Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Olive Twig To Tehran

It wasn’t exactly a kum-by-yah moment, and there was no pre-planned spontaneous back-room handshake, but President Obama, speaking to the U.N. yesterday, at least offered a glimmer of easing tensions with Iran.

The United States and Iran have been isolated from one another since the Islamic revolution of 1979. This mistrust has deep roots. Iranians have long complained of a history of U.S. interference in their affairs and of America’s role in overthrowing the Iranian government during the Cold War. On the other hand, Americans see an Iranian government that has declared the United States an enemy and directly or through proxies taken American hostages, killed U.S. troops and civilians, and threatened our ally Israel with destruction.

“I don’t believe this difficult history can be overcome overnight. The suspicions run too deep. But I do believe that if we can resolve the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, that can serve as a major step down a long road toward a different relationship, one based on mutual interests and mutual respect.

It’s a small step and may lead not much further than that, but it sure beats the hell out of “bomb bomb bomb Iran.”