An all-American dogma the size of Iran

The solution is staring at Barack Obama’s face—if he has the audacity to grasp it

It is good to hear General Petraeus acknowledge that Iran “had common interests with the United States and other nations in a secure Afghanistan.” Although he hinted that such interests might make talks with Iran feasible, he said he would leave the topic to diplomats and policy makers.

“I don’t want to get completely going down that road because it’s a very hot topic,” General Petraeus told a conference…Nonetheless, he said, “there are some common objectives and no one I think would disagree.”

Like the United States, Iran is concerned about the narcotics trade in Afghanistan and the resurgence of extremists there, he said. “It doesn’t want to see Sunni extremists or certainly ultrafundamentalist extremists running Afghanistan any more than other folks do,” he said, while acknowledging that the United States and Iran have “some pretty substantial points of conflict out there as well.” [NYT]

And the most substantial point of conflict is Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. Yet, it may well be that the best way to convince Iran to temper its quest for nuclear weapons might well be for the United States to engage it politically. After all, hostility with the United States and Israel is one key reason why Iran seeks those weapons (the Saudi Arabia-Pakistan nuclear nexus is another).

In fact, it is amazing how the US foreign policy establishment is thinking up options and throwing up names for special envoys without questioning whether the holy cow, or rather the holy taboo, of not engaging Iran is a position that has run its course (if it was ever tenable in the first place). If intellectual blinkers and dogma prevent US policymakers from considering the merits of engaging Iran, what prevents countries like India that would benefit from a US-Iran rapprochement from lubricating it? There is a need for strong, credible voices to support the likes of General Petraeus in helping the United States break the ice with Iran.

Aside: The word “ultrafundamentalist” now enters the lexicon thanks to General Petraeus. As for “ultrafundamentalist extremists”, now, there’s way too much redundancy built into that phrase.

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31 Responses to An all-American dogma the size of Iran

  1. B.O.K. 9th January 2009 at 17:51 #

    I prefer the term Rabid Ultrafundamentalist Radical Extremist Loony. Or, if I am in a hurry to finish typing, just Arundhati Roy.

  2. Pragmatic 9th January 2009 at 18:06 #

    Under US pressure, Reliance plugs oil supply to Iran.
    Is that the way ahead for lubricating US-Iran rapprochement? And all this talk of India joining the US missile defence. Indian diplomacy really needs to break out of this static mindset of a Cold War era. Can they even contemplate engaging China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with the US, at the same time?

  3. Trilok 9th January 2009 at 20:23 #

    Pragmatic – “Can they even contemplate engaging China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, along with the US, at the same time?”

    And to think this is Kautilya’s progeny!

  4. The Rational Fool 9th January 2009 at 22:12 #

    “It doesn’t want to see Sunni extremists or certainly ultrafundamentalist extremists running Afghanistan any more than other folks do,” [Gen. Petraeus] said

    Well, I suppose Gen. Petraeus doesn’t think that the Shia-run Iran is getting along famously well with the Sunni-run Pakistan for now, does he?

    Iran is a far greater threat to India’s long-term security than China, Pakistan, Russia, and Saudi-Arabia, combined. The ex-communists of this gang of four are relatively rational actors who can be dealt with. Reluctant as I am, I’ll put even the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Feudal Republic of Pakistan into this rational club. The former understands quite well what lubricates their Royal coffers, and the latter knows it’ll be orphaned the day the Lord decides to withdraw his fief from the vassal.

    The Islamic Republic of Iran is quite a different animal. It’s dream is to restore the Persian Empire in all its glory, only this time painted in green with a crescent moon.

  5. Keshav 9th January 2009 at 22:36 #

    A “Persian empire… in green with a crescent moon” is an oxymoron.

    But I get the point.

  6. Nitin 10th January 2009 at 03:08 #

    RF,

    Other than a few raids, relatively few in a historical sense, India and the Persian Empire have been relatively been comfortable neighbours. With some decidedly hot-headed tribes as a buffer, I think we might be able to get along for another couple of centuries.

    No guarantees of course, but the danger with Pakistan is its rationality is cloaked by its schizophrenia.

  7. Patel 10th January 2009 at 04:16 #

    @ Nitin,

    I would say its schizophrenia is cloaked by its rationality.

