The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


December 26, 2000

Optimisim in foreign policy

In response to Mrs. Setareh Sabety-Javid letter, "Where have you been?", I do share your concerns, and your criticisms are noted. However, my article ["The time is now"] focuses on U.S.-Iran relations, not domestic matters.

I do not believe that foreign powers should be allowed to intervene in Iran's domestic politics. And even if they were permitted to do so they would not do it on behalf of democracy! That is a challenge for the Iranians to face.

My reference to dialogue among civilizations is made in the context of Iran's foreign policy. In that context, whether we like it or not, the idea has gained the Islamic Republic some added degree of international legitimacy, helping the government to mend relations with a number of key states.

In the context of domestic politics, however, that phrase and the corresponding idea of "dialogue among Iranians" remain mere propaganda. Again, just like you, I am also disappointed. But unlike many, I was never an optimist about that particular reform process.

I do, however, believe that the Iranian society is going through structural changes which, along with developments globally, make it hard for any political force to remain oblivious to the need for democracy, social justice and economic development in Iran. Should we wait till that moment arrives before U.S.-Iran relations is normalized? I do not believe so!

The tension with the U.S. has already cost the Iranian people enormous economic loss and international prestige. This must be stopped and I am optimist that it will some day!

Hooshang Amirahmadi


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