The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) has written an open letter to U.S. president Donald Trump, urging him to engage the Iranian people and supporting their democratic and economic aspirations.
‘When it comes to policy toward Iran, we believe American interests are best served by engaging the Iranian people and supporting their democratic and economic aspirations’, the letter reads.
‘From a policy standpoint, efforts should be made to engage Iran and encourage economic and social reform. Policymakers would be wise to think more creatively about crafting policies that would support America’s greatest ally in Iran – the Iranian people.’ PAAIA Executive Director Leila Austin adds.
Following are the demands that have been raised in this letter: More Cultural & Educational Exchanges, Expand Trade Exemptions for Telecommunication Tools, Avoid Implementing Unwarranted Visa or Immigration Restrictions and Ensure Iran Complies with the JCPOA.
PAAIA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonreligious organization that serves the interests of Iranian Americans and represents the community before U.S. policymakers and the American public at large.
It is not clear what will be the Trump’s reaction to these demands in practice. However, the American officials’ behavior over the past few decades shows that they have never actually seeking to engage the Iranian people.
Taking a look at historical events, we find that the United States ended Iranian democracy in its cradle, following with hostile actions after the Iranian revolution such as supporting Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during his war of aggression against Iran and imposing draconian and collectively-punishing sanctions.
The CIA orchestrated a coup d’etat in 1953 against Mohammad Mossadegh, Iran’s popularly-elected prime minister guilty of nationalizing the Iranian oil industry. The result was the end of Iran’s democratic movement and 25 years of dictatorship under the shah.
After the Iranian revolution, America also adopted an approach of regime change towards Iran, predicated on applying every conceivable pressure on the post-revolutionary government. This included supporting Iraqi dictator during his war of aggression against Iran, which saw Saddam killing or injuring upwards of 100,000 Iranian with chemical weapons.
Despite all this, Iran today stands as one of the region’s most powerful and stable countries, while U.S. allies, who have benefited from immense American support over the years, have either collapsed or are wavering due to their own shortcomings.
In any case, the Iranian people have negative views of the US government and the Americans have a long way to win their trust.
To do so, the U.S. officials must first apologize for their past actions against Iran and then to take actions to correct those errors. In this case, we can hope that Trump will succeed to engage the Iranian people.
An article originally published in Huffington post contributed to this report.