Monday, March 20, 2006

US-Iran Dialogue

Happy norouz.

This year I heard some good news prior to the norouz celebrations. On March 16, the head of Iran's National Security Council and the person in charge of Iran's nuclear dossier, Ali Larijani, announced that Iran is ready to enter into talks with the United States over Iraq's security.

The United States insists that the talks are limited only to the issue of "Iraq's security." But it was Larijani, the head of Iran's nuclear dossier, who announced Iran's willingness to negotiate. It does not seem far-fetched that the two countries would enter into a dialogue over Iran's nuclear program soon.

Is this the beginning of a new historic era? Is this anything like Nixon's historic 1972 trip to China? After 27 years of isolation, Iran is once again entering into direct negotiations with the United States. I think this is the beginning of a new historic era. Interaction with the United States will unleash sweeping forces for change in Iran. Integration into the global economic order will boost the development of Iran's weak private sector; and integration in the global system will enhance the ability of progressive forces inside Iran to organize further and mount further assualts on the Islamic Republic.

Look at China in 1972 and look at China now. Politically, not much has changed. The same party still rules the entire country with an iron fist. Economically, however, everything has change. China has registered some of the most marvelous growth rates ever recorded in history. This rapid economic transformation, in turn, has itself become a force for political development. Global business transactions require transparency, stability, and accountability - and no one expects this of a corrupt ruling class.

The forces of economic change in China have transformed China's ruling classes. They have transformed the Communist Party of China from a corrupt, radical class into a highly efficient, technocratic bunch.

Is the "Chinese Model" finally going to work in Iran??

- Ali Assareh

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