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An Open Letter to President-elect Barack Hussein Obama

 

Dear President-elect Obama,

Members of the American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) congratulate you on your glorious victory that was felt and admired especially by common men, women and children of all races and economic status in the United States and around the world.  Tuesday, November 4, 2008 is a date that will live in fame as an inflection point in the development of race and class relations in the United States.  The outcome of this election energized and heartened tens of millions of people in the U.S. looking for enduring peace, economic security and a better world.

For the first time in three decades, Iranians have a renewed hope that a true friendship between the people of America and Iran can become a reality.  We call on you to open a dialogue with no preconditions at the highest levels of government as you announced many times during the course of the electoral campaign.  In 1979 the overwhelming majority of the people of Iran, just like in this stunning election victory, participated in a mass peoples’ movement that resulted in the abolition of the monarchy headed by the Shah of Iran and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.  However, the turn of events resulted in the complete severance of all relations between our two countries.

Dear President-elect Obama!  It is an undeniable fact that the absolute majority of the Iranian people consider development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes as their national right and take pride in the scientific and technological progress that the country has made, despite severe sanctions.  Every visit to Iran by members and friends of AIFC has been met with pleas from ordinary citizens to carry the message back to Washington that “We want friendship and peace with America”.  We hope this time that both governments will not miss the historic opportunity to establish peaceful and productive relations.  Your victory has ignited the flame of hope to restore bi-lateral relations based on respect and equality.  To prepare the ground for establishing diplomatic ties with Iran, we are cognizant that a period of dialogue and exchange programs between the two governments is a pre-requisite.

We in AIFC have worked to end the war in Iraq, to prevent war on Iran, to end economic sanctions and have promoted dialogue and normalizing relations.  The imposition of sanctions on Iran over the last 29 years has hurt the working people of that country.  We will work with you, Mr. Obama, to open the lines of communication with Iran.  In the words of your forerunner, Martin Luther King, Jr.: “A final problem that mankind must solve in order to survive in the world house that we have inherited is finding an alternative to war and human destruction. . .  Many men cry ‘Peace!  Peace!’ but they refuse to do the things that make for peace.”  We are looking to you to be that historical man.

Sincerely yours,

Ardeshir Ommani, Co-Founder of American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC)



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