Friday, May 23, 2008

Nuclear Energy and Democracy

David Miliband, the British Foreign Secretary, and Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, have stepped up warnings to Iran to come clean about its nuclear programs soon or face new sanctions. There is nothing irregular about Iran's nuclear program nor is it a big deal. This is what the IAEA has been saying for several years now and the global community has heard it . In addition, Iran is only opting to provide fuel for its nuclear power plant and to develop a technology that would ensure its self reliance and dignity. Its no big deal when compared to the dozens of nuclear weapons that the Zionists regime wields , or the hundreds that the Americans and Russians hold today.

The sanctions and political pressures inflicted on Iran under this pretext are however a big deal. They have, for the past years, only resulted in a delay for democracy and economic growth for Iran. They have given a pretext for more radical elements to strengthen their rationale and to bring more pressure upon the civil society and restrict social and political freedoms. That does not mean we do not have political or social freedoms, which are a relative matter any how in any society, but it means that foreign pressures against Iran have not contributed to the democratic processes which have taken shape in the country.
Yesterday was the anniversary of the beginning of the reform government, there was no government recognition , reformist parties however did celebrate in various forms. Today, the country is celebrating the freedom of Khorramshar, a strategic port in south western Iran, from occupation under the Saddam aggression twenty four years ago. It was an historical feat performed by courageous young men who fought valiantly against an aggressor who was armed and encouraged by most western powers including particularly the American government. Iran won the war based on its faith and national capabilities , Saddam lost the war on the basis of its distance from its people and sheer dependence on foreign support.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Persian Gulf

President Khatami leaned over and told the Environment Minister of Qatar that " Historical documents prove that the Persian Gulf is the correct term, so do UN documents." This was in 1998 when we had a Ministerial Council Meeting of the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) in Tehran. The Qatari Minister had made a remark about the reference made by the President to the term "Persian Gulf" and he had received an appropriate reply. I was the revolving head of the Council at that time. We always tried to work together in the Council and to put aside differences for the sake of our nations and the future of our common sea area. Dr. Al Awadi who is still the Kuwaiti, Executive Director,with Iranian origins like many people in that region, was also very conducive to this atmosphere of collaboration and mutual trust. Political issues however sometimes overshadowed this atmosphere.

The Persian Empire is over 2500 years old and most of the Arab states bordering the Persian Gulf are less than a century old. Therefore ,it is natural that this region would be named after its greatest and oldest civilization . There are several international documents and maps that prove this historical fact . I have a replica map in my room in the City Council which dates back to 1840 and the term Persian Gulf is written on that body of water. The systematic attempts made to change the name of this body of water are obviously in contrast with the atmosphere of brotherhood and peace that we need so dearly in this region. Tensions have escalated in the region due to different reasons including the instigation perpetuated continuously by Zionist elements.We need logical and rational diplomacy in this region to protect us in face of common challenges , discord, it seems only serves our enemies now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

George Clooney in Tehran

One of the recurring themes in the US presidential debates is how to deal with Iran. The sheer misconception that American politicians have about Iran, categorizing and stereotyping it in a way that it would fit their narrow minds, is fascinating. I do however hear them, once in while, confessing that they do not have a comprehensive understanding of the intricate and complex interplay of social political and economic factors in Iran.

For example, would they believe that today , in Tehran the capital of the Islamic Republic , in one of the major freeways which is now practically always congested with traffic, there stands a large billboard advertising for Omega watches by depicting a picture of the American celebrity and writing in English George Clooney's Choice. I've recently seen the ad on the back of a local magazine as well. Although I am sure the local Omega dealers and Iranian municipal authorities are well aware of Clooney's critical stance vis a vis the American administration, nevertheless here is an American advertising for a Western brand in the political and economic hub of the Islamic Revolution!

What I mean to say is that Iran is a country with diverse climate and landscape, rich diversity in flora and fauna and above all a diverse social and political fabric which depicts a complex interplay of views and attitudes. Iranians are now more literate, more educated and more informed about local and global affairs than ever before.Those matters need to be kept in mind in dealing with Iran.
Iranians today are proud of their identity , their national heritage and their revolution, however their leaders realize that much needs to be done to fulfill the expectations of the people and that of the youth who aspire much more.