Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I have been saying for several months now, that the increased understanding of climate change and the increased interest in clean energy would create some blowback from the reactionary segments of the population.

If you don't know the term, here is part of a piece by Chalmers Johnson on "blowback" from the Nation.

"Blowback" is a CIA term first used in March 1954 in a recently declassified report on the 1953 operation to overthrow the government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran. It is a metaphor for the unintended consequences of the US government's international activities that have been kept secret from the American people. The CIA's fears that there might ultimately be some blowback from its egregious interference in the affairs of Iran were well founded.

Installing the Shah in power brought twenty-five years of tyranny and repression to the Iranian people and elicited the Ayatollah Khomeini's revolution. The staff of the American embassy in Teheran was held hostage for more than a year. This misguided "covert operation" of the US government helped convince many capable people throughout the Islamic world that the United States was an implacable enemy. " more

There is a lot more in this article to read, which remarkably enough was published on Sept 27th, 2001. But I think you get the point. Blowback is what happens when you do stuff. It's the recoil from a fired projectile. It's physics.

And in the case of climate change and clean power, a lot of stuff has been accomplished in the last few months and years. This kind of progress understandably knots up the panties of those who think climate change is bunk and clean energy is for liberal arts majors.

In Texas, the Ranch with a Ford Pickup named after it is doing all it can to stop windpower on the Texas coast so that they can spare the birds, so the owners can kill them for sport. Being tied to oil (Exxon), it should be no surprise why the King Ranch is acting like a bunch of queens.

But out in the Hill Country, the blowback has taken a different form. The City Council of Frederickburg has decided to say"no" to windpower in their neck of the woods. Here is the resolution.


WHEREAS, there have been and there may be other companies in the future who are attempting to enter into lease agreements with landowners in Gillespie County for the purpose of erecting wind turbines (wind farms) on the scenic landscape of our community; and

WHEREAS, the construction of such industrial wind farms will permanently degrade the scenic vistas of our area for long distances; and

WHEREAS, industrial wind farms viewable from Enchanted Rock will forever scar a popular recreational asset of the area; and

WHEREAS, the construction of such industrial wind farms will destroy the peaceful existence of the quality of life the residents of Gillespie County have come to enjoy over the years bey (sic) generating noise from the turbines, creating “shadow, strobe or flicker” effects; and

WHEREAS, industrial wind farms could be detrimental to the environmental integrity and wildlife of our area; and

WHEREAS, it is widely accepted by professional appraisers and members of the real estate community that land values where industrial wind farms are built and the land of the adjoining property owners could be devalued; and

WHEREAS, according to Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the amount of wind generated in this area is designated as being 20th out of 25 potential wind areas in the state of Texas; and


The construction of industrial wind turbines (wind farms) is opposed by the Fredericksburg City Council in the Gillespie County area.

PASSED AND APPROVED this 3rd day of December, 2007.
Jeryl Hoover, Mayor
phone 830.997.4909
City of Fredericksburg

The irony in this is the fact that for the last several years, Fredericksburg has been the site of one of the most successful Renewable Energy Fairs in the country.

I'm not going to pick at all the whereases. Certainly a town has the right to say whatever they want to say about whatever. But they clearly have no right or authority to take away the rights of the landowners of the county.

This is Blowback in its most basic form.

There is more and more Blowback on the climate change issue too. Now that only a few diehards are willing to say that it is not a problem, those denizens who do inhabit the margins are filling up the comment sections of stories about dangerous anthropogenic climate change with all kinds of subjective pseudo scientific bunk.

About 25 years ago, I published a bumper sticker that said

"Stop Solar".

It had "a sun" with the universal "no" sign across it.

I still have several hundred of them in my flat file.

"Stop the Wind",

"Stop the Global Warming Hoax",

"Stop putting dents in my tranquility".



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Blogger respectisthehub said...

1) Remember how absolutely nuts the authoritarian segregationists went as that world collapsed around them?

2) I never thought I would see the 1953 overthrow of Iran acknowledged at any Presidential debate, much less a Republican one. Physics can be a bear.

