Iran in Arab Eyes

Interview with Gary Sick


Iran in Arab Eyes
by Fariba Amini

Gary Sick is Adjunct Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and served on the National Security Council under President Ford and Carter. He runs the website Gulf2000.

As you know, Ahmadinejad recently dismissed Manouchehr Mottaki even though he had been an influential member of his entourage. Why this drastic move now? Some say it was because of Mottaki’s comments to Secretary Clinton; others insist it is because A. N. is slowly but surely putting more of his own people in power. What is your take?

It is not always easy to read Ahmadinejad’s mind. He does strange things at times. But this didn’t really come as a surprise to me. He has been serious in bringing Iran’s foreign policy under the control of the office of the Presidency. He has replaced foreign ministry cadres with his own people. Even though the Supreme Leader has told him that he can’t do that or appoint official representatives, A.N. turned around and made those people his advisors on the regions of the world. He has been in competition for power with the Supreme Leader. As I understand it, this is a message to Khamenei. A.N. is involved in a competition with Khamenei himself over how much influence he should have. In fact both Mottaki and Salehi were on the short list when A. N. became President in 2005. A.N. favored Salehi at that time but the Supreme Leader gave the job to Mottaki. I see this as competition for internal power. I would say that A. N. is trying to establish the presidency as a far more influential institution than it has ever been.

The U.S. navy, in its formal statements and correspondence, has been addressing the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf. We know this is a point of contention and it infuriates Iranians from all walks of life. Why has the U.S. military/navy chosen to do this at his time? Isn’t it wrong and against geographical history to change the name of a place or a major waterway that has been called the Persian Gulf since the ancient Greeks?

I can’t explain why the U.S. Navy at this particular moment has done so but the U.S. military has official relations and bases throughout the Gulf region. It has support facilities and military agreements with every single state on the Arab side of the gulf. And all of those countries without exception refer to the gulf as the Arabian Gulf and have done so as far back as the days of Nasser, who did it to poke at the eyes of Iran. This proved to be effective. Nothing infuriates Iranians more than to refer to the Persian Gulf differently; this is a universal sentiment, from the monarchists to revolutionaries to Revolutionary Guards. They all agree that the body of water should be called the Persian Gulf. I call it the Persian Gulf as well. But the US navy is operating in a military environment, with the support of the Arab states who refer to the gulf as Khalij Arabi, so I assume the Navy is just acknowledging on which side their bread is buttered. The countries they work with use the terminology. The U.S. Geographic Board of Names, the organization that officially prescribes names of the geographical places all over the world, has not taken this action; for many years they have called it the Persian Gulf and they still do.

What do you think of the cable in WikiLeaks about King Abdullah’s statement on Iran?

Of course this is nothing new. We have long known that most Arab governments are scared of a nuclear Iran. At the same time, the Iranian government doesn’t really care about such opinions. Do you think such leaks create more friction between Iran and its neighbors? In his commentary, the Lebanese journalist Rami Khouri called the Arab leaders pitiful when it comes to Iran and I quote: “The most shocking revelation—not a revelation, really, as many of us had warned about this for decades—is that Arab governments that have spent hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars on buying American and other foreign arms still find themselves totally helpless, vulnerable, and fearful in the face of what they see as growing Iranian power and influence in the region. The assorted Arab leaders who are quoted as asking the United States to hurry up and do something about Iran’s growing nuclear technology capabilities reveal an apparent inability to care for their own countries and citizens.”

I meet Arab leaders and journalists at various conferences and I assume it is not just the leaders of Arab states who are concerned about Iran; but it is the general consensus about this. To me there is a real irony in all of this. Why is it that Iran has so much influence and power? My answer to that is: the United States. After 9/11 we went into Afghanistan and scattered the Taliban, who were Iran’s enemies, and then turned around and invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein, who was Iran’s worst enemy to the west, and suddenly Iran was left with no natural enemies except for the U.S. Needless to say, having gotten rid of all their enemies, Iran’s influence and power grew dramatically. They didn’t have to do a thing; we did it for them. I think that we should be honest and start with the acknowledgment that we did this. And then even if we didn’t intend to do it we did it, and then we should ask ourselves how do you do something about a situation we created. A lot of the concern in the Arab world about Iran is not just about the nuclear issue. I think the main thing they are really concerned about is Iran’s Shi’a background and its influence in their respective counties. And this is doubled because Iraq now has a Shi’a government in place, so that for the first time in centuries Iran’s influence has a Shi’a voice. It is also ironic that the Shi'a government in Baghdad was put in place by the United States.

