With all that has been going on in Washington this week, it would be understandable for you to expect me to write about the turmoil going on with the United States government. While this is quite tempting for me to discuss, I feel that anything I will write is just repetitive of previous columns and, to be perfectly honest, I am tired of pointing out cynical realities. Instead, I prefer to speak on something with much greater potential: the matter of future between U.S.-Iranian relations.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brief time in office has definitely been a notable time for the relations between the U.S. and Iran. Of course, compared to the last 32 years of indifference between the two states, anything can be considered progress.
Rouhani’s own election to the presidency of Iran was considered quite exceptional in its own accord. This could be attributed to the rising dissatisfaction among the youth living around the Arab world, regarding their overall distaste with the way their leaders have used power. Not to mention the fact that many considered Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009 to have been carried out in an illegal and questionable manner. Therefore, Rouhani’s election was all the more noteworthy four years later.
Even though American foreign policy experts agreed on the importance of the change in leadership, they never sounded enthusiastic about the great possibilities that could stem from it. After all, the United States had not had any great diplomatic relations with Iran since the 1970s; what could possibly change now?
But here we are just a few months later, listening to Rouhani talking about how he brings peace and friendship to the American people. The reason for this invitation is momentous to some, suspicious to others. In regards to the latter, the reason for a sudden discussion of harmony may stem from a fear that the U.S. could attack Iran just as they have done in Iraq and Libya and threatened to do in Syria. However, a more optimistic possibility could be that both the Iranian people and government, who stand out for being the only Shiite Muslim majority state in the Middle East rather than Sunni, may wish to stand out in other ways as well.
Iran may become a nation whose interest in scientific development may be transferred into something constructive. Although this can never be proven, it is my belief (and I feel the belief of many other Americans as well), that the talk of nuclear weapons in Iran has been more talk than intent. For all we know, Iranians may wish to simply become a part of the West when it comes to making it a better state.
Now keep in mind that this is just my optimistic speculation about U.S.-Iranian relations. The fact that President Barack Obama and Rouhani only exchanged a phone call shows that there is much more to be done. But, at the same time, the fact that these two leaders could even communicate demonstrates that success is possible.
If this can be accomplished, then the U.S. may one day find itself with another powerful ally in the Middle East. Not to mention that if something such as this could be achieved, maybe even feuding members of Congress could come together to work out their differences as well. I realize that these two possibilities remain far from reality, but in this day and age, it does not hurt to have hope.