3) You know a lot of our problems have to do with projecting moral intrigue on the bear rustling through our backpack outside the tent, when we should really just keep quiet in our sleeping bag.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be too concerned with Fredericksburg's nimby-ism. The not in my back yard syndrome is a near universal knee jerk reaction upon coming face to face with the consequence of one's own actions. I want my electricity to come from far away. I sure don't want any nuke plants, coal burners or big dams in my back yard.

I once ran off a hippie who was trying to tell me that I did not have a God given right to have someone else deal with my shit. I don't want it in my back yard so pipe it off to somewhere else , and no you can't get me to bury my garbage in my front yard. My stuff is not my problem.


9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quand la CIA complotait en Iran
POUR la première fois, le 19 mars 2000, la secrétaire d’Etat américaine Madeleine Albright reconnaissait l’« implication » des Etat-Unis dans le coup d’Etat qui renversa le premier ministre iranien Mohammad Mossadegh en 1953. Pourtant, les circonstances de cette intervention restent mal connues. Un rapport de la CIA, divulgué en avril 2000 par le New York Times, révèle le rôle joué par les services secrets de Londres et de Washington dans un événement qui renversa les rapports de forces au Proche-Orient.


Il y a quelques mois, le New York Times reçoit le rapport officiel du coup d’Etat mené en 1953 par la CIA contre le premier ministre iranien Mohammad Mossadegh. Le 16 juin 2000, le journal publie ce récit sur son site Internet (1). Les noms de plusieurs personnalités iraniennes impliquées y sont effacés, mais la plupart d’entre elles sont désignées nommément sur un autre site (2). Ce document passionnant contient d’importantes révélations sur la manière dont cette opération fut menée, et toute personne intéressée par la politique intérieure de l’Iran ou la politique étrangère américaine devrait le lire.
Le coup d’Etat s’est produit pendant une période de grande effervescence de l’histoire iranienne et au plus fort de la guerre froide. Mohammad Mossadegh est alors chef du Front national, organisation politique fondée en 1949 et militant pour la nationalisation de l’industrie pétrolière, alors sous domination britannique, ainsi que pour la démocratisation du système politique. Ces deux questions passionnent la population, et le Front national devient rapidement le principal acteur de la scène politique iranienne. En 1951, le chah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi est contraint de nationaliser l’industrie pétrolière et de nommer Mossadegh premier ministre, provoquant une confrontation ouverte avec le gouvernement britannique. La Grande-Bretagne réagit en organisant un embargo général sur le pétrole iranien et engage des manoeuvres à long terme visant à renverser Mossadegh.
Les Etats-Unis décident tout d’abord de rester neutres et encouragent les Britanniques à accepter la nationalisation tout en essayant de négocier un arrangement à l’amiable, allant jusqu’à persuader Londres, en septembre 1951, de ne pas envahir l’Iran. Cette neutralité continue jusqu’à la fin de l’administration de Harry S.Truman, en janvier 1953, même si de nombreux dirigeants américains estiment déjà que l’obstination de Mossadegh crée une instabilité politique mettant l’Iran « en réel danger de passer derrière le rideau de fer » (page III du rapport). En novembre 1952, peu après l’élection du général Dwight D. Eisenhower à la présidence des Etats-Unis, de hauts responsables britanniques proposent à leurs homologues américains de mener conjointement un coup d’Etat contre Mossadegh. Ceux-ci répondent que l’administration sortante n’entreprendra jamais une telle opération, mais que celle d’Eisenhower, qui va entrer en fonction en janvier, déterminée à intensifier la guerre froide, serait probablement susceptible de le faire.
Le récit de la CIA rend bien compte de la manière dont fut préparée l’opération. Après autorisation du président Eisenhower en mars 1953, des officiers de la CIA étudient la manière dont pourrait être mené le coup d’Etat et se penchent sur le problème du remplacement du premier ministre. Leur choix se porte rapidement sur Fazlollah Zahedi, un général à la retraite qui avait déjà comploté avec les Britanniques. En mai, un agent de la CIA et un spécialiste de l’Iran travaillant pour le Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) britannique passent deux semaines à Nicosie (Chypre), où ils mettent au point une première version du plan. Des responsables de la CIA et du SIS la révisent, et une version définitive est écrite à Londres à la mi-juin.
Ce plan était divisé en six étapes principales. Tout d’abord, l’antenne iranienne de la CIA et le plus important réseau de renseignement britannique en Iran, alors dirigé par les frères Rashidian, devaient déstabiliser le gouvernement Mossadegh par le biais de la propagande et d’autres activités politiques clandestines. Fazlollah Zahedi organiserait ensuite un réseau constitué d’officiers capables de mener le coup d’Etat. Troisième étape, la CIA devait « acheter » la collaboration d’un nombre suffisant de parlementaires iraniens afin de s’assurer que le corps législatif s’opposerait à Mossadegh. Puis des efforts sérieux devaient permettre de persuader le chah de soutenir le coup d’Etat, ainsi que Zahedi, même s’il était établi que l’opération serait menée avec ou sans l’accord du monarque.
La CIA devait ensuite tenter, de manière « quasi légale » (page A3), de renverser Mossadegh en provoquant une crise politique au cours de laquelle le Parlement le destituerait. Cette crise serait provoquée par des manifestations de protestation organisées par des dirigeants religieux, qui persuaderaient le chah de quitter le pays, ou créeraient une situation forçant Mossadegh à démissionner. Enfin, si cette tentative venait à échouer, le réseau militaire monté par Fazlollah Zahedi s’emparerait du pouvoir avec l’aide de la CIA.