A number of Arab states privately say that they really wonder if this is not a plot by the U.S. to make Iran the number one country in the region. To most Americans that sounds like insanity. The U.S. after all spends a lot of time fighting Iran by putting pressure on the country, but the Arabs look at the growing influence by Iran and the spread of Shi’ism, by way of Hezbollah and through the relationship with Syria. National Security Advisor Brzezinski called it the arc of crisis, from the Mediterranean all the way to Iran. I think most Arab leaders are very much concerned about Shi’a influence and dominance. Basically these are Sunni dominated countries and they consider the Shi’a population second class citizens and have treated them as such; they have always been very nervous about their large Shi’a populations. Shi’is are a majority in Iraq and in Lebanon; they have considerable influence in Syria; they also have outposts; they are probably a majority in Bahrain, and in Saudi Arabia Shi’is sit on top of the oil fields, so these regimes have reason to be concerned. If these Shi’a groups were to assert themselves more forcefully, it would be a net loss for the Sunni Arab dominance in the Middle East. I think the concern is about that aspect in addition to the nuclear issue.

You said in your blog, “I do not believe that WikiLeaks is practicing journalism. I regularly read the latest revelations from the National Security Archive, which releases U.S. government memos and cables, some of them quite contemporary, acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Although that information is informative and enormously useful to me in my work, I do not regard it as journalism.” Why do you think this is not journalism? And do you think WikiLeaks has endangered U.S. national security?

Most of what has been revealed is pretty bland. If you had actually written that in a newspaper or if an American diplomat had gotten up and made a public statement with this information, people would scarcely have noticed. But most of what has come out is pretty much what we already know. I am a great admirer of the National Security Archives which declassifies American documents; a huge number of diplomatic cables have been declassified by them. They sometimes publish them in book format. On the whole I don’t think this is journalism, to take information written by other people. I don’t think they regard themselves as journalists. WikiLeaks is doing a similar thing in a different way. They assemble this mass of material and publish it. That does not mean that they can or will be prosecuted. What annoys me most about WikiLeaks and Assange is that they have claimed this noble purpose that they are going to actually interfere with government trying to create conspiracies that might take us into another war. I am all in favor of breaking up government conspiracies. I have been reading the material on a regular basis and I have not seen a single revelation thus far that gives any indication that there was a government conspiracy. There might be things that are embarrassing to the government but a conspiracy to take us to war, I just don’t see it. I will use their material (WikiLeaks); I have no compunction about that; I will look at it to see if there is anything there to find useful just as I do with NSA material. But I think they have been put on a kind of pedestal that they don’t deserve. There is a lot of gossip there and it might be exciting for some people but it does not tell us anything the political structure of a country or its ability to do whatever it is trying to do. I am underwhelmed by WikiLeaks. I am really not impressed. Their claim to save the world is not credible.

What about the current state of human rights in Iran? There is more depressing news, arrests of anyone and everyone. What should the U.S. administration or the European Union and others do or say in this regard that has not been done so far? How can the government of Iran be held accountable for the ongoing abuse?

I have been associated for a great deal of my life with Human Rights Watch and other HR organizations. These are organizations that are dedicated to trying to improve the situation of human rights throughout the world. I strongly support their objectives. You tell the world that this government or this group of people is doing such and such a thing. Of course they prefer this not to be known. But you can investigate and get your facts straight and then you release it to the rest of the world to shame those governments. What is called name and shame. The U.S. government is certainly capable of doing that and I am a strong supporter of identifying how Iran is mistreating its citizens. At the same time, I personally think that it is a recipe for disaster for the U.S. government to interfere too much. Intervening in the internal affairs of Iran in the past has always been disastrous. I am in favor of keeping a spotlight on Iran and Iran cares about this. It is embarrassed when the world looks at cases of human rights abuses. A good example is the stoning of the woman who was first charged with adultery. There was world-wide protest, the world made her into a celebrity, and it was stopped. But at the same time, we cannot solve all of Iran’s problems. We can’t even solve our own problems.

As we are getting close to the end of 2010 and with the beginning of the New Year, do you believe Iran and the US will reach an agreement on the nuclear issue? And what is the role of Israel in all of this?

