Showdown With IranFRONTLINE
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In the long, ongoing clash between Iran and the U.S., what do you think the future holds?


First off, is the best,the fact that the united states first back iran and iraq has to be a issue for both countries. We do not set a clear policy in the middle east and we are paying the price for it now.

thomas ozechoski
altoona, pa


Thank you, Frontline, for another extraordinarily informative and thoughtful hour. Nobody - and I mean nobody - comes close to the serious, in-depth reporting that Frontline does, and it really came through this week.

In contrast to some of the other comments posted here, I did not find the program to be anti-Iran, pro-war, or pro-Bush Administration in any way. I saw a balanced, well-informed film about Iranian-US relations over the past 30 years.

It was actually surprising, in a good way, that Frontline was able to get the access it did to those that it interviewed with Iran. The fact that the former, reformist Vice President was able to lament where things have gone within Iranian leadership was a highlight of the hour. He helped put a face and a voice to reforms that have appeared dead since the rise of the current president. On the other hand, it's terrible to suggest it, but after last week's Frontline and this week's, it certainly appears that Frontline producers have an easier time getting foreign leaders and critical players in front of the camera than it is our own.

My own feeling is that we need to work harder on diplomacy and simply wait things out, while at the same time not allowing Iran to gain 'the bomb.' The majority of the population of Iran is under 35 years old and most do not harbor the 'death to America' stance of the revolution. The best course we can take it to make these young Iranians see we are not an enemy... and then wait. Wait for them to make their own revolution, as the old guard of old hardliners pass away.

If we've learned anything in Iraq, it should be that democratic revolution must come from within. It is a lesson the Bush Administration has hopefully understood (though I doubt it).

Sean Corbett
Washington, DC


The program "Showdown with Iran" was informative & very well done. I was especially impressed with the comment by Mr. Hossein Shariatmadari, in which he stated that many Iranians consider Al Qaeda to be an American creation - that it was created by the United States. And indeed it was created by the United States, principally by the CIA. It was formed, financed, armed & trained in Afghanistan to fight against the Soviet Army by the US taxpayers. This organization was then known as the `mujaheedin'.Just as in French Indochina the United States Government, through the OSS, financed, armed, and trained a little known communist militia known as the Viet Minh to fight against the occupying Japanese Army in 1944 - 45. The Viet Minh maintained their core leadership after World War II; they documented & practiced their training, and then they used those assets against the French colonial forces after 1946. Eventually they came to be called the Viet Cong in 1961.America is its own worst enemy. An arrogant & cynical government is constantly duping a historically ignorant population. As long as this trend continues, America will find itself enmeshed in costly & protracted wars.

Richard Charitat
Houston, Texas


As with so many FRONTLINEs that chronicle the doings of the Bush-Cheney administration, I found this depressing viewing. It was yet another a record of what hubris and stupidity in high places can do to a superpower.

I did not, as other discussants, find the show pro-war or anti-Iranian. Quite the opposite, in fact. It merely showed how the reformers in Iran were not once, but twice humiliated by a unilateralist USA and thus lost face and power inside Iran. The Supreme Leader, Khamenei, naturally gave the hardliners (led by Ahmedinijad) a chance. Thus we have arrived a the current juncture,where the threat of an armed confrontation carrying appalling consequences for the region and the world is hanging over us. Nice one, the White House! Chalk up another diplomatic coup!

FRONTLINE showed how the Iranians had twice held out the olive branch, once after 9/11 and again following the invasion of Iraq. The first time they stood back and did not interfere when we invaded Afghanistan -- which borders Iran. Imagine a large Iranian army landing in Mexico or Canada. Would we stand back and do nothing? Well they did. Not only that, they ordered their allies in the Afghan Northern Alliance to work with US forces.

Their reward for this passive and active assistance to the USA? They get branded members of the "axis of evil" in the 2002 State of the Union - another example of how scoring cheap political points trumps the national interest in the Bush-Cheney White House (compare the Valerie Plame affair).

The second Iranian overture was the biggest: a grand bargain that put everything on the table: "nucular" arms, Iranian support for Hezbollah, relations with Israel, helping the USA in post-Saddam Iraq, etc etc. All of it. On the table for discussion. The reaction? No reaction. The reformers are, again, humiliated and Khamenei went with the hardliners, who've been arguing that the US only listended to tough talk and making nice gets you nowhere. The experience of the reformers seemed to prove them right.

And so we get the desperately worrying final frame, where the former reformist Vice Prime Minister comments that now Iran is in the hands of people who think they're doing God's work (just like Washington, I'd add). As he said, this is indeed a very worrying situation.

