IRAN’S latest missile tests occurred just as there have been glimmers of progress in nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the Western powers. Whether or not those talks succeed, it’s time for Washington to open a diplomatic post in Tehran.
A high-level official has told me that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is seeking President Bush’s approval to establish a United States Interests Section in the Iranian capital. This is a smart idea that Democrats and Republicans should support.
Iran is an anomaly in the Middle East. In Iran, unlike in the Arab world, America is seen as an adversary primarily by the government while most of the Iranian people see it as a country of freedom and moderation.
American policy should build on this phenomenon. The more Iranians see the real America, rather than the propaganda version portrayed in their reactionary media, the more they will push for democratic rights at home and moderate behavior abroad. This is where our diplomats come in. The main purpose of sending them to Iran would be to simplify travel for Iranians to the United States.