how the world sees america

U.S. Engage or Isolate Iran?

Iran_Next.jpg
No Thank You, Say Iranian Americans

Flying home from Los Angeles, I work to fit together the pieces of my visit with Iranian Americans there. It's more complicated than I expected. There are some constants: Everyone I spoke to wanted the current theocracy in Iran to loosen up on its own people and open up to the world, including America. At the same time, they opposed war vehemently, saying it'd be catastrophic for both nations.

The agreement ends there and a passionate debate begins over how to change (or reform) the Iranian regime short of war. Put simply, should America isolate or engage Iran? Different viewpoints split demographics, and even families. "Put three Iranians in a room and get five political parties in an hour," quips PostGlobal panelist Ali Ettefagh. Here's my glimpse in the parlor room.

Isolation
Many established figures within the Iranian American community advocate isolating Iran politically and economically. Often having migrated before or just after the revolution with their families, these people feared persecution under the religious regime either for dealing with Shah Pahlavi or succeeding in spite of him. After decades away from their place of birth, these figures want regime change so they can visit their old homes.

Sam Kermanian, a staple member of the community and Secretary General of the Iranian American Jewish Federation argues that America must isolate Iran to push regime change because diplomacy is not an option. "To the Iranian people, their government is the enemy. If America were to talk to that government, the people would feel terribly betrayed…[which] would only extend the life of the regime."

Attempted reforms have failed, he says, and the time is right for revolution. Iran has a large, young population. Two-thirds are under the age of thirty. With few employment prospects and fewer social freedoms, they’re ready to revolt if America stands with them. So Sam calls for America to step up its financial and moral support for latent revolutionaries.

Rapprochement
Bad idea say others like author Reza Aslan, diplomacy is the only way. With sharp gray glasses that match his shirt, the thirty-something author of "No God But God," who moved to the U.S. after the revolution, says bitingly, “Despite what wealthy 'Tehrangelinos'…who came here with their Swiss bank accounts and with their suitcases full of cash…think, the Iranian regime is firmly entrenched…. Change will come, but it will be gradual change, within the Islamic Republic."

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He says that if America destabilizes Iran covertly, or starves it through sanctions, Iranians will turn against the U.S., emboldening hard line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and legitimating the old (Iranian) rhetoric of “westoxification” which was particularly salient when U.S. President Jimmy Carter seemed cozy with the Shah in the late 1970s. If America confronts Iran now, it will spread the will to sacrifice, and increase the risk of war

The young rappers, the artists and the students I spoke to all shared this fear that isolation could quickly turn to military confrontation. Comedian Maz Jobrani says it's best to be safe and sure and sums it up with "An evolution is better than a revolution.”

In Between
An Iranian mother named Sima agrees, but for a different reason. Sipping coffee she says, “One revolution per lifetime is enough.” Iranians are tired of violence and wouldn't rise up even with America's aid, she speculates. This is understandable, but not necessarily good. Revolutions can be worth it she says, but they're risky.

Former communist activist Farid Imam knows this all too well. He helped topple the shah in 1979 only to be tortured and imprisoned for six years by his pious successor Ayatollah Khomeini. Farid, wizened by age, tan and gruff breaks a mischievous smile and says, with understatement, “Removing the bad guy doesn’t mean the good guy wins.”

Those who came of political age during Iraq War II tend to agree. Born too close to the Iranian Revolution to remember it, and too far from it to forget Iraq II, they see daily how when Saddam goes, civil war comes. Talk first, talk second...and attack never, suggests the rapper Basic. “Look at Iraq! You expect America to do any better in Iran! We have no choice but diplomacy.”

Basic was born in southern California after the Iranian revolution. He wears a big chain around his neck, and endorses rap, and rapprochement. He opposes war at all costs, but his elders are different. They still seethe over their loss.

Professor Nasrin Rahimieh, the director of the center for Persian Studies at UC-Irvine tells me this distinction between the old generation and the new is common. “In my classes and my work, I often find young Iranian Americans are more willing to give the regime a second look that their parents would never offer it.” They are more willing to "want to spend time with dialog." Some of them even “tend to support the idea of Islamic governance…if done without violating human rights.”

There are a number of possible explanations for the youth’s gentler view of Iran: teenage rebellion, liberal education, objectivity born of distance, historical amnesia, fewer personal gripes, or favorable encounters with Iran during family visits. But my trip to L.A. highlighted one other, important motive for sympathizing -- relatively speaking -- with the Iranian regime, which has more to do with America than Iran.

“When you hear all these insulting things about Iran from classmates or whatever, you just want to set the record straight and tell them about all the beautiful things in Persian history…” says Basic. It’s not world politics; it’s personal. At the end of the day, Iranian Americans "just want to be able to call Iran their home, proudly."

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Comments (70)

Johnfrom Turkey:

It is impossiable to isolate Iran as it is an ally of china and russia. so there is only way left to stop this nuke terorrist country. Unfortunately to attack it before it attacks a NATO country with a nuc. missle. This attack should be carried out by Allied forces of NATO, not by US only. Attacs that are carried out alone by US makes US look ugly from overseas.

THOMAS BILLIS:

Sanctions never work.Isolation never works.Ask Iraq ask Cuba.It unites the people in a common cause.Dialogue and interreaction works.It is always our last option but it is the only one the works.The cold war ended peacefully.Any movement in China is due to speaking and interrelation.Intense negotiations in Asia have brought us close to a non nuclear Korean peninsula.We are being made to believe that only when control of oil is involved it is better to strike first and talk later.Condi Rice should have a goddammed apartment in Tehran to try and engage them in a productive rhetoric.Kissinger the war monger had no trouble with shuttle diplomacy when it was in our best interests for the middle east to calm down.War is easy dialogue is difficult.

let them go back to Iran:

I do not appreciate that many Iranians in the US, generally in well-compensated professions such as physicians, financial people, civil engineers, etc. are smartly using American system of prosperity, opportunities and all kinds of freedom yet they are ambivalent or even favorable toward the massively opresive regime in Teheran.

When the regime and values it pushes are so attractive to them and they find increasing number of things which are wrong with the US, why they dont vote with their feet?

They vote for America when they had freedom to travel under oh so bad Shah. And their children who see so many deficiencies here and oh so morally pure Islamic regime there, they can move there, permanently, too.

And build their permanent existence their, buil new Shining City on the Hill.

Why they don't go? I know ... they are not irrational, they know that for them it is much better here, regardles of Islamic Sharia governing everyone.

Refugee from Czechoslovak communism:

(Dangerously) Naive "some American Iranians" who (like not so few people before them commention on what to do with TOTALITARIAN regimes, including nazism, communism, strongman dictatorships etc.) per the author of the above article and a professor who see them at the university (Irvine) see it in following way:

"Yng Iranian Americans are more willing to give the regime a second look that their parents would never offer it.” They are more willing to "want to spend time with dialog." Some of them even “tend to support the idea of Islamic governance…if done without violating human rights.”

Yeah, since when totality or any share, here of (proud) RELIGIOUS DOGMASTISM, were moved (especially in any significant way) to loos up their grip on the population (i.e. that part which doesn't go gaga about national socialist vision of Adolf Hitler, communist equal right "fight imperialist" utopia).

In Czechoslovakia, Mr Vaclav Havel and Charter 77 (Helsinki process) also have tried, for decades, ways of brave persuation of communist totality to relax a bit. Did not help a bit.

