18 jun Iran loves America
If you read the papers you will think this cannot be true, but it is. Iranians don’t disapprove of the US, and certainly not of the American people. They do disapprove of the sanctions that diminish their business and make prices rise sky high. These sanctions are a result of the lack of transparency the Iranian authorities deploy on their nuclear ambitions. Nuclear weapons, that are or are not being developed as I write, could threaten the region and especially Israel, America’s long time ally. As long as the threat exists, the West will keep Iran under close obsertvation and punish the ayatollahs with economic measures. Enough reason to hate America? Not at all. If you visit Iran (which you should, as it is one of the most interesting and hospitable countries in the world) you will find that most people have a huge dilemma when it comes to the US. On the one hand they want to agree with their government (or must they, out of fear of being reported to the police?) and on the other they have to admit that they admire America more than any other country. The average Iranian believes that Mr. Ahmedinedjad’s governement has provoked the world by undiplomatic speeches and a certain arrogance born out of a deep feeling of insecurity. Emotions Iranians understand as they have had a long history of betrayal, isolation and religious tensions with their Sunni neighbors, themselves being Shiites. (See my book on Iran: ‘Where is my vote’, Amsterdam, 2010).
Being a proud Iranian doesn’t have to mean being against America and the West; in their heart many Iranians long for a helping American hand to improve their business as well as their daily life and liberty. Normalization of the relations would help a lot. I believe the US is willing to find a certain appeasement. I also believe Iran is ready to open the doors of its research centers in order to prove that they want nuclear energy, not bombs. One proof of this is Iran’s recent positive attitute towards talks with Washington and the fact that Teheran delivers visa to American journalists (Nicholas D. Kristof/New York Times). The real problem is Israel, that has its own reasons to keep calling Iran the regional devil. Creating a strong ennemy image means receiving more attention and (military) assistance from befriended countries like America. Becoming ‘softer’ might mean becoming more vulnerable, a position Israel will want to avoid at all means. Only a non agression pact signed by Teheran, Washington and Tel Aviv may solve things. On the other hand, if Iran’s people love America, Americans love Israel, Israeli love America, a good Woody Allen kind of shrink might find a way to reconcile all these lovers in a spectacular triangular affair. If we let the people decide instead of the governments, peace could get a chance. I know, it sounds naive, but as no other solution is in sight we might as well propose a sentimental one before a new war breaks out.