Monday, March 23, 2009

On the Brink with Iran

In an international environment that is increasingly hostile despite the American public’s repudiation of Bush-era policies, relations between the United States are on a tipping point thirty years after the1979 Iran hostage crisis.

The end of last week’s news events held some scary surprises for the casual observer. On Wednesday, the AP reported that two United States underwater vessels collided in the Strait of Hormuz, off the coast of Iran. One of those ships was an amphibious vesel, the other a nuclear-powered submarine. While apparently thousands of gallons of oil were leaked into the Persian Gulf, no nuclear material leaked.

On Saturday, President Obama presented a video message on behalf of the United States to the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In it, President Obama beseeches Iran’s leadership for a pathway for détente and a new age in relations with the United States.

Reuters reports that the Ayatollah responded by saying while the message had good intentions, it lacked the concrete proposals needed to extend conciliation and quell hostility. The Ayatollah suggested the United States return currently frozen assets from Iran extending from debilitating U.N. sanctions during the past decade. In addition, he cited the need for military restraint from the United States and sincere troop withdrawals from the region.

The Ayatollah spoke in Mashhad instructing, “"You change, our behavior will change."

He went on to add that the United States is “"hated in the world" and should stop interfering in other countries.”

The United States overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran by a CIA coup in 1953. The trauma enacted by the assassination of populist President Mossadeq in 1953 and the revulsion at the U.S.-backed installation as Shah as dictator until his overthrow in 1979 is still fresh in the minds of many Iranians.

No comments: