing is executive director of Middle East Research and Information Project and editor of their publication Middle East Report, contact Middle East Report by calling (202) 223-3677 or visit their website at



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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
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©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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