Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 33 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/8/15

It's time to re-open the American and Iranian embassies and promote reconciliation

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   2 comments
Message Franklin P. Lamb
Become a Fan
  (13 fans)
Embassy gates Tehran
Embassy gates Tehran
(Image by David Holt London)
  Details   DMCA

It's time to re-open the American and Iranian embassies and promote reconciliation

Franklin Lamb

At the American Embassy, Tehran

Last month's historic nuclear agreement breakthrough, following nearly two years of grueling, frequently contentious negotiations, manifests the efficacy of diplomacy conducted in an atmosphere of mutual respect to solve shared challenges among states that were formerly enemies.

This achievement, according to Iranian college students from whom this observer has been learning a lot recently while engaging in far reaching discussions in Iran, and the nuclear pacts momentum, leads logically to the next step, which should include opening the Iranian and American embassies. This so our two countries can talk freely and facilitate the work of the queuing trade delegations from both countries eager to discuss business opportunities and countless other benefits, including but not limited to the fact that opening our embassies will facilitate the quick restoration of banks financing of trade deals, restoration of consular passport and other services to the more than one million Iranians living in the US and travel of American to the Islamic republic. This and much more can be repaired that has been severely damaged by US-led sanctions that targeted Iran's civilian population for political purposes including regime change. By opening our embassies, economic benefits will quickly flow to both peoples according to the UN World Trade Association and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD.

Despite obvious benefits to US citizens, according to recent polls, Democrats and Republicans appear to be polar opposites in their view of the agreement and opening our embassies. Nearly 7 in 10 Democrats favor it while an identical share of Republicans rejects it. Among independents, 6 in 10 favor it.

In contrast, accordingly to the results of an admittedly unscientific poll of students at Tehran University and random shoppers and shopkeepers in an ancient Tehran bazaar, as well as outside the former US Embassy, approximately 90 % of Iranians support the agreement and opening of our embassies. And seem to be quite enthusiastic and optimistic about future US-Iran bi-lateral relations. No doubt one reason is the harsh US-led economic sanctions that have targeted the civilian population for political purposes, i.e. regime change. During the same period that the public opinion survey was being conducted, the 2nd International Congress on Terrorism was being held in Tehran and international delegates overwhelmingly agreed that economic sanctions targeting innocent civilians for political purposes is Terrorism.

Approximately 63 percent of Iran's population is under 30 years of age, and a vast majority wants to re-connect with the world. Many are reformists but they want change to come peacefully and from the Iranian people not from outside. They want to reform their government over time and believe they have the political power to do so and to safeguard the nuclear deal in the process. Students interviewed last week in Tehran were nearly unanimous in their insistence that funds coming to their government from the scrapping of sanctions must be spent on domestic needs that directly serve the Iranian people and not scattered around the region.

Iran's conservative-dominated parliament and many hardliners are deeply suspicious of the USA and Britain and have not hidden their disdain towards the reopening of both embassies However the decision to restore relations fully, according to a Iranian official would not be blocked by Iran's parliament when the issue comes up for a vote.

Expressions like "Death to America" are less common today here in Tehran and these insults are being increasingly replaced among youth with "Hello World!" slogans on T-shirts. This observer believes that the "Death to America" slogan has been misunderstood somewhat in the west. This is because many times when the slogan was chanted in Iran it was not intended to be taken literally but because the slogan's author was the still much loved Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who reputedly coined the slogan during the tumultuous Iranian revolution. People often use it to identify with and express veneration for the founder of the Islamic Republic.

Equally misunderstood was former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's alleged threats to "wipe Israel off the face of the map." But as Iranians explain to foreign visitors-and as Ahmadinejad becomes more politically active and still maintains a popular political base, the reality is that as Middle Eastern commentator Juan Cole has clarified, such a threat was never made. Wrote Mr. Cole, "The actual quote does not imply military action, or killing anyone at all " [Ahmadinejad] quoted Khomeini that 'the occupation regime over Jerusalem should vanish from the page of time.' It is in fact probably a reference to some phrase in a medieval Persian poem. It is not about tanks."

Some attitudes expressed in Tehran these days remind one of recent surveys by the Pew Research Centre suggesting that younger American Jews are these days much less likely to regard caring about Israel as essential to their Jewish identity and are more inclined to regard America's support for Israel as excessive, including that Israel is not an embattled underdog but rather a threat to peace. Similarly, Iranian youth are becoming more politically active. This, as they seek a future that grants them more control over their personal choices, careers and lives along with the implied criticism of some of their country's leadership.

The American Embassy is located on the corner of Taleqani Ave and S. Mofateh St. in Tehran, and the 65 year old structure has been emptied of US diplomats for the past 36 years. Physically it is in pretty good shape all considered. The chancery building is a long, low two-story brick building, and looks strikingly similar to the Milwaukie Union High School in Clackamas county Oregon, this observer's alma mater. Both were built in the 1940's.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Franklin P. Lamb Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)


Has the battle for Aleppo birthed Foreign Legions preparing a Sunni-Shia endgame?

Presidents Assad and Putin have ordered their forces to again liberate "The Jewel of the Desert"

Why Obama is Declaring War on Syria

Libya's Liberation Front Organizing In The Sahel

Netanyahu to Obama on election: When we say jump, you say how high?

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend