Friday, May 11, 2007

Iran Offers U.S Help In 'Exit Strategy'

UPDATE: Check out the new blog covering the Mid East: Outsider On The Inside

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister has offered the United States his country's help in developing an exit strategy for U.S forces in Iraq:

Abbas Araghchi, speaking to the Financial Times business daily, also dismissed U.S. allegations that Iran was supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons, and added that no amount of pressure would convince Iran to give up its nuclear program.

"Their invasion was a disaster ... let there not be a disastrous withdrawal," Aragchi told the paper. "Yes, immediate withdrawal could lead to chaos, civil war. No one is asking for immediate withdrawal of foreign forces. But there should be a plan." Aragchi said, however, that the American presence in Iraq was part of the problem, telling the FT that Iraq is "suffering a vicious cycle."

"There are foreign forces who have occupied Iraq and justify their presence under the pretext of the 'war on terror' and there are terrorists who claim they are fighting occupiers," he said. He said, as well, that American claims that Iran was supplying Iraqi insurgents were without basis: "They should stop blaming others for problems they have themselves created." "In fact, the number of weapons that have come into Iran from Iraq is high, as you can see by reading the crime pages of (Iranian) newspapers. Terrorist groups as well as criminals see Iraq as an opportunity."

Extended Comment: In recent weeks, Iran has begun to level accusations towards the United States that the prolonged campaign in Iraq has been harmful to their security; much like the constant U.S claims that Iran is aiding and financing terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Of course, we know that second part is true, and one wonders who's best interest the Iranian regime has in mind given its ongoing effort to undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon, through Hezbollah.

The prospect of an Iranian-designed U.S pullout from Iraq (as ridiculous of a proposition as there exists) is non-existant, yet one wonders if the true extent of the hypocrisy of this statement is felt by the Islamic clerics in power in Iran. If the Persian regime is so willing to better the situation of its neighbors (who's children have suffered so greatly in recent years), where was this generosity at the recent Iraq conference? Was the prospect of peace and stability in the region not worth ignoring the woman in red for a few hours? Would this 'exit strategy' the Iranians are offering take into account the suffering caused by Iran's continued calls for increased resistance in the region, which have aided in the radicalization of the region's youth?

The truth is that Iran is an enemy of the United States; it has made this distinction very clear. Yet the debate today centers around Iran's capability of acting upon its declared opposition to American values and its support for Israel; is Iran an enemy to be feared? Ahmadinijad has tried to establish himself as an academic, a supporter of intellectual debate upon which he has based his core positions of denying Israel's existence and his country's nuclear program. So far the United States and its allies have dismissed Iranian rhetoric as baseless propaganda, refusing to engage in debates provoked by ridiculous claims of holocaust denial and U.S plots to divide the country. I say why doesn't the world engage this debate? If they feel they have some sort of intellectual superiority over the world that justifies their radicalized conception of global justice, let's show them how wrong they are. Statements like the 'exit strategy' will be overlooked as no more than ridiculous verbiage from a regime that has proven more than capable of providing blog-fodder and enraging those of us that subscribe to the values of logic and humanity. Yet Western politicians who openly oppose and criticize Iran should use these statements to engage debates with the Regime, to undermine their intellectual and moral superiority in the same fashion with which they attempt to destroy the credibility of the West with claims of imperialism and injustice. It must be realized that as ridiculous as their statements sound to us, there are many who will take hear their words with no rebuttal from foreign leaders.

It is no longer enough to dismiss these statements; we cannot allow any legitimacy to the men who make such claims, as this is an over-looked front on the ideological aspect of the war on terror. Many will argue that responding to these statements provides legitimacy for their claims; I argue the opposite. In a region where statements by religious leaders are taken as fact, we must not allow radical regimes to gain any following from these words. If they want to be enemies, let's make them look like ignorant ones.

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