I am modestly pleased that the US is sitting down with Iran to talk. I think it is difficult to be optimistic especially with Iran’s changing policy. At the same time I hear Dennis Ross and his colleagues vaguely mention negotiations but actually focus more on pressure and sanctions. So I find it troubling to see that the U.S. government is putting more emphasis on sanctions rather than finding a resolution. I have been in favor of negotiations for many years but in my view we have never done this very seriously. I would like to see more creative effort by the U.S. but I also look at it from a realistic point of view. Iran is in the midst of an internal struggle and a far-reaching shift within its own government—from what used to be a clerically dominated society with a constitution to dominance by the Revolutionary Guard and a militarized society. That is where Iran is headed. It is a very sad state of affairs. I can’t say whether the new rulers of Iran or the potential leaders or the people around them, a very narrow-minded clique of people who believe in the divinity of this government, will be in a position to make decisions on negotiating with the U.S. I would like to see the U.S. more open to negotiations. Some progress has been made but I would like to see Iran taking steps in that direction as well. It is a two sided game. Israel is playing a role by getting attention focused on Iran. That is the role they play. Sometimes it is constructive and other times it isn’t. But it appears Israel is not involved in those negotiations. I think we have to find a way. I have some degree of optimism while there are certainly days when one becomes cynical.

In this country, there has been tremendous pressure on President Obama. The House finally passed the Tax Bill. Do you think in 2011, Republicans and Democrats will be even further distant on issues?

It's hard to imagine anything else. What we have seen for years has been a kind of warfare. Signing off on the tax bill and the extension of benefits was a huge breakthrough. One may not like the conditions but it was an enormous accomplishment. My guess is that if the tax bill stimulates the economy, something that all economists predict over the next two years, it will enhance Obama’s hands. He has also shown that he can work with the Republicans. So we have to wait and see. When the Republicans were out of power in the Congress and in the Senate, they adopted a policy of doing nothing but oppose everything. Now they have the House and the Senate is very close. They are going to be held responsible and saying No to everything is no longer a strategy.

First published on


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more from Fariba Amini


by siavash1000 on

  •  I do have two obsessions, one is Mosaddeq that I admire because of his honesty, integrity and humility    "Fariba Amini" 

  • Unlike what we read mainly in western media and also from traitors and decadent communists Tudeh, Rajavi's thugs, Yazdi's murderers, Islamists and....Dr. Mosaddeq was not elected by popular vote of people of Iran. He is from Qajar dynasty which treated Iran as a country of enemy for almost 140 years was chosen as a deal among factions of member of Iranian parliament that include Tudeh communists, Islamist, traditionalists and.... to nationalise Iranian oil from BP. Dr. Mossadeq prefered to drop his family name of Ashtiani but instead he chosen the title of Mosaddeq al saltaneh which was given to him by his paedophile king of Qajari known as Nasar al-din Shah for his surname. Today the most dreadful people in our modern history such as Yazdi, Rajavi, Communists group Tudeh, fanatics Islamists which harmed Iran beyand believe are follower of this epilieptic Qajari. For their betrayal, destruction, humiliation and barbaric crime commited through out 140 years of their disgraceful rule in Iran.There is NO single trace of document in our modern history to show that this man even for once did condemmed his Mongolian daynasty. Mosadegh was born in 1882 in one of the Qajar palaces in Tehran as Mohammad Ashtiani. In 1927 Iranian were obliged to obtaine birth certificate for a fistr time in our history. Iran was constitutional monarchy and Dr. Mosaddeg was planning to oust the Shahanshah of Iran and to end Monarchy in Iran simply by settling his old scorn and took his revenge from Pahlavi dynasty. Mosadegh was deserved to be naminated for Nobel prize for his unshakable loyalty toward his Mongolian Qajari dynasty. As matter of fact the Iranian oil concession was signed with British in 1901 by his savage Mogolian Qajar dynasty in 1901. In fact the members of Iranian parliament proposed Mosaddeq to H I M court and subsequently was appointed later as a prime minister by H I M Shahanshah. In 1953 Mosaddeg disolved parliament uncostitutionally and undemocratically which in fact it was the same parliament elected him democratically two years earlier.


    Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

    Siavash Jan

    by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on


    You are welcome and thank you for the explanation of Siavash. I was not aware of this. I did know it from Shahnameh.

    I have on the other hand spent a good deal of time reading various parts of Avesta. So I am somewhat familiar with it. I believe the destruction of original Achaemenian Avesta by Alexander was one of the greatest losses of not just Iran but humanity. Please see my post here:


    My family like yours was and is very nationalistic. I guess it is in our nature.


    Thanks VPK

    by siavash1000 on

    Thanks for the informative link you sent me. We are Persian with a rich history and great kingdoms (shahanshahi). Our ancestors introduced monarchy as a first political system to the history of mankind. Either some people like it or dislike it. it is a historical fact. I guess those who don't like it either they are not Persians or they are confused.