Universities in general, here and throughout the history, were seedbeds of "revolutionary fevor": See Iranian students who helld American hostages for over 400 days: When communism was in its global hight of popularity it was (in the US) afgain the academic soild which was most fertile for communist ideas.

I believe that (outside of nostalgia, practical concerns: having relatives back in Iran, aware of any hostility presenting risj to their lives and property) MORE THEN FEW "young Iranian Americans" (perhaps experiencing some kind of osctricizing after 9-11 as more then few Americans are not able to differentiate between slightly dark skined Persions and Arabs, lump Muslims in one, enemy of America bag etc., therefore exhibiting some unfrendlines against some Iranian Americans?), not fully integratring into (mainstream) American society, also critical of "excesses in immorality" of American (and Western?) societies might find afinity toward islamism (new utopis, when communism is out of favor)?

OF COURSE, the will (certainly for now) put disclaimer to their more or less favorable emotions concerning country based on islamic orthodoxy such as "providing that human rights are obseved and not violated".

Sadly, these Iranian Americans (and they are not alone) sem to be a proof that even when they benefit SUBSTANTIALLY from living, making money, enjoying freedom in the US they are ultimately unable to leave their (cultural? whatever) habots, PREFERENCES etc behind: They are (actually) more critical of the West, of the US (tehir and their parent country which - CLEARLY as they are NOT THINKING about going back to Iran) then of Iranian theocratic totality. (se also Muslims in Western Europe: Enjoying tolerance, good life, richness yet HATING, one way or another their new country). They will - of course - hide behind claim that they are (too) US citizens. But look at them, how they tyhink, what they say, whom they write checks, wire money, provide know how and comfort.

Their loyalty is to both their paycheck (in the US), oportunity for themselves (and their children( un the US abnd the West, yet philosophically they are loyal even to Islamic regime.

Should I ask if they consider stoning a women who had non-marrital sex "observation of human right"? Is it OK, acceptable, in Iran today (and US tomorrow) to have morality police penalize women when they are not under chador?

Who these Iranian Americans want to fool? (OK: Now lets listen to their tirades about Zionism, how it has US under control, how Palestinians want peace, prosperity, "more discussion" and Israel doesnt want that:)

To close: Muffi of Palestine spent WWII as personal guest of Hitler. The Axis (Berlin, Rome, Tokyo) also included Bagdad. I do not know how much pro-nazis was Teheran. But (not only) the current Iranian president (with his "lets debate, do more reaearch on Holocaust" etc.) does not seem like reasonable guy.

Refugee from Czechoslovak communism:

"Diplomacy is (our) only chance" etc: Well, well: Tell me first, if (really) free elections (w/o any significant degree of FEAR, coersion, threat of retribution, punisment, including that of loosing job, puting in obstacles to children college education, freedom to travel etc.)would be now healt in Iran, what political party or direction would most likely win, be the most represented?

Like in case of Cuba (or North Korea, although I am fully aware of the fact that feedoms in Iran are still much more present then in these two countries or in the old Sovet block) ... I would bet my imperfect judgement that anything close to today theocracy and mullah will loose.

Therefore, waiting just for democracy, evolution, hoping that mullahs will die out or be more reasonable is CRIME, paid by (another dacades) of lives of tens of millions of Iranians.

Hy former country, Czechoslovakia was (and still is) - unlike Hungary, POland, Yugoslavia - country of OVERLY CAUTIOUS people. For centuries now they never raised their arms or revolted agains oppressors. They built (better than) Magiot Fortress line on their borders against Hitler to give up, typically, w/o any shot to him in 1939.

They "pragmaticaly", like spinelsess peacenics etc. let Hitler to work them overtime in their weapon production factories: Hitler did not send them to Eastern front, knowing thatb they are not brave fighters but they are good, talented workers. Only 3 days after the Reich signed an unconditional surrender, Czech "rised up" in capital city of Prague. But as Germans, wanting to be POWs with Americans instead of Russions, suprised what Czech are doing, shelled the city, destroying about 10 buildings, Czechs called their "uprising" off, letting Germans pass through to American arms. Then for 40 years, unlike again Poles, Hungarians etc. Czech never fought communists, not even when in 1968 USSR occupied them. Unlike 22.000 death in Hungary (1956) Czechs did not fight back. No Polish Solidarity etc. The RESULT? 2 generations of Czechs, despite having most democratic traditions in Central Europe, wasten their lives under the most rigid and oppresive communist regime while Hungarians had their "goulash" communism anmd Poles, Yugoslavs had much more freedom as well.

Even when Berlin Wall felt, barbed wire at borders btwn Hungary and Austria was removed, thousands of East Germans boarded trains in Prague to West Germany (lweaving hundreds of their Trabi cars jamming city streets), even when Gorby was saying: Do what you think, Czechs were passive, SCARED, COWARD. Then, when again the enemy was belly up, they carefully went tio streets, ringing their key chans suggesting that commies mighty like to go. Velvet "revolution" was born.

I remember how NAIVE we were, as students after 1968 Soviet invasion, hoping that US or West are gona help Czechoslovakia. Braving police crdones, their water cannons etc. we shouted "Long live Nixon" (who just wone elections).

Like in Iraq today, many times in past (including giving up on and leaving alone democrats in communist countries and elsewhere) I feel bad, sorry for those Iranians in Iran who wish to have freedom, democracy, to those who are among many victims of the oppressive regime. I know how that feels to have (fee) West tell you (or imply): "Just leave it to diplomacy, give it, yet more time".

FearfulLikeBush:

The fearful seek 'strong' leaders who appear to have conquered their own fears to lead them out of its slavery.

The British Empire was doing what the US is now doing 100 years ago, that is until it met Gandhi, and whenever force meets power, force is eventually defeated. (ref: Dr. David Hawkins)

The Iraq war, a departure from America's history of non preemtive attacks may be the "first shot fired" in the inevitable decline of the American Empire. To attack Iran for any reason will send a clear message to the Moslem world that the US plans to overthrow all Islamic states (to protect Israel at any cost, which will cause a cooperation of otherwise 'friendly' Moslem countries to join the Jihad against American interference in Islamic countries affairs. (The US

As Thomas Friedman has pointed out Islam has to struggle to learn by itself how to cope with living in a modern world while maintaining it's religious principles much as Christianity did to evolve out of the dark ages, and no outside 'force' will be able to do that for Islamic countries.

The ignorant and fearful rally to Bush's call for bombing... but as one poster asked "why hasn't bush put all his resources into protecting Americans from Al-Qaida and destroying them instead he invades Iraq... no one ever answers this question.

mikeinportc:

Engage, engage,engage! The greatest parts of our power are economic and cultural . Let that go to work. All you "bomb-em-to-the-Stone-Age" crowd seem to forget that . The majority of the population has a generally favorable view of the US. That won't be the case if we attack Iran . For once, can we please do what's best long-term, instead of going for the short-sighted, (lazy?) jingoistically pleasing , politically expedient , muscle-flexing of the moment?

lmao:

why should the US initiate anything? why not the peace loving potentates of Iran seize the day and propose a conference for establishing a lasting framework for coexistence in the Mid-East; a conference that recognized the human rights of citizenry everywhere and the defacto countries that now occupy that infernal part of the world? heck...Columbia University would likely host such a cataclysmic chance for "free speach and open discussion".

or do these exemplars of justice have other goals in mind?

lmao:

thank you David H...I feel more ignorant for the experience of reading your post. yes in deedy....a leader certainly must, can only, be someone who falls in with your tummy warming value structure. if we all just had good intenions..why everything would work out for the best! fright makes right!

lmao:

respon...yes...you nailed it...the US and Iran are coequals living on the same moral plane.

the corporate/military cliche is a tad worn...don't you think? but I'll think about that next time I cross a blurb on the latest beheading in Iran!

btw..just how did those Iranian surface-to-ar missiles now appearing in Iraq get there? from the peace loving non-corporate, non-militaristic sponsors of good-will toward all mankind?

the Iranian people have to make their own decisions on what they can live with. the rest of us have to deal with a recidivist group of butchers who harbor no compunction about mass murder and who have no internal/competing controls.

