Another reason Clinton is not the right choice? Iran.
I first met Neghin Sobhaini last year while doing an interview on the subject of Darfur. There I learned of her heritage as an Iranian American, and of her work in Iran with the U.N.
When McCain started touring the country with Joe Lieberman and continued to hint at another War - this time with Iran, I knew Neghin would be a good person to discuss how these type of actions are affecting politics in Iran, specifically by undermining the moderates in the country who want reform and diplomacy with the West.
What I could not imagine, was that one of our Democratic Candidates, Senator Clinton, was going to be inflaming tensions just as much as the Republican candidate with statements about 'obliterating Iran.'
While I want to support the moderates both in our country and abroad, I am also concerned that these type of statements are exactly the kind of cover that Bush and the Neo-cons want for a tactical airstrike against Iran.
Whether you are concerned about that issue, or if you would just like to learn more about Iran's religious factions, structure of parliament, and Iranian political history in relation to the United States, tune in to this interview-
Neghin grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and later became involved in working in Iran with the U.N.
Q- How did you get interested in working in Iran?
A- Well, 9/11 changed things, not because of anything negative that happened to me, but an internal self awakening that a lot of people of middle eastern descent have had.
(afterwards) I went to Iran, where I helped run a model U.N. conference and also I worked as a political research assistant for the state controlled media.
Q- How do Iranians feel about Americans?
A- Anyone who has traveled outside of the U.S. knows that peoples problems are not with the American people, but with the American policy and government.
One of the biggest problems and complaints is that Iranians voice is the lack of the knowledge of the history of Iran and the history of the relationship and friendship. Before the U.S. it was the British, before that the Romans, and there has been the taking advantage of this relationship.
And more importantly this important piece on the overthrow of the Prime Minister of Iran...
No matter who is for or against the the Iranian government, the 1953 overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh still angers everybody to this day, which was the first CIA operation conducted outside the U.S.
Q- why was he deposed by the U.S.?
A- Mainly it was because Mossadegh wanted to nationalize the oil fields of Iran. When Mohammad Mossadegh rose through parliament, he said Iran should keep the oil and spend the revenues on ourselves, which the west did not like.
That's right, the driving force of enmity between the United States and Iran (and many other countries) started with our backing of the overthrow of a democratically elected leader, at the request or at least the convenience of Anglo-Iranian Petroleum, which became British Petroleum (BP).
The United States has been engaging in Oil based policy for the past 70 years, right on up to our present occupation in Iraq, which is also over their oil. This is why Bush has refused to negotiate and refuses to meet with the moderates. In fact, Bush refused to meet with Iranian envoys 3 different times after 9/11 - even though they said Iran would be willing to recognize Israel. This refusal to meet with the envoys by Bush and the invasion of Iraq, powered the campaign and victory of Achmedinejad.
In the meantime, the clerics on both sides are trying to cast this battle over resources as a religious issue.
Q-The real problem is not in religion, it is in economics. In the 1950's in the south and in America, if you were African American, you got paid less for the same work, were denied credit from banks and had reduced travel. It was in some ways, state sponsored terrorism.
In Palestine, the average Israeli's income is $18,000 a year, and an average Palestinian's income is 3 or $4,000 a year. There is reduced access to housing, limited travel...
if we started calling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict the New Apartheid, or the Jim Crow era of Israel, we would have a different lens, but because we put religion into it, it blurs things. And when you have lack of jobs and opportunity, your young men,
A- it drives them to the Mosques where the extremists are.
And as you mentioned before, when George Bush refuses to meet with the envoys, it doesn't really support the moderates in Iran....Recently in Iran, the conservatives won an overwhelming number of seats in the parliament and the reformist candidates were shut out. (in large part due to rhetoric from the U.S.)
One interesting rule of the Iranian parliament is that every religious faction, Sunni, Shia, Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrianist, all receive a proportional number of seats in Parliament.
It took us 225 years to elect Keith Ellison.
For more on Iranian Americans and on issues of Iran, you can visit this site
Also - this is something you should see... these are the pictures of Iran that are not shown to Americans by our media. These pictures of Tehran by the way, could easily be my home city of Denver.
We must call out our leaders who talk like Neo-cons and support candidates that seek diplomacy.