By Mahtab Farid,
From Washington to Tehran
Special Report from Dubai
His voice still plays in my head, "oon vare abiha tatiland." Meaning the people living in the other side of the ocean are completely clueless. This is the voice of 29-years-old Iranian entrepreneur, Mohammad Reza who was visiting Dubai for business in first week of March while I was working on a documentary about the Iranians residing in Dubai.
Mohammad Reza's best friend, Saman, 27 shares the same sentiments, "I love living in Iran. I would not want to live in any other place in this world but Iran."
Saman is the operational manager of his multi million dollar family business in Tehran. According to Saman, things may not be that easy in Iran, but he doesn't appreciate any outside force, group, or government to intervene in his country.
Beautiful 27- years- old Narges who was visiting Dubai with his 34 years- old husband Nariman had a completely different opinion on the current situation in Iran.
Narges said,"We don't have the basic freedom in Iran. Currently in Iran the cars can not even park front of the restaurants and several malls have been closed. The government is afraid of any kind of gathering."
Narges and her husband run a number of restaurants in Tehran and
are planning to
sell their franchise to other cities in Iran. The couple is planning to leave
Iran within the next four years to be able to live a more free life.
For the entire week that I was following the group who was visiting from Iran, Narges exposed her long, full, beautiful, straight, blonde hair. "It feels great to have my hair feel the sunshine and not covered," said Narges. The couple enjoyed walking freely on the streets of Dubai holding hands, shopping, and drinking alcohol in public.
Meanwhile miles away in Washington, DC, a special briefing was held with Prince Reza Pahlavi, Mehrdad Khansari and Ali Reza Nourizadeh at The Nixon Center on US-Iran relations before a group of prominent experts. As a reporter who has been covering US-Iran relations, I was baffled by the guests.
Mr. Nourizadeh and Mr. Khansari have been living outside of Iran for the past
thirty years and have never lived in the US. I don't even think either one of
them had any think tank experience to study US Iran relations. What makes them
an expert in US-Iran relations?
I also learned during this conference the group proposed on how US should confront Iran?
Suddenly, Mohammad Reza's voice started to ring in my head again. "People living in the other side of the ocean are completely clueless."
As an objective reporter, I did some research and got a hold of a bulletin that was distributed in this conference to see what happened.
According to page 4 of the bulletin, "The Joint Experts' Statement on Iran" signed by Gary Sick, a former member of Jimmy Carter's administration, and a host of Iranian and American academics for a 5-step diplomatic strategy that would start a new chapter in US-Iran relations based on a policy of trust, dialogue and cooperation."
1. "Replace calls for regime change with a long term strategy."
Could someone tell us what the long term strategy is?
2. "Support human rights through effective, international means."
How is this plan accomplished? United States is currently facing a number of dilemmas including the violation of human rights in China and in Darfur but because of national sovereignty laws we can't do anything.
3. "Allow Iran a place at the table- alongside other key states- on shaping the future of Iraq, Afghanistan and the region."
Hasn't US already established this? Former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki sat down around the table on the Iraq conference in Sharm Al Sheikh. On numerous occasions US and Iran met on ambassadorial level to discuss Afghanistan and Iraq.
4. "Address the nuclear issue within the context of a broader U.S. Iran opening."
OK, there needs to be more clarification about this. Nuclear issue and US-Iran opening?
Iran has faced several United Nations Security Council resolutions and statements from the International Atomic Energy Agency (the nuclear watchdog) to halt enriching uranium.
5. "Re-energize the Arab-Israeli peace process and act as an honest broker in that process."
Until when should Iran or US worry about Israel Palestine issue? Should the priority be the individual countries?
On page 19 of this bulletin, on behalf of "Democratic Alternative" or DA, Mr. Khansari writes a letter to US President Barack Obama. Mr. Khansari says, "Five US presidents, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush have sought to meet this challenge, using to no avail a gamut of policy tools from containment to appeasement, coercive measures to plain threat of force."
However, if you go back and read the five suggested steps, it is in conflict of what is being suggested in this letter.
My favorite part of this letter is Mr. Khansari's signature which he signs, "Mehrdad Khansari is DA's spokesman on Foreign Affairs." Does that mean Democratic Alternative is a government in exile and Mr. Khansari is the spokesperson of this operation?
Perhaps we need to know who is the President, Prime Minister, or the king. Do we elect the future officials of Iran without the Iranian people?????
I guess as Fox News says, "We report, you decide."
At the end, I hope more young Iranians, younger Iranian Americans and young Iranians in exile get involved in the big discussion of Iran and untangling the US-Iran relations.
We see on the news that how young Iranian students and Iranian women are taking their destinations into their own hands.
We as journalists also have a responsibility to report more on the young Iranians' desires than what pundits, and so called, "experts" are saying about Iran.
|Mahtab Farid is an award winning international reporter, founder of US Iran NEWS and an expert in US-Iran relations.|
... Payvand News - 03/16/09 ... --