« Par n’importe quel moyen »
Les trois premières étapes étaient en fait déjà entamées pendant la mise au point du « plan de Londres ». Le 4 avril, la section de la CIA à Téhéran reçoit 1 million de dollars destiné à « faire tomber Mossade[gh] par n’importe quel moyen » (page 3). En mai, elle déclenche, avec les frères Rashidian, une campagne de propagande contre Mossadegh et, on le suppose, mène d’autres actions clandestines contre ce dernier. Ces efforts redoublent de manière brutale au cours des semaines précédant le coup d’Etat (page 92).
La CIA prend contact avec Fazlollah Zahedi en avril, lui versant 60 000 dollars (et peut-être bien plus) afin qu’il « trouve de nouveaux alliés et influence des personnes-clés » (page B15). Le compte-rendu officiel nie que des officiers iraniens aient été achetés (page E22) ; il est toutefois difficile d’imaginer à quoi d’autre Fazlollah Zahedi aurait dépensé cet argent. La CIA n’en comprend pas moins rapidement que ce dernier « manque de détermination, d’énergie et de stratégie concrète » et qu’il n’est pas capable de monter un réseau militaire apte à mener un coup d’Etat. Cette tâche est donc confiée à un colonel iranien travaillant pour la CIA.
Fin mai 1953, la section de la CIA est autorisée à engager environ 11 000 dollars par semaine pour acheter la coopération de parlementaires, ce qui accentue fortement l’opposition politique à Mossadegh. Ce dernier réagit en appelant les élus qui lui sont fidèles à démissionner pour empêcher la formation du quorum, ce qui entraînerait la dissolution du Parlement. Pour le contrer, la CIA essaie alors de persuader certains élus de renoncer à leur démission. Début août, Mossadegh organise un référendum truqué au cours duquel les Iraniens se prononcent massivement pour la dissolution et la tenue de nouvelles élections. Cela empêche désormais la CIA d’exercer ses activités « quasi légales » même si elle continue à utiliser la propagande pour imputer à Mossadegh la falsification du référendum.
Le 25 juillet, la CIA entame une longue démarche de « pression » et de « manipulation » pour persuader le chah de soutenir le coup d’Etat et d’accepter la nomination de Fazlollah Zahedi au poste de premier ministre. Au cours des trois semaines suivantes, quatre émissaires rencontrent le chah presque chaque jour afin de le convaincre de coopérer. Le 12 ou 13 août, malgré ses réticences, il finit par accepter et signe les décrets royaux (firmans) révoquant Mossadegh et nommant Zahedi à sa place. La reine Soraya l’aurait persuadé d’agir ainsi (page 38).
Le 13 août, la CIA charge le colonel Nematollah Nassiri de remettre les firmans à Zahedi et à Mossadegh. Mais la longueur des négociations avec le chah a fragilisé le secret, et l’un des officiers impliqués révèle l’existence du complot. Mossadegh fait alors arrêter Nassiri, dans la nuit du 15 au 16 août, au moment où celui-ci s’apprête à remettre le premier décret, et plusieurs autres conjurés sont interpellés peu après. Prête à cette éventualité, la CIA avait préparé des unités militaires pro-Zahedi à s’emparer des points névralgiques de Téhéran. Mais les officiers disparaissent lorsque Nassiri est arrêté, faisant échouer cette première tentative.
Zahedi ainsi que d’autres personnes impliquées se réfugient alors dans des cachettes de la CIA. Le chah fuit en exil, d’abord à Bagdad, puis à Rome, et Kermit Roosevelt, directeur de la section locale de la CIA, annonce à Washington que le coup d’Etat a échoué. Peu après, il reçoit l’ordre d’abandonner l’opération et de revenir aux Etats-Unis.
