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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 23, 2000

Great disappointment

Letter to U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright:

Madam Secretary,

National interest or political expediency overrides any consideration for propriety and loyalty. However, higher standards are expected from a super power. For those Iranians who worked hard and served their country before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, your speech at the American-Iranian Council came as a great disappointment.

The insinuation by your remarks that the Monarchy was saved in 1953 because of the United States role is quite misleading. In 1953 Iran was in a state of chaos, the economy was in shambles, the nation was behest with continuous civil strife; Premier Mossadegh, although well intentioned, had for all practical purposes lost control. The Communist Party was a potent force that had infiltrated the ranks and file of the Iranian armed forces. Apprehensive about the gathering strength of the leftist forces, the majority of Iranians then fully supported the Monarchy.

The U.S. government, driven by its own national interest and at the prodding of the British, decided to assist the Iranian opposition to Premier Mossadegh who was in clear breach of the Constitution. The role of the CIA in the uprisings of August 1953 has been greatly exaggerated. Do you really believe that it is possible with a budget of "one, or perhaps two, hundred thousand dollars" to have a national uprising and a change of government? Your assessment of the situation is an expedient rewriting of history. Many Iranians who played a part in those events find your remarks objectionable.

Most of the influential clergy and founding figures of the current regime actively supported the overthrow of Mossadegh. Even those who supported the late Premier Mossadegh may now find your regrets ironic. Presently several followers of Premier Mossadegh are wasting away in the prisons of the Islamic Republic.

In the thirty-seven years preceding the Islamic Republic only one opposition leader who collaborated with Saddam Hussein in planning to invade Iran from Iraqi territory was allegedly eliminated. In contrast, agents of the Islamic Republic have assassinated more than fifty figures of opposition outside Iran not to mention thousands within the country during the past twenty years.

Madam Secretary,

Your eminent predecessors and four American presidents chose to work with the former government of Iran that you now look upon with disapproval. The close and warm relationship with Iran was beneficial to both countries. In that span of twenty-five years, which coincided with the cold war, the U.S. government took full advantage of Iran's proximity to the Soviet Union for the purpose of its own national interest. The first time Ayatollah Khomeini chose to publicly oppose the policies of the late Shah was on account of a bill that gave American servicemen in Iran a special status. Presenting the parliament with this bill was tantamount to political suicide for the Shah's government.

Madam Secretary,

You said "nearly a million Iranian- Americans have made our country their home". May I respectfully point out that between 1951-1979, which were according to you "years of brutal repression", just under 50,000 Iranians and only a handful for political reasons, immigrated to the United States. The remaining balance came to this country after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, seeking refuge from political, cultural, and religious persecution and repression.

American national interest at one time required the United States to support Monarchial Iran; now it wants to appease a government who in the words of the State Department embraces international terrorism. Perhaps in the future a successor of yours will have the courage to express regret for supporting such a regime that has brought, in the name of God and Islam, twenty years of terror and repression on its people.

Respectfully yours,

Kambiz Atabai


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