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Tuesday 17 September 2019
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* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


Creating a US-Iran Bridge
[ News Report]  [2008-04-05 08:58:09]
[Source: Middle East online - 03/04/08]


Grassroots movements in Iran all say that they don't need outside help. Since the United States has allocated $75 million to an ‘Iran Democracy Fund’, the life of grassroots movements has become more difficult. Any direct – or indirect – help to the democratic movement in Iran coming from this fund is seen as an attempt of external regime change, says Leila Zand.


Washington, DC - The upcoming second round of talks with the United States on Iraq Security offers another opportunity for US-Iranian dialogue and negotiations. However, an atmosphere of mistrust between the United States and Iran persists, leaving open the potential for yet another disastrous conflict in the Middle East.

Ongoing isolation and diplomatic sanctions will not reduce such a possibility. As a result, the question for most of us – both Americans and Iranians – is how can we be influential in determining our countries' future? How can we demand a workable solution, or at least a dialogue, to promote the peaceful co-existence of our two countries?

Because of its geo-political location, Iran is an important power in the troubled region of the Middle East. Iran shares history, culture and religion with two of its neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, where America has a military presence. In addition, the country has a great deal of control over oil from the Persian Gulf. As such, it could be a welcome partner to the United States in the region.

However, the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979 created a permanent fear of Iran in American minds. For 444 days, every news agency in the east and west carried news of this unlawful act. Though the majority of Iranian citizens disapproved of the hostage taking, their opinions were rarely covered in the media, and neither were the motives that compelled these students to take American hostages. No major media spoke of the connection between this action and that of the American government's in 1953, when the CIA helped overthrow Mohammad Mossadegh, the popularly elected prime minister of Iran. Despite the link, this American fear has continued with the recent development of an Iranian nuclear programme.

After the overthrow of Mossadegh, the United States had a direct hand in Iranian domestic and foreign policy during the time of the late Shah. After 1979, when the Iranian people rose against the Shah, the United States never fully understood the reasons or the consequences and resentment that resulted from its support of the Shah's regime.

If the US government continues to press for more sanctions against Iran and labels the Iranian Revolutionary Guards "terrorists", nothing will change for the better. Furthermore, the United States as a superpower must act fairly with the various countries in the Middle East.

It should engage Iran in the resolution of regional crises, such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Iran is a major power in the region with vital influence on anti-Israeli movements in the area. The more Israel, and especially the United States, try to keep Iran away from important decisions in the region, the more Iranians will feel they are ignored.

The United States should also stop supporting grassroots movements in Iran. In recent years, educated Iranian women have rolled up their sleeves and conducted some of the most impressive grassroots movement in the history of Iran. Alongside women's movement there have been those that have advocated for workers and students' rights.

These groups all say that they don't need outside help. Since the United States has allocated $75 million to an "Iran Democracy Fund" to support the promotion of democracy in Iran, the life of grassroots movements has become more difficult. Any direct – or indirect – help to the democratic movement in Iran coming from this fund is seen as an attempt of external regime change and prevents Iranian activists and opposition groups from contacting and engaging in dialogue with their American counterparts.

The United States and Iran could, and should, work together on creating a new relationship. Their alliance will help improve the American image in the region, and will pave the path for a more peaceful Middle East. Such an alliance cannot take place with direct military intervention; rather, it must move forward with both parties investing in mutual respect and trust. Iranians must be made to feel that their political, social, and cultural sovereignty is not, and will not be, invaded by such alliance.

Building relations requires continuously striving towards better mutual understanding. The more we accept our differences and the more we respect each other's ways of life, the closer we will be to accomplishing such a goal. The first step can be a mutual agreement to stop using aggressive language and labels like the "Great Satan" and "Axis of Evil". It is then, and only then, that we may understand what "democracy" means to an Iranian, what "freedom" means to an American.

American and Iranian publics need to fill the void left by our diplomats by taking direct action. We need to be informed, engaged and active. We need to become civilian diplomats. This is not a new concept; it has been around since before the Cold War. Civilian diplomats are active when the people believe their government and official diplomats cannot be of significant help in reducing political tensions and re-establishing relations. A civilian diplomat can travel to another country, study the culture and history of the "other" and at least create a civilian bridge between two countries where no other bridge exists.

Leila Zand is an Iranian American and coordinator of FOR's (Fellowship of Reconciliation) Iran Program. For more information, visit www.forusa.org. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service and can be accessed at GCNews.





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