Fareed Zakaria on Iranian Nationalism

Fareed Zakaria (CNN) Fareed Zakaria is a journalist, commentator and host of Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN. Since 2000, he has served as editor for all international editions of Newsweek magazine, for which he also writes a regular column.

Born to Muslim Indian parents in 1964, Zakaria is the former managing editor of the political journal Foreign Affars, Zakaria's books include the bestsellers The Future of Freedom and The Post-American World.

For years Zakaria has argued in favor of diplomatic over military solutions in the US-Iran impasse; and cautioned against overhyping the threat from Iran. He however maintains that Iran does not want rapprochement, and makes the factually incorrect claim that the United States has apologized for the 1953 coup which removed Mossadegh.

Newsweek - "Tag-Teaming the Mullahs", December 6, 2004

During the Bush administration, Zakaria noted that U.S. aggression would backfire due largely to Iranian nationalism.

The United States has often faltered by not appreciating the strength of nationalism around the world—most recently in Iraq. Iranian nationalism is particularly strong. Iranians have long harbored deep suspicions about foreigners and particularly Americans. It was Iran, under the liberal Prime Minister Mossadeq, that first nationalized its oil industry. It was Iran, under the pro-American shah, that initiated the oil hikes of 1973. And it is Iran that remains the only Middle Eastern country to have deposed a regime largely because it was pro-American. American military strikes will not be welcomed by the population.

Newsweek - "Containing A Nuclear Iran", October 3, 2009

In this excerpt from his Newsweek column, Fareed Zakaria, presumably referring to Barack Obama's recent speech in Cairo, makes the factually incorrect claim that the U.S. has apologized for the 1953 coup (they have only acknowledged it).

The United States has apologized for its role in the 1953 coup; it has reached out to Iran; it has offered wide-open talks. Each time, Iran has rebuffed the outstretched hand, claiming that the timing was bad, or the words used were wrong, or the offer wasn't big enough. If it is true that Washington has been wary of simply getting into talks with Tehran, the reverse is more evidently true. And until the government of Iran makes a decision that it is interested in a rapprochement, no set of words or gestures, however clever, is going to break the logjam. If Mao had not wanted to break with the Soviet Union and make peace with the United States, Ping-Pong diplomacy and even Henry Kissinger's negotiating prowess would not have produced the breakthrough of 1972.

Related links:

CNN's Christiane Amanpour on British-Iranian History

Jack Straw: Britain's Past Crimes Inhibit Relations With Iran Today

Christopher Hitchens on the 1953 Coup in Iran

Iranian Heroine Shirin Ebadi: Iran Awakening

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