    My name has been extracted from Avesta which is a holy book belong to Zorasterian faith. The book has been estimated to be written between 3800 to 4000 years ago. The original name is Sa-Ya-Vakh-Sha or later on Sia-va-khsh means "khoshnoodi shah". My father was nationalist and fully aware of his "cultural Identity" so he named me and my siblings all Persian names.  



    by norooz on

    It is funny how you find others being trapped in 1953 while you are trapped in Pahlavi. Considering that they have been forced on Iranians for the purpose of protecting US and British interests.

    Shah had to go.  The revolution was right . It just took a few costly wrong turns.  Of course you would choose Germany and Japan over Iran, but had the revolution stayed on the right course, you would have probably taken Iran over them.  That is what needs correction and there lies our problems.  because We all have different ideas of correction.  Unfortunately, most people take self interest over common interest. You speak of milking US?  You seem to be a big fan of Shah. You must think he was very smart too. So tell me, who milked who during decades of Pahlavi dynasty? 

    Finally, How many decades are you going to brag about Persian heritage and how great they were and continue to fear and take orders?


    Couldn't agree more with Examiner!

    by vildemose on

    Iran lacks the wherewithal for a MAD, no matter how we “live our own realities.” 

    Excellent point Examiner.

    Farah Rusta

    Thank you Ms Amini!

    by Farah Rusta on


    Ironically this is precisely what I need now: getting a life :)

    To Life! 


    Veiled Prophet of Khorasan

    Siavash Jan

    by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

    From the last Sassanid King Yazdgerd III
    to the heroes Babak and Maziyar and many other heroes, who got tortured
    and murdered by Islam in my country, Iran will never be Arabized!

    You are very right my friend. The reason is people like you; me and many others who refuse to be Arabized. Here is another one:

    It is very sad to see other great ancients like Egyptians lose their identity. My mother has an Egyptian friend. She asked her once:

    Why do a people like you with such a great history call yourselves Arabs? Why don't you take pride in your heritage?

    That is the difference why Iranians are not arabized. Because we still remember and honor our past. I don't see any Egyptians named "Seti" but there are still Iranians named "Siavash". 


    For lizard eater arab lovers

    by siavash1000 on

    1400 Years of Dr. Shafa: Explaining the brutality of the Islamic invasion of Iran 1400 years ago and the heroic struggle of my ancestors against Islam. From the last Sassanid King Yazdgerd III to the heroes Babak and Maziyar and many other heroes, who got tortured and murdered by Islam in my country, Iran will never be Arabized!

    G. Rahmanian


    by G. Rahmanian on

    You may not believe this, but when she says "east," she means IR under Ahmadinejad. She doesn't know a thing about Japan or China, either. Of course, she does not say a word about the Marshal Plan for Europe. And I tell you why. 1. She doesn't know. 2. Noam Chomsky says US did it to sell American goods. I think he may be upset the Soviets couldn't dump their shoddy stuff on poor Europeans. 3. Again, she insults Iranians by claiming Iranians cannot achieve what Japanese or Germans did. This is how she tries to exonerate the regime in Tehran. What has "indigenous" got to do with economic progress? Is the US population indigenous? Give me a ... break!


    Re- building monarchy is only solution for success

    by siavash1000 on

    The interview of Ms. Amini with G. Sick doesn't add anything new to whatever average Iranian know or they must know. It doesn't address the core issue or give us any straightforward solution the misery Iranians went through during last 31 years, as VPK highlighted.  Why U.S army base in Turkey and their military officers did try to change the name of cypress but U.S officers in Persian Gulf  are trying to change the name of Persian Gulf? The reality is Iran has been occupied by a bunch of loompans who were pimps or drug dealers during shah days. Now, they are in power and they have  guns in their hands. They enslaved our people and control everything for last 31 years. They raped, tortured and killed our contry men and women. These monsters had no respect for human lives or any respect for internatiional community or international norms.  They are lampoons, What else does any rational person expect. This fact persuaded U.S army general to be on side of Arabs rather than Iranians. This would never be happened when shah was on power. No lizard eater arab such as Saddam dared to invade Iran or any lizared eater arab try to change our Persian Gulf name.  What we are experiencing is the result of Islamic thugs who took power.  Ms. Amini interview  with Sick also gave the tool for their puppets on this site to mislead the public opinion to imaginary enemy such as "imperialism".  We can see this fact when they are misquoting G.Sick write ups and lying about it. Lying, misqoating , deceiving  and using false propaganda had been mullah's techniques before and after they took power.