Mais Kermit Roosevelt et son équipe décident d’improviser une autre tentative. Ils commencent par distribuer des copies des décrets du chah aux médias afin de mobiliser l’opinion publique contre Mossadegh. Au cours des jours suivants, leurs deux principaux agents iraniens mènent une série d’opérations « noires » visant le même objectif. Afin de dresser les Iraniens croyants contre Mossadegh, ils profèrent des menaces téléphoniques contre des chefs religieux et « simulent un attentat » contre la maison d’un ecclésiastique (page 37) en se faisant passer pour des membres du puissant parti communiste Toudeh. Le 18, ils organisent également des manifestations dont les participants prétendent appartenir au Toudeh. A l’instigation de ces deux agents, les manifestants saccagent les bureaux d’un parti politique, renversent des statues du chah et de son père, et sèment le chaos dans Téhéran. Réalisant ce qui est en train de se passer, le Toudeh recommande à ses membres de rester chez eux (p. 59, 63 et 64), ce qui l’empêche de s’opposer aux manifestants anti-Mossadegh qui envahissent les rues le lendemain.
Le matin du 19 août, ces derniers commencent à se rassembler à proximité du bazar de Téhéran. Le compte-rendu de la CIA décrit ces manifestations comme « partiellement spontanées », mais ajoute que « les circonstances favorables créées par l’action politique [de la CIA] contribuèrent également à [les] déclencher » (page XII). En effet, la divulgation des décrets du chah, les « fausses » manifestations du Toudeh et les autres opérations « noires » menées au cours des jours précédents poussèrent de nombreux Iraniens à rejoindre ces manifestations.
Plusieurs membres iraniens de l’équipe de la CIA mènent alors les manifestants dans le centre de Téhéran et persuadent des unités de l’armée de les épauler, incitant au passage la foule à attaquer le quartier général du Parti iranien favorable à Mossadegh et à incendier une salle de cinéma et plusieurs rédactions de presse (p. 65, 67 et 70). Des unités militaires anti-Mossadegh commencent dès lors à prendre possession de Téhéran, s’emparant de stations radio et d’autres points sensibles. De vifs combats se déroulent, mais les forces favorables au premier ministre sont finalement vaincues. Mossadegh lui-même se cache, mais se rend le lendemain.
Le compte-rendu de la CIA laisse deux questions essentielles en sus-pens. Tout d’abord, il n’éclaircit pas l’origine de la trahison qui fit échouer la première tentative de coup d’Etat, se contentant d’attribuer celle-ci à « l’indiscrétion d’un des officiers de l’armée iranienne impliqué » (page 39). Ensuite, ce texte n’explique pas comment l’action politique de la CIA favorisa l’organisation des manifestations du 19 août, ni quelle fut l’importance de cette action dans le déclenchement de ces manifestations. D’autres comptes-rendus, établis d’après des entretiens avec des participants de premier plan, suggèrent que l’équipe de la CIA aurait donné de l’argent à des chefs religieux, qui ne connaissaient probablement pas l’origine de ces fonds. Le rapport de la CIA ne confirme pas cette version. La quasi-totalité des personnes impliquées étant aujourd’hui décédées et la CIA affirmant avoir détruit la plupart des archives concernant cette opération, ces questions resteront peut-être sans réponse.
Il est également difficile de savoir qui est à l’origine de la fuite qui a permis la divulgation de ce rapport officiel et quelle est la véritable finalité de cette fuite. Dans l’article publié le 16 avril 2000, le New York Times explique seulement que le document a été fourni par un « ancien officier qui en conservait un exemplaire ». Coïncidence, un mois plus tôt, la secrétaire d’Etat Madeleine Albright, au cours d’un important discours destiné à promouvoir le rapprochement entre les Etats-Unis et l’Iran, avait reconnu pour la première fois que le gouvernement américain était impliqué dans le coup d’Etat et s’en est excusée (3). Beaucoup estiment que la fuite fut délibérément organisée par le gouvernement ou par une personne décidée à soutenir l’initiative de Mme Albright. Si tel est le cas, toutefois, il est difficile de croire que l’intégralité du rapport aurait été révélée, mais on ne peut exclure cette possibilité.


