Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran

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The failure of the Clinton-Khatami bid for rapprochement was not lost on George W.

IranSource - Atlantic Council

They never had any love for Iran and whether this confirmed their belief that improved relations were a pipe dream, or merely justified the course of action they always meant to take is impossible to know. Of course, having declared Iran evil, they were immediately forced to ignore it. Their invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq proved something of an unexpected boon to Iran and something of an epic catastrophe for America.

In Iraq in particular, Tehran supported a vast range of murderous anti-American groups. Iranian personnel and their Hezbollah allies not only encouraged and equipped these groups to kill Americans, but at times planned and participated in the attacks themselves. Hundreds of Americans died as a result. The Bush administration did nothing in response, albeit largely because they were miserably bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan and wisely for a change recognized that picking still another fight with Iran was unlikely to improve their fortunes. Barack Obama came to the presidency with an eye toward making peace with Iran.

From the very first, his administration broadcast on all frequencies, public and private, that it wanted to consummate the elusive rapprochement. Nevertheless, Tehran seized on them to blame the would-be second Iranian revolution on American machinations. Yet Obama would not be put off. In his second term, he redoubled his efforts, this time aided by an equally ardent Secretary of State, John Kerry. Then the Iranians seemed to signal some reciprocation by electing Hassan Rouhani as their new president. Both Obama and Kerry hoped that the nuclear deal would pave the way toward a wider reconciliation between the two countries.

Rouhani wanted that rapprochement too. And so did his foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, who forged a close relationship with Kerry and also hoped to use the JCPOA as a wedge to open the door to normalized ties. They were all disappointed.

Iran: Tehran will retaliate if attacked warns IRGC chief at US drone exhibition opening

A simple deal, curbs on the Iranian nuclear program in return for a lifting of American and international sanctions. No more. Long before Trump came to office and killed the deal, Khamenei had made clear that it would never be anything more than it was. He would never allow it to be the end to Iranian-American conflict. The United States has never had a president more desirous of turning Iran from foe to friend, and we may never have another one.

Both he and many of his key advisors hoped that a nuclear deal with Iran could be the gateway toward a wider rapprochement, and Secretary Kerry tried every door before, during, and after the nuclear negotiations to try to make that happen. The Iranians never had an American president more willing to accommodate their needs and fears, and once again they spurned him.

The history of Iranian-American relations in the 40 years since the revolution is replete with mistakes, missed opportunities, and misunderstandings. Both sides have done terrible things to each other. Both can claim justification for their every savage act against the other. For every U. And for every Iranian action deliberately intended to hurt America, Iranians can cite a prior U.


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Yet the one vital difference is this: Of the seven American presidents to serve since the Iranian revolution, at least four and arguably five wanted an end to the hostilities with Iran and made real efforts to bring that about. In most cases, they paid a considerable political price to do so. Instead, they have systematically shut down every effort toward meaningful peace between the two countries. Both Khomeini and Khamenei cherished their anti-Americanism.

Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran

For both, it was never a tool toward a wider goal but a core element of their rule and their philosophies. It certainly has served certain specific aims, but even when American administrations have offered what could have been compelling incentives to embrace warmer ties and reduced tensions, they never would. But the history of the past 40 years seems to suggest that that will never be more than a tantalizing dream until new leaders take the helm in Tehran. Until then, the only intelligent course for the United States is to steer clear of the Iranians as best we can and treat them like enemies when we must, not because we want them to be, but because their leaders insist on it, no matter what we may do.

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Iran's nuclear problems stem from the Ford Administration including Cheney and Rumsfeld , where it was seen as a way for Iran to export more oil. Iran claims that nuclear weapons are not in their interest. First because they do not have the wealth to compete with the United States, and secondly like chemical weapons, nuclear weapons are against Islam.

Cultural: many of the other states in the region have Shite minorities and Iran considers itself the cultural center of Shite in the reason. Political: Iran is an example of a stable state based on Islam and having democratic institutions and processes. It sees American policies as harmful, colonial, and repressive. Iran has repeatedly opened itself to serious dialog with the US. Moderate leaders in Iran felt betrayed by the Reagan Administration.

There was not a program of giving arms to terrorists in exchange for hostages, but America paying Iran for its help. Iran held up its end of the bargain but the American government backed down after profits from the arms sales were discovered going to the Contras. George H.

I Heart Khomeini

In return Iran was banned from the peace conference and was removed as a player in the New World Order. The Clinton Administration needed a way to get arms to the Bosnia Muslims without appearing to be an ally of the Bosnian and not breaking the arms embargo. The Clinton Administration turned to Iran for help.

Iran agreed to help. For its help it is rewarded the U. Obama spoke of better relations and is the first president to call Iran by its proper name The Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is still waiting waiting for change; but, instead there have been new rounds of sanctions.

The United States believes that that unless Iran is a secular democracy, it remains a threat. This is counter to the view of Turkey, an ally, a largely Muslim country with open elections and when given given the choice, elects representatives from religious parties over secular leaders. Iran elects its leaders and representatives. To ensure representation seats are set aside for Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrians. Iran demonstrates open elections, and peaceful transitions of power. As much as America believes Iran is a fragile government, it has survived a major war, elections, peaceful transitions of power, and the Green revolution.

In the polarized American political system, both neoconservatives and liberal internationalists find themselves on the same side of the Iran issue. Neoconservatives still not forgetting or forgiving the Shah's overthrow and liberals wanting open democracy and human rights. This unusual position puts Iran in a unique and dangerous position. The Leveretts provide a very well documented report on Iran and its history with the United States. Despite the documentation Going to Tehran does appear to be very one sided and if it were not for the credentials of its authors, one might think at times the book was written by the Iranian Information Ministry.

However, the authors' purpose is to sway opinion and to take a new look at Iran who had been demonized since The argument that is presented is convincing. There will be arguments on human rights issues, but then too, leaders like Saddam Hussein, Pinochet, and Somoza were given full support of the United States. Nixon went to China.