US, Iran both need an attitude change: Washington Post

New York, Dec 20, IRNA , Changing American attitudes about Iran is as important as changing Iranian attitudes about the US, Washington Post said referring to what the US new administration should do with Iran.

“So as she prepares for her role as Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Obama foreign policy team should consider how a new American-Iranian relationship might advance American interests in Iraq and Afghanistan, and conceivably even the Arab-Israeli peace process.”
Richard W. Murphy, former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs said in his article in Washington Post: “We have gotten into the habit of thinking about the Middle East as if it were “America’s backyard,” casually denying the interests of other states, including Iran, in their own neighborhood.”
“Iran readily recites past actions such as our support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and the congressional appropriation of funds to advance democracy in Iran as evidence of America’s intent to overturn the Iranian regime and meddle in Iranian affairs.

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“The Bush administration has focused its Iran policy on the nuclear issue and has pushed for sanctions, only lately adopting the approach initiated by European allies to encourage Tehran to open up its nuclear program to rigorous inspections. But this combination of carrots and sticks so far has not produced a positive response and the Iranian nuclear program has reportedly developed more quickly than appeared possible just a few months ago.

“There are several ways to signal our interest in a new approach:
broadening educational exchanges and sporting events, for example. The official dialogue itself should start between lower level officials but the Iranian officials involved must be clearly identified as licensed to speak on behalf of their government.

“The negotiations must not be half-hearted approaches simply to create the appearance that “we have tried” and now have no choice but to return to previous adversarial policies
“For Washington to sustain an American-Iranian dialogue will at some point require that Iran drop its threats against Israel and affirm its readiness to support a future settlement between the Palestinians and Israelis. However, Washington cannot expect this or other Iranian policies to change as a precondition of our dialogue with Tehran.

“On the other hand, Iran will predictably seek far-reaching changes in US policy towards Iran and the region as a whole. Whether or how to provide these policy changes will only become clear once engagement is underway.

“The road to improved US-Iranian relations will be rocky but the possible mutual benefit to both American and Iranian interests is evident. The time to start is now,” Murphy said in his article published in Washington Post.