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City: Tehran

E'etemad, Iran

End the 'Political Excitement'; Begin the 'Political Wisdom'


With the Gulf poised on the edge of another war, is the time ripe for an opening in long-frosty American-Iranian relations? In this somewhat surprising op-ed article from Iran's state-controlled Farsi-language E'etemad [Trust], the author implicitly criticizes the 'political excitement' of Iran's leadership, and calls instead for 'political wisdom' on all sides.


By Rauf Pishdar


Translated By Anonymous


February 26 2007


Iran - E'etemad – Original Article (Farsi)

Given the acknowledgement of error on the part of high-ranking White House officials, including Secretary of State Rice, especially in regard to U.S. policies toward Tehran; and regardless of what has caused the recent change in language of U.S. officials toward Iran; a precarious but clear message is being conveyed: There is now an opening for both sides to bring their diplomatic skills to bear at the negotiating table, and an opportunity to melt the ice that has so paralyzed our relations over recent decades.


This opportunity first emerged in the final months of President Bill Clinton’s administration, specifically former Secretary of State Madeline Albright’s frank admission of certain hostile American behavior toward Iran. This included overthrowing the [democratically-elected] government of Dr. Mohammad Mosaddeq [1953 ], extensive interference in Iran’s domestic affairs and the taking of measures against Iranian interests, especially after the victory of the Islamic Revolution.


This was a chance to set the table for diplomats on both sides to begin to talk. After a certain level of cooperation took place in addressing regional crises in Afghanistan and Iraq, the opportunity was squandered because of America’s improper direction diplomatically, and the influence of lobbyists. Especially because of lobbyists in America who benefit from the status quo and the present state of our relations – ties froze again and even worsened.


And not all elements and forces that affect relations between Iran and America originate from within these two countries. Some forces such as the Zionist regime and Zionist lobby - whose influence permeates to the very highest levels of American power - even find it in their interests to promote a worsening of U.S.-Iran relations.


Especially in recent years, because of the failure to properly manage the situation, relations have been affected by what could be called "political excitement," as opposed to what is needed, which is "political wisdom."


[Translator's Note: By "political excitements," the author is implicitly criticizing the sloganeering and demagogic positions taken by certain Iranian officials, especially the Iranian president.]


Politics must deal with real phenomena. Apart from general definitions and concepts, the foreign policy of each country is usually shaped within a framework called national interests. The foreign policies of a nation must be formulated and put in place by real actors with real – not imaginary – attributes and within an international environment where every actor involved has a clear definition of itself. The main point here is to know the facts and the extent of the other side’s influence and to understand the interests of both sides.


In addressing international political issues, the following questions need to be answered: What are limits of the game? To what extent can national interests be pursued? To what extent can the other side continue the game without fear of damaging its own interests?


National interests are pursued utilizing a series of elements that are uniquely controlled by a government. These interests take objective form during exchanges with other international actors. The rules of engagement on the international stage require us to know what elements favor our side and which favor the other, and to try and fit them together in such a way as to bring the greatest benefit.


National interests cannot be confined to a certain region and for this reason, one should not ignore one or more global actors on the stage of international relations [an apparent reference to the U.S., suggesting that opposition to American hegemony alone is not a satisfactory policy]. The most successful international actors are those who perceive these relations clearly and set up a framework under which international interactions can take place, effectively turning threats into opportunities that favor their own national interests.


So the most important task for policymakers is to institutionalize a framework within which relations can take place. The key issue here is that this framework be capable of flexibility concerning the actions of the other actor or actors. Under present circumstances, this is the most important piece of advice that needs to be heard by both American and Iranian leaders. They both should be called upon to turn toward cooperation.


Surely, just having relations is neither an advantage for Tehran nor Washington. The important and invaluable thing is to develop logical relations that take account of the national interest. When Iran is able to independently engage in the game and secure and promote its national interests within America, and by engaging with the American government internationally, relations with the United States may be regarded as meaningful and advantageous to Iran. Surely, this applies equally to the American side.


The prerequisite for achieving this aim is the capacity to manage relations free of political excitements and to acknowledge the essential principles outlined above.


Farsi Version Below


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