Posts Tagged ‘Iranian attitudes to the West’

Time to make it up with Iran

By Jonathan Power

Over recent years many Iranians in the big cities confided quietly to the opinion pollsters that they feel an empathy with the West. It was not reciprocated. Frankly, most people in the West have no in-depth opinion about Iran. If they think about it for more than a couple of minutes they go along with their government’s line.

A majority of Western and Arab leaders supported the American position as taken by successive presidents: Iran was probably trying to make a bomb. (To its credit US intelligence never concurred with its presidents, and privately some Western leaders would acknowledge this.)

Then came the Obama-initiated nuclear deal with Iran negotiating with the Americans, the Europeans, Russians and Chinese. It was one of President Barack Obama’s most singular achievements. At the end, Obama was gracious enough to phone President Vladimir Putin to thank him for Russian support.

The Iranian public were truly happy about the deal. But President Donald Trump has all but sabotaged their benign feelings. His private war against the Obama deal has become red hot. He appears determined to scrap it and thus return to years of bitter antagonism, besides giving succour to Iran’s nuclear weapons’ lobby. Now he has extended his wrath to Iran’s non-nuclear rocket program, even though they would be useless against Western targets.

Trump knows no Iranian history. When the Iranian revolution happened in 1979, the Shah was overthrown and the fundamentalist Islamic Shi’a regime of Ayatollah Khomeini came to power, one of the first things the new regime did was to close down the Shah’s nuclear weapons’ research program. (Ironically, it had had technical help from the US.) It was only after Iraq attacked Iran that the program was resuscitated. Read the rest of this entry »


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