    "imperialism" had been marked by Lenin as the last stage of capitalism which leads to dictatorship of proletaria and socialist society. BTW, this doctorine is still under question, especially after collepse of Soviet Union in 1988. Mullahs and their puppets use this term frequently and cavaliary on state control T.V or radio. They use it not because they believe in Marxist doctorine or they're pro-Lenin. No. They use it because it benefits them to stay on power.

    Let's get together and re-establish monarchy as was the wish of our ancestors for thousand years. That is the only solution for Iran getting out of this misery.

      No need to wish happy new year on this site because our new year is Noroz and it is about 81 days away.

    Veiled Prophet of Khorasan


    by Veiled Prophet of Khorasan on

    To be like Germany and Japan, first we must allow US to build a base in
    Iran and submit to US demands.  That is why we got rid of Shah.

    Honestly I take Japan or Germany over IRI or Cuba ANY day of the week. Getting rid of the Shah was a giant mistake. The so called "esteglal" that followed was worse than slavery. The anti-Imperialist stuff is just big talk. It got use nowhere. No people did more damage to Iran than the "anti-Imperialists".

    From day one they were unrealistic and did not know how to play the "game". When you are in a weak military position you need to use your brain. That is what Germany; Japan; South Korea and India did. Now they are doing great. India in particular played its hand so well it got: economic power; independence AND is a nuclear power. On top of it USA is openy supporting India getting a UN permanenet seat. Now compare that to the belligerent "Marg Bar Amrika" screams in Iran.

    Who was the smarter? Who got real independence? What are "American demands". It sounds to me like India got everything it wanted plus more. All the "anti-Imperialists" in Iran got was: 9 billion asserts frozen; a war with Iraq; economic sanctions; threat of war; forced Sharia and a dictatorship. I question the whole approach. The old guard who are still bitter over 1953 are an obstacle. The sooner they retire the better. We need a fresh way ot thinking. 

    We also need a new regime. One willing to learn from mistakes and successes of other nations. Stop being trapped in 1953 and open its mind. To reality of today and learn how to milk the West. This is a game that requires tact not revenge.



    Dear Fariba

    by Demo on

    Wishing you & all your loved ones a happy new year & the best of your lives to come. Looking forward reading more of your good writings in the new year. Sincerely.

    Fariba Amini

    khanum Rusta

    by Fariba Amini on

    Khanum Rusta,

    I have more than 50 articles/interviews published in The majortiy of my articles are about Human Rights or interviews with former political prisoners. I wrote before HR became the chic thing. 

    If out of 50, 8-10 is about the coup or Mosaddeq, that is nothing. I am interested in that period so one does what he or she is interested in.

    what is your interest in life? 

    To be sarcastic in a nasty way and always try to belittle me?   What do you do to enlighten us? It seems to me you are one of those jealous women who has nothing better to do and has a huge chip on her shoulder.

    I refrain from saying happy new year to you ; all I will say is Get a life in 2011.


    Farah Rusta

    Funny you should say that Ms Amini!

    by Farah Rusta on

    "We are still pre-occupied with 1953, 1979 and now."


    Only in 2010 out of a total of 18 articles and blogs that you have published/posted on this site at least 8 of them are directly or by reference related to 1953, Mossadegh, Shah. and 1979! Evidence is on your home page for the interested readers to examine.

    Happy "New" Year indeed! 



    Cyber Fidels; US agri-farm products feeds 1/4th of the planet

    by SamSamIIII on


    via export & charity. If stopped & without USA's production power alone there would be a mass starvation of over 1.5 billion people in atleast 110 countries receiving it. Yet it seems for the leftist specie her/his American well fed gutter belly produces a gassy byproduct in the form of nonsensical self righteous hallucinations & analogy. Yes, Down with American Imperialism, just so as long as she/he gets her fat dinner courtesy of bad bad America's food products, her many other freebees when need be. Talk is cheap, fidels must first learn to feed themselves than rant on Yankee fed bellies GG(Gutter Gas) ;::)).

    Cheers !!! 

    Path of Kiaan Resurrection of True Iran Hoisting Drafshe Kaviaan


    Fariba Amini

    by norooz on

    To be like Germany and Japan, first we must allow US to build a base in Iran and submit to US demands.  That is why we got rid of Shah.  Germany and Japan wouldn't have been able to build their country without submission first.  Cuba is one example that didn't. So who is to blame?  You wrote, we are stuck in 1953  and 1979. OK, let us forget about them. How about the last ten years. Have western countries changed their attitudes toward other nations? Aren't they on the same mission of death, destruction to control. we are not stuck in 1953 and 1979.  Iranians go by what is done, not by what is said.  

    Iran has also advanced in science, technology, education, and some other areas despite all the sanctions and threats .