  8. Sudeep 10th January 2009 at 07:14 #

    >>> ‘ultrafundamentalist extremists’

    He means Sunni ‘Takfiris’. Iranians consider LeT, JeM, AlQaeda types Takfiris, i.e. fools not willing to adhere to any rules in warfare. As compared to these, Hamas/Hezbollah are more like an organized irregular army.

    Contrary to what RF is claiming, Mullahs in Iran will be a lot easier to talk to than the Sunni Takfiris who are in charge of that movement.

  9. Nagarajan Sivakumar 10th January 2009 at 09:52 #

    RationalFool,
    You are definitely rational and most definitely anything but foolish :-)

    There are very few people who see Iran as a threat outside of US, Israel and the Sunni Arab bloc – even opinion here in the US (atleast among foreign policy “realists” in the Democratic party and paleo-conservatives) has turned towards negotiating with Iran on its nuclear program – after doing the same negotiations for the last 7 years using the EU3.

    You may want to read CIA agent Robert Baer’s book on US relations with Iran

    Only the neo-conservatives are holding the line – but their reputation has been destroyed after the Iraq war – talks with Iran are a very very distinct possibility what with Obama set to take office in a few weeks.

    RF, I agree with you – Iranain theocracy is dead serious and downright frightening.

    For those people in Iran who dont want a chaotic Afghanistan, may be, just may be they should have not been sheltering Bin Laden’s son. link

    Talk about crocodile tears.

    Comment edited: Please do not post naked links. Enclose them within HTML tags

  10. Chandra 10th January 2009 at 10:12 #

    WRT “ultrafundamentalist extremists”, Gen Petraeus may be laying the ground work for a deal with “fundamentalists” – ie Taliban willing to deal – at a later date.

    We should also forestall Holbrooke, or who ever else, as the big-boy “special envoy” to hold children hands in backyard fight, before it gets out of hand.

  11. Nitin 10th January 2009 at 11:16 #

    Chandra
    I agree: that phrasing suggests making fundamentists relatively acceptable.

    NS,
    You can’t blame Iran for holding cards that it can use against America. Why should they not? Even America’s closest allies take out insurance policies.

  12. vakibs 10th January 2009 at 17:34 #

    Rational Fool,

    Would you consider calling yourself “irrational-fool” or just “fool” ? When was the last time Iran invaded another country ? Apart from India, it is the only country in Asia which is at peace with itself and with the world.

    It was also the most pro-western country in the neighbourhood, until the situation was magnificently screwed up by the USA when it toppled the democratic government of Mossadeq, and gave power to the dictator Shah. Even today, if you come across Iranians, you would find them to be amongst the most moderate Muslims. Most of them are against the Islamic government and would rather have a secular government, but that is purely a domestic problem of Iran. In fact, the level of democracy and dissent in Iran is quite higher than other countries such as Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia or Saudi Arabia (which are all dictatorships in bed with the USA). Iran even holds elections and the next president will most probably be a moderate one, on the lines of Khatami.

    India and Iran have ancient ties that stretch back to 6000 years. We are not obliged to look at the Iran problem with lenses provided by the USA.

  13. Sud 10th January 2009 at 18:18 #

    Point is, will the Obama admin talk to Iran (the mere act of agreeing of talking to them itself has immense symbolic and real value)? Nobody doubts they have plenty to talk about and lots to gain by cooperating.

    And its not true that *no one* outside the USA views the Iranians as threats.
    Even if the US were willing to talk, American allies (Israel and KSA) are more hardline anti-Iranians than America itself may be for different reasons.

    The yanks were willing to talk to the North Koreans, an even more despicable regime than Tehran’s. They have been willing to fete a whole bevy of murderous dictators and regimes – from Abdullah to Mubarak to Hu Jintao to Musharraf. Can’t see why they can’t/won’t talk to Tehran. The long saga of US hostages in Tehran after the shah’s fall has left a psychological scaron that generation of US babus and career strategists. Maybe Obama’s inaguration marks a new beginning?

