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    Clinton: Iran abused "quite a lot" by West

Excerpts from President Clinton's remarks on April 12, 1999 at a White House gathering: "Millennium Evening: THE PERILS OF INDIFFERENCE; LESSONS LEARNED FROM A VIOLENT CENTURY":

THE PRESIDENT: I would like to make one more point which I think is very important in the dealings between the West and the Islamic countries, generally -- and I will use Iran as an example.

It may be that the Iranian people have been taught to hate or distrust the United States or the West on the grounds that we are infidels and outside the faith. And, therefore, it is easy for us to be angry and to respond in kind. I think it is important to recognize, however, that Iran, because of its enormous geopolitical importance over time, has been the subject of quite a lot of abuse from various Western nations. And I think sometimes it's quite important to tell people, look, you have a right to be angry at something my country or my culture or others that are generally allied with us today did to you 50 or 60 or 100 or 150 years ago. But that is different from saying that I am outside the faith, and you are God's chosen.

So sometimes people will listen to you if you tell them, you're right, but your underlying reason is wrong. So we have to find some way to get dialogue -- and going into total denial when you're in a conversation with somebody who's been your adversary, in a country like Iran that is often worried about its independence and its integrity, is not exactly the way to begin.

So I think while we speak out against religious intolerance, we have to listen for possible ways we can give people the legitimacy of some of their fears, or some of their angers, or some of their historic grievances, and then say they rest on other grounds; now, can we build a common future? I think that's very important. Sometimes I think we in the United States, and Western culture generally, we hate to do that. But we're going to have to if we want to have an ultimate accommodation ... FULL TEXT

Thanks to Payman Arabshahi


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