Perceptions and Courses of Actions toward Iran

By Hart, Jo-Anne | Military Review, September-October 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Perceptions and Courses of Actions toward Iran


Hart, Jo-Anne, Military Review


TAKE THIS QUICK QUIZ: In which Islamic theocracy were there immediate and repeated public outpourings of sympathy for Americans following the 9/11 attacks in 2001? If you did not know about the several candlelight vigils in Iran, you are not alone. In fact, few Americans know that hundreds of Iranians gathered publicly to pay their respects and to show their solidarity with the American people, first on 13 September, then in two other vigils. The crowds chanted "Death to terrorism!" "Death to Bin Laden!" and, "America: condolences, condolences!" Three days after the attacks, a moment of silence for the American tragedy was held before the start of the World Cup-qualifying soccer game, the same day the Tehran Friday prayer leader said the terrorist attacks against America were "heart-rending.... Everyone condemns, denounces, and is saddened ... by it." (1) While note of the candlelight vigils appeared in some Western papers, The Wall Street Journal for example, Iranian sympathy for the U.S. terrorist tragedy is largely unknown here. (2)

Because of widespread predetermined and unchallenged assumptions about Iran, these sorts of positive public attitudes are not just unfamiliar but are also nearly inconceivable to many Americans. American misperception and a lack of clear thinking about Iran significantly affect policymaking and unnecessarily close off policy options.

Currently, the United States is grappling with how to respond to suspected Iranian development of a nuclear weapons capability while Iran's 2005 presidential elections just constituted a conservative monopoly over domestic political institutions. Significant features of Iranian demographics present both an opportunity for a major political breakthrough as well as the conditions for potential serious long-term hostilities with the United States.

Capabilities, Intentions, and Perceptions

"The paradox of Iran is that it just might be the most pro-American or, perhaps, least anti-American, populace in the Muslim world," says Karim Sadjadpour, an analyst in Yehran for the International Crisis Group. (3) That is quite a challenging idea for most Americans, who continue to imagine Iranians chanting "Death to America" and calling us the "Great Satan"--rhetoric that dates from 1979 but is little in play in Iran today. However, conceptions from the hostage-crisis period of that year appear to still dominate American interpretation of current events. That signal event of America held hostage is a collective wound that helps perpetuate certain conceptions about Iranian intentions.

That the hostage-crisis period remains manifest in the American emotional perception of Iran after a quarter century was quickly revealed recently when some of the former hostages mistakenly identified the newly elected Iranian president as one of their captors. Major news sources featured accusatory photos purporting to show Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with blindfolded American hostages. And, although a month later the stories were finally reported as false, the public rehashing of Iran's flagrant disregard for international law and the reinscribing of the enemy for the American public was easily given major attention using the hostage-crisis fulcrum, which seemed to be a well-timed, politically motivated reaction to the election of a conservative Iranian president.

In 2002, being included in U.S. President George W. Bush's speech defining the Axis of Evil was an offensive surprise to Iranians who felt their sustained cooperation with U.S. policy in Afghanistan made that designation particularly unjust. Both publicly and privately Iran cooperated with the United States in supporting the Northern Alliance and in establishing the Karzai Government. (4) Iran was a longstanding opponent of the Taliban, and throughout U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, Iran has assisted on a range of issues. Linking Iran to Iraq and North Korea, Bush declared that "states like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Perceptions and Courses of Actions toward Iran
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.