Problems with interpretation of Iran negotiations were predictable

The ink isn't dry but already Iran is disagreeing with the nuclear arms deal with West. Photo: Netanyahu unhappy about Iran deal (AP)

CHARLOTTENovember 27, 2013 – The White House was quick to rush to the microphones over the weekend to announce a successful agreement had been reached with Iran regarding its nuclear weapons program. By Tuesday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard news agency FARS disputed the wording of the American version of the agreement.

As mentioned previously in this column, it is impossible to negotiate with Islamic nations because of the techniques they incorporate to interpret an agreement.

As an example, former Secretary of State James Baker once appeared on Meet the Press and described his experience during a lengthy negotiation in the Middle East. Baker was satisfied with the terms agreed upon in the morning, yet by late afternoon, he did not recognize anything in the pact.

Now Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are dealing with the same situation that confronted James Baker. In the words of Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham, “What has been released by the website of the White House as a fact sheet is a one-sided interpretation of the agreed text in Geneva and some of the explanations and words in the sheet contradict the text of the Joint Plan of Action (the title of the Iran-powers deal), and this fact sheet has unfortunately been translated and released in the name of the Geneva agreement by certain media, which is not true.”

Does it really make sense for the Obama administration to alter the wording of an agreement as important as the one negotiated in Geneva if they knew the Iranians would challenge it?

It is a tactic called taqqiya in Arabic which is basically an Islamic strategy which allows Muslims to lie as a means of self protection. Barack Obama knows all about taqqiya. He uses the concept virtually every day himself. Rarely does the president ever say anything that is rooted in the actual truth.

Negotiating with Islamists is no great mystery. What is a mystery is how the West, especially John Kerry and the United States, continue to delude themselves that genuine credible truthful dialogue can be conducted with the Islamic world. Obama and Kerry are playing checkers while the Iranians are playing chess.

First, Iran is not dealing in their native language. Right away, the wording any agreement is open for misunderstanding because the West is dealing with terminology as interpreted second-hand. Read the statement above by Marziyeh Afkham, review her use of the English language and you get some idea of what the West is up against.

Treaties are negotiated all the time among nations that speak different languages, but when dealing with Iran, or other Islamic countries, that element of the debate leaves the door open just wide for Iran to claim the words were inaccurate.

Looking at the situation from another perspective, the West is negotiating with Iran about nuclear weapons in a region we do no understand. Iran is playing on their home turf. Rather than listen to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who actually does live in the Middle East and knows the players better than anyone, the West believes they know better.

According to an account by Breibart, the version of the agreement released by FARS is identical to the text the U.S. released over the weekend. That alone is an indication of the hurdles that must be overcome when dealing with the Muslim world.

By claiming a misinterpretation, Iran has bought additional time for their nuclear program, gained ever greater control of the situation and, in the process, made Obama and Kerry look even more foolish and naïve.

The sad fact is the world has spent billions of dollar and wasted precious man-hours chasing a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, when all we need to do is listen to what Netanyahu is trying to tell us.

The good news is that the Obamacare website will be fully operational by Sunday morning.

Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe. Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (  

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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