Histoire, Services secrets, États-Unis (affaires extérieures), Iran
Mark Gasiorowski
Professeur de sciences politiques à l’université d’Etat de Louisiane, Baton Rouge.

(1) www.nytimes.com/libr ary/ world/mideast/ iran-cia-intro.pdf. Le document est daté de 1954 et signé Donald N. Wilber.

(2) http://cryptome.org/ cia-iran.htm. La technique utilisée par le New York Times était inopérante : il suffisait d’utiliser un ordinateur lent pour lire les noms avant que le cache noir s’affiche.

(3) Le Monde, 20 mars 2000.

Lire :
- Autour d’une crise

Daniela Zini

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Madeleine Albright's address to the American-Iranian Council in Washington, D.C. on March 17, 2000

Iran is one of the world's oldest continuing civilizations. It has one of the globe's richest and most diverse cultures, and its territory covers half the coastline of the [Persian] Gulf on one side of the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world's petroleum commerce moves. It borders the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus, and Central and South Asia, where a great deal of the world's illegal narcotics are produced, [where] several major terrorist groups are based, and [where] huge reserves of oil and gas are just beginning to be tapped. And Iran is currently chairing the organization of the Islamic Conference.

There is no question that Iran's future direction will play a pivotal role in the economic and security affairs of what much of the world reasonably considers the center of the world.

New Year - New Approach
So I welcome this opportunity to come to discuss relations between the United States and Iran. It is appropriate, I hope, to do so in anticipation both of the Iranian New Year [Noruz, March 20] and the beginning of Spring. I want to begin by wishing all Iranian-Americans a "Happy New Year", "Aid-e shoma Mobarak" (Applause) ["Congratulations for the New Year"]. I extend the same wishes to Iranians overseas.

Spring is the season of hope and renewal, of planting the seeds for new crops. And my hope is that both in Iran and the United States, we can plant the seeds now for a new and better relationship in years to come.

That is precisely the prospect I would like to discuss with you today. President Clinton especially asked me to come to this group to have this discussion with you. It is no secret that, for two decades, most Americans have viewed Iran primarily through the prism of the U.S. Embassy takeover in 1979, accompanied as it was by the taking of hostages, hateful rhetoric and the burning of the U.S. flag. Through the years, this grim view has been reinforced by the Iranian government's repression at home and its support for terrorism abroad; by its assistance to groups violently opposed to the Middle East peace process; and by its effort to develop nuclear weapons capability.

America's response has been a policy of isolation and containment. We took Iranian leaders at their word - that they viewed America as an enemy. And in response we had to treat Iran as a threat.

Evidence of Change
However, after the election of President Khatami in 1997, we began to adjust the lens through which we viewed Iran. Although Iran's objectionable external policies remain fairly constant, the political and social dynamics inside Iran were quite clearly beginning to change.

In response, President Clinton and I welcomed the new Iranian President's call for a dialogue between our people. We encouraged academic, cultural and athletic exchange. We updated our advisory for Americans wishing to travel to Iran. We reiterated our willingness to engage in officially authorized discussions with Iran regarding each others' principal concerns, and said we would monitor future developments in that country closely, which is what we have done. Now we have concluded the time is right to broaden our perspective even further.

Because the trends that were becoming evident inside Iran are plainly gathering steam, the country's young are spearheading a movement aimed at a more open society and a more flexible approach to the world.

