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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


July 31, 2000

Sherman's disservice

As an American, I am often confused by many of the articles and/or letters from Iranians that I see on Iran content web sites ["Dumb and dumber"]. I fully understand the outcry that the reprehensible comments made by California Congressman Brad Sherman has provoked; his unconsidered condemnation of an entire country and its people is ludicrous. His statements have inflamed the anti-western passions of fundamentalists, as well as the terrorism-paranoia felt by many uninformed Americans. He does a disservice to both sides, and is everything that Americans do not wish their politicians to be.

What I do not understand are articles written by Iranians decrying laws that prevent American businesses from investing in Iran, alongside articles decrying Western influence there. If American companies are to invest their capital in business interests in another country, it is to be expected that they will wish their executives and employees to have some sort of presence in said country. If that presence is going to be considered a negative influence, and therefore not allowed, then it is not reasonable to imagine companies will be interested in sending their dollars where they themselves cannot go. In other words, it makes little sense to be angered by laws forbidding American investment in Iran, while simultaneously condemning the notion of any sort of American presence there.

There are so many wonderful things about the Iranian culture that many Americans are unaware of; the close and loving family ties that extend well beyond the nuclear family, the respect for the aged, the adoration of children by fathers as well as mothers, the strong religious faith that provides comfort and guidance, the beauty of its poetry and the majesty of its history, and the kind and gentle nature of so many of the people.

It is unfortunate that images portrayed by politicians and the media have caused such a rift between the people of our two countries, do but know this: Americans have a healthy sense of skepticism in regards to both their elected officials and their sensation-seeking press, and we have learned to take the "facts" put forth by both with a very large grain of salt.

M.L. Knowles
Connecticut, USA


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