  14. Chandra 10th January 2009 at 23:18 #

    “Apart from India, it is the only country in Asia which is at peace with itself and with the world. ”

    Vakibs, you are forgetting active Iran support to terror groups to destroy Israel. What Pakiland is to India, Iran is to Israel. Beyond the 1979 fight Iran had with US, kidnapping its people from embassy, Iran is consider a terror sponsor by US and others precisely because Iran sponsors terror to destroy Israel – all the rockets that Hamas and Hezbollah gets are from Iran. We in India ignore Iran terror sponsorship and take an anti-Israeli position because of muslim appeasement politics and has nothing to do with reality and because we are impacted by Iranian backed terror.

  15. The Rational Fool 11th January 2009 at 04:05 #

    vakibs:
    A few facts from history:

    — Mahmud [Ghazni] belonged to the Yamini tribe, a Turco-Persian clan residing in the Nakhistan district of Turkestan.

    — [Mohammad Ghauri] ethnic background was most likely of Persian-speaking Eastern-Iranian Tajik stock.

    — Mu?ammad Babur identified his lineage as Timurid and Chaghatay-Turkic, while his origin, milieu, training, and culture were steeped in Persian culture…

    — N?der Sh?h Afsh?r ruled as Shah of Iran (1736–47) and was the founder of the Afsharid dynasty.

    The only strictly theocratic state in the world today [besides the nominal state of Vatican] is Iran, where the political power resides entirely in the hands of the clergy. Its constitution explicitly pledges an army, not just for its defense, but to bring the entire world under the rule of Islam. None of these facts changes, whether I call myself “rational” or a “fool”.

  16. Sud 11th January 2009 at 16:22 #

    Awesome TRF.

    Iran has accumulated much historical bad karma. And its consequences have yet to play themselves out completely.

    Sadly, yhe utter bankruptcyof the packee nation is exposed once again because their obvious lack of ‘heroes/rule models’ of their own stock to look upto lies exposed. They name their chinese gifted missiles ghouri, ghanznavi and what not when these turds were Persian origin and not Paki at all…

  17. vakibs 11th January 2009 at 21:24 #

    Vakibs, you are forgetting active Iran support to terror groups to destroy Israel

    Chandra, that’s what happens if you digest too much information from mega news networks (newscorp, time-warnet etc) without thinking. Iran has no axe to grind against Israel. It doesn’t share borders with Israel and it doesn’t have a common ethnicity with the Palastenians. Why would Iran wage war against Israel, while it is much more probable that the Arab neighbours would do it ! In fact, that is what has happened in 1967 right ?

    All the Arab neighbours of Israel have been bought up. They are dictators in bed with the USA and Israel. If only any one country turns democratic, it will support the Palastenians and be hostile to Israel. It is the naked truth. Iran is hostile to Israel, because it is the only country in the neighborhood which is remotely democratic. However, the support that Iran provides Hezbollah or any other faction is remote from being sufficient. It is probably just a ploy to earn a piece of respect amongst the Muslim countries.

    Israel is primarily a prop by the USA in its vast geopolitical game in the region. The tensions between Israel and Muslims are necessary for the continuation of its great game. The real motive of the game is to access natural resources, primarily oil and natural gas. This is the again the reason the rhetoric is being raised against Iran (the democratic government of Mossadeq was toppled by the USA because he nationalized the oil industry).

    Specifically, as far as India is concerned, it doesn’t have to dance to the tunes of the USA/Israel. It can be supportive of these two countries, but at the same time, distance itself from them over their attitude towards Iran. In fact, this is how most of the European countries behave.

  18. vakibs 11th January 2009 at 21:30 #

    The Rational Fool,

    Nobody thinks of medieval history when formulating national strategies. At about the same time that Ghori, Babur or Nadir Shah invaded India, Hindu princes were waging wars and killing each other nevertheless. Haven’t you heard of Ashoka and how he wiped out the entire Kalinga race before he turned to Buddhism ? Indian kings were as much guilty of attacking and killing Tajikstan and Iran as Iranians. The Raghuvamsa of Kalidas was written down primarily in honour of the king attacking and subordinating central asia.

    Iran is not the worst theocratic state in the world. It is China, whose state religion is communism. Iran is not even a dictatorship. Most of the dictatorships and aparthied states in the world are in bed with the USA.

  19. The Rational Fool 11th January 2009 at 22:18 #

    vakibs wrote:
    Nobody thinks of medieval history when formulating national strategies.

