- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Your March 17 story “Iran expands ties with many states despite axis' tag” demonstrates the implied paradox that while the United States demonizes Iran, America's allies get on with the real world. It is also proof that resorting to rent-a-slogans invented by unnamed speechwriters is not the best way to pursue foreign policy.

Like any country, Iran has a right to defend itself, engage in dialogue with other nations (especially its neighbors) and develop its technological base to improve its economy as well as maintain a credible defense posture.

It shares land borders with seven states twice that if one adds the littoral states of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf in a region rife with nuclear weapons and varying degrees of instability. It has not invaded any country since before the United States gained independence. Yet, in the last century alone, it has been the victim of aggression by czarist Russia, the Soviet Union and Britain as well as Turkey and, most recently, Saddam Hussein's Iraq. During World War II, the United States joined Soviet and British occupation forces despite Iran's declared neutrality. After the war, Britain and America toppled a popularly elected prime minister and replaced him with an autocratic monarch.

Instead of hurling salvos of fundamentalist invective, perhaps Washington should look closer to home for better relations with Iran.



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