Dear Project Censored Daily Blog,
if you recall I was based in Tehran in the early 1970s and had to learn Farsi (Persian language). In fact, my wife learned it too. This gave us access to all segments of Iranian society, from the Burra Bazar in Tehran to the highers up in the Iranian government and aristocracy. What our interaction with the Iranian people, practically across the board, revealed was that the Iranian youth were very much attracted to the USA. The young people of other countries would also have been attracted to the USA at that time and would have emigrated to the USA given half a chance. However, the case of the Iranian youth was different. They felt genuine warmth for USA and what it stood for. The Khomeini revolution changed the situation for the best part of the last century, especially owing to the prolonged Iran-Iraq war where the US openly sided with Iraq.
Since that time there has again been a change of sorts, if not a change of heart. The average Iranian is fed up with the restrictive regime of the religious leaders. They are bullied and cowed down by the authorities. Nevertheless - possibly on account of the oppressiveness of the regime - the old sentiment has started resurfacing to an extent. The young Iranians do not have the same innate animus toward America as many other Arab or Muslim countries, for the reason that Iran had a very civilised pre-Islamic past. Many Iranians, especially the young, are trying to lift the Islamic overlay and peep into that glorious age. There is distinct yearning to re-discover that golden period. US policies are pushing the young people in Iran toward the hardline elements for reasons of national pride and not belief. It would be in America’s interest to reach out to the youth by engaging with the Iranians, rather than pushing the Iranians into a corner.
Rapprochement with Iran will greatly help in stabilising Afghanistan and create foreign policy options for the Obama regime that were self-denied to the USA for so long. It will go a long way to settle the Palestinian issue as well.
Could you please circulate this mail to your network in Washington.
Maj. Gen. Vinod Saighal (retired)