If you’re a regular reader of TheCandidacy.com you know that I’m
an active critic of U.S. foreign policy, a subject center-stage in this year’s
presidential contest. Near the top of the foreign policy issue list is Iran’s
nuclear program. The next president will have to tackle this issue head-on.
Recently, I bumped into a fellow blogger, writer and journalist from Iran –
Kourosh Ziabari. Here’s part I of IV of our conversation about Iranian and U.S.
politics and culture (don’t worry, there are follow-up questions). Big thanks to
Kourosh for taking the time. I enjoyed our discussion. Comments and feedback are
welcome. - RHM
Based on your experiences, how do you think most Persians view the United States? And what are the primary motivations for their feelings?
In the name of God the compassionate the merciful.
Not necessarily as a journalist, I’ll tell you as a common citizen that the relations between Iranians and Americans have been very fair, friendly and peaceful during times. Despite of rough political tensions between the two states, Iranians and Americans were always good friends and we have very popular and famous examples to prove that.
As a sample, let’s remember the Iranian national football team victory for 2-1 against your football team during the France 1998 World Cup. I clearly remember when President Clinton sent a congratulation message for the people of Iran and their precious victory within the FIFA World Cup.
On the other hand, perhaps you can remember the condolence message of President Khatami after the 9/11 incident to American people where he officially announced the Iranian government readiness to participate in the reconstruction process.
Or as another example, maybe you know that there are more than 2 million Persian residents living in US and they established more than 100 independent cultural, scientific and social associations there. The importance becomes more considerable when you see the traditional Haft Sin table is settled at White House in honor of Iranian New Year celebrations, Nowruz.
Iranians also have participated in predominant fields of endeavor in different organizations of US. Omid Kurdistani who is the chief sales manager of Google, Anoushe Ansari who is the first female private explorer of spatial station, Prof. Firouz Naderi who is one of the highly respected VIPs of NASA and thousands of other examples that express the tranquil and peaceful relations of two nations.
Iranians are deeply regretful for the frequent conflicts between Tehran and Washington, but they believe these strives more likely to be political deceives rather than being hostility and rancor.
President George Bush currently has the highest disapproval rating (more than 60%) than any other U.S. president in history. Does President Ahmadinejad have similar numbers or is he popular with the Iranian electorate?
It was not much surprising for me to hear about the abundant disapproval rate which Bush gains. I read the entire report and its details in CNN. Occupying Iraq and killing more than 2 million innocent and civilian people during 5 years, invading Afghanistan with the pretext of war on terrorism, the scandal of accusing Iran of struggling for nuclear weapon after the CIA report published on the issue and finally driving the world toward terror, war and violation specially in Somalia, Rwanda and other African countries were all dark points that caused the result for US president.
It is totally natural to be such detested when you leave thousands of orphan and homeless by military expedition in a far country just because you think that you are the absolute power.
At the time being, President Ahmadinejad gains a lot of popularity among two major groups of Persian society. At first, the youth and athletes; during the 3 passed years of his presidency, 1500 sports stadium have been constructed in different parts of Iran and the amount of special state budget dedicated to sports rose to about 300% in compare with the state of President Khatami.
The poor and indigent are the second group. Increasing the salary of factory workers, distributing the stock exchange among ordinary and average-income people and reducing the rate of unemployment from 21% to 13% during 3 years all made Ahmadinejad very popular and charismatic among citizens.
He also made the global sanctions ineffective by his unique foreign policy and you can see more than 1000 publications from 75 countries have participated in TIBF 2008 (Tehran International Book Fair) and also 515 important oil and gas companies from US, UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Italy and 15 other countries contributed in IranOil exhibition few weeks ago.
There was not any poll about the popularity of President Ahmadinejad in Iran yet, but the unofficial estimates show him well-esteemed though.