The Iranian state is certainly guilty of violating manv of its citizens’ basic rights…. But a military attack is not a just or effective response…. An attack would be calamitous for the innocent people of Iran and the region…. It would foster the growth of fundamentalism in the region [and] reignite the conviction that the Judeo-Christian West, led by the United States, is assaulting the world of Islam, from Afghanistan and Palestine to Iraq and Iran…. The current U.S. military threat has given the Iranian government a freer hand in repressing Iran’s budding civil society in the name of national security, and so eclipsed democratic discourse that some Iranian reformists see themselves caught between domestic despotism and foreign invasion. Political change in Iran is necessary, but it cannot be achieved by foreign intervention….
Most Iranians, I believe, share a broad outlook on American foreign policy…. They think that Iran is valued only for its vast energy resources and its role in regional politics, and that Iranian culture and economic development, and the peace, welfare and basic rights of Iranian citizens, are largely irrelevant to American policymakers….
Iranians will never forget the 1953 U.S.-supported coup that toppled the nationalist, moderate, democratic government of Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh and ushered in a closed, dictatorial political system. Iranian society lost one of its most important historical opportunities for the establishment of a democracy [because of these past U.S. interventions].