    We do have some cultural issues.  Some are in our DNA and some transferred from other cultures.  We have too many kissers and traitors, that is for sure.  You can see many of them on this site. Too many who don't respect the law and the rights of others and many self centered and stubborn.  

    Jenabeh Rahmanian, Iranians didn't become anti Imperialist over night for the heck of it. There is hundred years of bitter history full of reasons.  Being anti imperialist is one thing, torture and execution of people is another.  A crime is a crime, whoever does it.



    G. Rahmanian

    by Onlyiran on

    You know, sometimes I wonder if NP is a propagandist with an overactive imagination or if she's just outright delusional and  bats**t crazy.  I think that she actually believes the garbage that she spews here day in and day out.  Consider this: in response to photos of universally identified Lebanese Hezbollah operatives on the streets of Tehran attacking protesters, she asks for absolute proof (as if the IRI will be presenting her with an affidavit and a certificate attesting to these thugs’ presence in Iran) before she accepts the authenticity of the photos.  Here’s the link:  

    But here, she writes a blog claming that Jundullah is supported by the U.S., and what does she have to offer for evidence?  A statement by Brezinski about U.S. support for the Afghan Mujahedeen back in 1979, thirty years before the establishment of Jundullah.  And of course, she does not mention that the IRI also supported the same groups, or variations of groups (such as Ahmad Shah Masoud) all throughout the 90’s and the 2000’s.  So, a photo of the Lebanese Hezbollah operatives on the streets of Iran is not good enough evidence, but a sentence by Brezinski from 32 years ago talking about something totally different is good enough to show that the U.S. is behind all of Jundullah’s acts.

    Now you tell me, is this just propaganda or does she need to see a shrink?  I personally think that she has, in her old age, gone off the deep end.  Her pinned up hate and anger at the fact that the U.S. has not collapsed, and will not collapse, in her lifetime has caused her a severe mental condition, resulting in total nonsense being uttered by her in an uncontrollable fashion. 

    G. Rahmanian

    Dear Ms. Amini:

    by G. Rahmanian on

    That is the conclusion most Iranians who oppose the regime MUST have arrived at a long time ago. However, it's never too late to unite and reclaim OUR country! Happy holidays to all!



    by Examiner on

    No condescension was intended. I am sorry if it appeared that way.  My point was that slogans would not do. Nor does it help advance my understanding when you waste your time (and the reader’s) to react to personal attacks by those who wouldn’t want to do better, even if they could.

    You are at your best when you display your analytical prowess – something not that copious in IC. If you could only shed that disconcerting polemics from your writings…

    I am very selective in reading. However, I do read (almost) everything you, FA and FR write, for which I am grateful.

    In response to your comment:  A) you are not the only one who sees “a declining west and a rising east.” However, my ‘realists’ are not ready to declare, “Mission accomplished.” B) Détente was a direct result of MAD. Iran lacks the wherewithal for a MAD, no matter how we “live our own realities.” C) I second a large part of what you wrote last, under “dear fariba.”

    G. Rahmanian


    by G. Rahmanian on

    It all boils down to this: Audacity! Even though you realized you had put your foot in your mouth about the quotation you falsely attributed to Mr. Sick, you still decided to put the blame on Ms. Amini and a certain paragraph which was, in your opinion, misleading. Looking at how you defend IR with no qualms and attack individuals on this site and Iranians, in general, one does not need to know you personally in order to form an opinion with regards to your politics. If after living in the free world for years you still haven't learned to offer a simple apology after making such a dumb mistake, then how can you know about Arab cultures. Even if you claimed you had lived in 50 Arab countries(By the way, there aren't fifty Arab states.),  you still have very little understanding of Arabs. As I said earlier your best attempts at trying to sound intelligent or well-informed are reduced to some irrelevant cliches that have been collected to create the maximum noise on this site for the mere objective of getting the most attention. Your incredible shock recently at hearing the widely known conspiracy theory pertaining to Roosevelt's prior knowledge of an attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor is only proof of how little you read or know about the imperialist power you are seemingly "opposing."I have bad news for you. Even Howard Zinn, one of the staunchest critics of the US domestic and foreign policies called such speculations, "wild accusations against Roosevelt." Zinn's criticism of Roosevelt was of a different nature. In conclusion, I would like to add this: You have bragged about your blogs getting much attention. This is not a beauty contest and we are not here to score points. Reactions from readers on this site does not mean the piece of writing is necessarily an intelligent one. On the contrary, and this pertains to yours and some others on this site, a blog or an article could be the absurdest and the most uneducated piece possible, but still it may receive much attention. You probably have heard the  Iranian proverb about one crazy individual doing something which may take a hundred sane people to undo.Guess which crazy, "anti-imperialist," incumbent president in the Middle East is getting the most attention, nowadays!     