Robert Postuma:

Engage Iran?
Yeah, they want the bomb?
Give it to them-nuke 'em!

David H.:

America's strength is seen as brute strength like a bully, not from an inner strength that comes from a leaders right action.

When policticans and military leaders speak of "America's interests" they more often are speaking of the bully and not the leader. If America were the leader of the world and not the bully of the world America would embrace environmental protection, helping the poor, engaging the tyrants to offer a better path of governing. It takes courage to be a leader, it only takes brute strength to be a bully.

American leaders also hold up the Bible and claim to be Christian, but few follow the teachings of Jesus, rather they rely on the Old Testament to justify brute force, revenge, and killing - the opposite of the teachings of Jesus and the New Testament. Is this not the same desecration of their own religion (Christianity) that fundamentalist Moslems are accused of doing to Islam?

One may look at America as one would a highly intelligent child living in an urban ghetto with few opportunities other than a life of violence, and feel sad about the loss of the potential to make society better.

Respon:

Dear LMAO... you could easily be describing the US Govt... If Iran, Syria, etc did what the CIA has done over the last 50 years they would be on the terrorist list!

Just like in Chile (Allende vs Kissenger) the US CIA secret coup in Iran in 1953 (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB28/) set in action the future coup of the Shah. As Farid Imam was quoted in the article above, Iranians were surprised at the outcome of the revolution... replacing the tyrant Shah with equally tyranical mullahs.

As a whole Iranians dislike their government. As a whole Iranians like Americans but continue to dislike American government foreign policy as they have for 50 years.

When are Americans going to wake up and realize that their government is just an instrument of corporations and the military has caused more harm than good with their failed foreign policy.

Why didn't Bush go after and destroy Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, the Taliban... those that attacked America on 9/11? Why didn't Bush send 130,000 troops to hunt down and destroy Al Qaida?

As someone previously posted, weak leaders need enemies... Bin Laden alive helped get Bush re-elected. Americans - don't vote out of fear (again), vote out of strength.

Krag:

We see the success of decades of isolation... we didn't isolate from the Soviet Union, or China... now look at our relationships with these countries.

Weak politicians always need an enemy because they have no power, only force. (ie power vs force dr. hawkins).

We literally can see the weakness of Ahmadinejad and Bush... using 'force' instead of POWER.

If we want POWERFUL politicians rather than forceful ones we need to understand the difference.

Bombing Iraq into submission hasn't worked any better than it did for America in 'Nam or Russia in Afghanistan. Force will fail, power can succeed.

I believe engaging Iran and others will make America more Powerful.

Old Guy:

You people are foolish.

You actually think you know the way out of conflict, regardless of whether you are pro or anti US, or pro or anti Iran.
Well, what you think will not matter.

Irans leaders will do what they perceive is in their interests. America's leaders will do the same.

What will be, will be!

The only valid question is, do the leaders interests coincide at all with the overall interests of their respective populations?

lmao:

yes...Iran has been such a principled actor on the International stage for decades now. not even remotely possible that Iran, peace seeking/loving religious theocracy that it is, has projected its own designs into the poliical calculus. let's see:

- funding terrorist oganizations

- controlling sleeper cells

- sending regular army troops into Iraq

- global spy operations

- abrogating any real sense of "rule of law"

- imprisoning, torturing, shooting its own people

- religious intolerance

- nuclear weapon "exploration"

- military operations in the NAS and straits

- regional hegemonistic designs

- weapon supplier to baby, women, civlian killers in Lebanon; supporter of assassins

- questionable, if interesting, commercial relationships

yup. they - their "government" - are just good people forced into a reactionary position by the nefarious provocations of the predatory devil incarnate Western World. They shouldn't be held accountable for their CURRENT actions. They are the effect....not the cause. They just need time to "evolve". The elements are all there to nurture this peaceful evolution. uh huh.

sure. talk. but set timelines. and if 1,000s more die internally at the hands of this tyranical theocracy....who cares? not my problem. I'm much more agitated over whether the person who releases the hangman's noose is afforded a right of free speach he doesn't support. this is gonna be great sport! don't fret over a biased media - as we have seen in the Netherlands there is a solution to this problem!

SAM:

Iran with its current regime of military dictators is a hopeless case.Their aspirations for possessing nuclear weapons should be stopped at any cost.Their support for Shiite insurgents in Iraq and Afganistan should be stopped too.The Iranian influence in the area is spreading fast at the cost of the security and independence of its people.On the other hand,other countries in the Middle East,maily Israel,should be pressured to relinquish their nuclear arsenals,otherwise calling on other countries like Iran to stop their nuclear activities would be mere hypocricy.

Political Warming:

The UN called for a dialogue on Global Warming, but Iran is thinking in another warming, political warming, he is getting closer; has ties with Venezuela, Cuba and now Bolivia and Ecuador. Global warming, President of is visiting Bolivia tomorrow!!!

Dario Pouso:

In our historico context we must to argue and to think this cuestion: we have forms of the theocracy in the culture occidental ?

Our habits haven't elements of the masive destructión more powe than posible weapons's Iran?

Joshua Udell:

For God said today, as I looked upon America I saw a man who was sitting in the White House and as he sits there he is watching as a leader who is an enemy to your nation comes to defile you by spreading lies when he goes back to his own country he will say something entirely different for his own mouth shall be the cause of his own death. This double edged sword in this man is nothing. For I am raising you up with many who you never thought would help you for a season.

http://jcudell.blogspot.com

Jon Dixon:

I don't believe it is America's job to overthrow every government in the world that we don't agree with.
I beleive unless another country or regime, I guess we have to make that distinction now, poses a real and (varifiable) threat than our appraoch should be more pragmatic.
Why do we have all those diplomats in Washington, if the only messege we seem to want to send comes at the end of a blunt threat or the end of our guns via the military.

Ray A. :

For more than twenty-three years, the people of Iran have made every imaginable sacrifice and suffered every possible injustice in the hope of creating a better future for themselves, their children and their homeland. They have now come to the conclusion that the tyrannical regime which rules over them is unwilling and incapable of providing them even with their most basic needs, or granting them their most basic rights as human beings.
Iranians are kind and patient people. They are people of culture and peace. They are proud people who love their country. The historical perspective with which they view events, provides them with the capacity and commitment to easily grant the benefit of the doubt, to be forgiving of mistakes and to explore every venue and option before taking matters in their hands and rising to change their circumstances.
This is the reason that while droves of them were being executed and imprisoned by their own government the nation as a whole continued to fight an eight year grueling war in defense of the country. This is why when they clearly knew that their affairs were being mismanaged, their government was corrupt, their oil wealth was being plundered, their rights were being trampled upon, their freedoms were being destroyed, and even their meager salaries were not being paid, they went along with yet another devious scheme promising freedom and reform as personified in Mr. Khatami and his "Reform" movement.
The Islamic Republic might have succeeded in misleading some in the international community by presenting a new "moderate" front and by its baseless claim to a "democratically representative government". The people of Iran know better, but for a while they were willing to give the benefit of the doubt to this new window dressing too.
BUT NO MORE.... The true nature of this regime has been completely exposed. Despite its calm and peaceful nature, Iranian society has reached its limit and it has now lost its patience. Large and ever increasing segments of society are now demanding change and are taking the risk of confronting tyranny on the streets. What started as small-scale student unrest is now snowballing into a movement joined by teachers, workers, women, youth and people from all walks of life who just don't have anymore to give and are fed up.

