Apologizing to Iran
With a nuclear deal signed and America keen to improve relations with Iran, Rowhani now wants an apology
I am not surprised that Iranian President Hassan Rowhani has demanded that the United States apologize for its past behavior before opening embassies in each others' capitals. Washington seems desperate to gain Tehran’s friendship, and is willing to meet its demands. The only price Iran paid was accepting to freeze its nuclear program. Washington deemed this a great achievement tantamount to the rapprochement with China or destroying the Berlin Wall!
What does Rowhani want the United States to apologize for? During the past decades of tense relations, most victims have been American. The history of Iranian violence is long, starting with the detention of U.S. embassy personnel in Tehran. This was followed by the killing of 17 Americans in an attack on the U.S. embassy in Beirut, where 241 Americans were also killed in an attack on the U.S. Marines’ barracks.
What does Rowhani want the United States to apologize for? During the past decades of tense relations, most victims have been AmericanAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Iran also planned the explosions in the Saudi city of Khobar, killing 19 Americans and wounding 240. This in addition to hijacking a TWA aircraft. There have been dozens of other Iranian operations against American people and interests in the Middle East, Europe and South America.
There have also been attempts to carry out operations inside the United States, where authorities thwarted an assassination plot against the Saudi ambassador. Not to mention the hundreds of American soldiers who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan with support from Iran. Tehran has a lot of blood on its hands, so it owes many countries, including the United States, an apology.
Tehran may be demanding an apology for U.S. support of the shah before the revolution. In that case, Washington must apologize to the Iranian people for abandoning him, forcing him to leave Tehran and refusing him cancer treatment in the United States after his exile. Then-U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s stance contributed to an extremist religious regime taking over in Tehran. This has caused the world chaos and war ever since.
Washington is often blamed for supporting then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the war against Iran. In fact, the United States was happy to see both regimes fight it out. It let Israel trade American weapons with Tehran, and Gulf states supply arms to Baghdad. Washington only guarded its oil interests in the Gulf, and protected sea routes and Kuwaiti oil tankers from Iranian attacks and mines.
Tehran may be demanding an apology for U.S. support of the shah before the revolution. In that case, Washington must apologize to the Iranian people for abandoning himAbdulrahman al-Rashed
Despite all this hostility and bloodshed, Washington never attempted to topple the Iranian regime after the revolution. White House policy has been based on containment and trying to change Tehran’s behavior.
After more than 30 years, when Iran realized the failure of its hostile policies and felt suffocated by the West’s commercial boycott, it decided to negotiate. Washington only sought the freezing of Iran's nuclear program for 10 years, in exchange for lifting sanctions, unfreezing more than $100 billion of frozen assets, and ending the state of confrontation. Despite this leniency, Tehran thinks this is not enough and wants an American apology!
This article first appeared in Asharq al-Awsat on Nov. 15, 2015.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today
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