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IIC welcomes President Clinton's apology to the Iranian nation

Washington DC, April 19, 1999 (IIC) - The President's admission of the past wrongful policies towards Iran from some Western countries goes a long way in breaking the wall of mistrust between the two nations of the US and Iran.

On 12 April 1999 the President of the United States made a further and dramatic step towards rec-onciliation with Iran with an apology for historical interference in that country's affairs. In remarks on inter-religious and international dialogue, the President stated that "it is important to recognize ... that Iran, because of its enormous geopolitical importance over time, has been the subject of quite a lot of abuse from various Western nations".

This is the closest yet Washington has come to recog-nize the legitimacy of complaints about its anti-democratic policies during the last Shah's reign. But at the same time, President Clinton emphasized that whilst 'we can give people the legitimacy of ...their historic grievances,' all parties concerned must address one vital question: 'Now, can we build a common future?'

Tehran welcomed Clinton's remarks, but reiterated that it hoped to see some deeds rather than only words. If Clinton follows his important statement with the easing of US sanctions or approval of the pending food sale to Iran, the momentum for Iran to respond in kind would be very great indeed.

In the mean time, President Khatami of Iran should show appreciation for Clinton's apology. Last year, Iran's President expressed regret over the hostage crisis, while mentioning Iranian concerns. Presi-dent Clinton's vital recognition of Iran's historic grievances will help construct a strong foundation for a substantive and productive dialogue after twenty years.

Improved relations with Iran, an important power in the Persian Gulf region, are in the vital interest of the US. The current policy of isolation is long overdue for review. IIC warmly welcomes President Clinton's willingness to patch the tattered relationship between Iran and the US.

Iranians for International Cooperation (IIC), is a not-for-profit, independent network of concerned global citizens who strive to improve relations between the two former allies Iran and the US.

* President Clinton's comments on Iran


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