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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 178 US-Iran Relations since 9-11: A Monologue of Civilizations Paul Sullivan* American Perceptions of Iran 1 : September 11, 2001 is seared into the minds of many Americans as 911. If you mention this number to anyone in the US they will think of the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon attacks, and the 3,000 persons who were murdered that day. If one mentions the number 444 to many Americans, they will immediately think of the hostages from the US Embassy held by Iran for 444 days. For many Americans the first things that come to mind when one mentions Iran are: the hostage crisis, the bombing of the marine barracks and the embassy in Lebanon in the early 1980s, support for Hezbollah and other “terrorist” groups, and mullahs in black turbans leading demonstrators yelling “Marg bar Amrika” (Death to America). Many Americans do not have good feelings about Iran 2 . The press has not helped. The Congress, with its many laws and regulations, and resolutions, has hardened certain perspectives 3 . The lobbyists have pressured the President and Capitol Hill to keep the pressure on Iran. The voices in Iran that seem to get through the most are those of the hardliners who rant against the US at almost any opportunity. Not many Americans think of the many people who signed the sympathy books in Tehran after 9-11, or that reformist leaders in Iran made statements of sympathy toward the US. Even some of the hardliners condemned the 9-11 attacks. Many in the US may also be unaware of the growing pro-Americanism amongst the youth in Iran. Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 179 Many in the US government are wary of the revolutionary aspects of the Iranian government, especially the hardliners. However, the domino theory that was once proposed did not happened. Iran attempted to export its revolution to many parts of the Islamic world. One of the few places that it took hold seems to be in the Shia community of Lebanon, especially amongst members of Hezbollah. However, even they are working within the political system of Lebanon, and understand that it is unlikely that Lebanon, a multi-religious state, could ever be an Islamic republic. Most of the violent or revolutionary movements in the Islamic world seem to be tied to local social, economic, and political circumstances. They are also mostly Sunni movements. The Iranian Revolution may have been somewhat inspiring to some who were considering Islamic revolution in their countries. However, all of these attempts, such as those in Algeria, Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza, and in Turkey (the most feeble attempt) proved to be failures. Also, the violent attempts at regime change in Egypt and Algeria did not pick up steam until after the return of the “Arab Afghans” in 1992, after the fall of Kabul. One could say that the real driving force behind jihadist movements in North Africa came from Afghanistan and the “Great Jihad”,...
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