    Niloufar Parsi

    dear fariba

    by Niloufar Parsi on

    thanks for the response, and thanks also for correcting me on sick's position on iraq. i did a little search before writing my last post, but i obviously didn't search enough.

    the question you raise about germany is highly apt. my frank response would be that germany (and japan, btw) already possessed the indigenous human resources and know how that it needed at the end of WWII, despite the defeat. germany and japan were both powerful and advanced enough in the 1930s to take on most of the world in a war. this was a reflection of their industrial capabilities, particularly in weapons production. the rise of capitalism had strengthened germany and marginalised iran over a three hundred year period, at least up to WWI. during that period, some of the most acclaimed cultural, philosophical and scientific advances came from germany. iran was heading for the Qajars and on a slippery slope from then on. we are still playing catch up. and i would not be too pessimistic about our chances for the reasons you mention: we have the capabilities and natural resources. it's taken a long time to get here. 

    happy new year to all IC members and visitors :)

    Fariba Amini

    Dear Niloofar, Gary Scik

    by Fariba Amini on

    Dear Niloofar,

    Gary Scik was agianst the war on Iraq.  He is not in favor of any kind of attack on Iran. The war and the occupation of Iraq is criminal. You cannot bring democracy by way of force. It will never work.

    But let us not be chauvinistic ; there are good Arabs vs. bad Persians.

    I ask myself though, 50 years ago, Germany was destroyed by the allied forces. They built their country from the ruins. We are still pre-occupied with 1953, 1979 and now. Why can't we just say, we all made mistakes and build our country from scratch.  We owe it to ourselves.

    WE have bright people, we have oil, we have the resources, we have a wonderful country,  we have each other. We have good people even if we disagree with one anohter. 

    Az mast ke be mast.



    Happy New Year to everyone.

    Niloufar Parsi

    attacking iran

    by Niloufar Parsi on


    in what sense is Sick against an attack on iran? i appreciate that he says 'iran is not iraq'. but you know attacking iraq was a war crime under the geneva convention and the UN charter. by arguing for 'cheaper' militarism,  he surely misses a crucial point about the rules of the game. 



    omg you is The farah?! ;)

    she's so cool. should have stayed behind and become queen...



    nice try. but condescension only belittles you. let's just say we all live our own realities, shall we? you know, sometimes i feel some people would not recognise reality if it slapped their face with a cold wet fish! i see a declining west and a rising east. your 'realists' are far behind the times. to be totally honest, the us needs to shut up and put up a bit more in order for reality to transpire....

    in answer to your question: yes i do think it is totally feasible for there to be détente, but it has to be on both parties' terms. and that's what is going to happen. a realignment will come in line with the broader global picture.


    why don't you get a life?


    The purpose of this interview?

    by aynak on


    Dear Fariba:

    I read your posts with interets, but this interview I did not find very informative.   For one thing, Gary Sicks answer to questions does not shed any new light on anything.    In fact, I find his responses rather stale.   

    Among all your questions, the only one that was the most relevant (i.e why would Sick have more insight on AhmadiNejads firing of Mottaki? than us for instance, as he admitted so in the interview), was on why U.S military is refering to Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf?   IMHO, if you consider Sick an authority, you must not have stopped at his "explanation".   Otherwise just because  U.S has a military base in Turkey and not Greece, does not mean they should consider Cyprus as part of Turkey, does it?   So not sure why you did not follow up?

    Also, I am not sure how close Sick is to the current administration, and what his views real impact may or may not be.   But if you are a person with access to politicians, I would love to hear you interview say Ron Emanuel.   There are too many questions to be asked there, and I can provide you a list :) with potential follow ups :) :)

    Farah Rusta


    by Farah Rusta on


    Is this an opinion based on historic evidence?



    A Code of Conduct, and more

    by Examiner on

    I would like to start with acknowledging that I have utmost respect for all three ladies of letter in this blog. It goes without saying however, who they are is of my least concern. What they opine about is what brings this tefl-e goriz'pa to mak’tab every Friday.

    A code of conduct I once borrowed from Salman Rushdie states that what you believe in, your opinion, your conduct are fair game, your character is however off limit. Having said that, allow me to opine about their opinions.

    I hate to sound patronizing. However, you ladies, while equally admirable for your poise and grace, belong to diametrically opposite ends of the Iranian (multi-dimensional) political spectrum – hence, my pleasant surprise to see FR agree with NP, and FA agree with FR. You ladies operate in three parallel universes. FR’s discourses are mostly epistemic and ahistorical, while NP’s are generally polemic yet deterministic. Despite her nostalgic reminisces of Mossadegh era, FA appears to be the realist among the three.

