Former President Carter is a great man. He is dedicated to peace. He does seek the high road whenever possible.
However, the relations between Iran and the USA has been very strained over all these many years. There are remarkable gestures by the new Iranian President to reassure all those concerned of a framework to lift sanctions. There are statements by the P5+1 regarding movement toward a permanent agreement with Iran.
The idea forgiveness should pre-emept good policy and governance is not a good one. The framework is not about being generous in spirit or actual provisions. The framework is very serious work that cannot be misinterpreted as generosity in any way. The relationship between Iran and those writing the framework to relieve sanctions cannot be tainted by imposition of any idea there are people from the past forgiven for any role they took with American hostages.
The USA and Iran still face off over those jailed in Iran. Joshua Fattal, Sarah Shourd and Shane Bauer were some of the latest victims to the Iranian prisons. They were camping and then they found themselves in an Iranian prison being held for large amounts of money to secure their safety. That isn't hostage taking? I think it is.
I am sure it can be stated Mr. Aboutalebi quite possibly played a role that protected Americans from a far worse outcome. He could have acted as an interpreter in ways that could have justified Iran's position stating the hostages were spies. He probably could tell many tales about his intervention in preserving the lives of the hostages. That was the right thing to do. The hostages of the Iranian crisis were innocent people. The moral and correct thing to do was to be sure they were understood and protected. So, to think he was an exceptional person of 'good will' toward the hostages simply because he conducted himself morally at the time doesn't mean he is a hero.
As an ambassador for Iran he would be entering a sphere of influence that was once appalled by his country's stark hatred of the USA. Would that actually make him influential and the best representative to the United Nations? No, it wouldn't.
I think Mr. Aboutalebi's declaration to be ambassador was demanded by the extremists in Iran. The conservatives that can be affiliated with the former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I am quite confident the extremists are in misery over the success of President Hassan Rouhani. There should be no surprise, the current Iranian President has a long history of connecting with other nation leaders to bring an understanding about his nation. He has a demeanor that is inclusive and not alienating. That is simply being an effective President at a time when the Iranian people have reached out with his election to portray their longing for a peaceful resolve in lifting the sanctions.
To be completely honest, why would the Supreme Leader chose such a controversial representative to the United Nations when in fact he might derail the entire process that has brought all concerned to this point? It was playing with fire in very poor judgement to ignite the past again.
As far as I am concerned the USA refusing a visa to Mr. Aboutalebi was in the best interest of the Iranian people. I can't believe the Iranian leadership has been this short sighted.
There are also changes going on with the negotiating team. It just isn't a good time to drastically change those of influence within the negotiations or the United Nations.
State Department's Architect of Iran Nuclear Negotiations to Retire (click here)
By John Hudson
April 11, 2014
On Friday, the White House announced the retirement of Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, a giant in the diplomatic world and a key architect of the nuclear negotiations with Iran and six world powers.
Burns, who had already twice delayed his retirement, has agreed to stay on until October, which will afford the administration more time to eek out a potential deal with Tehran with one of its most trusted diplomats at the helm....
The Iranian sanctions and hopeful negotiations have a very long history (click here). I realize the word foolish is very harsh, but, to let 'chance' enter the arena with someone once involved with former American hostages is more than a bit foolish. Why lose ground? Why jeopardize what has been achieved?
There is still issue about the integrity of the returned hostages. They may be very forgiving, but, to have someone they had to face and count on to insure their safety again on the level of a diplomat would be more than they should bear as well as their families. The choice of Mr. Aboutalebi is very short sighted and a bit extremist in it's suggestion.
The United Nations isn't really about forgiveness, that is a capacity left to god. The United Nations is a serious body of diplomats seeking to solve problems and not inflame circumstances that would jeopardize the best outcomes. Perhaps Iran's leadership hasn't been exposed enough to sincere diplomacy that achieves lasting results with ambitions to peace. Perhaps their next choice will be better and somewhat enlightened.
April 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm
Aboutalebi was a member of the Muslim student group who held 52 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran for more than a year beginning in 1979 during Carter’s presidency.
When asked in an interview if the United States should block Aboutalebi’s entrance to U.N. headquarters in New York, Carter told radio station WTOP: “You know, those were college students at that time, and I think that they have matured. …I think it would be inappropriate for the United States to try to block someone that Iran wanted to choose.”