Flight attendants needed

A small but robust action can penetrate the icy wall between Iran and U.S.


Flight attendants needed
by Midwesty

A few days after I wrote the piece on Iranian.com criticizing Bush’s administration of conducting brainless diplomacy towards Iran a piece of news came up that although it was refreshing but was unkindly neglected by the media. Am I surprised by US media’s behavior? Not at all!

However this time, it was Robert Gates, United Stated Secretary of Defence that made the news. At his speech at American Academy of Diplomacy he urged more nongovernmental contact between Iran and the US that might eventually open a pathway to more substantive dialogue between the governments.

I don’t need to remind you that Robert Gates is one of the most powerful members of the Bush administration. I see his speech as an indication that US is not willing to engage with Iran in a war. However “Willing” is a concept, it is an idea that has not been formed or materialized yet and as long as it is contained in somebody’s head it is hard to recognize its effectiveness. On the other hand there are two gigantic Navy Carriers right under the nose of Iran along four UN resolutions against Iranian people which are more of evident signs that contradict Mr. Gates’ goodwill for Iranians.

All in all, I am an Iranian and still get fooled by a microscopic act of kindness. So please join me to ask Mr. Gates to substantiate his idea of “opening a pathway” with Iran. I am not looking for giant steps towards normalizing Iran-US relation and I take Mr. Gates’ words in the same content, “the time (for normalizing the relations) is not right”. But in continuation of his (or perhaps this administration’s) new initiative we need to ask them to take a very small step down this new path and ask Mr.Gates (or the administration) to use his/their influence and power to facilitate the process of reinstating direct flights between the US and Iran.

Am I asking too much? Maybe yes maybe not. It depends how paranoid the two involved governments are. But restoring the US-Iran direct flights is the minimum, smallest, and direct requirement for materializing the virtual idea of “opening a pathway”. Except Mr. Gates meant email pathway, which is different story. So don’t get surprised if I use from this point on the words “opening a pathway” and ‘reestablishing direct flights between US and Iran’ interchangeably.

As some of us might still remember, couple of years earlier, the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization formally requested from US authorities to reinstate direct frights between two countries. Although it later got rejected by the US but this showed that Iran much earlier was willing to start opening the same pathway that US Defence Secretary is acknowledging now. I don’t want to know what has been going on behind the scene. What I see as an ordinary observer is that, Iran has shown her willingness towards a positive path and later US has come to the same conclusion even after some delay. This is a good thing and let’s build on it before this opportunity gets lost among other thousands aborted opportunities.

Nevertheless, there are many odds against this idea of “opening pathway”. They are mainly coming from the involving parties themselves and surprisingly some other noninvolved countries. For example, Iranian government has backed off many times from its proposals, denying completely any requests, suggestions, and help that they had offered through their “secret channels” to the US. This means there is no guarantee from Iranian side to still reconsider their earlier request for reestablishing the direct flights.

On the other hand, Mr. Gates can easily and completely ignore his earlier call or dismiss its relationship with the concept of direct flights. Or perhaps he can accept the idea of “opening a pathway” initially and then ditch the idea of ‘direct flights’ by throwing more rocks on its path. Or Whitehouse spokesman takes the burden of dismissing the idea all together as we have long seen this ritual during last seven years, or many other or’s. I also don’t need to mention that there are many countries or companies that benefit from the conflict between the US and Iran.

But this is half of the picture. The idea of “opening a pathway” and starting the ‘direct flights’ as its immediate outcome, might sound too naïve, childish, or primitive to some of you but you should know that there are many people, countries, and companies that don’t benefit from the US-Iran conflict.

In addition, a small but robust action can penetrate the icy wall that has been created and become stronger by day in the last 30 years. Therefore there is nothing wrong in believing that this minute action can not only happen but it can lead into greater goods and worldwide peace. As Barak Obama said "And if one voice can change a room, one voice can change a city. And if one voice can change a city, one voice can change a state. And if one voice can change a state, one voice can change a country. And if one voice can change the country, one voice can change the world".