BigB:

We have a great problem with the oil. What happens when we can't get their oil any more? Higher gas prices. Its an extremely difficult situation. My only opinion is that we in the U.S. need to learn our place and respect the sovereignty of other countries. They are supposed to be allowed to rule and make the decisions that they see fit. We may as well be a past Britain with its former colonies. We should not always take the self-righteous approach and should empathize with the countries we deal with.

SCSOCAL:

Serena 1313 you must read the liberal media or listen to the liberals rant from congress everyday. They're Bush hater's too just like you. Do you believe every sound bite that
comes from these people or do you do your own
research?? My god wake up and get a reality check.

Robert James - after reading your comments, it tells me you really know very little about Iran,
it's people and leaders. You're a Bush hater
though, that comes thru loud and clear. Most people don't agree with you by the way!! You're
just one of those people that drink the koolaid
that the liberals dish out when they need some
support for their ideas.

The rest of world agrees with us that Iran shouldn't have nuclear weapons. They would only
use them for agression and not defense. Ahmadenijad is just a front for the mullahs!!
We're in a religious war with islamic fundamentalists! You can't reason with these people!! We're not the only ones who have been
attacked, they want all infidels dead.

Clinton could have gone after Osama Bin Laden
and saved Bush from having to make the tough
decisions and fighting this war. Clinton was
trying to assure his legacy as President was
a glowing one instead of thinking about our country! He dodged going after Bin Laden just
like he dodged the draft!!!!The Democrats are
trying to shut this war down before the elections. They don't want to be on the hot seat if the war is still on and they're in power!! They're really working with the enemy
to defeat us in this war!!

JZ:

"The EU and US has been trying to engage the Iranian regime for years now without success."

What!? When!? Where!?

Reagan and Bush Sr. help Iraq start a very bloody war with Iran. Clinton may have reached out to Iran a little bit, and Iran was reaching back. But President Bush? When has he ever tried to engage anyone? Unless of course saying someone is part of the "Axis of Evil" is positive engagement! I mean seriously where do you get that from? Iran has often reached out to the US, but has been turned down as well. For instance, they helped us in the war against the Taliban. Just think how positive of a move towards reconciliation that was. What did our country do to repay this helpfulness? We put them in our "Axis of Evil." Also, please listen to Scott Ritter who speaks about the Ayatollah reaching out and asking for dialogue with the Bush administration in 2003. Of course, our warmongering leaders ignored him...

khairi janbek:

Iranian foreign policy is dictated by a mixture of political realism as well as, by the irrational demands of the religiousity of its leadership. The same with the US foreign policy. American foreign policy seems also to be dictated by realism as well as by the irrational demand, of having a manifest destiny to shape the world into its own image. So, will both countries be able to shed the irrational aspects in their own foreign policies and concentrate on the political realism aspects?. However, we are likely to hit a snag even here. What can the Americans offer the Iranians which they cannot take by themselves?. Already the heavy Iranian influence is felt in Iraq, Lebanon, as well as with Hamas. The only bitter pill which the USA has to swallow for better relations with Iran, is to acknowledge all its regional gains, and accept it as a nuclear power. While the only thing the Iranians could give to the USA, is giving up on its nuclear programme, and settle for its regional gains. I think both countries are on a collision course, because there are no bargaining chips on the table.

lida:

Elect Guiliani he will take care of IRAN!!!!!

I mean that sarcastically.

see link below

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2007/09/21/giuliani_israel/index.html

Petras Vilson:

Engage or Isolate ?

The EU and US has been trying to engage the Iranian regime for years now without success.

Yes, the Iranian people and culture are wonderful... but the regime is illegitimate, dangerous, and hugely unpopular.

Iran once seized American hostages.. oh ya and did so again recently with visiting American-Iranian scholars.

Iranian IEDs are killing American soldiers every month according to General Petraus.

Iran supplies arms and aid to Syria... a supporter of Al Qaeda in Iraq which is killing American soldiers...

Iran funnels arms and aid to Shia militants... some of whoem we guess are occasionally killing American soldiers...

Irans President Ahmadinejad largest dream of which he has spoken is "a world without America."

Ayatollah Rafsanjani (who is supposedly the "pragmatic conservative") has declared:

“ If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in possession . . . application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world. “

Engage or Isolate ? Engage yes... preferably with lots of air strikes on military, nuclear, and Revolutionary Guard and mullah targets.

serena1313:

Engage Iran!

Bush & Cheney's attempts to generate a casus belli for military action, absent solid evidence, makes America weak and insufficient to drive policy. The impediment to progress and peace in the Middle-East is, in-part, largely attributed to America's blind, arrogant and ignorant foreign policy. Military solutions are not working. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see making the same decisions over again and again do not produce different results. So why continue? Will America ever learn!

Bush's obstinate approach to Iran coupled with false accusations and threats of military retaliation dispel lingering doubts about his credibility. Remember the purported evidence Powell presented at the UN against Iraq was irrevocably debunked, but sadly after-the-fact. Powell even admits he knew it was bogus, but gave the presentation anyway.

There is no reason for that to happen again. However last September 2006, a senior aide to International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohammed El-Baradei sent a letter to the head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence, accusing the congressional committee's August 23 report of seriously distorting the IAEA findings on Iran's activity calling parts of it "outrageous and dishonest." Having falsified information before and since apparently the WH administration has no compunction about starting another war based on fiction and fabrication.

After years of hard work El Baradei, head of IAEA, progress with Iran may unravel if threats are not toned down. Diplomatic efforts hindered by Bush & Cheney's unrelenting demands for Iran to shut down its nuclear reactors suggest that may be intentional. Simultaneously Bush & Cheney claiming to seek diplomatic measures while lobbing accusations against Iran suspends all credulity. Heretofore questions whether the Iranian perceived "crisis" can be reconciled absent direct communication strongly insinuates diplomatic relations are not their goal. They'd rather attack.

Either some forgot or did not know in 2003 Reuter's reported the Iranian Foreign Minister floated the prospect in a memo stating they were willing to converse with the US on diverse subjects ranging from uranium enrichment to anti-Israel and terrorism. The message, sent thru back channels via the Swiss, stated Iran was open to addressing America's & Israel's concerns, but Cheney & Bush declined, said no. Why would they do that if they did not have plans to invade Iran!

Some may be surprised to learn the Iranian government had been co-operating with the US

"[s]ince... the winter of 2001, Tehran had turned over hundreds of people to U.S. allies and provided U.S. intelligence with the names, photographs and fingerprints of those it held in custody, according to senior U.S. intelligence and administration officials. In early 2003, it offered to hand over the remaining high-value targets directly to the United States if Washington would turn over a group of exiled Iranian militants hiding in Iraq."

Iran is in full compliance with the NPT of which they are a signatory. In contrast as soon as Bush came to office he refused to ratify the treaty.

