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Opinion

The last straw
Do what we want, then do what you like with protesters

By Elham Gheytanchi
July 12, 2003
The Iranian

I am not a pessimist and I don't usually comment on political events. I believe in people's power to change their condition. I believe in the students' potential ability to gain a democratic government. But I do not think there is a big conspiracy by the British or the Americans to conquer the whole world.

I do not think, as unfortunately some of my progressive friends sometimes do, that Jews are secretly planning a map of the world entirely for themselves. I do not think, as unfortunately some of my progressive Jewish friends think, that Arabs only desire destruction and death for others.

I do not think people's desire for change can only be used for superpower manipulations. Yet this is what I found myself thinking about for the past 10 days.

The Iranian government has made a deal with US and Britain: Iran will order Hamas to stop fighting as long as the US and Britain stop supporting the student movement in Iran. Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw's visits Iran for a series of talks with Iranian hardliners and once again he has been successful in his diplomatic efforts.

In the second round of negotiations, it seems Straw has persuaded the Islamic Republic to stop extremist Palestinian groups from getting direct help from the Iranian government to kill Israelis. And Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, has agreed with the deal. At first, President Bush and Secretary Powell expressed support for the Iranian student movement for democracy, but no such statements have appeared since Straw's visit to Iran.

So it appears Iranian hardliners have negotiated a deal to cut international support for the student movement in exchange for help with the peace process and cooperation on nucelar inspections. The US, Britain and the IRI are all after their own interests, and supporting democratic aspirations is not one of them.

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