2500 years ago the Athenian historian Thucydides charted the imperial mindset of his democratic city-state at the apogee of its power. Locked in a vast war with its rivals in Sparta, Athens scored a major victory early in the war. The Spartans made peace overtures. The Athenians, flying high and flush with the arrogance of success, rudely rebuffed the overtures, confident of their strength and their bright Athenian future.

They lost the war.

Garrett Fagan
State College, PA


I didn't think the program was informative enough. It was biased against Iran & Iranians. Iranians must stay behind their leaders; I do not want to see checkpoints in Iranian streets monitored by so called allied troops. I think anybody or any country would seek to defend themselves when the enemy is in their backyard. I go to Iran every year, and I see improvements in people's lives, you have to give it time, we will get there. One message to all Iranians: Be proud of your country, and don't sell youself!!

Hassan Agha
Portland, Oregon


Your program Showdown with Iran was one of the most blatant pieces of pro-war propaganda I have ever witnessed. According to your documentary, Iran is a country where the major pastime is chanting "death to America" and burning American flags. In Frontline's twisted view of the world, Richard Armitage and Ex-Mossad Agents opinions are taken as facts. A world where journalism is considered asking questions that start with "The Bush administration says..." The Frontline website for Showdown with Iran claims Iran "is on the rise as one of Americans greatest threats." This is a ridiculous statement and closely parallels what was said of Iraq before the run-up to the current disaster. You don't give one shred of proof to back up this statement. How can a country halfway around the world, who hasn't invaded another country in 100 years and doesn't have to capability to wage a war outside their region possibly be one of the greatest threats to America? But yet, there it is on your website as if it is a fact. Lower on the web page you state "the fear of an Iranian nuclear weapon looming in the background". Again, journalism consists of presenting facts and there is absolutely no proof that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Just because Dick Cheney says it doesn't make it true. How quickly you forget the same false statements made of Iraq. I have always considered Frontline one of the best sources of sound journalism in America. With Showdown with Iran you have shown you are no longer a source of Independent journalism but just another mouthpiece for the war-mongering Bush administration, leading us into another disastrous war.Michael Koch

Orlando, Florida


Thank you for presenting an informative and enlightening program about the escalating conflict with Iran. I was very pleased to see that you mentioned how Iranian society has a substantial youthful population that has some pro-Western views. As a young American who is against both the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I feel that I share a similar kinship with younger Iranians who are displeased with Ahmadinejad's inflammatory statements. Just last week, President Bush used the bombastic rhetoric of World War Three that harkens back to the days before the Iraq war in which his administration repeatedly used the inciting imagery of a "mushroom cloud over one of America's cities" to make its case for brute force.The real issue here is that if a conflict is started with Iran, it will be the Iranian people and ultimately the American people who will pay for such a misguided blunder, not the pigheaded leaders who refuse to sit at a table and work out their grievances.I am tired of my tax dollars funding the quagmire in Iraq; I will be damned if I will let this administration use them for their own "messianic" vision in Iran!

Ashley Leach
Norfolk, Virginia


The terrorist attacks in US and the multiple wars that have followed them have not only changed the face of the Middle East, but has also made recognizing the proper Iran policy more difficult.

Misguided US policy towards Iran dates back to the 1950's when the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadeq was toppled by a CIA backed coup d'etat. There are strong arguments made to the effect that had Mossadeq was left in power there would never had been an Islamic Revolution in Iran. We are too late to act differently.

Now it seems that when it comes to Iranians, options are either bombing them or sitting at negotiation tables with the brutal dictators ruling them. If you ask the people of Iran, they would choose democracy over anything else. And if you ask people in US, they would rather enable people of Iran to achieve democracy on their own, rather than sending their men and women to another war.

One clear way of enabling people of Iran to achieve democracy is by ensuring that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are officially listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

The fact the the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is not on the FTO list and the Iranian Mojahedin (MEK) are, is the most clear evidence of yet another misguided policy. There will be consequences for this mistake as well. This time, we are not yet too late to act differently.

Hamid Azimi
Berkeley, California


The program "Showdown with Iran" is the most informative about Iran yet. America is not the only country with serious concerns over the nightmare of Iran possessing a Nuclear weapon capabilities, all Arabian nations are terrified of the possibilities of Iran attaining nuclear capabilities. While Israel has the capacity to turn Iran to a stone age, but has been extermely patient, even with Iran's leader sebre-ratteling.I am the leftiest of the lefts anyone can get, I am as rigid anti-war as they can come. However, the current path Iran is following is so dangerous that I would agree with one more concerted effort to knock some sence into Iran's leaders head and if that does not work, then rain on them what we have; even if that means using nuclear