|Ottawa’s position on Iran has isolated Canada: article||
In an article published by the Star news website on Saturday, the writer says Canada’s extreme position on Iran, which is increasingly at odds with its Western allies, has isolated the country.
The following are excerpts of the article written by Tony Burman:
The horrors of war are simpler to deal with than the tortuous steps toward peace. For many of our politicians, making war is easier than making peace. After all, it is not them, or their children, who lose their lives. And making peace entails political risk.
Yes, let us be shocked at the bloody events inside Iraq this week. But more importantly for the region’s future, let us keep our eye on the unlikely alliance building between Iran and the United States as a result.
Americans do not have good memories, but Iranians do. Largely all that Americans remember about the U.S.-Iranian relationship is the dramatic hostage crisis between 1979 and 1981.
Iranians, on the other hand, remember other things. It was the U.S. and CIA that, in 1953, helped overthrow a democratically elected Iranian government and installed the deeply unpopular Shah of Iran. But they also remember that it was their country, Iran, that was genuinely shocked and saddened at the Al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001. In response, Iran provided the Americans with considerable military, political and intelligence support in their campaign to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. U.S. diplomats at the time described Iran’s help in 2001 as “decisive.”
However horrifying the bloody events are inside Iraq this week, there has been one thing hopeful about them.
Officials of Iran and the U.S. held informal talks this week about ways they can cooperate in the face of the fanatical (insurgents) wreaking havoc in Iraq.
It was notable that this was happening the same week as Iran and the world’s six major powers were again meeting in Vienna in their effort to reach agreement over Iran’s controversial nuclear program. With a July deadline ahead of them, and to the surprise of many, there are signs that progress is being made.
However, hardliners in the U.S., Israel and, yes, Canada will be determined to block any deal. A spokesman for the Israeli government on Monday expressed worry about moves by the U.S. to “cooperate” with Iran. And Canada’s foreign minister, John Baird, who has always been in lockstep with the Israelis about Iran, said this week that Canada favored tougher conditions on Iran than even the U.S. was supporting.
Canada’s extreme position on Iran, defined in 2012 when it completely broke off diplomatic relations with Tehran, is increasingly at odds with Western allies. Baird’s remarks this week came at the same time that Britain was announcing it was ready to reopen its embassy in Tehran.
The prospect of a U.S.-Iranian dialogue over Iraq reopened the debate about what led to this week’s resurgence of violence.
Skeletons came out of the political closet to refight their corner. Former British prime minister Tony Blair defended the 2003 invasion of Iraq as having had nothing to do with the current chaos. But London Mayor Boris Johnson called Blair “unhinged” and said that “somebody needs to get on to Tony Blair and tell him to put a sock in it.”
But there is one thing about which we can be certain. As Iran and the U.S. navigate the treacherous road ahead in Iraq, Iranians will do it with utmost caution.
They remember that, only a few months after Iran helped the U.S. defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001, then-President George W. Bush turned on them. In his 2002 State of the Union speech, Bush lumped Iran in with Iraq and North Korea as “an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”
A year later, in 2003, a group of high-level Iranian officials, including Iran’s current foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, offered the Bush administration a “grand bargain” to resolve all areas of conflict between the two countries — as long as the Americans promised not to try to overthrow the Iranian government. The U.S. president and his senior officials ignored the overture.
Yes, the Iranians are wise to have good memories. They know the rebuilding of a constructive relationship between Iran and the U.S. — whether to rescue Iraq or deal with the region’s other immense crises — has much more to it than simply making sense of the hostage crisis of 1979.
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