While Barack Obama is not backing away from his campaign pledge to meet Iran without preconditions, the new administration is hoping Tehran will take the first step toward détente, Politico reports. “If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us,” Obama said in his Arab TV interview, putting the ball squarely in Tehran’s court. Hillary Clinton followed up by saying, it's "really up to them."
Aides are quick to say Obama is standing by his promise, and just as forceful in goading Iran into action. “Iran knows the steps that it needs to take. It's been outlined,” a State Department spokesman said. The administration fears political disaster if it approaches Tehran on bended knee and sees the effort fail, and is waiting to name a special envoy, likely seasoned diplomat Dennis Ross, until the situation becomes clearer. (Read more Obama administration stories.)