Let us try one more time and let us all ask through any channels available to us to give a momentum to this idea and break this vicious cycle in Iran-US relation with a small but solid step. We don’t have to wait till Barak is in office. Tomorrow might be too late. So I ask Mr. Gates and I sincerely ask all of you to find a way to raise your voice with me:

Dear Mr. Gates, Iranian people are the sole protective of Iranian regime. However, we as any other people on earth love democracy and freedom. Let us see clearly who the main obstacle against Iranians’ will towards democracy is. You offered “opening a pathway” with Iran and Iran had offered the same in the past. Idealistic policies towards Iran had failed and will fail. But what people of both countries need at this time are practical policies. A gradual but concrete approach towards Iran is what Iranians and Americans need now.

A sensible and solid initial approach that seems to have an appropriate ground to grow on is to reinstate direct flights from Iran to the United States and visa versa. Among its many benefits, it will greatly ease the pain of elderly Iranians that take up the vast numbers of Iranian visitors to the US and facilitate what has been an excruciating pain of traveling through intermediary countries and going through different agencies while adding more costs to already high prices of air tickets.

On the other hand this will bring the same benefits to American visitors who have already been through extremely-hard-to-obtain Iranian visa process. This also will take the extra loads off the shoulders and gives one less thing to think about for researchers and scholars who are planning to visit either of the countries.

Finally, I might laugh one day to the immaturity of this letter for touching a problem that has such a complex background. I know some of its complexity because since I was a small kid I have sat in and watched the rollercoaster of Iran-US relation for the past 30 years. Therefore I am gravely hopeless and helpless that my small voice will ever reach as high and distant as you are but life has thought me if not many but one great lesson: No matter how dark, large, and convoluted the problem is, give it a try, one more time!


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Midwesty jaan, just because

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Midwesty jaan, just because Gates said they should’ve talked , doesn’t mean he’s right. Now, I do not agree with the way that Bush handled Iran. But are we only faced with these two options? Bush’s way or talks with the regime? Certainly not. The world community and the Iranian people have had many tools to utilize the last 30 years to counter the evilness of the regime, but those tools were never used for various of reasons. Just to give you an idea, these are some of the tools the world should use: Exposing the Iranian regime on its horrifying human rights records. 2- Total isolation of the regime including no weapons sale, no trade, no technology supply, no banking and financing ties, 3- Formation of Iranian resistance groups. 4- Heavily speaking out about the threat IRI presents to the world including the long term danger, certainly bigger than any communist dictatorship or right wing dictatorships of the past since the regime represents a unique element of having fundamental religious ideology attached to it with a goal of that ideology overtaking the world …etc…and FYI..I think the whole nuclear bomb argument is a joke. The threat of Iran having one is definitely not, but the argument the world is making that Iran will use this against Israel is a big joke. So lets think outside the box for a second and not buy into the naïve arguments.


Midwesty for a complete list of background

by Anonymouse on

See this link from US Treasury:


Half way through the page under heading

What laws, rules and regulations provide the legal framework for the sanctions?

See the background of executive orders which are laws.  They come up for extension every year.  Compared to all Presidents since Carter, Clinton was the "best".  Bush is not cutting Iran with knife he wants and would have destroyed Iran militarily as much as he could have, had it not been for the NIE report.

I'm not going to argue this point anymore, I think you got your facts misplaced.


That's why if I have to I pick Bush over Clinton...

by Midwesty on

Because Bush...ba panbeh sar nemiborreh (Iranian expression for using sneaky but vicious deeds in order to harm one the most). Clinton sanctions killed more than ever Bush's bullets did.

BTW, there were no sanctions in 1979. US froze Iran's assets in that time. ILSA 1996 was the first full blown sanction targeting Iranian people.


Sanctions have been in place since 1979

by Anonymouse on

Midwesty those sanctions have been in place since 1979 after Iran took the hostages. No President has had the political muster to not extend the law.  That law comes up for renewal every year. 

