Monday, June 05, 2006

West's misconception syndrome

Kash Kheirkhah

In his article "Iran's China Syndrome" published today, Mr Jackson Diehl, the Op-Ed columnist of the Washington Post, recounts his encounter with a senior Iranian official in Tehran and quote him as saying that “What we need is an American president who will follow the example of Richard Nixon going to China." Mr Diehl also says most of the Iranians he has spoken to would like the United States to recognize Iran as "a great civilization and a regional power that must be treated, like China, as a stakeholder in global affairs."

It is comments of this nature that apparently have made Mr Diehl ponder "whether it would be wise for Bush, or any president, to recognize Iran's Shiite Islamic regime as an enduring reality and a regional power whose interests must be accommodated in the broader Middle East and also whether such recognition will pay off in the form of a stable and democratic Iraq, or an end to Iranian support for Palestinian terrorism, or in the disarmament of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement."

The answer to theses questions, through the perspective of an Iranian who has lived for years under the Islamic regime of Iran and has suffered the pain of its inhumane ideology with every fiber of his being, is a strong no, no, and again no.

Mr Diehl, I wish the reality of the current stand-off between the US and the Iranian regime was as simple as you have depicted it. But it is not and the reason it isn't is the fact that the regime you're dealing with here--due to its nature and in keeping with its ideological set-- doesn't operate under any principles of international diplomacy by which you can change its political behavior and as long as you don't realize that, such concessions will only undermine America and the world's peace and security.

The Islamic Republic Government of Iran is a full embodiment of what I call "terror ideology." Such an ideology entitles its followers to enforce their ideals across the world through coercion, intimidation and if necessary, terror. This is the ideology that has times and again been openly applauded by the leaders of the Iranian regime. This is the ideology that the Islamic regime in Iran has spent billions of dollars on, trying to export to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Chechnya, Bosnia,... This is the ideology that thrives on terror, human rights violations and complete destruction of anyone or any critical thinking that dares to question it.

Now a stable and democratic Iraq and Afghanistan, a Lebanon free of Hezbollah militia and a Palestinian state that recognizes Israel and lack of a hypothetical enemy such as the US to blame all political, social and economic problems on on the other hand, simply means the end of raison d'être for the current radical Islamic regime in Iran. That's why there's NO way an Iranian-American rapprochement can take place under the auspices of the current regime in Iran.

Mr Diehl, please do not deceive yourself into thinking that this regime can ever be compared to China because any attempt at creating such an unrealistic equivalence is just embarrassingly silly. Here you are, faced with the regime that after 27 years of blowing smoke in the eyes of the international community, is blackmailing the world through its nuclear program into leaving them to their own devices. "That's" the recognition the radical rulers of Iran are after and you sound like you are already more than ready to contend with their demands.

In a nutshell, the current regime in Iran can't be recognized "as an enduring reality" because its very existence is a threat to the peace and stability in the region and even the world. A bestowal of legitimacy on Iran's hardline rulers by the US will be the unfortunate replay of what the world went through 60 years ago by bestowing the same recognition on Hitler and the Nazi Germany.