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June 16, 2008

Appreciating people of Iran

At a time that there is a hostile environment between the U.S. and Iran, it was refreshing to read the “As I See It” column by Nancy Cramer, (6/7, Opinion, “A breathtaking journey to Iran”).

Cramer’s views, based on three weeks of observation and interaction with ordinary Iranians, expressed a positive experience. Her column demonstrates the importance of intercultural relationship and communication among peoples and nations.

On the other hand, it was a sad commentary to read a different opinion by another reader, Frank J. Smist Jr. (6/11, Letters). His reply appeared to be very narrow and was objecting to a sincere expression of a teacher who actually had a good experience in Iran.

While he was finding celebration in the teacher’s retirement so she would not expose her students to “ignorance,” apparently he had no difficulty exposing the Kansas City community to his own narrow view.

Manny Pedram
Kansas City



If it is not a weapons program then there is no need to worry about it. If you really believe it's not a weapons program then it doesn't matter. Unless of course you are not really concerned about the Nation's welfare, it's politics that's on your mind.



The supposed contradiction you're trying to assert isn't there.

You'll notice that report that I'm so "fond of" pertains to Iran's nuclear weapons aspirations, not their nuclear power program. Iran has acknowledged a nuclear program, saying that it's a civilian nuclear program. The intelligence seems to back that up.

Bush says that Iran shouldn't have any nuclear program of any kind at all. While I don't necessarily disagree, I think it's unconscionable that he's running around talking about the possibility of attacking Iran when we've been funding their nuclear program on his watch. The incompetence is stunning.


Neither GWB nor BC is on the current ticket. But those two outstanding "Defenders of Defeat" who are distorting this situation are some of the same who have been claiming there is no reason to think Iran is interested in nuclear weapons. If the Demos actually believe their long and strident claims, backed up by that report you are so fond of, that there is nothing to worry about in Iran are true then there is nothing to concern them in this matter.. If they actually are concerned, that demonstrates they have been lying to the American people about their concept as to what is going on in Iran.


GCYL is apparently attempting to pick yet another fight he can't win.

GCYL is making a favorite argument of GOP party hacks: whatever it is, it's Clinton's fault. The fact that the program started in 1994 is immaterial. The real question is how long the program has been indirectly funding the Iranian nuclear program. Another good question is whether or not this funding has been cut off. There's no indication that it has.

Why not expect a level of competence on the part of the current occupant of the White House? Why not expect that, if he's going to condemn Iran's nuclear program he'd at least see who's responsible for helping them with it?


“The Energy Department is subsidizing the institutes under the Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, a program set up in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The program was intended to prevent newly impoverished scientists and their institutions from selling expertise to states or terrorist groups that want nuclear weapons.” - NYTimes Article

How long has Bush been President? I’m looking forward to Jimmy saying we should blame the US and every Administration since 1994, but I kind of doubt he’ll do it.


“Forget that Iran is now refining nuclear materials for many bombs and has threatened to make Israel extinct. Forget that Iran is helping to kill U.S. soldiers in Iraq.” - Frank J. Smist Jr.

“That does not mean that their regimes were also good. That was Frank Smist's point, and he was right.” - Gary

Funny, I reread Frank's letter, and I agree with you Gary.


"That was Frank Smist's point, and he was right."

Funny, I reread Frank's letter, and he doesn't seem to be saying that at all. His point seems to be "Iran's bad, so don't travel there."

Oh, and his other point seemed to be that, if she weren't retired, Ms. Cramer would somehow indoctrinate her students with pro-terrorist propoganda, something that he couldn't possibly prove.

People can make themselves feel better by attacking a retired teacher who went to see things for herself, I suppose.

But consider this: our Department of Energy has been funding Russian nuclear institutes which are in turn using that money to help build Iran's nuclear program, the very one we've been loudly condemning.


When Frank Smist says we should "blame the US and the Bush Administration," maybe that's what he had in mind, but I kind of doubt it.


While it's great that Ms. Cramer had a nice time on her vacation and made friends with some lovely Iranians, there is no larger point to be taken from her article. A visitor to Hitler's Germany, Stalin's USSR, Pol Pot's Cambodia, etc., probably would also have encountered good people. That does not mean that their regimes were also good. That was Frank Smist's point, and he was right.


Unfortunately, it's human nature to confuse a people with their government. I have some friends in KC who are muslim arabs from Gaza. I consider them as good friends as any of my other friends.

I'm certain I feel the same way about persons from China, Japan, India, et al.

There are several words to describe the nature of Manny's fine letter: ethnocentricism, stereotypical, zenophobic, jingoistic ....

Each of us needs to redirect our hatreds & antipathies.

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