America and Iran - The tantalising prospect of reconciliation
Mar 26th 2009 | WASHINGTON, DC
From The Economist print edition
AFTER nigh on three decades of abuse-filled estrangement, two spouses mull a reconciliation. Bitter memories of insults and humiliation linger. Mutual acquaintances, fearing more broken crockery, offer to mediate. The initial exchanges have been held at high volume. But at least the sulky silence has been broken.
President Barack Obama was a teenager when America severed ties with its former ally, Iran, after Islamist revolutionaries occupied America’s embassy in Tehran in 1979. Since then, mutual enmity, expressed in military confrontations, acts of sabotage and a steady stream of invective, has ripened into a broader strategic rivalry. But on March 20th, in a televised address on the day Persians mark their new year, Mr Obama proffered a new vision, promising to resolve differences by diplomacy and inviting the “Islamic Republic of Iran”, as he politely called it, to “take its rightful place in the community of nations.”
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