I don't know where you were in 1998 or during Clinton but in early Clinton years, persian rugs and pistachios were part of these same sanction laws.  Clinton changed that.  He made it possible for US to import some Iranian goods that are non-oil related, such as pistachios, rugs, saffron, etc.  He made these changes after his apology.  He actually floated the idea of releasing Iranian assets that have been frozen since 1979.  The amount is in dispute but that some Iranian assets are frozen is not in dispute.

He was actually good to Iran, as much as he could.  I don't understand how you can compare him to Bush? I can understand how you can compare his wife to Bush, but not him during his presidency.

As far as apoligizing and following up with "real steps" that is rhetoric my friend.  US can give Iran his arm fully of honey and Iran will bite the hand that feeds it! You can always say where is the real steps, regardless of what gesture America ever produces.

US can say we want normalization with Iran and Iran can say ok but where is the real steps?! Take Obama for examle; he has said he wants to "talk" to Iran without preconditions.  If Iran wants talks he should take him up on it, not produce lame excuses like where's the "real steps"!

Kheili khosh par-o pawn, jello-ye bawd ham mishinan?!


Anonymouse jan,

by Midwesty on

Clinton caused a lot harm to Iranian people. I prefer Bush over Clinton when it comes to US' Iran policy.  Albright's apology came in 1998. Remember US' Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996? Do you know how much it has hurt Iranians all over the world even until now? As I remember Khatami asked Clinton, after hearing the apology, for not giving just lip service but taking real steps towards normalization. That meant to remove the unnecessary sanctions that was hurting ordinary Iranian people. The very sanctions that didn't even reach the hardliner's doorstep.

Time line:

1996 tons of sanctions--->1998 an appology---->1998 Applogy accpeted but please take real steps---->1998 till now, cat and mouse game.


Midwesty remember Madelline Albright's apolology?

by Anonymouse on

Clinton and Albright's apology about the Iran Iraq war and also the 1953 coup was made during the Khatami era.  You can't get any closer than that for wanting normalizations.  But did Khatami or others in power act upon it?

It is not that easy.  The regime does thrive on anti American propaganda.  Iranian people we all know love everything American.  Even the Iranian Govt like American politics and copy it, but they do it in hiding.  Official Iran's position is to be anti American.

Maybe one day they feel the pain and do something about it.  We'll see what happens with Obama, but it is mostly Iran that needs to get real.


what about human rights?

by ghoochani (not verified) on

You guys say nothing about human rights. Why? Is America the guarranteur of humn rights in the world? If so why do we have Abu Ghorrayb and Guantanamo? Or are you waiting for Obama to solve the puzzle for you? what is your precise mechanism of establishing a pro human rights system in Iran? Stop beating about the bush - come out of it!


Farhad jan,

by Midwesty on

Let's assume IRI is a uniform and solid mass of thoughts and actions in the way you described "that the IRI has an essential and central policy of blind Anti Americanism which without it..." can't function.  The real question is what has the West precisely done to promote its relationship with Iranian people?

Let's see what Mr. Gates said just yesterday in the US Senate: “Gates said the Bush administration may have had the chance for productive talks with Tehran in 2003 and 2004 … “ //www.reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed2/idUSN20328630

2003-2004 was the time that Khatami was in power. He ran on the single platform of normalizing relationship with the West and he had 70 million Iranians to back him up.  

But despite all the help Iranians contributed to the West for securing Afgahnistan, Mr. Bush put us on the axis of evil along showing us his big middle finger. You see what I am saying?



Midwesty, Iranian and

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Midwesty, Iranian and American people, despite of the IRI's actions for the last 30 years to enflict a clash of civilization between the U.S and Iran, enjoy a healthy relationship and as you know, Iranians are considered one of the best U.S supporters in the Middle East. So the problem is not non-governmental contacts; the probelm is that the IRI has an essential and central policy of blind Anti Americanism which without it, its enourmos propaganda machine would have to shut down.


