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Iran's choice is between Ignorant friends or intelligent enemies!

By Ali Moayedian


We have a saying in Persian that roughly translates into this: An intelligent enemy will help you rise while an ignorant friend will knock you down. Or in simpler terms, it's better to have intelligent enemies around than ignorant friends.


Case in point: Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). It is surrounded by plenty of ignorant friends who are managing to bring it down with no help from their intelligent enemies! Yet the regime sees the solution not in repelling the stupid friends, but in harassing its good enemies.


In recent months, four Iranian-Americans academics and journalists have been arrested and intimidated by Iranian intelligence services. I always wonder when one crosses from intelligence to ignorance or vice versa!


It is true that these Iranian-Americans are pro democracy and pro freedom. One may even hypothesize and try to prove that these people are enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, there is no evidence to suggest these people have engaged in activities to bring down the Iranian regime. There is however plenty of evidence showing these people have in fact been vocal against the US policies of regime change in Iran and have been advocating organic growth of democracy instead. This is certainly no crime. In fact IRI owes a lot to these people for their efforts to bring some sanity to the Bush administration and for pushing for dialogue instead of war.


But there is really no need to talk about innocence or guilt of these people. The Iranian authorities are fully aware that these academics and journalists aren't spies, agents or provocateurs. Their reason for going after them isn't what these people have done, but rather to get even with US government.


There can be two likely explanations of IRI's motives for harassing these academics like this:


First, the regime is trying to send a message to US that establishing a fund to bring democratic change in Iran has consequences like this. Instead of the fund helping open the door, it's actually causing it to get fully shut! This is what Iranian activists and reformists had predicted (see TIME article: Did the U.S. Incite Iran's Crackdown?).


Second, the regime is engaging in tit-for-tat. Five Iranian diplomats, who were conducting consular affairs in Iraq's Kurdistan and who were there with the approval of Iraqi government, were arrested (or rather kidnapped) by US troops in Iraq in January 2007. Iran is countering by arresting Iranian-Americans. At the same time a former FBI agent visiting Iranian island of Kish in Persian Gulf has gone missing. Doesn't seem a coincidence!


Perhaps the motives for these arrests can be explained by one or both of the above. But there is really one logical explanation: Plain stupidity!  IRI doesn't really realize the consequences of these actions, thanks to the many ignorant friends surrounding the regime. By harassing these well-respected Iranian-Americans and the visiting American, regime is sending shockwaves among the Iranian Diaspora. This may result in further alienation of these intelligent enemies and potentially pushing them to the sidelines or even worse to the ignorant enemies: the necons, regime change advocates and warmongers.


Interestingly enough, the situation isn't that different on this side of the ocean with the Bush administration! The people who are driving Iran policy (and Middle East policy) are the ignorant friends of the administration. We are in a mess in Iraq due to these people. Even if we were to justify the war in Iraq, we cannot justify the handling of it which has resulted in massive death and destruction. The real problem is lack of understanding of the region and the nation of Iraq. And the same is of course true about Iran. Until these ignorant friends are fully purged, there can be no sincere dialogue between US and Iran, and there can certainly be no real peace in the Middle East. They simply won't allow it, and they will do all in their power to throw stones and rocks to make sure there is no successful outcome. After all, what are ignorant friends good for?


About the author: Ali Moayedian lives in San Francisco Bay Area. He believes he is surrounded by friends and enemies of the intelligent kind J


... Payvand News - 6/13/07 ... --

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