Indian Daily: U.S. Should Make New Opening Towards Iran

January 11, 1998 - 0:0
TEHRAN With no less a person than the Iranian President Mohammad Khatami now calling for a dialogue with the United States the U.S. should review its policy of containment vis-a-vis Iran, says the editorial by The Hindustan Times, India's largest selling English daily, on Saturday. The editorial, `Iran-U.S. Thaw?', opines that Khatami's recent interview to the CNN and the views expressed by him signal Iran's willingness to mend fences with the U.S. Expecting a new turn in the U.S.-Iran relations, the editorial points out that there is a growing realization in Washington that its efforts to project Iran a ``rogue state'' has failed in view of U.S. European allies pursuing normal political and commercial ties with Iran. ``If Washington's policy to isolate and contain Iran failed in the immediate aftermath of the Khomeini revolution, it makes even less sense to isolate it if the new regime is making overtures to normalize ties,'' says the editorial.

As against this, an article by the English daily The Hindu says that through his address to the people of America, Khatami did not seek rapprochement with the U.S. Instead, Khatami tried to explain to Americans what was wrong with American attitudes and policies towards his country. The article, `Khatami Puts the Ball in U.S. Court', written by noted Indian journalist Kesava Menon, says that Khatami invited the U.S. to take initiative in normalizing the ties.

``Khatami's emphasis was the preservation of Iran's dignity. This entails that the West, or the rest, should come to terms with the Iranian ethos.'' Another article in the same newspaper, written by leading Indian expert on international affairs, C. Raja Mohan, says that Khatami's interview to the CNN showed his solid grasp on American history rare among politicians anywhere in the world, including the United States. The article, `The Khatami Overture to the U.S.' calls President Khatami the most incisive observer of American politics.

``In outlining a new approach towards the United States, Mr. Khatami is seeking to move Iran away from a policy based on grudge and resentment to an engagement based on self confidence and dignity,'' says Mohan. Mohan opines that the U.S. should respond to Khatami's call for people-to-people contact and cultural exchanges instead of ``expressing disappointment at Mr. Khatami having not gone to far.'' ``Credible signals from Mr. Khatami could generate rapid momentum for official talks between Tehran and Washington,'' concludes the article.