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Iranians Fear U.S. Moving Closer to War

February 10, 2017
Plain English Version

Street scene in Iran. Photo credit: EPA/ABEDIN TAHERKENAREH.

This matter would be of interest if this were a computer game. It is not.  America and Iran are enemies.  In 1979, Iranian religious leaders threw the U.S. backed Shah of Iran out of office. They created a theocracy. They said the number one devil was the United States.

Two years ago, President Obama reached out to Iran. He wanted to deal with Iran’s growing nuclear program.

America said it would reduce sanctions that kept money out of Iran. All Iran had to do was shelve its nuclear program for about ten years. Iran agreed. Many thought the U.S. made a bad deal. Donald Trump was one of them.

Trump said he would rip up the deal. He has not done so yet. But the Iranian people are worrying. They believe that Trump might wage war against Iran.

Iranians are Western in their outlook. They value education and a vibrant economy.

The Iranian government sees the West as the enemy. It supports groups in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah, that many say are terrorists. Hezbollah seeks the destruction of Israel. It supports Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah and Hamas support the Assad government in Syria.

Russia and Iran are allies. Russian President Putin and the Iranian Ayatollah seek power on the world stage.

Trump issued a travel ban on people from Muslim countries including Iran. The federal court just ruled against the ban. The Iranian people saw that many Americans were against the ban. They saw some Americans welcoming Iranians at American airports.

More Iranians are saying that it is time to engage America. But they agree that Trump is a danger to them. Now, some worry about war. Many hope that Russia will be able to convince Trump not to conduct a war with Iran.

There was a great deal of hope after the nuclear deal. Iran’s leaders still said America was the enemy. But the feeling in Iran was that progress was coming. Now the feeling has changed to gloom.

At the same time, America is working with Iran in the war against Islamic terrorism in Syria and Iraq. The two sides do not fight alongside each other. But joint planning takes place through Iraq.

The need for diplomacy is clear. It is not clear that Trump has any interest in diplomacy.

Source: The New York Times February 9, 2017

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