By Hassan Beheshtipour
In his message to the Iranian people on the occasion of the Persian New Year, US President Barack Obama said he wanted to “take this opportunity to speak directly to the people and leaders of Iran.”
Obama addressed a similar message to Iran when he first took office in 2008, pretending to have extended hand of friendship. But in practice, the restrictions imposed by his predecessor George W. Bush were not eased, and even the toughest and most unprecedented sanctions were adopted against the Iranian nation.
In another part of his message on March 18, 2013, Obama said, “Since taking office, I have offered the Iranian government an opportunity; if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.”
Obama’s aides had not advised him correctly about how to choose words for his message to the Iranian nation, because the Iranian government and nation have endured pressures and problems since the 1979 Islamic Revolution due to their resistance to the arrogance of the US leaders.
Throughout the years following the revolution, the Iranian people have shown that they can easily fulfill their international obligations in view of serving national interests and world people. Hence, they have never waited for Obama to offer them an opportunity to play such a role.
Iran’s rightful status in the international arena has already been recognized due to its generation of science, economic and cultural progress and above all adopting the policy of independence from hegemonic powers. Therefore, if Obama expects Iran to align itself with the US domineering policies in the world, he must keep in mind that Iran has never sought such a position.
However, if he intended to lift unfair sanctions against the Iranian nation so that Iran could resume commercial and scientific interactions with the United States and its allies, then he has had to hint at such a decision in his message to show his goodwill to the Iranian people.
Obama acknowledges the “difficulty of overcoming decades of mistrust” and that “serious and sustained effort” would be required to “resolve the many differences between Iran and the United States.”
Obama and his advisors should be reminded that the settlement of differences between Tehran and Washington would need “confidence-building” before “serious and sustained effort.” The reason is that most Iranian people have bitter memories of the promises made by US presidents.
Turning to Iran’s nuclear energy program, Obama spoke of “the world’s serious and growing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, which threatens peace and security in the region and beyond.”
Obama stated that the Iranian leaders “have been unable to convince the international community that their nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes. That’s why the world is united in its resolve to address this issue and why Iran is now so isolated.”
The fact is that Iran’s peaceful nuclear program has served only as a pretext for Israel and its allies in the United States and Europe to blackmail the Iranian government and people. Everyone is ascertained that Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities have been underway over the past ten years under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN nuclear monitoring agency has conducted the strictest monitoring in its history in Iran.
Not a day passes without the presence of IAEA inspectors who have so far carried out more than 4,000 person-hours of inspections. No diversion has been reported in Iran’s activities. Iran has responded to all IAEA questions pertaining to the Islamic Republic’s activities lying within the framework of Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its Safeguards Agreement. Only questions related to the NPT Additional Protocol have been remained unanswered. Iran’s parliament has not yet approved the implementation of the protocol. Tehran voluntarily implemented the protocol from 2003 to 2005, but it did not get any achievement from its unilateral cooperation. When Iran halted its voluntary implementation of the protocol, it faced six resolutions. Therefore, the community of nations meant by the US comprises countries that are only after their own interests and are in fact leading the international hegemonic system.
Obama went on to say, “The people of Iran have paid a high and unnecessary price because of your leaders’ unwillingness to address this issue…. Now is the time for the Iranian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to reduce tensions and work toward an enduring, long-term settlement of the nuclear issue.”
Now one should ask whether Iranian leaders who are trying to neutralize political, economic and security pressures the US has imposed on the Iranian people are more willing to resolve this issue or the US government which is determined to serve the interests of Zionists while ignoring the real interests of the US people in their friendship with the people of Iran. Obama is not clear in his “meaningful steps” in view of an “enduring” solution.
Is Iran required to take serious steps alone? Or should the other side also take serious and meaningful steps for a settlement?
Optimistically speaking, Obama’s message is a positive move which can contribute to reducing tensions between the two countries. But the message would not per se allay concerns of Iranians who are watching the US behavior.
If Obama is sincere in his intention of positive cooperation with Iran, he should prove in practice his recognition of the independence and territorial integrity of Iran and stop threatening Iran’s national security. The US can once and for all choose to interact with Iran. In that case, the policy of pressure-and-talks would give way to the policy of cooperation-and-talks.
Adoption of such a stance would prove to the US that Iran’s rightful place in the world has been helping establishment of peace and security in all communities.
Both sides need to feel responsible in any action they would take.
In case Washington reconsiders its hostile policy towards Iran, Tehran would reciprocally take effective steps in view of mutual confidence-building.
A researcher, documentary producer, and expert on nuclear issues, Hassan Beheshtipour was born on June 22, 1961 in Tehran. He received his BA in Trade Economics from Tehran University. His research topics span from US and Russian foreign policy to the Ukrainian Orange Revolution.