    Unfortunately, the Islamists don’t agree. The linkage between Quran and the Caliphate is undisputed. An attack on the Caliphate is considered an attack on Islam. And, a revival of the old Caliphate is considered a great leap forward for Islam in its mission to conquer the world.

    This is hardly a long-forgotten medieval concept. Witness the events during the Khilafat movement in India in 1920. A mere rumor that the Caliphate has been restored with its capital in Delhi was enough to cause the Muslims to erupt in violence, setting the path to the Moplah Massacre of Hindus in Kerala. Annie Besant remarked on this: “They [Moplahs] murdered and plundered abundantly, and killed or drove away all Hindus who would not apostatise. Somewhere about a lakh (100,000) of people were driven from their homes with nothing but their clothes they had on, stripped of everything…Malabar has taught us what Islamic rule still means, and we do not want to see another specimen of the Khilafat Raj in India.”

    In the twenty-first century, Ahmadinejad is the self-proclaimed torch-bearer for a global caliphate. As recently as January 9, speaking in Kabul, he said, “There is no truth on earth but monotheism and following tenets of Islam and there is no way for salvation of mankind but rule of Islam over mankind” [emphasis mine]. And, in case you dismiss this as another disinformation nugget from what Arundhati Roy fondly called “the Empire”, the source is IRNA.

    Those who don’t forget history are bound to repeat it, too!

  20. Ashutosh 11th January 2009 at 22:57 #

    Although Iran is no no haven of freedom, it’s interesting that many Iranians hate it when you conflate Iran with the Arab nations. True or not, they take pride in looking down on the Arabs and touting themselves as the great Persians. This distinction that world can use to its advantage.

  21. Chandra 11th January 2009 at 23:41 #

    “Iran has no axe to grind against Israel.”

    If you say so Vakibs. May be you should a few more papers then The Hindu!

    US doesn’t need Israel to gain access to oil. In fact if US threw Israel to the Islamic country jackals in west Asia, like the Europeans have, US will have better access to oil and, who knows, might even prop up its popularity. It’s the same thing we hear often – suck up to Islamists and sundry terrorists and all will be fine. Although, India falls for that garbage repeatedly, US thankfully doesn’t – may be that’ll change with the messiah taking over.

    At a higher level I agree with you that Iran usually a sane country, despite its rabid anti-jewishness, a common trait it shares with all muslims, including desi muslims, plenty of so-called liberal Europeans. But it cannot be compared with India.

  22. Nagarajan Sivakumar 12th January 2009 at 01:58 #

    vakibs,
    “Chandra, that’s what happens if you digest too much information from mega news networks (newscorp, time-warnet etc) without thinking. Iran has no axe to grind against Israel. It doesn’t share borders with Israel and it doesn’t have a common ethnicity with the Palastenians. Why would Iran wage war against Israel, while it is much more probable that the Arab neighbours would do it ! In fact, that is what has happened in 1967 right ?”

    Vakibs, what happens when you display your ignorance to the entire world with no knowledge of the fundamental facts on the ground and then talk about “thinking”?

    May be you shouldnt be “digesting” news from the Hindu?? or not live in a 1967 time warp??

    Here,let me bring you up to speed.

    In 1978, the leader of the largest Arab country in the world, Egypt, Anwar Sadat held talks with most hawkish leader Israel has known since Ben Gurion. That would be Menchem Begin. The Camp David accords of 1978 signalled Egypt’s recognition of Israel as a country.

    In 1979, the Shah of Iran’s Govt was overthrown by a mixture of communists, Islamists and anti American groups. Ever since the Ayatollah’s established a theocracy, Iran has become the self appointed protector of Islamic interests.

    If you remember or even know, Salman Rushdie had an open death sentence on him handed out not by some wahhabist/salafist from Saudi Arabia but Ayyotollah Khomeni , the “Supreme Leader of Iran”. for writing a book named the Satanic Verses. Strange huh ?

    Here’s a pop quiz for you vakibs – does the Islamic republic of Iran recognize the Jewish state of Israel ?

    Iran has been using its proxies Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine to fight an asymmetric war on Israel for the better part of the last 15 years. I feel sorry for you that “the Hindu” didnt cover it.

    In 2006 this proxy war between Iran and Israel reached a flashpoint when two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah – a war that ended with Beirut being bombed heavily and Hezbollah getting more political power.

