The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


January 12, 2001

Complain to the Iranian government

There is nothing illegal about the U.S. government's security policy, not even in singling Iranian-passports, Iran-bound and persons of Iranian origin for the treatment. The national security argument is paramount and will probably be upheld by the courts. This is no different than the imposition of trade restrictions, travel restrictions, or hauling in the Iranian students at the time of the Carter presidency to answer to the INS officials.

Security aside, the policy also irritates the Iranians in the hope that the vexation will then force the Iranians to force their government to mend its ways. Well, may be instead of viewing these incidents as a sort of due process violations by the United States government, the aggrieved need to complain directly to the Iran Interests Section in Washington, the Iran Mission at the U.N., and the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran. No matter how one slices it, the suffering of the Iranians in this area is linked to the Amercian displeasure with the Iranian government.

As always, the Iranian government does not give two hoots about the comfort and dignity of any Iranian much less the expatriate community living and working abroad. Why should any other government? Next time one is aggrieved by the INS, Customs or Airport Security one should file a claim for monetary compensation for pain and suffering and loss of human dignity with the Iranian government. If the Iranian government would like to help the passengers, then it can pay out the amount to the aggrieved passengers and then seek the reimbursement of the payout from the Amercian government at some point.

There is also room for some self-help here. As for passnegers, travel on non-Iranian passports; go to European or Canadian destinations before heading out to Iran on separate tickets; boycott the American-flag carriers. If the loss of business is high enough then the airline too will line up on the side of the Iranian complainants and seek a change in policy. As for the Iranian government, it should seek the help of other governments and their liners in ending Washington's search and finger-print policies by applying economic and reciprocal pressure.

Best solution to all this: Do as many have been doing for decades: remain stoic, grin and bear the insult; philosophize that it is a necessary evil of international travel; that you rather fly safely than be blow up by a bomb that sneaked on board under someone's skirt of dignity; it is nothing personal. Maybe, just maybe, if one does not make much of it, it will not amount to much. It is probably worse still, to be shrill about it and yet do nothing, which is about par for the course.

Guive Mirfendereski


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