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Friday, September 20, 2013

”See beyond pines … think, talk about how to make things better“ ─ President Hassan Rouhani

Iranian voices as UN General Assembly enters Sixty-eighth Debate Session
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

The United Nations General Assembly is the main deliberative, policy making and representative organ of the United Nations. Comprising all 193 Members of the United Nations, it provides a unique forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the Charter of the United Nations. 

The 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly’s annual general debate – when Heads of State and Government and other high national officials gather to present their views about pressing world issues – opens Tuesday September 24 and run through Tuesday October 1, 2013

We consider war a weakness.  Any government or administration that decides to wage a war, we consider it a weakness.  And any government that decides on peace, we look on it with respect to peace [Hassan Rouhani].

Progressive Islam faces colonial secularism ─ Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr

“…Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the reorganization of the Middle East in the years following World War I, the West has failed to present a better model than subordinate dictatorship for these countries.

“The U.S. involvement in toppling Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein was not aimed at removing the shadow of a vampire dictator over the Iraqi nation. Instead, Washington had come to the conclusion that Saddam was no longer a trustworthy element for enforcing Washington’s policies across the region and he was deciding arbitrarily as he did with his invasion of Kuwait.

…The protest movement that started as the Islamic Awakening or Arab Spring in Tunisia and then spread to Egypt, Libya and Bahrain was not a premeditated Western scenario.

“It was a spontaneous reality born of pent-up popular demands similar to other social movements and phenomena that require time and opportunity to emerge.

“…All these uprisings and awakening movements share four attributes: 1) emphasis on religious identity 2) freedom-seeking 3) democracy-seeking 4) independence-seeking.”

American rationally sidelined in dealings with Iran ─ Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr

A list of “6 opportunities lost by the United States as a result of its hostility with Iran…show “that American politicians have never dealt with Iran based on the American rationality and the national interests of the United States over the past years.” 
  • U.S. is presented to the Iranian people as ruthless and aggressive, especially with the implementation of inhumane sanctions in the recent years 
  • U.S. private sector is deprived of investing in Iran, particularly in the areas of oil and gas 

Women of Iran
Western Sanctions 
  • Anti-arrogance and anti-American sentiments have spread in the Middle East and the Muslim world, which was inspired by Iran’s Islamic Revolution and the Islamic Republic’s anti-oppression policies 
  • U.S. in the Mideast is increasingly discredited in its rivalry with the Islamic Republic, particularly in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria 
  • U.S. is increasingly deprived of the chance to directly interact with and contact Tehran over key regional issues 
  • U.S.’s allying with some reactionary governments with the objective of filling the vacuum of Iran has further downgraded the United States’ credibility as a country claiming to advocate democracy; and begs the question of why the U.S. has friendly ties with tyrannical and reactionary states, yet is hostile to a democratic state like Iran.

“…It is fair to say,” Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr concludes, that “by continuing the hostility with Iran, the Americans have had no tangible achievement in the field of their national interests and have only been able to appease Tel Aviv while receiving backlash.” Altering the U.S. approach toward Iran “will open a new chapter of national-interest diplomacy.”

arry J. Bentham writes along the same lines of dominance and forced subservience. “Beyond Iranian-U.S. relations, the top political tension in the modern world … arises over the issue of countries crossing the barrier by refusing to be servants and becoming leaders in the international order. It is a valid historical observation that the countries which consider themselves as top powers often assume the role of oppressors, denying the rights of emerging powers and seeking to marginalize them.”

Round and round we go 
Circularity, West blocks own “values”
Political futurist writer Harry J. Bentham headlines Equality requires Iran access to nuclear technology

“…Despite modern liberalism’s commitments to liberty and equality, there is an insurmountable paradox in treating non-Western states as second-class participants in international relations” ─ a state of affairs, an attitude that is "…further emphasized by the lack of value placed in the lives of non-Western people by Western governments.
In the minds of Western politicians, a million dead children in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East is barely a scratch on their moral reputations, and yet they insultingly go about mourning similar deaths that occurred decades ago in European wars and genocides.
Empire: Britain
“…In reality, Western countries desperately seek to privilege themselves and repeatedly abuse their senior economic positions to ‘kick away the ladder’, offering false guidance to marginalized states. In most cases, countries have actually gained most of their progress by disregarding Western advice and following their own independent paths rather than allowing Western countries to dictate development. Japan in the early Twentieth Century, for example, was the most rapid success in achieving development to a fully modernized level in a non-Western state, and this resulted because Japan looked at the West’s scientific and engineering methods and did not follow foreign economic dictates.”
Western Brute 

Empire: France
Unable to see how their ideology is contradictory, Western states have historically used blockades, sanctions and other punishments on countries they disapprove of. However, the political outcome from such actions is always destructive. Far from pressuring governments to change their views, sanctions lead to a negative political culture by adding to a sense of crisis. As a result, much of the rationale for Western sanctions against Iran amounts to a circular argument.