    Iran has been developing a nuclear program for quite some time now( AQ Khan was found to have sold centrifuge designs to Iran in 2002 – a process which lead to the EU3 to start negotitating with Iran to find out what exactly its nuclear program was doing.

    Iran being a NPT signatory cannot use its program to develop nuclear weapons. But today’s article in the Washington Post shows quite clearly that Iran has been trying to do– just that.
    using front companies

    Now, why exactly is it that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program when EVERY ARAB STATE (with the exception of Syria) that fought in the 1967 war against Israel has refused to do so ? Even though they know that Israel has nuclear weapons ??

    Reading the Hindu and “digesting” it without any “thinking” can only help you so much Vakibs. Try to get the facts the next time around.

  23. Nagarajan Sivakumar 12th January 2009 at 02:06 #

    Chandra,
    I think you under estimate the hatred for the Jewish state from the average “sane” Iranian. If you asked them if they would prefer the situation in the 30’s or early 40’s when Israel didnt exist as a nation state, they would jump at that chance.

    In fact the nuclear program in Iran is a cause of national pride. And I find major similarities between the so called educated and liberal Iranians and Pakistanis – they are both a useful cover for implementing the extreme policies of their radical extremists.

    Just like the muted reaction in Pakistani liberal intelligentsia or its population that is citizens were involved in the carnage of Bombay, most Iranians have no problems with their Government fighting a proxy war with Israel using Hezbollah and Hamas.

    In short, there is an indifference/ look the other way attitude to using terrorism as an instrument of state policy that exists in both Paki and Iranian “liberals”. Thereby effectively encouraging and supporting terrorism.

    Israel’s current war with the Hamas terrorists is the fight with the cat’s paw – the Iranian alley cat is the one that is the real object of this war.

  24. Pankaj 12th January 2009 at 10:51 #

    Iran being considered “remotely democratic” is like suspecting the pope of being “remotely jewish”.

    The islamic clergy in Iran holds the real powers and not the fronts – the democratic minions. The present president has come to power in 2005 via a rigged election.

    The iranian clergy has developed new ambitions of expansion and dominance and this reflects in its policies against Israel and the quest towards WMDs. It has understood that without The Weapons – it cant fulfill its great power ambitions. Its ambitions may or may not be contained by using the traditional sunni hatred.

    Those who say that India and Iran have ancient ties for over 6000 years – also fail to mention very pertinently – that for about 4800 of those years, Iran was the home of zorastrianism, which was one of the most beautiful philosophy in the world.

    Zorastrianism was replaced just 1200 years ago by the arabic cult [with zero philosophy] via an unfortunate military defeat. This has been one of the greatest tragedies of human history.

  25. Pankaj 12th January 2009 at 11:47 #

    Just a diclaimer – comment 24 above is in response to comments 12 and 17.

    Thank you.

  26. vakibs 12th January 2009 at 16:30 #

    @Nagarajan Sivakumar, @Pankaj, @Chandra

    One question. Have you ever met an Iranian ?

    If you have met them, you will quickly realize that they are very moderate. They are extremely proud of their ancient history and civilization, and do not subscribe to a pan-Islamic theology. In fact, they don’t need to do that (unlike Arabs), because Iranian civilization is much more ancient than Islam.

    Most Iranians hate the current Islamic regime, and would like it be replaced by a secular democracy. But this is a domestic problem of Iran. In fact, if Iran is attacked, all Iranians would support the current government and stand as brothers in arms.

    Iran would never think of attacking Israel with nuclear weapons. It is not a rogue state, and it has a vast civilization to protect.

    About it building nuclear weapons, it is an open guess. The fact is, nuclear weapons give a crucial bargaining power in today’s world, as is evident in Pakistan. Personally, I don’t like anyone having nuclear weapons, but I would be much more comfortable with Iran possessing nuclear weapons than Pakistan or North Korea, which are much worse dictatorships.

    In 1978, the leader of the largest Arab country in the world, Egypt, Anwar Sadat held talks with most hawkish leader Israel has known since Ben Gurion.

    You should check with how much love Anvar Sadat has amongst the Egyptians. If Egypt holds democratic elections, the current dictator would be toppled immediately, and the government would be extremely hostile to Israel. In fact, it is very much the same sentiment across the entire Arab world. All these countries are dictatorships because of a simple reason : it suits the interests of USA and Israel if they are so.

