Iran and America: Cautious Optimism?

Former Congressman and longtime libertarian advocate Ron Paul sees reason to be cautiously optimistic about the future of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. I agree with him. A few weeks ago, President Obama spoke to his political counterpart in Iran for a 15 minute phone call. This is the first time this has happened since 1979. I am not sure what they discussed, but I am willing to consider this a step in the right direction, towards reconciliation and friendship.

As Ron Paul states in this article:

The phone call was one of the most important moves away from war and conflict in a long time. Taken with the Obama administration’s decision to hold off on bombing Syria, we should be encouraged.

It is also probably a good sign that this phone call has infuriated the neoconservatives at home, the pro-war faction in Israel, and the hard-liners in Iran. Now that a process of negotiation has begun, the chance of war has been significantly reduced. The US is very unlikely to bomb Iran while it is talking with them, and Israel is also unlikely to start a war while the U.S. is at the negotiating table with the Iranian leadership.

This is a good sign. However, there is still reason to be cautious. Just a few months ago, President Obama flatly stated that “no option was off the table” is preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear state. Based on the severity of sabre-rattling at the time, some diplomatic analysts predicted war within months. Thankfully, that was not the case.

Obama has suddenly taken a more dovish stance towards Iran because his push for War in Syria fell through. The public support was not there; numerous public opinion polls reflected majority opposition against full American involvement in the Syrian Civil War. As Ron Paul mentions in his article, a recent poll suggests that 75% of Americans favor negotiations with the Iranian Government as opposed to military action against their nuclear program. This is sending a clear message: The American Public is fed-up with being in an endless state of war. This also suggests that Americans are starting to wise-up to Washington’s “foreign bogeyman” scare tactics (at least, I hope). Obama has realized this. That is why he is walking back across his own red lines.

There is increasing evidence that the Iranian people are becoming fed-up with their own inept and sinister government. The best evidence of this was during the 2009 “Green Revolution”, when mass protests flared across Iran in opposition to the re-election of then Prime Minister Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and perceived foul-play in the voting process. The protests were eventually put down after a few weeks, but not before sending a message to the world: there are cracks in the foundations of the Islamic Republic. Severe economic issues have further inflamed those internal tensions. The recent election of Hassan Rouhani as Prime Minister has been hailed by some to be a sign of internal change, as Rouhani was considered to be a “moderate” candidate compared to many of his rival candidates.

The history of relations between the United States and Iran is very complicated and tragic. It is a long history of threats and hostility. There are a lot of negative influences in both nations which continuously agitate for war. I am tired of it. I’d rather be friends.

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