Dr. Amirahmadi: A War Between the US and Iran Cannot Begin on the Basis of Policy; It Can Only Happen On the Basis of an Incident or an Accident Providing the Necessary Pretext.

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                Good afternoon, Dr. Amirahmadi! Our congratulations with your nominating to contest next summer’s presidential elections in Iran! 

                What the main points of your presidential program? What Iran need today? What are main problems and how could you solve them?

Dr. Amirahmadi: Iran has three problems that it must resolve in the immediate future: factional infighting, conflict with the US, and economic malaise. Iran needs a President that can build bridges among rival factions, resolve the conflict with the West, US in particular, and make the economy prosper in a globalized world. My program calls for: 1) creating national solidarity and reconciliation in the framework of a coalition government; 2) building trust with the UN and then the US to resolve the nuclear problem within the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty on the basis of which Iran will preserve its right to nuclear enrichment while observing in full its Treaty obligations; 3) normalizing relations with the US and other western nations, as well as all neighboring countries on a win-win basis; and 3) developing the economy by removing all sanctions, inviting investments from domestic producers, expatriate Iranians, and foreign nationals; increasing production by promoting industries, particularly high-tech and export-oriented units, and directing such developments toward job and income creation (to create six-million jobs in the first four years and to increase personal income by 5 percent a year above the inflation rate).

  

                You are the first candidate from Talysh! It’s honor for us. We proud of you! What do you think about national minority’s in Iran? Do you have some ideas how to help them to develop their culture, learn languages?

 

Dr. Amirahmadi: Iran is a multi-ethnic nation and has been so for all its history and will have to remain so for eternity. This diversity is one of Iran’s major sources of national richness and beauty as well as a secret of its enduring cultural fullness and integrity.  As a predominantly cultural nation, Iran must preserve this diversity in ethnicity, language, and culture. As President, I will promote such richness by a policy of true socio-economic, political, cultural and territorial development, inclusion and integration. I will make sure that past discriminatory policy in favor of a few growth centers in the nation is abandoned in favor of a policy of balanced provincial development. This requires a controlled decentralization of political, economic and social programs. Under my administration, the central government will manage certain national functions and leave others to be administered at the provincial level. It is only unfortunate that some in the political community have called for ‘federalism’ as a solution to Iran’s ethnic administrative problems. The fact is that nowhere has federalism been a solution to such matters. Indeed, most federal states, such as the United States and Germany, have little ethnic problems and their adoption of a political federal system is meant to guarantee administrative decentralism. In the case of Iran, given its history, geography and level of development, a controlled decentralized system with a fitting form of fiscal federalism, where provincial and sectorial powers are balanced, should work best. As President, I will promote such an administrative system.

 

                After elections in US came new Secretary in State – John Kerry. What do you think will change in US-Iran relations? What will Kerry try to do? Your opinion is very interesting.

 

Dr. Amirahmadi: Secretary John Kerry is a smart, pragmatic and nationalist man and he is certainly in favor of a negotiated settlement of the conflict between the US and Iran. However, just like his predecessors, he will also find out that the conflict between the two states is multidimensional, involving many issues of regional and global significance, diverse actors, and conflicting interests, making a solution that much hard and complicated. Besides, while most issues of concern on both sides may be negotiable, the political will for normalization of the relationship does not exist. This is so because between Iran and the US exists a “revolution”. The 1979 Islamic revolution was deeply anti-American and those in Iran still believing in that revolution remain steadfastly anti-American. But it is not that the revolution does not like the US; a more troubling fact is that the US also dislikes that revolution – indeed any revolution. Thus, neither the revolution likes the US, nor the US likes the revolution. This is the true source of the problem: as long as the Islamic Republic and the US view each other through the lenses of that revolution, there cannot be a solution. The only hope for normalization of relation is for both sides to change their glasses and wear a different, more pragmatic one. John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, both of whom I know well, will try to help but they cannot change believes in Tehran. For that change to happen, the Ayatollahs in Iran need some more time!

 

                Israel is the main opponent of Iran in the region today. Israel call USA to start the war with the goal of stopping nuclear program of Iran. It is established military cooperation between Azerbaijan and Israel. Some analysts think that Israel could start the war bombing from Azerbaijan. What do you think about reality of this?

 

Dr. Amirahmadi: Israel will never unilaterally attack Iran and the Azerbaijan Republic will never offer Israel its land or air spaces for attack on Iran. Israel might create the necessary conditions for the US to attack Iran and the US then might force the Azeri Government to comply with its demand for certain facilities. However, as things stand, a war between the US and Iran cannot begin on the basis of policy; it can only happen on the basis of an incident or an accident providing the necessary pretext (9/11 created the pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq). I pray that we will never see that time as a war between the two nations will fast spread into the region, killing people, destroying properties, and disrupting life.  

 

                When you was in Azerbaijan, you have met with talysh activists. You also met with Hilal Mamedov – editor in chief of talysh newspaper “Tolishi Sado”. You know that ex-editor in chief (professor Novruzali Mamedov) was arrested and accused of spying for Iran. Few years ago he died in prison. Today is in the same situation Hilal Mamedov. He was arrested in summer 2012. What do you think about this situation? What can u recommend to Talysh activists in Azerbaijan? How could you help to Hilal Mamedov?

 

Dr. Amirahmadi: First, let us pray for the innocent soul of Professor Novruzali Mamedov and ask that our God blesses his humanity in eternity. His death in the prison will remain as a dark spot on the Azeri’s history. Second, I must express my outrage and condemnation for the arrest and unjust imprisonment of Dr. Hilal Mamedov. Knowing Hilal, I am confident that he is no spy for Iran and that he loves his country.  Being a Talyshi, Hilal did have also love for the Iranian Talyshi people and his attraction to Iran was only on that basis. As a Talyshi, I also have attraction to Azerbaijan because part of my beloved Talyshi people live in that country; that does not make me a spy of Azerbaijan. I ask and hope that Hilal is given his freedom back immediately and that his dignity is also restored. While, we must express outrage at such unfair practices by the Azeri state, in fact any state, we must exercise patience and diplomacy in troubled times and for troubled people. Talyshi people are a great nation and they do deserve to live in freedom and peace, and their citizenship and human rights must be fully protected. But they must also observe their obligations as citizens of Azerbaijan and work for the betterment of the Talyshi and Azeri societies. Division is no option and the path forward can only be national reconciliation and solidarity. I have been working on Hilal’s case and will not give up until he is freed and dignified. I plan to raise his case during my election campaign in Iran this spring and summer as well. Let me end by pleading the Azerbaijan government to free Dr. Hilal Mamedov and return his dignity.

 

                Tolishpress dossier: Hooshang Amirahmadi – was born in 1947 in Shanderman (Gilan, Iran). Talysh. In 1975 he emigrated to the U.S., where he lives with his family today. Amirahmadi is a professor and former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University. Amirahmadi is the founder and president of American–Iranian Council. The presidential candidate of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

 

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