    The geopolitical games of USA are vast. Several countries become props and then they are sacrificed to get a bigger prize. Iraq was a poster-boy and now it is invaded. The same thing is going to happen to Pakistan very soon.

    As it currently stands, ensuring endemic hostilities between Israel and the Arabs suits the US interests. All the hell broke lose in Israel after a moderate president Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.

  27. Nagarajan Sivakumar 13th January 2009 at 21:49 #

    Vakibs,
    One question. Have you ever met an Iranian ?

    If you have met them, you will quickly realize that they are very moderate. They are extremely proud of their ancient history and civilization, and do not subscribe to a pan-Islamic theology. In fact, they don’t need to do that (unlike Arabs), because Iranian civilization is much more ancient than Islam.

    Well, I roomed with an Iranian American for about 7 months – i worked with one of them for 6 – i’d say that they are more than moderate – they’d be pretty modern in my books. Does that satisfy you now ?

    Let me be clear – i have nothing against the Iranian population – yes, they are one of the most educated people in the entire Middle east. But their moderation stops when it comes to Israel.

    I have become tired of hearing how Iranian people are’nt really like their extremist mullahs – I knew that already

    But here’s what you refuse to acknowledge – it does’nt fricking matter. The Iranians have “adjusted” to living in a theocracy. Do yourself a favor and watch the movie Persepolis – it is made by an Iranian origin film maker. very moving movie. It shows the underground lives most young Iranians lead and how they have sucked it up.

    So, they are’nt exactly going to rise up and rebel against their Govt, and as you rightly predicted they would come to the defense of their Govt if they are attacked. So, what does all this mean ?

    It means that no matter how decent the people of Iran are, it does not matter in the end. They have lived with this s**thole Govt and are blase’ at best as to how their Government promotes terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

    Quit blaming the big bad American wolf for all of the middle east’s problems – most of their problems are self inflicted.

    “You should check with how much love Anvar Sadat has amongst the Egyptians. If Egypt holds democratic elections, the current dictator would be toppled immediately, and the government would be extremely hostile to Israel. In fact, it is very much the same sentiment across the entire Arab world. All these countries are dictatorships because of a simple reason : it suits the interests of USA and Israel if they are so.”

    I hate to ask you this, but have you lived with an Egyptian ? have you ever known one ?

    I agree with you that if open elections were held, Mubarak wouldnt stand a chance. But you entirely missed my point about Anwar Sadat. No matter how much the Egyptians hated him for doing it, he recognized Israel as a nation state and worked for a peaceful solution.

    He was very courageous to do that.

    Iran, OTOH is the principal sponsor of Hamas which is sworn to Israel’s destruction. And the moderate, decent, civilization loving people of Iran have no qualms about such a policy.

    You also seem to have forgotten the fact that the Iranian civilization predates Islam. Pankaj nails it when he reminds us how Islam replaced Zorastrianism in Iran.

    Those Zorastrians who still valued their faith and freedom fled Iran and came to …. guess which country ?? We still call them by the language they spoke – Parsis – as in people who speak Farsi.

    “As it currently stands, ensuring endemic hostilities between Israel and the Arabs suits the US interests. All the hell broke lose in Israel after a moderate president Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated.”

    Tell me again how US interests are served by keeping a conflict alive in the middle of a region which has the most oil supplies ? You obviously dont live in the US and you have no idea of how much interest people have in peace. Yes, the US is a steadfast ally of Israel but NO, that does not mean that it wants Israel to keep fighting with Hamas.

    The people who hold the chips are not reasonable . Iran does not want Hamas to accept a truce

    Go figure.

  28. vakibs 15th January 2009 at 16:28 #

    @Nagarajan Sivakumar :

    First, let me confess that I have several Iranians,Arabs (from several varied countries) and most of all Israelis as my friends.

    I also agree with you that the aspirations of the people do not matter when evaluating the state policy of a country.

    Now the state policy of Iran towards Israel has been steady. It will accept whatever the Palastenians with all their freedom decide to do over Israel. It will support the Palastenians on their right towards the land. This is exactly why it doesn’t recognize Israel to this day because the Palastenians do not have a truce agreement or mutual recognition with Israel. And no, Ahmedinejad, idiot though he might be, has never called for Israel to be wiped off the map.

