The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Iran & the West III

In the last part of the BBC documentary, following details are worth noting:

  • After 9/11, Iran offered to cooperate unconditionally with the US in its 'War on Terror'. This was because Al Qaeda as well as the Taliban were enemies of both the US and Iran.
  • In the 6+1 talks at the UN, Iran provided the US with crucial intelligence about the situation in Afghanistan, such as targets for the bombing campaign. Furthermore, Iran helped the US create a new Afghan government.
  • In light of those events, the US state department advocated a policy of rapprochement. But George W. Bush opted for the goal of regime change in Iran.
  • Nine months later, British foreign minister Jack Straw went to Teheran to gather support for the invasion of Iraq. Chatami promised help and advice. He suggested to repeat the successful cooperation of the times of the Afghanistan operation. But Bush torpedoed the deal, again against the advice of the state department.
  • The famous letter that addressed all of the mutual grievances between Iran and the US and that was conveyed by the Swiss ambassador, was rejected by the top of the US state department, not the US president.
  • When the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany (E3) went to negotiate with Iran the halt of their enrichment programme, they agreed to apply the definition of "suspension of the enrichment programme" of the IAEA. The question was whether that would mean a total stop, the Western demand, or no infusion of Uran into the centrifuges, the Iranian interpretation. Iran had met El Baradei the day before the E3 meeting. In this meeting, El Baradei supported the Iranian interpretation. He later changed his mind and adopted the Western interpretation.
  • The Iranians offered a deal in which they would stop killing Western troops in Iraq if in return they could pursue their nuclear programme. That was the first time that Iran admitted responsibility for coalition deaths in Iraq.
  • In June 2006, Javier Solana offered the Iranians to keep centrifuges for research purposes. Something that Jack Straw had rejected two years earlier. This time, Ahmadinejad turned the offer down. In return, the West imposed more sanctions.

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