Point: Iran’s Real Enemy in Syria
“What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women, and children?” President Trump asked Russia and Iran after launching air strikes against the Syrian regime. “The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep.”
At a time of great economic hardship in Iran, Tehran has provided billions of dollars to arm, train, and pay tens of thousands of Arab, Afghan, and Pakistani Shia militants help Assad crush Sunni Islamist rebels. Tehran, the victim of heinous chemical weapons attacks by Saddam Hussein three decades ago, has provided Assad the means to deliver these same weapons, while simultaneously denying that he uses them. The question is why?
Karim Sadjadpour, Senior Fellow Middle East program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Click here to read the rest of his opinion published in The Atlantic.
Counterpoint: Iran Is in Syria Legitimately. The U.S. Is Not.
Editor’s Note: The following appeared as a paid advertisement in The New York Times. It was written by Ardeshir Zahedi, a Shah-era Iranian ambassador to the United States. Zahedi lives in exile in Switzerland.
American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement on Iran was both bewildering and saddening. As the head of foreign policy of a great power, and previously as director of the CIA, he should be better informed about Iran, its people, and its history.
Ardeshir Zahedi is a former Iranian ambassador to the U.S. (Radio Free Europe Photo)
With a territory of 636,000 square miles and a population of eighty-two million, Iran is not Iraq. Iran will be able to resist a foreign military attack. We should remember the case of Iraq. The war was based on forged documents and lies. The attack had neither the authority of morality nor of law. The outcome was massive death and devastation. Hundreds of thousands of innocents died, and many millions had their lives and futures completely destroyed. And financially, according to the U.S. President, seven trillion dollars was wasted. Are the brains of the State Department and CIA this ignorant of history?
The continuous carnage, brutality and other atrocities against the civilian population of Yemen is not only a war crime but an attack on humanity. Can we ever forgive or forget this barbarity? On the 23rd and 24th of May, the primary story on BBC World Service was a heart-wrenching report which showed a Yemeni village wedding where women, men and young children were celebrating the marriage of a loved one. It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of their life. In an instant, a random Saudi air strike hits the village and kills twenty-two. Celebration is turned into lamentation. How can we ever justify the massacre of innocent children and the starvation and destruction of a country? What madness is responsible for this unprecedented tragedy? Is this twenty-first-century justice?
Iran and the United States were introduced one hundred and sixty years ago and can again become friends. The mention of the names of such high-minded Americans as Howard Baskerville, Morgan Shuster, Arthur Millspaugh, Arthur Upham Pope and Richard Frye still brings warm feelings to Iranian hearts.
Even if one of the signatories withdraws from the P5 + 1 nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), it is still a valid and binding document. I pray that wisdom will triumph, and diplomatic maturity will prevail.
The social situation in Iran will undoubtedly evolve. I have great hope and confidence in the youth of Iran, whose character, intelligence and competence will shape the country’s future. I am happy and hopeful when I see that in the four corners of the earth, most experts on the region see reality more clearly and publicly defend the honor and rights of my noble Iranian brothers and sisters. I both appreciate and respect their views.
Ardeshir Zahedi (Montreaux, Switzerland)
May 25, 2018