Despite Bush asserting otherwise, Arab opinions in the Middle-East are in direct contrast in regards to a "nuclear-armed Iran."

"A former Egyptian ambassador rebutted Mr. Hadley's claim that Arab countries feel deeply threatened by Iran's nuclear program. "We have lived beneath Israel's nuclear weapons for many years, so even if Iran gets nuclear weapons it wouldn't be anything new. Anyway, they are not that close to it," he said."

If Iran does acquire a nuclear weapon it would likely be for deterrence only. Moreover having not attacked another nation in over 200 years Iran is not about to now unless attacked first. The Iranians are not so stupid as to commit suicide. They know it would be instantaneous suicide considering the US would immediately bomb them to hell and back. Iran has no reason to nuke Russia, India, Pakistan, China, or Israel (all of which are nuclear armed) Plus Israel can take care of itself with an arsenal of 300 - 400 nuclear weapons.

Another illogical statement often made accusing Iran of smuggling weapons into Iraq to kill US soldiers is dubious! First of all, if that was the case why would Iran make weapons with their logo on it in English? They are just as nervous about a destabilized Middle-East as the rest of the region.

While Bush and Cheney struggle to engage us in yet another war the consequences will be dire for all concerned. Furthermore should Bush-Cheney attack Iran, whose missiles cannot reach the US, Iran will retaliate. Any US military aggression in Iran guarantees massive numbers including our soldiers in the region will die.

Almost on a daily basis revelations about the administration's dishonesty surfaces. Will Americans allow them to fan dangle us into another war based on false allegations? Again by demonstrating a willingness to mislead and misinform Americans, threatening to use military means against Iran based on unsupported allegations Bush exposes the ugly underbelly of the beast: war, regardless absent any proof or solid evidence -- they'll make it up. Under International law, nations may unilaterally use force only in response to an objectively verifiable attack or threat of imminent attack.

Stop threatening Iran. Stop using the troops as a means for regime change. Make different choices. Engage Iran.

It is easy to start wars; it is much more difficult to communicate diplomatic wisdom. The former displays weakness, the latter, strength.

RAJIV:

Robert James,

>>Apparently, it is OK for Israel to have >>nuclear weapons but it is not OK for Iran to have them. >>The grounds relied upon by Bush to support his claim that Iran must be prevented from having >>nuclea weapons does not ring true.


Well, I think its such a naive view. You are sort of saying if America and Israel can have nuclear weapons why not Iran. That is such a foolish arguement. You cannot allow rogue nations to have dangerous weapons, period. I believe Iran should be prevented from developing nukes at all costs (and I do not believe their nuke research is for energy purpose, no way). Same with North Korea, same with Pakistan (they have nukes now anyway, so the rest of the world should be extremely careful that the terrorist elements will never get to it). These countries will most likely use these weapons for aggression, not self defense. As the sole super power in the world, America has a responsibility to prevent that from happening - I dare say America is the last beacon of hope for bringing democracy and order to the world, despite all screwups by the Bush administration. Most people (including me) despise Bush because he lacks the brains to fight this war against fundamentalism and terrorism intelligently and successfully, not because they do not want to fight this war. By invding Iraq unilaterally and emboldening Iran through all the screwups ever since, Bush has not only made it impossible to move militarily against Iran anymore, but he also has driven the moderates muslims in Iran to this crazy fundamentalist guy Ahmedinejad. It will be another disaster if Bush tries to engage in Iran either way, militarily or deplomatically - I think it should be done by the next president. But Bush has made it so much harder for whoever will inherit the presidency to successfully wage the war against the terrorists.

lonewolf:

someone stated that no one was asking what would happen after we invaded iran, i think that it was said that it was time to get a clue, the same thing will happen as in iraq only on a much, much larger scale.

Robert James:

Bush has a simplistic view of isolating governments that he does not like. Instead of negotiation he uses a hammer.

Do not be surprised if Bush and ISrael bomb Iran.

Apparently, it is OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons but it is not OK for Iran to have them. The grounds relied upon by Bush to support his claim that Iran must be prevented from having nuclea weapons does not ring true.

In addition, the USA has prompted another arms race. It spends more money on weapons than the rest of the world combined. It makes old technology more dangerous and it seeks new technology to give it other advantages.

If Iran gets a bomb it will used as a deterrent. That is why France got it when the USA and Britain opposed France getting it.

The west is trying to tell the rest of the world what it can and cannot do. Hypocrisy and bullying will produce the opposite result.

Let the USA set an example by reducing its armaments and reducing its R&D of weaponry. The it can ask the rest of the world to follow a new order. IN any event, it should stop being a bully.

I expect Bush to arrange for Iran to be bombed.

Rajiv:

DOES IT MATTER,

>>Iran, not Pakistan; is in a much better position to become the bulwark against the spread of >>fundamentalist theology. Iran and Turkey are the rest of the world’s best bet to avoid the “clash of
>>civilization”.

I couldn't agree more.. I enjoy reading your comments. You should blog rather than commenting on others blogs because I find you have great insight into the history and culture of many countries and you possess a great writing style. Please consider my suggestion seriously.

Iran still has a substantial number of progressives / moderates. Just a few years ago, when Mohammed Qatami came to power, Iran appeared to be moving towards a moderate society so many years after the Islamic revolution. But that was to be shortlived and the mullas again gained an upper hand on the socio-political front. But as you say, there is a spark that needs to be rekindled. Ahmedinejad won power only by a slender majority and his popularity afterwards is a direct result of being on the opposite side of George Bush and the Imperial America that Bush represents to the rest of the world.

Persian culture is different from Arab culture (can anyone imagine an Arab nation that can produce the kind of critically acclaimed Iranin movies?) The Iran/Iraq conflict was atleast as much cultural and political as it was religious. But now it seems the Iranian society is again moving towards fundamentalism and one reason for that is the isolation they receive at the international level.


mike s:

SANDY

I won't dispute your positive experiences in Iran, nor the general good will of the Iranian people, nor the accomplishments of the Persian empire.

But to say that Iranian government is more democratic than the US system beggars belief. The Governing Council regularly disqualifies legitimate candidates, hundreds of them. And surely you cannot say that political dissenters in the country agree with your assessment.

Jeff:

Iran is not anyone's problem except for Israel. Certainly, Iran is never going to attack Russia, China, Europe, the US, or anyone else, and so no one else views this as a big threat.

Only Israel and Israel-firsters are making a big deal about Iranian nukes, just because it will end Israel's ability to blackmail its neighbors into submission.

Iranian nuclear parity with Israel is a GOOD thing because it will force Israel to make peace with all of its neighbors on terms that are fair considering there's only 5 million Jewish Israelis compared to 250 million Arabs in the region.

JRLR:

BLACKSTONE writes:

SANDY, "...if Iran is such a fine place, why do you live anywhere else? And if the United States is such a corrupt and dangerous place, why do you visit? Or do you live here?"

BLACKSTONE, you know, every time your "argument" gets repeated (which is often in the US), it invariably gives me pause.

Here is a problem I have that you can possibly help me with. (I shall use letters to designate countries, simply because the issue seems too emotional in the US for me to dare use real country names...)

A person P is a US citizen living in the US, it being his/her country. It so happens that P considers that country S has a higher quality education system than the US, that country C has a far superior health system than is to be found in the US, that in country F ordinary people are culturally far superior than your average American, etc.

