Iran: Bemused and Worried

Iranians are bemused and worried by the signals coming from Washington. In the wake of US allegations about Iran’s policy on Al Qaeda and nuclear weapons development, the Bush administration is openly encouraging popular demonstrations against the clerical authorities.

The World Today Published 1 July 2003 Updated 21 October 2020 4 minute READ

Rosemary Hollis

Former Director, Olive Tree Israeli-Palestinian Scholarship Programme, City, University of London

At the official level, certainly in the Iranian foreign ministry, caution prevails. Among those preoccupied with interpreting Washington’s intentions in the region, US conduct in Iraq manifests lack of knowledge, not to say prejudice, as much as it points to material interest in access to oil and reconstruction contracts. The worry, even for those otherwise reasonably well disposed towards America and its people, is that neo-conservative ideology may prevail over old-fashioned realpolitik in Washington.

This at least was how Iran’s predicament looked during a recent visit with colleagues from Chatham House. Our conversations were not confined to talks with officials and intellectuals in Tehran. We also ventured further afield and visited Mashad, near the eastern border with Afghanistan. There we met students and faculty at the Department of Law and Science at Mashad University.

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