Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An Appeal to Reason on Iran

On November 21, the inimitable Juan Cole (http://www.juancole.com) posted an appeal from 20 experts on Iran from both parties with a variety of backgrounds, including three ambassadors, for a more reasonable policy on Iran. One should go to his site to see the full discussion, but the highlights are five recommendations and the deconstruction of eight myths. I list them without details. Cole called for others to publicize this, and so I am doing so here a few days late, and making clear my agreement with and support of this appeal.

The five recommendations:
1) Replace calls for regime change in Iran with a long term strategy.
2) Support human rights through effective international means.
3) Allow Iran a place at the table in determining the future of Iraq and Afghanistan, along with other key states.
4) Address the nuclear issue within the context of a broader US-Iran opening.
5) Re-energize the Arab-Israeli peace process with the US being an honest broker.

The eight myths:
1) President Ahmadinejad calls the shots on foreign and nuclear policy.
2) The political system in Iran is frail and ripe for regime change.
3) Iranian leaders' religious beliefs render them undeterrable.
4) Iran's current leaders are implacably opposed to the US.
5) Iran has a declared intention to attack Israel to "wipe Israel off the map."
6) US sponsored "democracy promotion" can help bring true democracy to Iran.
7) Iran has clearly and firmly committed to developing nuclear weapons.
8) Iran and the US have no basis for dialogue.


J Thomas said...

So, where's the hidden conclusion?

reason said...

So what is my role in this then?-)

Theodore M. Seeber said...

So who edited the Koran to make Iran suddenly more open to diplomacy with kuffar?

Econoclast said...

Barkley writes that the US should >Support human rights through effective international means.<

One thing that Obama should do is to make the US just as subject to international law (the international courts, etc.) as other countries are, reversing the Bushwa "we're above the international law" stance. If the "Big Boy" (the U.S.) admits that it can do wrong now and then, it encourages the "small players" to go along.
Jim Devine

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...


Well, heck, you are being appealed to. Enjoy it.

Ted Seeber,

I suggest you read the statement over on juan cole's blog before you make too many more ignorant statements. Since when has any Muslim government ever felt constrained by quotations from the Qur'an when engaging in foreign policy?

To be more specific regarding Iran, the statement notes the following:
1) In the 1990s, Iran favored Russia over the rebellious Muslim Chechens.
2) Iran aided the US when the US invaded Afghanistan initially, something we showed our gratitude for by declaring them part of the "Axis of Evil," which helped the more radical Ahmadinejad get elected over more moderate opponents.
3) Iran developed secret relations with both Israel and the US during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.
And as for now, the US could provide new technology to develop the Iranian oil industry, both are opposed to the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and both share an interest in controlling narco trafficking in the region.



Myrtle Blackwood said...

I would add something to Juan Cole's list:
Educate the American public about Iran-American relations in the last 100 years.

1955 – the Law for the Attraction and Protection of Foreign Investment passed.

1972 – May. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger stopped off in Iran and signed a secret agreement which gave the Shah a carte blanche to buy any and all conventional weapons he wanted from the U.S. Arguably, it also saved key corporate pillars of the beleaguered U.S. arms industry. Indeed, several U.S. officials, including the ex-ambassador to Saudi Arabia, James E. Akins, recently argued that Kissinger acquiesced in the Shah-led oil price hikes beginning in 1974 to provide Iran with the finances to help out ailing Northrup, McDonnell Douglas, General Dynamics, Boeing, Grumman and Litton Industries.

1974 – Kissinger acquiesced in the Shah-led oil price hikes beginning in 1974 to provide Iran with the finances to help out ailing Northrup, McDonnell Douglas, General Dynamics, Boeing, Grumman and Litton Industries.

1977 – mid. 327 foreign corporations were engaged in 243 joint-venture industrial undertakings in Iran. Often with members of the royal family or with the Shah’s Pahlavi Foundation. Meanwhile, foreign loans poured in to finance public sector communications, transportation and construction. The high rate of return proved a major incentive to foreign corporations (30-50 percent). To ensure the loyal support of Iran's numerically small elite, the Shah condoned, and often facilitated, a panoply of channels for corruption.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Well, the most salient fact about the history of US-Iranian relations that very few Americans know about but virtually all Iranians over about the age of five is that in 1954 the US CIA organized the coup that overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh regime that had nationalized Iranian oil (previously owned by what is today British Petroleum, but was then known as the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company). Shah Mohammed Pahlave was reinstalled as a result of that coup, who would be overthrown in the Islamic revolution of 1979.