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New AIC Think Tank Offices In Iran Replace Spurned US 'Diplomatic Presence' in Iran

Previously, we examined the words of the head of an organization cleared by the United States Government to open think-tank offices in Tehran. A bit of background puts the move into perspective, albeit no more comfortable perspective. First, recall again the words of Rutgers Professor Houshang Amirahmadi with respect to Iran and his dismissal of their responsibility for terrorism.

“Unfortunately, a large part of the problems between Iran and the U.S. are not based in reality, but are based on myths. The problem of terrorism is a true myth. Iran has not been involved in any terrorist organization. Neither Hezbollah, nor Hamas are terrorist organizations….”

Many Americans may be asking where Amirahmadi came from, why he is significant and what his organization is doing authorized to operate in Iran. Valid questions and equally valid concerns going forward, particularly as America faces the prospects of a next Administration open to direct talks with Iranian terror sponsors. Here's how it happened.

Do you recall this summer the trial balloon floated about apparent US plans to station diplomats in Iran for first time since the 1979 Khomeinist revolution? Refresh yourself.

The US plans to establish a diplomatic presence in Tehran for the first time in 30 years as part of a remarkable turnaround in policy by President George Bush.

The Guardian has learned that an announcement will be made in the next month to establish a US interests section - a halfway house to setting up a full embassy. The move will see US diplomats stationed in the country.

That was a mid-July 2008 story. Where, you might ask, was Professor Amirahmadi? Funny you should ask. He was at the mid-point of a month-long visit to Iran "to closely examine the domestic circumstances of Iran, especially with respect to a possible normalization of relations with the United States." He was a part of the 'shuttle diplomacy' seeking to bring about formal US offices in Tehran.

"Iran is gradually readying itself to embrace a more normal relationship with the United States. However, Tehran has little hope that it could resolve its nuclear enrichment issue within the multilateral channel of the UN Security Council. In sharp contrast, Iran is increasingly interested in engaging the United States bilaterally, which it now thinks is a better channel to resolving its disputes with both the United States and the UNSC."

Iran's positive reaction to the idea that the United States might wish to establish an Interests Section in Iran is a reflection of this new Iranian perspective. Dr. Amirahmadi told the AIC Update that "Iran seems even prepared to have the office staffed with American diplomats in return for a similar upgrade of the Iranian Interest Section in Washington, DC. Iran recently agreed to a meeting of law makers of the two nations, a development that was torpedoed by the US side."

In essence, since the larger response to the floated idea of formal diplomatic offices in Tehran drew wide, resounding criticism, Dr. Amirahmadi's American-Iranian Council has been green-lighted to operate in its stead. The AIC in Tehran is the US diplomatic offices, in effect, and headed by a man who has proclaimed that "Iran has not been involved in any terrorist organization" because "[n]either Hizballah, nor Hamas are terrorist organizations."

Just one more development to signal to Israel that they are increasingly alone in confronting the looming Iranian nuclear menace.

1 Comment

Geo-strategic principles dictate that Russia and Persia as neighbors in the Caucasus be in a state of contention. And as an outside power the U.S. must choose one or another to support. Only an irrational U.S. could at a given time be against both Iran and Russia. Yet that's what Threats Watch seems to be suggesting. Rest assured such a configuration cannot be maintained - especially in an upcoming period of American economic weakness. The dilemma will be resolved one way or another by an upcoming administration.