December 26, 2000
I read Dr. Amirahmadi's article ["The
time is now"] with much enthusiasm and interest. Like most Iranian-Americans,
I long for nothing but improved relations between Iran and the United States.
A cooperation between these two countries will translate itself into better
opportunities for Iranians living in the United States, if nothing else.
There are, however, at least two theoretical points in Dr. Amirahmadi's
otherwise excellent analytical piece which I think need further discussion.
The first regards his assertion that "Tehran and the Iranian public
have come to increasingly realize that working with the U.S. will mean
recognizing its global interests and leadership." If this development
is true, then I hope it does not imply that Iran is willing or should be
willing to subjugate her interests to those of the United States.
To have an understanding of others' interests is knowledge, but to put
those interests over and above one's own interests is an act that no modern
nation and independent government is expected to advocate. Such a gesture
will not impress the American government or its people either. As I am
sure many of us know by living in this culture, Americans live mostly by
the principle of self-interest and respect only those who do likewise.
My second point is with respect to an implied suggestion that "the
sooner relations with the United States, the better." Although an
improved cultural relations and educational exchanges between Iran and
the United States is to the benefit of both countries and might result
in a mutual understanding, I suspect rushing into an extensive economic
and political relation is not all that wise.
Iran and the United States are two countries of unequal power in economic
and technological matters. Extended economic and political relations with
the United States can not endure and cannot be stable under conditions
that the United States has shown only mild interests here or there in improving
Opening relations with Iran could only last for long and through hard
times, when and if the United States puts her heart and mind into it in
the same way that it was done for China.
As Iranians living in the United States, we should seek nothing less
than an equally beneficial relationship between the two countries. It is
not enough if the U.S. accepts or tolerates Iran. The United States should
grant Iran the same rights as other free nations. In the current world
order, all nations and their governments are entitled to the same rights
and privileges, if they are aware of them, and if they are willing to exercise
That is exactly how the Third World societies should negotiate for ending
the era of neo colonialism and/or imperialism in favor of a new world order
based on recognition of different interests.