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On February 14, the reformist daily E’temad carried the following commentary by Rasul Nafisi: “The relationship between the two countries of Iran and America is more than one and a half centuries old. Nevertheless, it is only from the military coup of 19 August against Dr Mosadeq that America's role in Iran is highlighted. During this last half a century of America's influential relationship with Iran, it seems that the Democrats have always played a positive role inline with the wishes of the Iranian people whilst the Republicans have predominantly been trying to support Iran's army and the Shah. The following is a summary of this trend:

1) “An ultimatum was given to the former Soviet Union to leave Iran's province of Azerbaijan after the Second World War. Subsequent to this ultimatum, the red army withdrew its troops from Iran's province of Azerbaijan. This is significant because this is the only withdrawal from a territory to which Stalin agreed. Harry Truman, the Democrat president of America, issued this ultimatum.

2) “The military coup against Dr Mosadeq of 19 August 1953, though had been thought about before, was in fact carried out during the presidential term of Eisenhower who was a Republican. Harry Truman, Eisenhower's predecessor made a huge effort to resolve the conflict between Iran and Britain, though preparation for a military coup against Iran was in the agenda.

3) “President Carter from the Democrat party took the issue of human rights very seriously, which shook the roots of the Pahlavi regime. This American president, who had strong religious beliefs and little experience in international politics soon found out that he has made a mistake, but it was too late. Having said that, Carter's policies were indeed based on human rights and even after he left the presidential office, he remained committed to addressing human rights issues. His book Palestine, Peace not Apartheid is practically the first book of its kind written by a senior American official using the term apartheid about Israel's approach towards the Arabs.

4) “Although President Clinton from the Democrat party was the first president who endorsed sanctions against Iran, the secretary of state in his administration, Ms Albright was the first to offer her apologies to Iran that effectively eliminated one of the barriers on the way to restoring the relationship between Iran and America. In principle, during Clinton's term in office, America's policy of reducing tension in international relations reached its pinnacle. Bush's confrontational approach towards foreign policy has highlighted even more Clinton's peace-seeking role.

“Impacts of possible Democrat nomination in Iran-US relationship

“The candidates from the Democrat party, Mrs Clinton and Obama, do not share a similar view on Iran. Although Mrs Clinton is from Chicago and used to work in Arkansas (before moving to Washington with her husband) she decided to become a senator for New York and was elected. Clearly, this move towards the resourceful and significant state of New York came about due to the support she received from the Jewish American lobbies in this city which are famously strong. Therefore, her opinion about Iran is very much closer to the Republicans despite her emphasis on dialogue with Iran.

“Obama's position is different from Clintons. He believes in negotiating with Iran without any preconditions and an immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Obama is an idealist when it comes to foreign policy and of course, this can be dangerous. Kennedy's idealism brought about the Vietnam War. In addition, Kennedy's idealism forced the Shah to enforce the land ownership laws in Iran and form a cabinet from the moderate forces.

“Also during Kennedy's term in office the practice of torture in Iran's prisons was stopped and a relative freedom of the press was achieved; and of course Kennedy was from the Democrat party. At the end although Obama's and Clinton's stances are different about Iran and although Clinton has close links with various lobbies, America's foreign policy will change after the election of any of these candidates. Due to his idealism and lack of strong links with lobbies and the current structure of American politics, Obama will have more opportunity and may even take an uncalculated measure and take a similar view on Iran as Nixon's friendly approach to China.” - E'temad, Iran



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