Iran's women have made themselves among the most politically active and empowered in the region. Budding entrepreneurs are eager to establish winning connections overseas. Respected clerics speak increasingly about the compatibility of reverence and freedom, modernity and Islam. An increasingly competent press is emerging despite attempts to muzzle it. And Iran has experienced not one, but three, increasingly democratic rounds of elections in as many years.

Not surprisingly, these developments have been stubbornly opposed in some corners, and the process they have set in motion is far from complete. Harsh punishments are still meted out for various kinds of dissent. Religious persecution continues against the Baha'is and also against some Iranians who have converted to Christianity.

And governments around the world, including our own, have expressed concerns about the need to ensure due process for 13 Iranian Jews, who were detained for more than a year without official charge, and are now scheduled for trial next month. We look to the procedures and the results of this trial as one of the barometers of U.S.-Iran relations.

Moreover, in the fall of 1998, several prominent writers and publishers were murdered, apparently by rogue elements in Iran's security forces. And just this past weekend, a prominent editor and advisor to President Khatami was gravely wounded in an assassination attempt.

As in any diverse society, there are many currents swirling about in Iran. Some are driving the country forward; others are holding it back. Despite the trend towards democracy, control over the military, judiciary, courts and police remains in unelected hands, and the elements of its foreign policy, about which we are most concerned, have not improved. But the momentum in the direction of internal reform, freedom and openness is growing stronger.

More and more Iranians are unafraid to agree with President Khatami's assessment of 15 months ago, and I quote, "Freedom and diversity of thought do not threaten the society's security," he said. "Rather, limiting freedom does so. Criticizing the government and state organizations at any level is not detrimental to the system. On the contrary, it is necessary."

The democratic winds in Iran are so refreshing, and many of the ideas espoused by its leaders, so encouraging. There is a risk we will assume too much. In truth, it is too early to know precisely where the democratic trends will lead. Certainly the primary impetus for change is not ideology, but pragmatism. Iranians want a better life. They want broader social freedom, greater government accountability and wider prosperity. Despite reviving oil prices, Iran's economy remains hobbled by inefficiency, corruption and excessive state control. Due in part to demographic factors, unemployment is higher and the per capita income lower than 20 years ago.

The "bottom line" is that Iran is evolving on its own terms and will continue to do so. Iranian democracy, if it blossoms further, is sure to have its own distinctive features consistent with the country's traditions and culture. And like any dramatic and political and social evolution, it will go forward at its own speed on a timetable Iranians set for themselves.

The question we face is how to respond to all this. On the people-to-people level, the answer is not difficult. Americans should continue to reach out. We have much to learn from Iranians, and Iranians from us. We should work to expand and broaden our exchanges. We should engage Iranian academics and leaders in civil society on issues of mutual interest. And, of course, we should strive even more energetically to develop our soccer skills [Laughter - reference to World Cup Soccer Games in 1998 when Iran beat the U.S.].

The challenge of how to respond to Iran on the official level is more complex and requires a discussion not only of our present perception and future hopes but also of the somewhat tumultuous past.

At their best, our relations with Iran have been marked by warm bonds of personal friendship. Over the years, thousands of American teachers, health care workers, Peace Corps volunteers and others have contributed their energy and goodwill to improving the lives and well-being of the Iranian people.

As is evident in this room, Iranians have enriched the United States as well. Nearly a million Iranian-Americans have made our country their home. Many other Iranians have studied here before returning to apply their knowledge in their native land. In fact, some were among my best students when I taught at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service.

It's not surprising, then, that there is much common ground between our two peoples. Both are idealistic, proud, family-oriented, spiritually aware and fiercely opposed to foreign domination.

U.S. Interference in Iran
But that common ground has sometimes been shaken by other factors. In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Mosadegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons, but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.

Moreover, during the next quarter century, the United States and the West gave sustained backing to the Shah's regime. Although it did much to develop the country economically, the Shah's government also brutally repressed political dissent.

As President Clinton has said, the United States must bear its fair share of responsibility for the problems that have arisen in U.S.-Iranian relations.

Even in more recent years, aspects of U.S. policy towards Iraq during its conflict with Iran appear now to have been regrettably shortsighted, especially in light of our subsequent experiences with Saddam Hussein.

