Huffington Post- I recall a Muslim friend of mine once asking me what I thought of the United States? I responded that the US is the kind of country which after living there for only a few years, you could grow to love it in such a way that you could sacrifice your life for it. Today, the Quran burning phenomena and anti-Mosque movement has made a mockery of that image. How can we expect this episode and the intolerance around it to not translate into a growing sentiment of “Islamophobia” and violations of American Muslims’ First Amendment rights? How can it not result in discrimination and radicalism at home? It’s disturbing that, beyond the surface of public debates, Pastor Jones and those who are opposed to the building of a mosque near Ground Zero both see Islam and Muslims behind the 9/11 tragedy or somehow responsible for it. Read more
HuffPost- It took more than six months for the White House to “strongly condemn” the excessive use of force against the protesters in Tehran, and God knows how long it will take President Obama to conclude that compromising universal values, including human rights, at the expense of erratic negotiations with the Iranian government. It will not change the behavior of the Iranian government although it will undermine America’s moral authority. Read more
BERKELEY, California, Feb 26 (IPS) - The appointment of Dennis Ross as a special advisor to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has found a cool reaction in Tehran and some U.S. policy circles.
“The appointment of Ross is an apparent contradiction with [President Barack] Obama’s announced policy to bring change in United States foreign policy,” said Iran’s State Radio on Wednesday, accusing Ross of being in league with Israel. Announcing the long-anticipated appointment, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said that Ross would offer “strategic advice” and perspective on the region, coordinate new policy approaches and take part in “inter-agency activities.” Read more
The United States will not initiate dialogue with the Iranian government, given the possible boost for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-elections next June, according to Suzanne Maloney, former State Department policy advisor and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
During his campaign Barack Obama has insisted on negotiating with Iranian leaders, regardless of its extensive political risk. But considering Iran’s domestic politics, American diplomats prefer to wait and see who will be Iran’s next president.
Many believe that Iran’s worsening economic situation, demonstrated by its high inflation, skyrocketing unemployment and the fall of oil prices, which have prevented Ahmadinejad from fulfilling his promises to the Iranian people, might change the result of the upcoming elections. Read more