The United States aims to interact with Iranians

Posted by Elijah on August 23rd, 2022

In Washington, According to Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, the United States is attempting to engage the Iranian people in direct exchanges after 25 years of keeping them at a distance in the hopes of fostering closer ties and improved understanding between Iranians and Americans.

Burns stated to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 29 that the diplomatic situation between the United States and Iran remains unusual.

 We have no relations with them; there is no American embassy; there are hardly any American companies or journalists there. There has literally been no communication between our nations, he claimed. Therefore, even though we oppose the Iranian government, we should be open to having more interactions with Iranians.

Burns outlined a number of initiatives the State Department has launched in the last year to engage with Iranians. In order to communicate with Iranians, the United States has increased the presence of Persian-language media on its television, radio, and online platforms. He also discussed citizen exchange programmes that give Iranian professionals and students a firsthand look at American culture. (Read related content.)

 "[I]f we cannot have a normal relationship with the Iranian government — and there is no hope of an early resumption of diplomatic relations — then surely we can open up connections to people in Iran," he said. "We've all witnessed the tremendous, long-term benefits of having someone study in our nation and get to know the American people, and what that means in 30, 40 years when that person is in a position of some influence in their society."

 The initiatives of the Bush administration were praised by senators from both parties. Richard Lugar of Indiana, the committee's top Republican, demanded that the US exert a "full-court press" to encourage intercultural dialogue.

 "I think there is evidence that there have been successful outcomes as Americans who have been innovative have tried to get to know the Iranians better and have been going into the country and so forth," he said. He referred to it as "critically important that we better understand Iran."

 Chairman of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations Joseph Biden urged the administration to advance its initiatives and permit more American nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to operate in Iran. Due to the economic sanctions that the United States has placed on the Iranian government over the past 25 years, all U.S. entities are currently subject to strict restrictions on their activities in Iran.

 Burns stated that the administration would like to see more American NGOs working in Iran, but he issued a warning that close ties between American groups and Iranian civil society organisations could be detrimental to those groups politically.

The State Department is strengthening its ability to comprehend Iran in addition to encouraging citizen exchanges, according to Burns. The department set up an Iran office in Dubai with Persian speakers and increased its Iran desk from one to eight over the course of the previous two years. Burns compared the U.S. outpost in Riga, Latvia, where diplomats studied the Soviet Union before the United States opened its embassy in Moscow in 1933, to the Riga station, and the Dubai office.

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