Tuesday, February 06, 2007

US-Iran Relations

The tension is building between the US and Iran, and Iraqi officials are understandably concerned that a deterioration of relations between the US and Iran will aggravate problems in Iraq. How far will the US go in stopping Iran's nuclear ambitions, and how will it affect Iraq? What will the Iraqi government's reaction be if the US strikes Iranian nuclear facilities?

I watched a History Channel special on Iran (Iran: The Next Iraq?) last night and I was shocked to learn that Iranians chant 'death to America' every Friday after prayers. It has been 27 years since the Islamic Revolution, and Iranian grievances against the US are not without legitimacy, but death to America every Friday after prayer? I can understand why US officials would be so concerned about Iranian intentions. When discussing US-Iranian relations, Americans must note US culpability in creating enemies in Iran. How long did the US government and the Shah believe that Iranians would be obedient and mostly poor while the Shah and his entourage lived lavishly and bought billions of dollars in US weapons? The History Channel special I watched last night reviewed the Iran-Iraq war and explained that Khomeini believed that the US alone was the reason Iran had not been able to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein, and they did a good job of briefly reviewing the glory of the Persian Empire, but they did not discuss the CIA's activities in overthrowing the popularly elected Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953.

Iraqi Shiite Calls for U.S.-Iran Talks

Published: February 6, 2007

TEHRAN, Feb. 5 — A senior Iraqi Shiite leader said Monday that his country had urged Iran to hold talks with the United States and that such talks were important for the security of the region.

“Given the special conditions in the region, talks between the United States and Iran are of the utmost importance,” Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, one of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite leaders, said at a news conference in Tehran after meeting with the chief of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani according to the ISNA news agency.

“Negotiations between Iran and the United States are useful for the whole region,” added Mr. Hakim, who lived in exile in Iran during Saddam Hussein’s rule in Iraq and who has close ties with Iranian leaders. But Mr. Hakim said he did not have any specific messages on the subject.

Other Iraqi officials have also urged Iran to hold talks with the United States. Iran has said it is open to the idea. The United States has refused to hold direct talks with Iran over Iraq or over Iran’s nuclear program.

No comments :