Now the question: according to you, where need/should/must/ought P live: in S, in C, in F, or in any other country P finds superior to the US, for whatever reason?

My impression is that many people like P continue living in the US simply because they see no way one can answer the above question, and because the US is THEIR country as much as yours, after all, however critical of it they may be. As a matter of fact, they do not see their being American a sufficient reason not to hold other countries in high esteem, possibly even in higher esteem than their own, in some respects.

How dare any American claim that makes them unpatriotic, let alone anti-American? How dare any American claim they therefore ought to leave the US to go and live in any such country they happen to admire more?

But I imagine you'll beg to differ and offer your answer to the above question.

Think:

I think engaging is the proper course, but mostly in the form of cultural exchanges.

Host large numbers of Iranian high schoolers in towns throughout the USA and let US students do the same throughout Iran.

This will do more towards weakening the stronghold of the theocracy in Iran than either engagement by politicians alone or isolation. It is the wisest long term plan.

Mike Deal:

The U.S. has maintained a total unilateral trade and financial embargo on Iran since 1995, as a result of political pressure from AIPAC in the run-up to the 1996 election when Clinton imposed the embargo in response to legislation introduced on behalf of AIPAC by Republican NY Senator D'Amato. The embargo has done nothing to influence the behavior of the mullahs, and in fact gives them a convenient excuse for their economic failures, as has been the case with unilateral embargoes of Cuba and North Korea, among others.

In fact, the embargo hurts the US far more than it hurts Iran because it has drastically reduced the export of ordinary civiliam commercial American products in the region because the logic of the embargo extends its reach to reexports of American made products and foreign products made with US parts, materials, components, and technology. This means that a trader in Dubai or a manufacturer in India must either agree to abide by the U.S. embargo with respect to US products, or find alternative suppliers. They usually find alternatives to US products.

Cutting off trade with Iran has also cut our sources of information and influence among Iranian secular society. (E.g., if U.S. business can't operate there, the CIA is hard put to maintain networks of informers because it doesn't have cover for its agents. Similar, if no Iranian business can legally sell and service US products, there is no real pain in the Iranian economy for worsening relations with the US, and no outlet for developing sympathies).

The best way to undermine the influence of the mullahs is to allow US business, especially entertainment industry, to do business freely with Iran.

Steamboater:

(pappy) "Since when have rappers, artists and students had a hold on reality?"

If it hadn't been for artists and students etc, the Vietnam War would have never ended when it did. If it hadn't been students in France, the french government would never have have moved to change very bad policies. The same applies to Eastern Europe and its mainly peaceful revolution in the late 20th century. It's youth our hopes are built on and our future. Left to old reactionaries like you, there is no future.

Mike Deal:

The U.S. has maintained a total unilateral trade and financial embargo on Iran since 1995, as a result of political pressure from AIPAC in the run-up to the 1996 election when Clinton imposed the embargo in response to legislation introduced on behalf of AIPAC by Republican NY Senator D'Amato. The embargo has done nothing to influence the behavior of the mullahs, and in fact gives them a convenient excuse for their economic failures, as has been the case with unilateral embargoes of Cuba and North Korea, among others.

In fact, the embargo hurts the US far more than it hurts Iran because it has drastically reduced the export of ordinary civiliam commercial American products in the region because the logic of the embargo extends its reach to reexports of American made products and foreign products made with US parts, materials, components, and technology. This means that a trader in Dubai or a manufacturer in India must either agree to abide by the U.S. embargo with respect to US products, or find alternative suppliers. They usually find alternatives to US products.

Cutting off trade with Iran has also cut our sources of information and influence among Iranian secular society. (E.g., if U.S. business can't operate there, the CIA is hard put to maintain networks of informers because it doesn't have cover for its agents. Similar, if no Iranian business can legally sell and service US products, there is no real pain in the Iranian economy for worsening relations with the US, and no outlet for developing sympathies).

The best way to undermine the influence of the mullahs is to allow US business, especially entertainment industry, to do business freely with Iran. The lesson of the Cold War is that the communist regimes that were (and are) subject to US embargoes are the communist regimes still in power with no reform. If we want reform in Iran, open commercial trade with Iran.

Mike Deal:

The U.S. has maintained a total unilateral trade and financial embargo on Iran since 1995, as a result of political pressure from AIPAC in the run-up to the 1996 election when Clinton imposed the embargo in response to legislation introduced on behalf of AIPAC by Republican NY Senator D'Amato. The embargo has done nothing to influence the behavior of the mullahs, and in fact gives them a convenient excuse for their economic failures, as has been the case with unilateral embargoes of Cuba and North Korea, among others.

In fact, the embargo hurts the US far more than it hurts Iran because it has drastically reduced the export of ordinary civiliam commercial American products in the region because the logic of the embargo extends its reach to reexports of American made products and foreign products made with US parts, materials, components, and technology. This means that a trader in Dubai or a manufacturer in India must either agree to abide by the U.S. embargo with respect to US products, or find alternative suppliers. They usually find alternatives to US products.

Cutting off trade with Iran has also cut our sources of information and influence among Iranian secular society. (E.g., if U.S. business can't operate there, the CIA is hard put to maintain networks of informers because it doesn't have cover for its agents. Similar, if no Iranian business can legally sell and service US products, there is no real pain in the Iranian economy for worsening relations with the US, and no outlet for developing sympathies).

The best way to undermine the influence of the mullahs is to allow US business, especially entertainment industry, to do business freely with Iran. The lesson of the Cold War is that the communist regimes that were (and are) subject to US embargoes are the communist regimes still in power with no reform. If we want reform in Iran, open commercial trade with Iran.

Coldcomfort:

. . . It was destined that the aftermath of Bush's war would result in Iraq being alined with Iran not America. And there's nothing that Bush's War can do about it.

. . . However, I do kind of hope that he hands it off to another President. I fear what Bush's incompetence can do. . . . And on the other hand, I feel that Clinton could create a better peace and a better withdrawl than Bush could ever do.

Coldcomfort:

. . . It was destined that the aftermath of Bush's war would result in Iraq being alined with Iran not America. And there's nothing that Bush's War can do about it.

. . . However, I do kind of hope that he hands it off to another President. I fear what Bush's incompetence can do. . . . And on the other hand, I feel that Clinton could create a better peace and a better withdrawl than Bush could ever do.

Anonymous:

. . . It was destined that the aftermath of Bush's war would result in Iraq being alined with Iran not America. And there's nothing that Bush's War can do about it.

. . . However, I do kind of hope that he hands it off to another President. I fear what Bush's incompetence can do. . . . And on the other hand, I feel that Clinton could create a better peace and a better withdrawl than Bush could ever do.

jeishi:

long live iran and the iranian culture

BLACKSTONE:

SANDY wrote:

So to all Iranians be proud of your fine country. It is a developed civilisation not a collection of Immigrants who never left and stole the country from the indigenous people.

_________

Sandy, ask the Kurds if they are proud of Iranian civilization? Ask them if their national patrimony was stolen and who stole it? And if Iran is such a fine place, why do you live anywhere else? And if the United States is such a corrupt and dangerous place, why do you visit? Or do you live here?

And by all means, Iranians, be proud. Persian civilization is admired by all...that's why so many try to immigrate to Iran illegally, duplicate your architecture, attend your medical schools, buy your art works, see your movies, watch your television programs...especially the sitcoms "Mullah on the Pony" is a scream!

High Expectations:

Not one of your best, Amar.