Empire: United States
“… If liberal states and citizens hostile to Iran could entertain the possibility that they are not acting in accord with their own liberal principles and are allowing prejudices to drive them, they would see how to end confrontations with Iran.

“Lifting the sanctions on Iran would allow the political culture in Iran to flourish and liberalize like never before, bringing an appreciation of the West in Iran. This would finally allow the West to live up to its own stated belief in equality. The alternative is for Iran to continue to hold legitimate suspicions towards Western powers, and Western political systems will fester in deepening confusion and hypocrisy.”

President of Iran
Hassan Rouhani 
Iran’s new president en route to 68th UN General Assembly: 
“Constructive interaction”

Elected and inaugurated in early August, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s new president is an academic, cleric, lawyer, politician and former diplomat. He holds baccalaureate and advanced degrees in law, is fluent in Arabic, English and Persian, is a prolific writer, and holds the rank of research professor at Iran’s Center for Strategic Research.

This is some of what President Hassan Rouhani had to say this week en route to the United Nations. “We and our international counterparts have spent a lot of time - perhaps too much time - discussing what we don’t want rather than what we do want. This is not unique to Iran’s international relations. In a climate where much of foreign policy is a direct function of domestic politics, focusing on what one doesn’t want is an easy way out of difficult conundrums for many world leaders. Expressing what one does want requires more courage.

“After 10 years of back-and-forth, what all sides don’t want in relation to our nuclear file is clear. The same dynamic is evident in the rival approaches to Syria.

“This approach can be useful for efforts to prevent cold conflicts from turning hot. But to move beyond impasses, whether in relation to Syria, my country’s nuclear program or its relations with the United States, we need to aim higher.

Rather than focusing on how to prevent things from getting worse, we need to think - and talk - about how to make things better. To do that, we all need to muster the courage to start conveying what we want - clearly, concisely and sincerely - and to back it up with the political will to take necessary action. This is the essence of my approach to constructive interaction.

“As I depart for New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly, I urge my counterparts to seize the opportunity presented by Iran’s recent election.

I urge them to make the most of the mandate for prudent engagement that my people have given me and to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.

“Most of all, I urge them to look beyond the pines and be brave enough to tell me what they see - if not for their national interests, then for the sake of their legacies, and our children and future generations.”

Sources and notes

68th UN General Assembly, http://www.un.org/en/ga/

“Iran President Rouhani: ‘We Will Never Develop Nuclear Weapons’”
(By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer, NBC News), September 19, 2013,

“Progressive Islam faces colonial secularism in Egypt”: Analyst (Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr),
July 11, 2013, http://sachtimes.com/?a=content.id&id=9057&lang=en

Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr is an Iranian political commentator with more than a decade experience in mass communication and politics. He holds a Ph.D. in political science. 

“American rationally sidelined in dealings with Iran” (Dr. Amir Dabiri Mehr), September 20, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/20/325082/us-rationally-sidelined-in-iran-dealings/

“Equality requires Iran access to nuclear technology” (Harry J. Bentham)
September 20, 2013, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/20/325024/equality-requires-iran-n-energy-access/

Harry J. Bentham is a British “political futurist writer” currently on the advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation think tank. His work, placing emphasis on global economic disparities and the benefits of technology-driven social change, can be found at a number of online publications, including the radical newsletter Dissident Voice and the transhumanist publication h+ Magazine.

“Why Iran seeks constructive engagement,” September 20, 2013 (Originally published on Washington Post website then Press TV, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/09/20/325033/why-iran-seeks-constructive-engagement/

Hassan Rouhani

Academic, cleric, lawyer, politician and former diplomat, Hassan Rouhani (b. November 12, 1948) is a member of the Assembly of Experts and the Expediency Council and the Supreme National Security Council, head of the Center for Strategic Research, and the 7th and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Before his election to the presidency Rouhani was also deputy speaker of the 4th and 5th terms of the Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis - Iranian Parliament) and secretary of the Supreme National Security Council (1989-2005). In the later capacity, he headed Iran's former nuclear negotiating team and was the country’s top negotiator ─ with the European Union three: the United Kingdom, France, and Germany – on Iran’s nuclear program.

Fluent in Persian, English and Arabic, Rouhani took his academic credentials at the University of Tehran, Iran (B.A. in Judicial Law, 1972) and Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland (M.Phil. in Law, 1995 and Ph.D. in Constitutional Law, 1999). He holds the rank of research professor at Iran’s Center for Strategic Research and is a prolific writer.

Hassan Rouhani was announced the winner of Iran’s Presidency a day after the election and received his presidential precept from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on August 3, 2013, and entered Sa’dabad Palace in a private ceremony. Rouhani’s work as president officially began on the same day. He was inaugurated as the seventh president of Iran in the Parliament on August 4, 2013.

President Hassan Rouhani bio http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hassan_Rouhani

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