I was more than a bit nervous going up the elevator to interview Gary Sick at his apartment in New York's Upper Westside. So was he, it seemed.
In 1979, Sick was a member of the United States National Security Council during the Carter Administration. As the director in charge of Middle East affairs, he went through what must have been the most difficult period in his life during the takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Meanwhile I, in 1979, was a 17 year-old at an American high school in then West Germany, proudly cheering what I thought was a heroic act by a group of countrymen venting their anger and frustration at years of American domination in Iran.
Today, as one of the most reputable experts on Iran, Sick travels the world often lecturing on Iranian affairs. In the interview, he made it clear that what became known as the 444-day “Hostage Crisis” is still fresh in the minds of most Americans.
But Sick also conceded that Iranians should not be entirely blamed. He suggests that anti-Americanism in Iran can be traced to the CIA-engineered coup that toppled the democratic government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq in 1953, the year when the U.S. “lost its virginity” in the minds of Iranians.
Nevertheless, Sick said continued hostilities between the two countries should be resolved through direct talks — something that appears to be a distant possibility at best.