TITLE=IRAN / U-S RELATIONS
INTRO: The recent parliamentary elections in Iran
focused attention primarily on domestic issues such as
individual freedoms, political reform and economic
revitalization. Foreign policy, however, also was a
subject of debate. Probably the hottest (most
contentious) topic in this area was relations with the
United States, which have been severed for more than
two decades. Correspondent Scott Bobb talked with
politicians and voters during the elections and has
TEXT: In Iran, a generation has been well educated on
the wrongs of the United States government -- as the
Iranian government sees them. As a result, a
conversation between an American visitor and almost
any Iranian will eventually include a long list of
Iranian complaints against the United States.
/// Opt /// Many Iranians express resentment over
perceived interference by the U-S government that goes
back half-a-century to the coup that aborted the
country's democratic government and installed a
repressive monarchy. The American visitor will
explain that there is continuing American resentment
over the humiliation suffered from the U-S embassy
hostage incident and other anti-American acts
following the Iranian revolution. /// End Opt ///
Nevertheless, Iranians are friendly and interested in
exchanging views. Most say there is no problem
between the people of Iran and the United States, only
between their governments.
For example, the editor of one of the most anti-
American newspapers, Tehran's Jebheh weekly, says he
does not give interviews to U-S reporters. But he
does agree to a meeting to talk.
/// OPT /// Inside his offices, on the ground floor
of a modest building in central Tehran, sandbags are
piled in one corner. Camouflage netting hangs from
the ceiling along with military gear and banners with
revolutionary and Islamic slogans. Paintings on the
walls show young Iranian soldiers dying in the
trenches during the Iran-Iraq war. /// END OPT ///
The editor accuses the U-S government of
responsibility for the war and most other ills
afflicting Iranian society. Asked if there are any
prospects for improving relations, he answers: not as
long as America remains America.
Other political leaders are less bitter. Most foresee
better relations, although they differ on how they
will come about.
The leader of the reformist alliance that has swept
(won) a majority of the seats in parliament,
Mohammedreza Khatami, is optimistic about future
relations, but still cautious.
/// KHATAMI ACT ///
I think in the future we will have normal
relations with the United States, but the time
that we can get this relation, I cannot guess.
/// END ACT ///
Mohammedreza Bayona, a spokesman for the conservative
alliance that is now in the opposition, does not
dismiss an improvement of relations, but underscores
the sensitivities over what many Iranians see as U-S
interference in their affairs.
/// BAYONA ACT. IN FARSI FADE UNDER ///
Mr. Bayona says recent comments by U-S officials
hoping that the reformist victory will improve
relations demonstrates what he calls the same
characteristic of dominance.
He says if the U-S government wants to improve
relations, it should free Iranian assets in the United
States and lift U-S sanctions against Iran. /// Opt
/// He says the U-S government should also stop what
he calls its dual approach, whereby it condemns Iran
for activities, like pursuing a nuclear weapons
program, but says nothing about similar activities by
the government of Israel. /// End Opt ///
In recent months, U-S officials have said they want to
begin talks with Iran aimed at normalizing relations.
However, they say Iran must improve its human rights
record, stop undermining the Middle East peace process
and halt its support for international terrorism.
The next generation of Iranian leaders, for the most
part, wants improved relations, like mechanical
engineering student, Reza Talebari.
/// TALEBARI ACT. IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH
Talks between the U-S and Iran should take place
and eventually it will, and it's to the benefit
of both sides. But there's a double standard
/// END ACT ///
/// BEGIN OPT ///
A graduate student in civil engineering, Jamal
Zaherpour, says Iran's main complaint against the U-S
government is what he calls its domineering approach
toward other nations.
/// ZAHERPOUR ACT. IN FARSI WITH ENGLISH
There are some incidents where Iran itself may
be, in some cases, extremist. But the main
problem is the authoritative attitude of
America. America wants to pay the least cost
for a relationship and they want the highest
margin of profit.
/// END ACT ///
/// END OPT ///
The students say they want Iran to be part of the
modern world, although its Islamic character must be
preserved. They foresee a rapid improvement of
relations with Western Europe and former rivals in the
Arab world. They say if Iran and the United States
respect each other's opinions and approach dialogue on
an equal basis, their relations, too, should improve
02-Mar-2000 13:15 PM EDT (02-Mar-2000 1815 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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