Feature

How they see us: Why Iran must remain on guard

The United States owes us an apology, said Seyyed Jalal Fayyazi in the Tehran Iran. After years of

The United States owes us an apology, said Seyyed Jalal Fayyazi in the Tehran Iran. After years of “unfounded allegations” that Iran was trying to build nuclear weapons, the U.S. intelligence agencies have finally admitted the “peaceful nature” of our nuclear energy program. The National Intelligence Estimate put out last week by 16 U.S. spy agencies proves that the “radical elements in the White House” were lying about Iran all along. In the words of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the report “symbolizes the victory of the Iranian nation against international forces on the issue of nuclear weapons.” The document amounts to “a formal confession by America—and the only rational follow-up after that acknowledgement is an apology to Iran.”

That will never happen, of course, said the Tehran Resalat in an editorial. Still, the report is a triumph and a vindication. “At the moment, the Westerners have no more cards to play against Iran. The White House and its allies have no other option except to accept a nuclear Iran.”

Don’t get too excited just yet, said the Tehran Etemad-e Melli. The U.S intelligence report was not a complete exoneration. It contains several key errors, such as the assertion that, before 2003, Iran was breaking its international commitments and pursuing nuclear weapons. President Bush has seized upon that aspect of the report to continue his belligerent rhetoric against Iran. Power in the U.S. has several centers, including the White House, the State Department, and the National Security Council. But ultimately, “the American president holds the reins,” and Bush still sees Iran as his enemy.

And he’s being very clever, said Parviz Esma’ili in the Tehran Emruz. Bush is “pretending to be rational,” a move guaranteed to confuse his allies and enemies alike. Right now, America does not have the military capability to confront Iran. Using the new National Intelligence Estimate as a cover, Bush is “portraying the rejection of the military option as a voluntary choice,” a concession he is making. That way, he can hope to gain some concessions from our allies, Russia and China.

We, too, can gain concessions, said Ahmad Shirzad in the Tehran E’temad. The U.S. report has weakened extremists on both sides—in the U.S. as well as here in Iran. In the U.S., the warmongering camp in the White House has lost its rationale for an attack on Iran: If Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, there’s no reason to bomb Tehran. In Iran, the hardliners who want to pull out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty have lost their rationale: If the U.S. is no longer accusing us of violations, there’s no need to abandon the treaty. “Let’s seize the new opportunity” for moderates and begin a dialogue with the Americans. Such a gesture could only “improve the image of Iran in the international arena.”

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