By Professor Fan Hongda

Prospect of the U.S.-Iran relations beyond manufactured scare

February 21, 2021 - 14:3

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement on February 18: “The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran's nuclear program.”

This is another easing gesture made by the Biden administration towards Iran. In fact, the Biden administration is changing Trump's Iran policy. It is indeed time for the United States to rethink Iran.

U.S. lacks objective understanding of Iran

Recently I read an article “Can Washington Rethink Iran” by Mr. Jason Rezaian, a former correspondent of the Washington Post in Tehran. This article pointed out that the United States has quite limited objective knowledge of Iran, and Washington's Iran policy formulated on this basis is also difficult to be effective. Therefore, the United States needs to understand the real Iran.

  Mr. Jason Rezaian’s article reminded me of an experience in Iran. When traveling in Iran a few years ago, I met an American who was also traveling there. I asked him how he felt about Iran in front of him. The American gentleman said angrily that Washington politicians and the American media were liars because what they said about Iran was very different from the real Iran. 

I agree with Mr. Jason Rezaian that the United States needs to rethink Iran. I also think the American tourist in Iran told the truth. Indeed, The United States should rethink Iran as soon as possible.

For 40 years, not only did the United States and Iran have no formal diplomatic relations, but their confrontation has also been very serious, which made it possible for not many American scholars to go to Iran to do in-depth fieldwork. Moreover, the combined effect of poor U.S.-Iranian relations and third-party influence has pushed Washington to get used to understanding Iran from a negative perspective. This is an important reason why the United States has implemented a strong suppression policy against Iran for many years.

The lack of objective cognition and the existence of subjective negative cognition make Iran's image in the United States very bad. When I planned to buy books in a large bookstore in New York City many years ago, the clerk quietly and naturally told me that all books on Iran were on the "terrorism" shelf. This episode shows to a large extent that the American public also has a strong sense of disgust towards Iran.

U.S. policy towards Iran is not conducive to its national interests

  Under the dominance of the view of Iran mentioned above, U.S. intelligence agencies often choose to believe information that can confirm the “U.S. view of Iran”. This has been clearly reflected in the U.S. attitude towards Iran’s nuclear development. Dr. Gareth Porter, the American independent investigative journalist and historian in U.S. national security policy, elaborated on the U.S. nuclear policy towards Iran in his 2014 book "Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare". The title of this book clearly shows the author's basic point of view.

In this way, whether intentionally or unintentionally, the negative perception of Iran in the United States is widespread. Obviously, Washington’s policy towards Iran on this basis cannot receive a good response from Tehran. Not to mention, Iran’s enemies and U.S. allies in West Asia have been persuading Washington to implement a policy of hatred and suppression of Iran.

Judging from my years of fieldwork experience in Iran, Washington’s Iran policy does have serious problems. Although Washington has always claimed that the Iranian people are worthy of respect, the evil is the current Iranian government. But there is no doubt that the Iranian people are the biggest victims of the long-term U.S. sanctions.

 Both sides need to rethink bilateral relations 

Objectively speaking, whether it is Washington's hatred of Iran or Tehran's hatred of the United States, they have increasingly deviated from their respective national interests. The time has come for the United States and Iran to look at their bilateral relations from the perspective of national interests.

Iran is a country with a splendid culture and strong resurgence capabilities. Isn't a friendly Iran more beneficial to the United States? Iran deserves the United States to rethink itself. Also, I believe the United States is capable of handling relations with other countries in West Asia while developing relations with Iran.

On the other hand, after years of severe international sanctions, even for fundamental national interests, does Tehran really lack the will to improve relations with Washington?
In short, when it comes to U.S.-Iran relations, the United States and Iran will not go against their own national interests forever. There are enough smart people in Washington and Tehran. Both countries should together rethink the future development of bilateral relations.

Fan Hongda is a professor of the Middle East Studies Institute of Shanghai International Studies University, China

 (The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the Tehran Times)
 

Comments

  • 2021-02-21 15:29
    It is very good idea about Iran . Iranian people are logic and reasonable and should be treated wisely

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