Whether it is a sign of the times of the looming Presidential Elections both in the US and in Iran or simply a genuine effort by antagonist political rivals to attempt some kind of dialogue, it is interesting that VOA Persian has given “carte blanche” to supporters of normalization of relations between the US and Iranian governments. Given that VOA Persian has been often unjustly ( in my personal opinion) criticized by many IRI hardliners but also pro-reformist and so-called progressive IRI lobbyists as being only a propaganda tool for the American foreign policy, and Iranian opposition groups and for benefiting from financial help by the US congress $75 Million Bill it is interesting to see that VOA has nevertheless allowed personalities and political activists (often at odds with most Iranian opposition groups as well as the current US administration’s political stance) to express themselves freely and develop their views on their political vision or policy suggestions in regard to Iran’s current leadership.
Last Saturday Madelaine Albright who was Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton ( and currently supporting Hillary Clinton in her Presidential campaign) was invited on VOA Round Table with you to discuss her views with the Persian speaking TV Station. ( See Video). Interestingly Albright was one of the first American politicians to extend an Olive Branch towards the Iranian Leadership of former President Khatami and invite him to the US for his famous “Dialogue of Civilizations” speech. Albright was heavily criticized at the time in the Iranian Diaspora for having been too quick in conceding to the Islamic Republic’s smiling face President and ignoring the IRI’s Human Rights Record. But Albright’s softer stance towards the Khatami administration and her acknowledgment of the US responsibility in the overthrow of Dr. Mossadegh’s government was seen as a genuine sign of appeasement in the often tense relations between Iran and the US eversince the US Embassy take over of 1979 that led to 444 Days of an ordeal that only saw a happy conclusion with the liberation of the 52 US hostages on the eve of the Presidential Oath by new President Ronald Reagan. Last Sunday that is the following day of Mrs. Albright’s interview, VOA introduced another interview/debate with AIC ( American Iranian Council) founder Dr. Houshang Amirahmadi and Bijan Mehr a member of the Iranian National Front (Jebheyeh Melli) opposition group to the IRI. AIC ( American Iranian Council) and its Founder Dr. Houshang Amirahmadi have been at the center of a controversy similar to the one surrounding NIAC and its founder / Director Trita Parsi for spearheading the idea of a dialogue with Iran in the name of Real Politics. Amirahmadi’s AIChowever was created in 1997 earlier than Trita Parsi’s NIAC which dates back to 2001 shortly after the Sept 11th Ground Zero tragedy. Amirahmadi however has been accused of being too sympathetic towards high members of the Iranian leadership including current President Ahmadinejad and former President Khatami and has traveled back and forth to Iran quite recently. Whether Amirahmadi is or not a middle man or if AIC is an IRI lobby in the US is debatable nor can I vouch for or against it no more than I can for NIAC.Whether one shares or not the views of these Iranian American organizations that claim to be grass root representatives of the Iranian American Community or whether one adheres to the vision of its leaders/members or to that of VOA’s editorial policy what does appear interesting is that there seems to be a growing awareness in the Iranian media outlets and particularly on VOA on the necessity for creating an atmosphere of mutual dialogue and debate between Iranians who stand diametrically opposite on the Iranian political spectrum. I personally think that this is a step in the right direction that can help achieve a better understanding of the challenges faced by our compatriots at large in achieving what I think appears as our ultimate common goal that is: A Free and Democratic Iran.VOA seems to have also scored a positive note recently by extending an invitation for Dialogue with moderate factions of the Iranian political arena. It has to date been refused by all major political figureheads of the Iranian leadership including former President Khatami who seem to refuse any form of direct talks with Iranian Diaspora Journalists including Radio Farda which Khatami regarded with suspicion ( not to say that Iran imprisoned an anchor of Radio Farda Parnaz Azima was arrested and held in Prison for more than Seven Months in Iran last year). VOA also scored another success when Noureddine Pir Mouazen,the spokesman of reformists in parliament, gave an interview on VOA Roundtable ( certainly the most widely watched satellite TV program beamed into Iran ) to the fury of the Islamic Republic leadership who called him a traitor.
If Only the IRI State Run Television had the same ouverture towards political discourse as VOA. They should maybe start by cleaning in front of their own doors before shouting their outrage against “Censorship” and “Westoxication” against the VOA and its so-called shortcomings …
I leave the Interpretation / Pertinence of the arguments and debate presented in the following interview to your own Sagacity :See Video