    I wonder why FR dismisses Sick so unequivocally, if not because of the role he played in the Carter Administration, and by extension in the Shah’s fall - in her view. I wonder why NP rejects realists such as Sick and Mearsheimer, when they are the only ones whose voices can realistically counter that of the neocon war machine. Can NP – in her wildest dreams –imagine a day in which the U.S. and IR reach a negotiated settlement without the Empire’s “interests” having been addressed?

    FA, thanks for posting this interview.


    NP - You're the worst type of warmonger

    by Onlyiran on

    At least the U.S. and other countries wage war on other nations not their own people.  You and buddies, on the other hand, wish death and destruction on your own people just so that you can prove a point.  Disgusting!!!!!

    Norooz, she doesn't have to come out and say that she wants war.  You can see it right through her writings.  Here are some examples:

    -Iran should have nuclear capability as a "deterrent", which is classic "mutually assured destruction" warmongering mentality;

    -Iran has "asymmetrical warfare" capability that will win a war with a U.S. (I's pretty funny, but still a warmongering mentality, which shows that she only thinks in terms of armed conflict);

    -Iran should continue with its nuclear path, even in the face of military threats and sanctions just so that it can prove a point.

    There are many other things that she has said that I do not have the time or the desire to dig up right now.  But the examples that I listed above should give everyone an indication of what kind of a warmongering mentality we are dealing with here. 

    All this also raises another question: NP: why aren't you in Iran fighting the good fight along with the Iranian people?  Why are you in the UK?  Please do not dodge this question.  Answer it in a straightforward fashion please.   

    Fariba Amini

    For once I agree with FR (

    by Fariba Amini on

    For once I agree with FR ( I doubt she is the same as Farah Pahlavi)

    I do have two obsessions, one is Mosaddeq that I admire because of his honesty, integrity and humility just like my late father, Nosratollah Amini (no relations to Ali Amini) mayor of Tehran and Mosaddeq's personal attorney.  They both held the best qualities in a man. That is why I admire them and I miss my father every minute of my life.

    A man who was not just Mosaddeq's lawyer but the lawyer to many known--- Shamshiri, Marzieh, Takhti, Soudavar family, and to those have-nots like an opium addict and many ohter bee beza'at.


    If that is my only obsession in life and  I am proud of it Ms. Rusta.  

    As for others, I think it is time for peace!   When the children of Iran are being executed before our eyes, we must step aside and not just think of ourselves.  Though I am always for a good discussion on any subject.

    Gary Sick is an informed scholar/diplomat ; a kind man who cares about Iran and Iranians and who is totally and adamantly against attacking Iran in any form or shape.  

    Let us be fair.


    Farah Rusta

    You put it much better than I could Niloufar jaan

    by Farah Rusta on


    As you said I have no problem living under a socialist system as I did for many years in the last three decades. You have already answered Examiner's question the best way possible. I just wished to re-emphasise that our unity with each other is beyond personality and extends to matters of political importance too.  Your stance on human rights,  personal and press freedoms are in the heart of every freedom loving human. These are the essential principles that all modern democracies are based on. Unfortunately our friend, Examiner, cannot tell the difference between empty and meaningful slogans. Life is not all about politics, it is about humanity. The words of Rumi are self explanatory:


     اختلاف خلق از نام اوفتاد

    چون به معنا رفت، آرام اوفتاد 

    I have seen in Niloufar such sincerity and purity that I wish I could boast about myself.

    And for your info Demo dear, I bear no hatred for Ms Amini (who is not a daughter of Ali Amini as you erroneously put it).  I only disagree with her obsessions.


    Niloufar Parsi


    by Niloufar Parsi on


    this is not easy to explain in a short comment, but i will try: personality types supersede politics. people of different politics but of similar personalities have the same approach and can see eye to eye. simple example: neither farah nor i would have someone imprisoned for their political opinions. but many extremists on this site would imprison if not murder people of different opinions to themselves. at least that is how they come across in how they hound, attack personalities, and attempt to undermine others' integrity rather than discussing their ideas, always looking for a 'catch' followed by a lynching.

    i am a socialist but i can accept to live in a monarchic system though i do not think it is ideal. farah can see and appreciates that, and she probably would do the same in that she could accept a democratic socialist system. 



    i have rarely noted someone embarrassing themselves the way you do. 



    thanks for that. 

    onlyviran, demo,

    you are so tiresome.