Grievances against Iran
However, we have our own list of grievances, and they are serious. The Embassy takeover [1979] was a disgraceful breach of Iran's international responsibility and the trauma for the hostages and their families and for all of us. Innocent Americans and friends of America have been murdered by terrorist groups that are supported by the Iranian government.

In fact, Congress is now considering legislation that would mandate the attachment of Iranian diplomatic and other assets as compensation for acts of terrorism committed against American citizens.

We are working with Congress to find a solution that will satisfy the demands of justice without setting a precedent that could endanger vital U.S. interests in the treatment of diplomatic or other property, or that would destroy prospects for a successful dialogue with Iran.

Indeed, we believe that the best hope for avoiding similar tragedies in the future is to encourage change in Iran's policies, and to work in a mutual and balanced way to narrow differences between our two countries. Neither Iran, nor we, can forget the past. It has scarred us both.

But the question both countries now face is whether to allow the past to freeze the future or to find a way to plant the seeds of a new relationship that will enable us to harvest shared advantages in years to come, not more tragedies. Certainly, in our view, there are no obstacles that wise and competent leadership cannot remove.

As some Iranians have pointed out, the United States has cordial relations with a number of countries that are less democratic than Iran. Moreover, we have no intention or desire to interfere in the country's internal affairs. We recognize that Islam is central to Iran's cultural heritage and perceive no inherent conflict between Islam and the United States.

Moreover, we see a growing number of areas of common interest. For example, we both have a stake in the future stability and peace in the Gulf. Iran lives in a dangerous neighborhood. We welcome efforts to make it less dangerous and would encourage regional discussions aimed at reducing tensions and building trust.

Both our countries have fought conflicts initiated by Iraq's lawless regime; both have a stake in preventing further Iraqi aggression. We also share concerns about instability and illegal narcotics being exported from Afghanistan. Iran is paying a high price for the ongoing conflict there.

It has long been host to as many as two million refugees from the Afghan's civil war. And thousands of Iranians have been killed in the fight against drug traffickers. Moreover, Iran is now a world leader in the quantity of illegal drugs annually seized. This is one area where increased U.S.-Iranian cooperation clearly makes sense for both countries.

But there are numerous other areas of potential common interest, such as encouraging stable relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, regional economic development, the protection of historic cultural sites and preserving the environment.

So the possibility of a more normal and mutually productive relationship is there. But it will not happen unless Iran continues to broaden its perspective of America just as we continue to broaden our view of Iran.

When we oppose terrorism and [nuclear] proliferation, the norms we uphold are not narrowly American, they are global. These standards are designed to safeguard law-abiding people in all countries and reflect obligations that most nations, including Iran, have voluntarily assumed.

When we strive to support progress towards a Middle East Peace, we serve the interests and embrace the aspirations of tens of millions of people, Arab and Israeli alike, of all backgrounds and faiths.

When we talk about human rights, we're not trying to impose our values. We are affirming the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that people everywhere are entitled to basic freedoms of religion, expression and equal protection under the law.

And when we talk about the value of an official dialogue with Iran, we have no secret agenda, nor do we attach any conditions. We are motivated solely by a realistic interest in taking this relationship to a higher level so that we may use diplomacy to solve problems and benefit the people of both countries.
In recent months, Iranian leaders have talked about their nation's policy of détente. And Foreign Minister Kharazi said not long ago that "Iran is ready to act as an anchor of stability for resolving regional problems and crises."

The United States recognizes Iran's importance in the Gulf, and we've worked hard in the past to improve difficult relationships with many other countries - whether the approach used has been called détente or principle engagements or constructive dialogue or something else.

Bringing Down the "Wall of Mistrust"
We are open to such a policy now. We want to work together with Iran to bring down what President Khatami refers to as "the wall of mistrust."

For that to happen, we must be willing to deal directly with each other as two proud and independent nations and address on a mutual basis the issues that have been keeping us apart.

As a step towards bringing down that wall of mistrust, I want today to discuss the question of economic sanctions. The United States imposed sanctions against Iran because of our concerns about [nuclear] proliferation, and because the authorities exercising control in Tehran financed and supported terrorist groups, including those violently opposed to the Middle East peace process.

