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An Open Letter to Nicholas Burns

By: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich




The passion and patriotism detected in your March 8, 2006 speech at the House International Relations Committee entitled “United States Policy Toward Iran”[i]  is admirable, though your analysis fails to be inspiring.  It would seem that hatred and contempt has blinded your reasoning.  To paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre, you obviously are not rowing sir, for you have time to rock the boat with all the allegations you make against Iran.   


This is what you stated:


“Today, the Iranian leadership is actively working against all that the U.S. and our allies desire for the region – peace in Lebanon, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and an end to terrorism. In fact, no country stands more resolutely opposed to our hope for peace and freedom in the Middle East than Iran.”


Mr. Burns, perhaps you would care to announce whose army occupies the water-rich Shebba farms and the Golan Heights? In spite of pleas from UN Secretary Kofi Annan, Israel has refused to remove its army [ii].  On the contrary, it would seem as if the fertile farms are suitable for the Jewish settlers of the West Bank. Unfortunately, Lebanon is not so ready to give up its land[iii].  Why are these issue related to Iran, Sir?  Israel’s occupation of Lebanon is not an Iran issue.  Perhaps if the mainstream media revealed the truth, you would be able to realize this.


You further mention that Iran hinders the peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  Again, you must be misinformed.  While it is true that in this country, we suffer from SMS (short memory syndrome), you must surely recall the events of the past week alone.   Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed that Israel would never give up Ariel - the major Jewish settlement in the West Bank.  As you must know, the West Bank is a pertinent part of a future Palestinian state [iv]. 


This declaration can in no way overshadow Israel’s appalling raid at the town of Jericho which brought condemnation from the usually mild and moderate Mahmoud Abbas and which has resulted in violence and strikes across the West Bank.  Hardly obstacles caused by Iran.  Of course, adding insult to injury is Israel’s plan to finish the barrier condemned by international law. 


Contrary to your allegations, Mr. Burns, Iran has called on Israel and Lebanon to halt their cross border attacks.  In your enthusiasm to rock the boat sir, do you keep up with the world news?  Allow me to bring it to your attention [v].


Mr. Burns, you speak of hope and peace in the Middle East.  Are you in fact speaking of your own aspirations and peace through submission of the Middle-Eastern people?   Your definition of “our hope for peace and freedom” may well be just that.  Freedom to do and take as you please….


Regarding the following statements you made, allow me to address them:

  • its pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability;
  • its role as the "Central Banker" in directing and funding terror;
  • its determination to dominate the Middle East as the most powerful state in the Persian Gulf region; and finally,
  • its repression of the democratic hopes of the Iranian people

No shred of evidence has been found that Iran has been pursuing a nuclear weapons capability.  However, you are demanding the impossible.  To quote Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX): 

"Those reading this bill may find themselves feeling a sense of deja vu. In many cases one can just substitute 'Iraq' for 'Iran' in this bill and we could be back in the pre-2003 run- up to war with Iraq. And the logic of this current push for war is much the same as was the logic used in the argument for war on Iraq. As earlier with Iraq, this resolution demands that Iran perform the impossible task of proving a negative? in this case that Iran does not have plans to build a nuclear weapon."

On the other hand, the president of the United States, the leader of the free world and the ‘world’s oldest democracy’, is bent on violating the NPT by supplying India, this nuclear-armed ‘pariah’ state with nuclear material!  With the IAEA’s Chief’s blessings..

You speak of terror and terrorism.  Sir, at no time in history has terrorism posed a greater danger to societies, free or otherwise.  Our soldiers are being killed in Iraq every day, and Iraqis who had hoped for salvation are burying their dead at a rate which has numbed them, hardly allowing them time to mourn before another loved one is taken from them. 

Our treasury has been depleted fighting the war on terror; our soldiers come home facing an uncertain future fighting the ghosts of Iraq, wishing they had died there.  Yet for some incomprehensible reason, in this mad war, 3800 terrorists are given safe haven in Iraq.  Not only are they given ‘special persons status’[vi], but they are protected, fed, and taken care of with our taxes.  Our government is supporting them, for I assume they are not working.  I ask you sir, why are my taxes being spent on the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorists  who once killed Americans? 

Or is it Iraqi money that is protecting these terrorists?  If so, why are we paying for reconstruction in Iraq if Iraqis are paying for terrorists?  Are we not making a mockery of our dead soldiers….


Mr. Burns, with all due respect, there is not a single sensible person that would agree Iran could ever compete with Israel as the most powerful nation in the Middle East.  With the help of allies such as the US (of course France started the program), Israel already has by some estimations close to 200 nuclear warheads – although more conservative figures put the number at 100.   The US and Germany have supplied Israel with submarines capable of carrying nuclear warheads.  Not to mention the bunker-busters supplied by the US last year.   No doubt, you are aware of the missile defense technology that is paid for by the US.  

Sir, your fears are unfounded, though your talent for fear mongering is admirable ….

And your final point.  The repression of the democratic hopes of the Iranian people:  Mr. Burns, maybe you are too young to recall 1953.  It was America that crushed the seed of  democracy in Iran with its CIA-backed coup.   And it tries still. 

The CIA does not learn from history;  Connie Bruck’s revealing article in The New Yorker, Mr. Burns, clearly shows that the United States has not made any strides towards embracing democracy in the Middle East.  It does however, as before, favor puppet regimes of its choosing.[vii] 

As for the present regime, their repressive methods are indeed unfortunate and inexcusable.  It is a tragedy that Iran with its glorious past as well its wretched recent history should see its people deprived of freedom.  What is worse, is to have other countries try to humiliate it and make every effort to subjugate it. Mr. Burns, the Iranian people certainly deserve better than what they currently have.  Be informed that excludes anything that America has to offer them, including a regime change, which is another 1953 coup with a face lift.  And I pray that the world will oppose sanctions and military intervention.   Let us for once learn from our mistakes.

[vi] US State Department Daily Briefing


[vii] Bruck,Connie. “A Reporter at Large;Exiles:How Iran's expatriates are gaming the nuclear threat.” The New Yorker. March 6, 2006




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