It seems that not everyone is happy with the talks between Iran and the United States. The Chief of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran is unhappy that newly elected Iranian president, Hasan Rouhani took a phone call from President Barack Obama last week. According to General Mohammad Ali Jafari while the “president took a firm and appropriate position during his stay” by refusing to meet with Obama, he should also “have refused to speak with him on the telephone.” Rouhani made these remarks in an interview with the Tasnimnews.com website.
Another person who is concerned with the talks between Iran and the US is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who met with Obama in Washington today. Netanyahu urged the president to not be fooled by the Iranians and to keep the current economic sanctions in place as the negotiations continue. He also said they should be tightened if Iran continues to develop nuclear bomb capabilities. Netanyahu is obviously concerned with the security of Israel as threats have been made by Iran before.
Besides the difference of opinion between Jafari and Rouhani, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, also disagree. Zarif said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that there was a “real chance” that an agreement with the United States could be reached on the nuclear issue but the US would have to remove the economic sanctions against Iran. Back in Tehran Araghchi said “Definitely, a history of high tensions between Tehran and Washington will not go back to normal relations due to a phone call, meeting or negotiation.”
When President Rouhani returned to Tehran on Saturday there were about 100 hardline protesters shouting “Death to America” at him, one even throwing a shoe at his car, an insult in Middle Eastern countries. The hardliners were outnumbered by supporters by an approximately 2 to 1 margin.
The history of tensions between Iran and the US go back to 1979 when the US backed Shah of Iran was overthrown by secular and religious opponents. The reason for the Shah’s overthrow are many including the fact that he was put in power by a non-Muslim power and that he was involved in brutality and oppression of the people. Islamic religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini was put into power. Later that year the US Embassy in Iran was overtaken and 52 people were taken hostage. They remained in captivity for 444 days.
In 1988 an Iranian passenger plane was shot down by a US Naval ship, the USS Vincennes, killing all 29 people on board. The US claimed they thought the plane was a fighter jet. In 2002 it was leaked that Iran was developing a nuclear program which led to a decade of UN inspections and in 2006 economic sanctions were begun. These have been added to several times since. These sanctions have hurt the Iranian people.
This brings up the question on whether or not the US can trust Iran. At issue is the state of Iran’s nuclear capacity and whether they can make an atomic bomb. With all this disagreement between all the parties it is doubtful, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Written by: Paul Roy