Azerbaijan International

Spring 2000 (8.1)
Page 25

Repairing Fences-U.S. and Iran?

"We have no illusions that the United States and Iran will be able to overcome decades of estrangement overnight. We cannot build a mature relationship on carpets and grain alone. But the direction of our relations is more important than the pace. The United States is willing to proceed patiently, step-by-step, or to move very rapidly, if Iran indicates a desire and commitment to do so. . . .

"Next Tuesday [March 21st] will mark the beginning of the New Year [Noruz] for Iran and the beginning of Spring for us all. For everything under Heaven, there is a season. Surely, the time has come for America and Iran to enter a new season in which mutual trust may grow and a quality of warmth supplant the long, cold winter of our mutual discontent. . . .

"We must recognize that throughout the world, the great divide today is no longer between East and West, or North and South; nor is it between one civilization and another. The great divide exists today between people who are still ensnared by the perceptions and prejudices of the past, and those who have freed themselves to embrace the promise of the future."

Madeleine Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, addressing the American-Iranian Council in Washington, D.C., March 17, 2000 and announcing that the U.S. was lifting its embargo against Iranian carpets, pistachios and caviar. Albright's statement was the first significant gesture of public rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran since Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran 20 years ago.

From Azerbaijan International (8.1) Spring 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

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