To date, the political developments in Iran have not caused its military to cease its determined effort to acquire technology, materials and assistance needed to develop nuclear weapons, nor have those developments caused Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps or its Ministry of Intelligence and Security to get out of the terrorism business. Until these policies change, fully normal ties between our governments will not be possible, and our principal sanctions will remain.

Purpose of Sanctions
The purpose of our sanctions, however, is to spur changes in policy. They are not an end in themselves, nor do they seek to target innocent civilians.

And so for this reason, last year I authorized the sale of spare parts needed to ensure the safety of civilian passenger aircraft previously sold to Iran, aircraft often used by Iranian-Americans transiting to or from that country. And President Clinton eased restrictions on the export of food, medicine and medical equipment to sanctioned countries including Iran. This means that Iran can purchase products such as corn and wheat from America.

And today, I am announcing a step that will enable Americans to purchase and import carpets and food products such as dried fruits, nuts and caviar from Iran.

This step is a logical extension of the adjustments we made last year. It also is designed to show the millions of Iranian craftsmen, farmers and fisherman who work in these industries, and the Iranian people as a whole, that the United States bears no ill will.

Cultural Exchange
Second, the United States will explore ways to remove unnecessary impediments to increase contact between American and Iranian scholars, professional artists, athletes and non-governmental organizations. We believe this will serve to deepen bonds of mutual understanding and trust.

Settling Legal Differences
Third, the United States is prepared to increase efforts with Iran aimed at eventually concluding a global settlement of outstanding legal claims between our two countries.

This is not simply a matter of unfreezing assets. After the fall of the Shah, the United States and Iran agreed on a process to resolve existing claims through an arbitrating tribunal in The Hague. In 1981, the vast majority of Iranian assets seized during the hostage crisis were returned to Iran. Since then, nearly all private claims have been resolved through The Hague Tribunal process.

Our goal now is to settle the relatively few, but very substantial, claims that are still outstanding between our two governments at The Hague. And by so doing, to put this issue behind us once and for all.

Anticipating the Future
The points I've made and the concrete measures I have announced today reflect our desire to advance our common interests through improved relations with Iran. They respond to the broader perspective merited by the democratic trends in that country, and our hope that these internal changes will gradually produce external effects. And that as Iranians grow more free, they will express their freedom through actions and support of international law on behalf of stability and peace.

I must emphasize, however, that in adopting a broader view of events in Iran, we are not losing sight of the issues that have long troubled us. We look toward Iran to truly fulfil its promises to serve as an "anchor of stability," and to live up to the pledges its leaders have made in such areas as [nuclear] proliferation and opposition to terrorism.

We have no illusions that the United States and Iran will be able to overcome decades of estrangement overnight. We can't build a mature relationship on carpets and grain alone. But the direction of our relations is more important than the pace. The United States is willing either to proceed patiently, on a step-by-step basis, or to move very rapidly if Iran indicates a desire and commitment to do so.

Next Tuesday will mark the beginning of the New Year for Iran and the beginning of Spring for us all. And it is true that for everything under Heaven there is a season. Surely the time has come for America and Iran to enter a new season in which mutual trust may grow and a quality of warmth supplant the long, cold winter of our mutual discontent.

For we must recognize that throughout the world, the great divide today is no longer between East and West, or North and South; nor is it between one civilization and another. The great divide today is between people who are still ensnared by the perceptions and prejudices of the past, and those who have freed themselves to embrace the promise of the future.

This morning, on behalf of the government and the people of the United States, I call upon Iran to join us in writing a new chapter in our shared history. Let us be open about our differences and strive to overcome them. Let us acknowledge our common interests and strive to advance them. Let us think boldly about future possibilities and strive to achieve them and, thereby, turn this new year and season of hope into the reality of a safer and better life for our two peoples.

To that mission I pledge my own best efforts this morning. And I respectfully solicit the counsel and understanding and support of all.

Thank you very much.

Daniela Zini

4:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think as a friend you MUST read two articles!

Saturday Evening POst
november 6, 1954

New York Times
may 21, 1961

Daniela Zini

5:23 AM  

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