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Iran has made itself into an enemy

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The June 16 column by Dan Simpson asks, "Must We Make Iran an Enemy?" The obvious answer is, no. We don't need to do that, since Iran is doing it for us.

On the day the Post-Gazette published Mr. Simpson's irresponsible and dangerous piece, Agence France-Presse reported that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad roused the rabble in Shahrekord with a message to the United States: "This nation ... hates you." The crowd answered with cries of "Death to America!"

As evidence that the United States and Iran "played ball" together during the Reagan administration, all Mr. Simpson manages to dig up is the Iran-Contra affair, which he labels "famous." A more apt descriptor for that sorry episode, which led to the conviction of several high-level White House operatives, would be "infamous" or even "scummy."

Mr. Simpson claims Iran wants to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, despite massive evidence to the contrary. "The problem," he admits in passing, "is that the Iranian government has sometimes lied about its nuclear program." He then fantasizes that Iran "would probably" agree to inspections, that it "would not be interested in providing nuclear weapons assistance" to terrorist organizations if the United States stopped its "harassment," and that the Iranian seizure of American hostages in 1979 was based on fears that the United States was attempting to stage a coup. He provides no evidence to support these loony assertions.

He concludes by stating, "Based ... on Iranians I know and have known, I just don't get the stolid enmity." I've known quite a few Iranians, too -- immigrants to France and the United States following the Ayatollah's 1979 takeover. They all agree on one thing: The current regime has wrecked their country and represents a terrible threat to the stability of the Middle East.

MITCHELL KAPLAN
Mt. Lebanon

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