Iran and the U.K. Resume Diplomatic Ties, U.S. to follow?

FreeAllThree.com is in the camp that there should be more direct dialog, cultural exchanges and student exchanges with Iranian counterparts.  The U.S. already has over 6000 Iranian students currently in its universities by some reports. Iran’s current Foreign Minister Javid Zarif is a former student at the University of Denver.

Further, look how, in the 1990’s especially, Americans warmed up to Russians and even the Chinese when we had various exchange and conducted mutual trade. All sides benefited from the more open relations.

defaced great seal of usa on embassyHowever, we are curious, just asking, who will be willing in the U.S. to be first in line to staff the next American Embassy knowing what happened to their predecessors?  Back in 1979, while a few Americans escaped and some were released early for humanitarian reasons, 52 former embassy and military staff were held as hostages, mistreated and beaten, for 444 days until their release!

The UK’s Embassy takeover (see article below) was in 2011. This is not ‘ancient history’ as some might view the 1970’s or 80’s! We see even today how easily the Grand Ayatollah can whip up his followers into a frenzy and have them say or do whatever he should advise.

mock statue of libertyHow would you as an American like to walk the streets of Iran today or frequent their restaurants knowing that the country’s leader publicly and frequently states that America and the West represent everything that is wrong in the world? And also that we are the Great Satan and a the main direct threat to the fulfillment of their religion: Islam?

In view of the tenuous relationship the U.S. has with Iran, President Obama, John Kerry and State Department negotiators with Iran should immediately call for, and insist, that Iran release the three detained American citizens: Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Robert “Bob” Levinson.

If Iran complies, it would not only improve how Americans’ view them (Iran), but it would also improve Americans’ favorability quotient for its own government’s leadership qualities.

With the average American’s low opinion of both Iran, as a friendly reliable partner, and its own government as weak and ineffectual in foreign affairs, there is not much to be lost with such a move … and a whole lot that could be gained.

That’s my take,

Daniel @ FreeAllThree .com 

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Britain Iranby Tova Dvorin, ARUTZ/INN, Feb 21, 2014

“The UK has formally resumed ties with Iran, AFP reported Thursday, after three years of diplomatic silence. 

“The UK has agreed with Iran that from today bilateral relations will be conducted directly through non-resident charge d’affaires and officials,” a Foreign Office spokesman told AFP. “We will no longer have formal protecting power arrangements in place. This is the next stage of the step-by-step process of taking forward our bilateral relationship with Iran.”

Whether or not to reopen the British embassy in Iran remains an issue of contention between the
two countries, however. “We have made it clear that the issue of compensation (for the damage caused) needs to be addressed,” the spokesman said.

Iran ordered British officials to leave the country in 2011, over the UK government’s joint efforts with the US to thwart the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Three days later, a government-organized student protest ransacked the embassy, burned the British flag, and chanted hate slogans against Western powers. Britain responded by severing all diplomatic relations with Iran, closing the embassy and evacuating British nationals.

The UK first announced the move to re-establish ties in December, naming current Foreign Office Minister for Iran Ajay Sharma as the next Ambassador to the Islamic Republic.

After years of talks, Iran and the six world powers, known as the P5+1,  reached a six-month interim nuclear deal in November. That deal went into effect on January 20.

Under the agreement, Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent, halting production of 20 percent-enriched uranium. In return, the European Union and the United States
have eased crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

The parties hope to create a lasting accord out of the interim deal, which expires on July 20 but
can be extended, with the parties aiming to conclude negotiations and implement the final “comprehensive” deal by November.

The formal announcement follows news Thursday night that Iran is keeping the terms of the interim agreement, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In addition, talks over a final
agreement are allegedly progressing well in Geneva; Iranian state media said both sides were close to agreeing on a framework agreement on how negotiations would proceed in future rounds over the coming months.”

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An U.S. Diplomatic Presence in Iran?

US-Embassy-Iran-620x350

The US embassy in Tehran, known as the “den of spies” by Iranians, has been out of US control since its seizure by Iranians in 1979. It is now Iran’s ‘Museum of the Islamic Revolution.’ Notice the defaced Great Seal of the U.S. in front.

by Jasmin Ramsey, lobelog.com Feb 19, 2014

“Today, while Iran and six world powers resumed talks over a comprehensive nuclear deal in Vienna, here in Washington the possibility of an US diplomatic presence in Tehran was discussed at a prominent think tank. Two years ago a lede like that would have made you look twice, but since the Rouhani government took power in June 2013 and an interim nuclear deal was reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany) on November 24, this seems more possible than ever.

According to Ramin Asgard, a former US foreign service officer who worked on a range of Iran-related issues during his recent 16-year career at the State Department, re-establishing an official US presence in Iran would benefit US national security as well as US citizens. He explains why in a new report commissioned by the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), which conducts essential polling of Iranian-Americans as well as related advocacy and outreach.

Asgard essentially argues that due to the continued absence of a US diplomatic presence in Iran, for the last 35 years the US’ Iran policy has been informed largely by intelligence, governments, think tanks and other third-hand information rather than the reality on the ground. This has resulted in a “lack of a locus of policy discipline in America’s Iran policy, directly decreasing America’s ability to advance its foreign policy goals.” But Asgard points out that some of the benefits of a US diplomatic presence in Iran include the ability to directly engage with the Iranian government on important US national security issues and the possibility of a US Public Affairs Section in Tehran, which could engage local media in explaining US policy positions as well as support US-Iran academic and cultural exchanges.

Of course, just this month millions of Iranians, according to the Iranian government, were celebrating the 35th anniversary of their 1979 Revolution, which kicked off with the seizure of the US embassy in Tehran by Iranian students — so there would need to be assurances that this wouldn’t happen again, along with several other important agreements.

As for Iranian opposition to this venture, Asgard responds that this “wouldn’t be a unilateral measure” and that the Iranian government also has interests in this project, including an upgraded Iranian diplomatic presence in the US (at present, Iranian officials at their UN headquarters in New York are limited to travel within a 25-mile radius of the building).

To be sure, Asgard addresses the greatest cons of his proposal in his report, including the argument that re-establishing an US official presence in Iran betrays the opposition — in response he asks, has the US-Iran cold war actually led to the improvement of Iranian human rights? Ultimately, the point that more than 3 decades of hostility between the two countries has actually advanced destructive forces for many Iranians and US interests is undeniable, but the question remains: is re-establishing an official US presence in Iran even possible?

Going beyond expected US and Iranian domestic opposition, according to John Limbert, an academic and former US hostage in Iran, while Asgard’s proposal is ideal, it’s too soon to pursue. He argued today on the panel he shared with Asgard at the Atlantic Council, which hosted the release of PAAIA’s report, that US diplomats could be used as “pawns” if something goes wrong between the US and Iran as it often has at critical stages in their collective history. At the same time, Limbert also noted that US engagement with Iran “shouldn’t be held hostage” to progress on the nuclear issue.

Perhaps most interestingly, Asgard repeatedly stated that establishing an official US presence in Iran doesn’t have to involve rapprochement — the establishment of US diplomatic relations with Cuba and the Soviet Union support that notion — and that could also help reassure Iranian hardliners. Still, it does make the prospect of better US-Iran relations seem all the more possible, which is why this discussion will no doubt continue — as a debate — especially as Iran and world powers try to inch towards that final nuclear deal…”

 [Emphases above were added]

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