Who is listening?

by Anonymouse on

One of the problems with America's failure in foreign policy and as a result, in my opinion, downfall of the Dollar has to do with who is doing the talking and who is listening. 

Most importantly who is doing the talking, because the same person, Bush, can do the listening too but he doesn't.

When you have the leader of the free world and the most powerful and rich nation on earth compare Iran to Nazi Germany, what do you expect?  When you have a leader make stupid and wrong comments on history and policy time and time again, what do you expect?  He couldn't even pronounce Perviz Musharraf when he was running for President, now the same person is his buddy!

There has been many occasions where people inside and outside his administration have tried to wake him up by slapping him but who is listening? Mission Accomplished, "bring it on" and some other stupid comments are the ones he has admitted to finally being wrong. But are we forgetting the damage those comments caused?

There were and are many more comments and plenty more still to come.  McCain is rehashing the same nonsense and same fear mongering, saying his difference with Bush is his "Integrated comprehensive foreign policy".  What a fucking nonsense!  He doesn't even know what "Integrated" really mean, otherwise he would have realized that it means all parties involved. How many countries in the region want to destroy Iran?  How many countries in the world want to destroy Iran?  Only 2.  So what "integrated" policy?

As long as Bush is the President the best we can hope for is that he doesn't damage the world and America's reputation anymore. That he doesn't bomb Iran before leaving office.  Gates is only pointing to the obvious.  Others like Cheney like the cherry pick foreign policy, just like they did with intelligence policy prior to going to Iraq. They don't have to go to war personally, so what do they care? Do they care how the war in Iraq is going? 


A small but robust action can penetrate the icy wall between Ira

by Faribors Maleknasri M. D. (not verified) on

A small but robust action can penetrate the icy wall between Iran and U.S. AND in whoes interesst should it be done?and why? may be in order to open the " buy today, pay never shop" as Iran was one up to 1978? If no, then why? Greeting


Fight attendants needed.........

by Lucifercus (not verified) on

.......Bush’s administration of conducting brainless diplomacy towards Iran? Only against Iran? In this case it would have been a solvable subject. No problem at all. BUT: the american administration had been allways brainless. It begann with the massacre of natives almost 500 years ago. since then it must be celebrated as a conquerry against bad poeple. the administration acts brainless since centuries. one can only hope - in the interesst of innocent american citizens - that some newcomers will have success in repairing what the brainlessness has destroied. The iranians have - as far as one can observe from distance - no problem with the brainlessness of permanently barking and grunting aggressores.


Abarmard jan, Mehdi jan,

by Midwesty on

Thanks for your comments.


Mehdi, nice to see you back. I always have appreciated your words of wisdome. It is good to know there are still people like you out there.

Abarmard jan, sometimes a piece of music says it better than thausand words. Enjoy! 

Gipsy Kings' El Camino:






You definitely have the right idea

by Mehdi on

Simple solutions actually work! Those who get wrapped up in the "complexity" of it all, rarely find a way out. The solution is actually simple. It doesn't involve complicated steps at all. If anybody is really sincere about improving the conditions in Iran they absolutely must take advantage of any opportunity to establish communication, and not the other way around. The only real way to change conditions in Iran is to help improve contact between the two cultures. But that needs to be done with a bit of finess. Funny enough, the 1979 event was, in a way, an objection of that nation to "too much" cultural change. When two cultures collide, there will be some confusion and disorder before things start to calm down. And if US or anybody is too afraid of the initial confusion, they can never get through!

We look at Cub and we find that many decade of isolation of that country has not helped improve conditions there even by an inch. If anything, America simply got used to live with an unruly Cuba. The US cannot point to Cuba with pride - they never won. If they had tried to re-establish communication, they would get much further. Maybe Cuba could be considered safe by now.

And I wouldn't discount your voice. Truth has a funny way of penetrating and dissolving falsehood. But it is necessary to keep the torch of truth lit for a bit before people start to notice it.


The day that the US-Iran relation begin

by Abarmard on

is a very good day and we should all celebrate :)