Monday, January 05, 2004

"The problem is, Iran closed its door to America years ago..."

"Ordinary Iranians" are grateful for the aid the US has sent them in the wake of the huge earthquake in Bam and hope that the Iranian government will take this opportunity to reestablish diplomatic relations with the US.

Ordinary Iranians are celebrating a warming of diplomatic ties between Tehran and the United States brought on by the Bam earthquake and hope an end is in sight to a quarter century of isolation from a country many openly admire.

Even though conservative Tehran newspapers may rail at "earthquake diplomacy" by George Bush, many average Iranians on the capital’s streets yesterday said they welcomed the US president’s overtures that may rebuild severed ties.

"I was overjoyed when I first heard America planes were going to fly in to help Bam," said Hassan Tayebi, 51, a retired civil servant.

"I really like Americans. They are really kind people and I hope the aid offer leads to better relations."

Many Iranians show a more favourable attitude to the United States than their own government does.


"I hope the earthquake policy can serve as a starting point for Iran and the US," said Anita, 27.

"I don’t think Iranians harbour bad feelings towards Americans. On the contrary. And I don’t think Americans hold grudges against us. The problem is, Iran closed its door to America years ago and Americans wrongly think we hate them."


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