Signs of hope in US and Iranian diplomacy as both parties exchange correspondence. The leaders of two of the world’s most opposed nations have swapped official diplomatic communication, which will be hoped by many to signal a thaw in the icy relationship that has prevailed between the two.
It is believed the election victory of President Hassan Rouhani, in June has paved the way in new phase in relations.
Iran and the US have had no official diplomatic dealing since the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The taking of 52 US personnel as hostages by the revolutionaries has cast a cold shadow over both counties’ affairs for almost a quarter of a century.
Speaking from Tehran, Iran’s Foreign Ministry’s, Marzieh Afkham stated that Iran was looking to a new improvement in American/Iranian diplomacy. But she stated, “Unfortunately the U.S. administration is still adopting the language of threat while dealing with Iran,” Ms Afkham express a hope that with the opening up of communication this would change by stating, “We have announced that this needs to change into the language of respect.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry stated that the exchange had originated with a congratulatory letter form the American President to Mr Rouhani on his victory at the polls. President Rouhani responded with “expressed thanks for the congratulations and wrote about some several issues,” said Ms. Afkham.
The issues that were highlighted in the correspondence were not revealed by the parties, but it is believed that they may include Syria and Iran’s nuclear development program.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed that the letter exchanges had taken place with the help of the Swiss Government. The Swiss embassy, based in Tehran, has a section that deals with American interest in the country
Details of the diplomatic exchange came to light as both leaders were making final arrangement to address the United Nations General Assembly in a week’s time. At this point there are no plans for the leaders to meet
The correspondence came in the wake of the Obama’s decision to relax long-term embargos on humanitarian activities and sporting exchanges between the two nations. This was the second time the American Government had eased such measures that were in place.
In a further development, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has spoken of Tehran being ready to make confidence-building measures in order to gain US trust on Iran peaceful nature. Zarif stated in an interview with Lebanese television that:
“Iran and the United States suffer from a lack of reciprocal trust. We are ready to take measures to gain U.S. trust on the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and we call on the U.S. to show its honest resolve for peace and relinquish the language of threat,”
He would also state that, “British Foreign Secretary William Hague has requested a meeting with me and I accepted it.”
Such exchanges would have been unthinkable, in the not so distant past, when both sides had only microphone diplomacy speaking of one another as the “Great Satan” and the “axis of evil”. The return of cordial if not full relations will be looked on by most as favourable. It will be hoped that it can calm tensions in a volatile region.
Written By: Clifford Peeples