For Immediate Release
Geraldine Cahill 416.916.5202 Ext:423
The Letter to Iran
How long will Obama's self-declared mutual understanding between the U.S. and the Muslim world last?
WASHINGTON - Almost
three months after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's
congratulatory letter to Barack Obama, the new administration in
Washington is set to respond with its own 'symbolic gesture' designed
to usher in a new era of détente. Pepe Escobar, political commentator
for The Real News, asks whether reiterating Republican rhetoric that
accuses Iran of 'sponsoring terrorism,' will jeopardize the opportunity
for progress in relations between the two countries. Iran, Escobar
states, may counter demands that Iran cease or change its behavior with
similar requests of its own, as has been the status quo for many
As ever, actions will speak louder than
words, and the presumed appointment of Dennis Ross as one of the new
Middle East envoys should worry the Iranians considerably. Ross is the
co-founder and chairman of an organization called 'United Against
Nuclear Iran', whose website offers pre-emptive congratulations to Ross
on his recent appointment to the Department of State, even before any
such news was announced officially. In addition, Ross is a 'counselor
and distinguished fellow' of the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, described by scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt as 'the
crucial think tank of the Israel lobby.'
presidential elections in Iran are scheduled for June, and Escobar
contends that Ahmadinejad retains a 'good chance of winning', despite
the diplomatic and economic blunders of his term so far, because the
specific apologies he has demanded from the US are popular with the
Iranian people. Firstly for the CIA-financed coup of 1953 that placed
the Shah in power, and secondly for the shooting down of Iranian Air
Flight 655 in 1988, a disaster which claimed the lives of 290
civilians. Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mike Mullen has
recently told the Jerusalem Post that the use of force against Iran is
still an option, albeit a 'last resort.' In both Washington and Tehran,
moderates and radicals are fighting for leverage in the policy-making
process, and the stakes remain extremely high in these first tentative
steps towards improved relations and diplomacy.
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