Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki fled before sitting down next to American Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The reason given for his departure was the red see-through dress worn by a violinist who performed at dinner. The dress apparently offended the dignity of Mottaki, who is said to be a deeply religious politician. According to the media at Sharm al-Sheikh, this was the reason that there was no rapprochement or meeting between Mottaki and Rice.

We are not necessarily convinced by this explanation. We have followed carefully the mutually destructive war that has been raging between Washington and Tehran, and it must be said that if we were to accept this theory, one would have to conclude that mutual understanding between the United States and Iran will be impossible so long as there is an American Secretary of State who wears miniskirts … and who shows her legs and her bust to those sitting near her. Naturally, this would result in unequal negotiations between Rice and Mottaki because the Minister would be at a loss as his eyes wandered from her mind to her legs!!

In negotiations like this, it will not be easy for Mottaki to succeed, and thus he will lose twice: first, when he fails to convince Secretary Rice of Iran’s honest intention to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; and second, when he loses his devoutness for violating his religious principles by sitting with an immodest woman who doesn't follow the teachings of Islam.

Some people might ask, “Why can’t Rice and Mottaki negotiate through a screen or a veil?,” forgetting that such a dialogue would lose its credibility because, according to the Arab point of view, “the eyes would do the talking.” And it wouldn't be possible for either side to grow red in the face in front of the other or raise their clenched fists in a show of strength, which is the overriding feature of the current “dialogue of the deaf” between the two sides.

Even if the Egyptian Foreign Minister in his capacity as host had reluctantly asked the violinist to stop her performance because of her sexy dress, the politicians would still not have listened attentively to one another over dinner. Any dialogue between the two politicians would have been difficult regardless of the violinist; it's not as though they would have suddenly transformed into good listeners - even if Mottaki sat shoulder to shoulder with the Secretary of State!!

There was one question that Mottaki has yet to candidly answer: Was it really the violinist’s red dress, or was there a directive from Tehran prohibiting him from crossing the red line with Rice?