Darden Cavalcade:

Iranians and Americans have had virtually no contact for a generation. Frankly, I don't think either society has been harmed by the separation. My vote would be for neither war nor engagement.

cosmo:

Change Iran? for what purpose? I agree that Iran or any other society should be an open society. But it is difficult to be an open society when it has powerful adversaries willing and wanting to strike at any moment. Just look what is happening to us after 9/11. Our civil liberties are taken away and our own government is passing laws that would enable the government to arrest anyone without bring any charges. Our own government has ignored laws and passed numerous other laws that some say sets the foundation and legal framework for a police state. What are we trying to change in Iran's behavior. Do we want Iran to behave in a way that serves our interests? We want Iran to give up its nuclear ambition, yet we continue to modernize our own. We help other countries like India with their nuclear program and unlike Iran, India has never signed the non-profileration treaty. Before one addresses the question how to change Iran's behavior, we have to be clear what type of change do we want.

Samad Behrangi:

The one thing I don't see anyone asking here is what happens after? Whether it's supporting revolutionaries in the mountains or the United States taking military action against Iran; What happens after?

Iran is a large, complex country with many different dialects and cultures. It is the only country in the region that has for the most part been held together within the same land mass.

Iraq in the west was "put together" by other powers and the same goes to the east with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Let's assume the Islamic Republic was out of power through 1 of a million different way's. Who will take power? Who will influence these people? How will they get in power?

To all the Iranians outside of the United States I would say ORGANISE. Develop groups. Talk and engage others. DO NOT accuse those who have opposing views as being sympathises to one side or the other but develop your ideals through the practice of Democracy.

The sad part is that it seems Iranian's in the 1970's (I was not around then) had a better grasp of what democracy was unlike those today living in LA.

Sandy:

Having visited Iran on numerous occasions to visit my wifes family my impressions are very positive.

I have over time spent 7 months in the country and visited Shiraz, Isphehan, Mashad, Yazd, Qhon, Kish, Kerman, Bam, Sari,Abyana, driven over the Alborz mountains as well as Tehran.

Much safer than American cities and received with grace everywhere.

I believe the real problem America has with Iran is that Iran is the only country in the area that could lead the area into a more capitalistic society.

They have suceeded without AMERICAN handouts and are independent.

This is a threat to American policy of control that exists in the area.

As for democracy, although the system is to say the least convoluted it is probably more DEMOCRATIC and less CORUPT than the US system.

There are free and Democratic elections at all levels with many political entities.

The same cannpt br said about its neighbours, Saudi, Jordan,Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, Libya, Morocco. The Emirates et'c all complete dictatorships. Yet allies of America!!

So to all Iranians be proud of your fine country.

It is a developed civilisation not a collection of Immigrants who never left and stole the country from the indigenous people.


False choice:

Isolation does not work, has never worked.
Engaging another country and culture requires an open mind and genuine goodwill.
The neo-cons, Bush, Cheny & Co. have no good will, even though they cannot pull up their socks, politically speaking, and face reality.

No matter how much media hype you pile up against Iran, the reality always has the tendency to show itself. People in America must start separating facts and reality from fiction and Hollywood doping exercises in self-congratulation.

lonewolf:

engage iran a get a clue is what the state dept. needs to do, because obviously it had no clue whatsoever about iraq.

Gerg Yrrab:

Nice column Amar.

Clearly there is a great deal of energy around this. The time for NeoCons in the US to 'go after Iran' has long since past. None the less, it was not so long ago that Israel preemptively struck out at Iraq's nuclear potential.

Someone who has threatened to wipe the earth of you should not expect a great deal of understanding.

JRLR:

"Engage or Isolate Iran?"

That is a very disappointing title, Amar.

Points to a very disappointing approach.

Binary thinking one generally finds on the roads that lead nowhere.

Dead end.

Sartre's "No Exit" ("Huis-clos"): "Hell is other people." ("L'enfer, c'est les autres").

Sounds familiar?

Is Iraq not enough?

What would a strangled Iran be, to any decent Iranian or Iranian American?

What would a destroyed Iran be, to any decent Iranian or Iranian American?

What would a strangled Iran be, what would a destroyed Iran be, to any decent human being?

There are many, many more options to be considered.

Why are they not being considered? Why such blindness? Why such lack of imagination? Why such impotence?

One of those options is to mind one's own business: To live and let live.

Look at New Orleans, look at those fellow Americans in/from New Orleans, years later...

"Go away! I only trust my dog", shouts to rescuers that African American barely floating on putrid muck -- a scene the whole world has watched, in disbelief.

New Orleans is both reality and a symbol of all that need be mentioned and attended to, in the United States, but is not.

Is one New Orleans not enough?

How high need the water rise?

How deep need the hole be?

Irani:

All of those Iranians in USA have pledged allegiance to another country. That is to say, they are now citizens or subjects of USA. In case of conflict, they MUST choose sides. From an Iranian point of view, they are traitors! Simple!

One's nationality is not a shirt that you can change. They are under surveillance in USA, in any case. That means they are not full citizens, but suspects. What a bad way to live....really bad!


YTS:

Every one talks about regime change. But change to what? How can a country change overnight? It is not something that you can buy in the market and just replace the part.

They also talked about regime change in Iraq and a cakewalk. Look at it now......

People that live in America suffer from mind pollution, courtesy of the media. They are not thinking straight anymore....

Big Bijan:

So, big deal....about 3%-4% of Iranians emigrated from Iran. Now they are sitting on the sidelines airing out their opinions! And 80% of those are self-exiles that decided to spend their money outside Iran and, at the end, who cares whether they live in Iran or outside Iran.

The country belongs to the 96-97% that live in Iran. If we believe any thing about self-management and self-rule, which is the essence of democracy, then and as a matter of duty, we must let the majority decide what is good for them, not a bunch of immigrants.

Let's look at Cuba. There are a few hundred thousands of Cubans that are doing what these Los Angeles Iranians do in Florida: big words too--regime change, isolation, etc. It boggles the mind why a minority wants a majority to be miserable, under pressure and sanctions. The only reason that comes to my mind is that the minority live in the romance of the past and at the end of the day they are looking for yet another opportunity to rip-off the majority back in Iran.

Is Iran in a better standing than 30 years ago? Certainly. It is now a major regional power and respected (or feared). I'll take that over the Shah's Iran and his creampuff puppet army any day, all problems not withstanding. Did people vote in Iran of the Shah? No.

Mohammad Alireza:

Having lived in America for close to 25 years and having been back since Sept. 11, 2001, my only concern is to prevent the coming attack by America so we Iranians have the time to solve our own problems without the interference of others. My most recent message to my fellow Iranians was posted on Iranian.com and which I've pasted below.

Connection the Dots
by Mohammad Alireza
16-Sep-2007

Tehran, Iran

What’s the connection between; the theft of the 2000 Gore-Bush election, Cheney’s secret meeting with oil executives, September 11th 2001, the invasion of Iraq, and plans for destroying Iran’s military defenses and setting it’s economy back 50 years?

The connection is Peak Oil.

If you have not figured this out and are still lost in your hatred for the mullahs, or still worshiping the Pahlavi’s, or are part of the Rajavi cult, then you are in for a very rude awakening. When Iran is attacked and you see your dead and maimed countrymen on your television set or computer monitor it will be too late to do anything to prevent this war crime against your home and country.

