|TIME TO TALK?
The debate to renew dialogue with Iran.
January 26, 1998
in this forum:
Does engaging Iran send the wrong message to other nations who condone terrorism? Considering Iran's hostility toward Israel and its opposition to the peace process, what could one expect from U.S.-Iran dialogue in relation to Iran and Israel? Isn't it possible that constructive dialogue and the readmission of Iran into the international community could do more to influence and Iran's behavior than sanctions ever achieved? Is Iran ready to have a dialogue with the United States? Didn't previous U.S policies toward Iran create the hostility that divides the two nations today?
December 15, 1997
President Khatami calls for a dialogue with the West.
May 26, 1997
Mohammad Khatami is elected president of Iran .
January 30, 1997
The State Department's annual report on human rights violations .
March 13, 1996
A summit on terrorism is held in Egypt .
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the Middle East.
Iranian Embassy in Canada
News, views and information on Iran from NetIran.
Department of State
Martha Stone of New York, NY, asks:
When discussing U.S.-Iran relations, most critics have seen the U.S. policy towards Iran as a reaction to the 1979 Islamic revolution. But wasn't Iran's revolution in large part a result of the U.S.'s historic intervention in Iranian affairs (i.e. the 1953 overthrow of the democratically elected government and the continued support for the Shah's oppressive regime)? Didn't previous U.S policies toward Iran create the hostility that divides the two nations today?
Dr. Gary Sick, former National Security Council staff member and principal White House aide for Iran during the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis, answers:
Both Iran and the United States have deep-seated grievances against each other. The list is long and painful. We will have to address those issues directly before we can turn our attention from the past to the future. Iran's new president has taken a major step in that direction by speaking with admiration of the U.S. political system and the American people. This online dialogue is one of the consequences of that effort, but a great deal more will have to be done.
In the meantime, we should recognize how fortunate we are, almost despite ourselves, to have a Mohammed Khatami in Iran instead of another Saddam Hussein or Hafez al-Assad. A generation of bitterness and hostility will not dissipate overnight or without some political risk on either side. But for the first time in a generation, the risks would appear to be justified.
Congressman Sam Gejdenson, (D-Connecticut), answers:
There is no question one has to look closely at the history of the United States and Iran while assessing current and future relations. Any frank discussion between our two nations would have to include U.S. ties with the former Shah of Iran, which brought pain and corruption to the Iranian people along with his modernization efforts.
But the way for Iran to redress these grievances is not to plant bombs in Tel Aviv cafes and Buenos Aries embassies or murder Kurdish separatists in Berlin. What we are trying, above all, in the Middle East is to break the cycle of violence which has gripped this region for far too long. In this context, Iran can be a powerful agent for change in the Middle East if they abandon their commitment to violence. Iran and the United States have a complex, shared history together over this century. I want Iran to join us in writing a new history of peace in the 21st century.