    Israel has links with the shia Hezbollah, and supports them logically because these people have a territory dispute with Israel over the Golan heights. Most of the Arabs don’t care about the Shias so Iran takes it upon itself as being the custodian of Shias in the world. Iran has no direct links with Hamas – all the links are via Hezbollah.

    Iran has a very bad history with both the USA and UK, as they tried to swindle the country off its oil and natural gas. In 1953, president Mohammed Mossadeq (a decent chap and first-rate secular democrat) nationalized the Iranian oil industry amidst protests from USA & UK. His democratic government was toppled by the CIA and a puppet dictator Shah was installed. This massive mess resulted in the Iranian revolution a decade later. If not for the f*** up of USA, Iran would never have turned an Islamic republic. In fact, this story is very similar to what’s going on in Pakistan.

    They have lived with this s**thole Govt and are blase’ at best as to how their Government promotes terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

    All my Iranian friends (without exception) would want the country to turn a secular republic. Simply put, they are powerless to change the regime as individuals. But they have their best hopes that a smooth change is bound to happen on the political stage. In fact, all indications are that the next Iranian president would be a moderate one and would usher in liberal reforms.

    There are several countries which promote terrorism as a state policy. USA seems to have monopolized the use of the word “terrorism”. All the US newspapers refer to the Mumbai terrorists as “gunmen”. I don’t give a hoot about who is accepted by US as a terrorist and who is not. Anybody who murders innocent civilians is a terrorist. The current Israeli state fits the definition superbly.

  29. Nagarajan Sivakumar 21st January 2009 at 08:05 #

    @Vakibs,

    Iran has a very bad history with both the USA and UK, as they tried to swindle the country off its oil and natural gas. In 1953, president Mohammed Mossadeq (a decent chap and first-rate secular democrat) nationalized the Iranian oil industry amidst protests from USA & UK. His democratic government was toppled by the CIA and a puppet dictator Shah was installed. This massive mess resulted in the Iranian revolution a decade later. If not for the f*** up of USA, Iran would never have turned an Islamic republic. In fact, this story is very similar to what’s going on in Pakistan.

    Well the US bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to smithereens to end the 2nd World War – today they are the strongest of allies. What the Eisenhower administration did to Iran cannot possibly be compared to what Truman did to Japan, can it ?

    Nixon was ready to send US naval warships to fight India during the war with Pakistan in 1971 over the liberation of Bangladesh. And yet our relationship with the US is at its best now than before.

    We should never become prisoners of the past – especially if the enemies of the past are ready and willing to negotiate with us in good faith.

    Today’s average Iranian has no memory of the Revolution let alone the coup in the 1950’s. So this incessant scapegoating of the US does not give a satisfactory answer as to why these people put up with the nonsense of the mullohcracy.

    All my Iranian friends (without exception) would want the country to turn a secular republic. Simply put, they are powerless to change the regime as individuals. But they have their best hopes that a smooth change is bound to happen on the political stage. In fact, all indications are that the next Iranian president would be a moderate one and would usher in liberal reforms
    Powerless to change the regime ? No. They dont have the courage of conviction to stand up for what they truly believe in. They want freedom the “easy” way. All indications of the next President being “moderate” is a joke when the theocracy decides who can or cannot run for elections.

    Ahmedinejad will get re-elected if the theocracy is ok with him. plain and simple.

    USA seems to have monopolized the use of the word “terrorism”. All the US newspapers refer to the Mumbai terrorists as “gunmen”. I don’t give a hoot about who is accepted by US as a terrorist and who is not. Anybody who murders innocent civilians is a terrorist. The current Israeli state fits the definition superbly.

    Well i wont blame you for your low opinion of US newsmedia – they are easily the most under informed in the Western world.

    Whether you like to face it or not, Hamas and Hezbollah indulges in terrorism. You can gripe all you want about the Israeli state but they would never react as weakly as India has in the face of the Mumbai terrorist attacks.

    May be India can learn from Israel – but of course the attitude of steadfastly fighting terrorism is some thing that you cannot “learn” – you either have it or you dont.

    Israel has it. India doesnt.

  30. Vishleshak 31st January 2009 at 11:14 #

    Nice write up. I agree mostly with potential for India’s role.

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