Do your part in preventing Bush and Cheney from destroying your country. Get informed. Write, call, fax, email your political representative. Using your networking skills organize a peace delegation to Washington or 10 Downing Street. We Iranians that are in Iran do not have access to any of these freedoms. The fools here are even blocking sites that are working to prevent the attack on Iran.

The warmongers are planning not only on destroying Iran militarily but also economically. Iran is the only obstacle remaining between America and the energy reserves in the Middle East being controlled by the military industrial complex. America is running out of oil and gas and if it does not have a “reliable source” its vital national security will be placed in danger. Wake up people.

We in Iran need your help to head off this catastrophe. There is still time for diplomacy. Nobody here wants war, but if Iran is attacked our country will be transformed into a warrior nation and the bloodshed will last for decades.

Do whatever you can to prevent this from happening. We in Iran need you to put aside your hatred for the current regime and work for a peace so that we can one day put our energies towards bringing about freedom and democracy and the rule of law to Iran.

When Iran is a smoldering ruin irradiated with depleted uranium and there is no electricity, water, or infrastructure, the priority will be survival not regime change. Wake up people!

Bill Miller:

. . . We are kidding ourselves if we think Iraq will be alined with America; because they are destined to become an ally with Iran, and there's nothing we can do about it.

. . . No one wants to truly talk about this most obvious fact; it's like they're afraid if mentioned, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

. . . And although it's a reach, it's not an overwhelming reach to ask: . . Is the Iraqi government keeping America in the field as a favor to Iran??

Consolamentum:

And to think that if the CIA hadn't ousted Mossadegh in the 50s, Iran might have been a secular, West-oriented democracy today. Nice job, Allen Dulles!

Danial Farooq:

Isolating Iran would not resolve any of the exisitn problems. Rather it would delay and complicate the issues world is faced with now, for the future. There are two major issues with Iran .
1. Civil Nuclear Power development and
2. Control of water ways in the Persian Gulf.

As it was for U.S and Europe, third world nations in order to bring progress, develop and achieve any significant economic development need to expand and develop additional sourecs of energy . This will not happen particularly for Iran without U .S and European countries approval.

First, if the U. S and Western countries can help find( as the U. S recently recognized India's need for Civil Nuclear Power and entered into an agreement with India) a long term understading and plans for countries like Iran , Pakistan , Egypt and others in the region . This would avert
a war and may eliminate potential of other conflicts in that region.

Second, if the U. S. resolves for a permanent peace in Iraq and in the middleeast, it has to bring all the neighbors of Iraq to a conference and find an equilibrium of co existeance for next 20 -50 years. That could bring a resolution of conflict over control of the middleeast

Sincerely,

Danial Farooq

DOES IT MATTER:

US should and must engage with Iran! With Iranian Population that is!
Iran is different from the Arab-influenced Islamic world. It is “Persia”! Deep down below the Islamic theocracy, there is a spark! The same spark that gave us Zoroastrianism and the Persian poetry and the beautiful art! (And they gave those entrepreneurial, slightly nutty-yet-endearing, Parsees to India!)
Even Islam there is the slightly milder ”Shia” brand which leaves a lot more to “interpretation” rather than the strict Arabic version(s). If Islam will reform at any place it will be Iran. US should help young Iranians to rekindle this spark; a proud civilization capable of original thought should be helped to liberate itself from its Mullahs. (Not through the flow of arms, but through the flow of trade & thoughts and ideas). Let educational aid flow to Iran. Let their kids learn & communicate with our kids over the Internet. Let their scholars come and visit to cross fertilize ideas!
Iran, not Pakistan; is in a much better position to become the bulwark against the spread of fundamentalist theology. Iran and Turkey are the rest of the world’s best bet to avoid the “clash of civilization”. If these two can not be brought back we are doomed!

Consolamentum:

Rob:

Question is, what exactly gives you Americans the right to define freedom for the rest of the world, and impose it by force? Especially since your general knowledge and understanding of the outside world tends to be rather low?

Rob:

Our freedom in the US has been bought and paid for with our ancestor's blood. I remember thinking...as the Vietnam soldiers came home...back when I was a young kid and people treated my heros like bums...why should I fight for this country? Why?...was a great question. Later as I grew up...just like the young US/Iranian kids will, I realized people were wrong about my heros, the Vietnam vets...I knew the truth even as a kid. But thinking about their sacrifice helped me understand how blessed I am to live here in this wonderful country. How nobel our history of self sacrifice. And how sad that so much of the world isn't free. To grow up in a free society, with our significant rights that so many of us take for granted. As we grow up...we learn...just like I did...we all need a chance to grow up and learn.

Rob:

Our freedom in the US has been bought and paid for with our ancestor's blood. I remember thinking...as the Vietnam soldiers came home...back when I was a young kid and people treated my heros like bums...why should I fight for this country? Why?...was a great question. Later as I grew up...just like the young US/Iranian kids will, I realized people were wrong about my heros, the Vietnam vets...I knew the truth even as a kid. But thinking about their sacrifice helped me understand how blessed I am to live here in this wonderful country. How nobel our history of self sacrifice. And how sad that so much of the world isn't free. To grow up in a free society, with our significant rights that so many of us take for granted. As we grow up...we learn...just like I did...we all need a chance to grow up and learn.

Jeff:

Zionist madman Kouchner opens new front in Israel's proxy war on 'terror'.

Guest Worker:

Isolating Iran is easier said than done. Also, the real problem with any isolation strategy is the burning of the good with the bad. Just think that by isolating Iran, the American Government would isolate one of the leading fronts in the fight against illegal drugs. Yes- the fact is that the Iranian military has been fighting drug traffickers in astern Iran for several years. They have lost several thousand soldiers in borders near Afghanistan and Pakistan. Believe it or not, this fight has indirectly reduced the flow of illegal drugs not just to Iran but to Europe. By isolating Iran, we are also reducing their capacity to fight the flow of illegal drugs.

Guest Worker:

Isolating Iran is easier said than done. Also, the real problem with any isolation strategy is the burning of the good with the bad. Just think that by isolating Iran, the American Government would isolate one of the leading fronts in the fight against illegal drugs. Yes- the fact is that the Iranian military has been fighting drug traffickers in astern Iran for several years. They have lost several thousand soldiers in borders near Afghanistan and Pakistan. Believe it or not, this fight has indirectly reduced the flow of illegal drugs not just to Iran but to Europe. By isolating Iran, we are also reducing their capacity to fight the flow of illegal drugs.

pappy:

"At the same time, everyone I spoke to opposed war vehemently...
America fought for independance from Britian. America fought to save Europe in WWI, and WWII. America fought the Chinese and North Koreans in the Korean War. America stopped the ethnic killings in Bosnia and later Kosovo. America fought to restore Kuwait and save Saudi Arabia. If you "Iranian Americans" want Iran to have a certain form of government by God (or Allah) get off of your collective butts and go FIGHT for it!
...The young rappers, the artists and the students I spoke to all shared this fear that isolation could quickly turn to military confrontation...
Ha! Since when have rappers, artists and students had a hold on reality? If Iranian ex-pats want change they should look to ENGAGING in military confrontation. The tactics of Ghandi and MLK just won't work against a relgious dictatorship bereft of any social conscious.
Sorry for the rant, but it just seems to me that Iranian Americans are just too comfortable in America. Whining about what could be is non-productive. Form gurrila groups and live in the mountains and give the Iranian government the same kind of hell the insurgents in Iraq are giving American Soldiers. Foment revolution on the ground in Iran. Send money to opposition parties. Just please stop wringing your hands about what America may or may not do.

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