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US Shouldn't End Containment Policy

The author of the opinion-page article ''Why It's Time for a New Policy on Iran,'' Feb. 27, closes his eyes to Iran's continuous extremist policies when he proposes that the United States reevaluate its position on the Persian Gulf.

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The proposition that the US employ a policy of ''passive engagement'' ignores the fact that our European allies have a similar policy that has proven utterly ineffective. This approach has done nothing to abate Iran's anti-West sentiment, its belligerence toward Israel, its nuclear aspirations, and its state sponsorship of terrorism.

Were the US to blindly follow the author's recommendation to terminate its current containment policy, the Iranian government's true intentions toward the West could ultimately be proven.

Abraham H. Foxman New York

National Director, Anti-Defamation League

Reform US refugee policy

Thank you for printing the opinion-page article ''Humanitarianism Will Provide Better Refuge,'' Feb. 16. The author's proposal for protecting our refugee policy from anachronistic political motives by creating an independent Refugee Board is a good idea.

However, I wish to suggest that the Refugee Board might also oversee our nation's weak asylum system as well. For while the criteria for persecution are the same for asylum-seekers here and refugees abroad, David Simcox of Negative Population Growth says that ''under present arrangements the US chooses from abroad the refugees it will resettle; with political asylum, the US passively allows itself to be chosen by hundreds of thousands of international migrants, many driven by motives other than refuge.''

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What is needed is effective management for this nation's important refugee policy - one that is both fair and vigilant when it comes to foreigners claiming persecution.

Antony Nispel San Jose, Calif.

Give Muslim women a choice

The author of the letter ''Don't Judge Muslims Until You Know All the Facts,'' Feb. 27, claims that Muslim women are happy covering their heads. The truth is, there are Muslim women who are unhappy wearing the hijab. I am a Muslim who once was forced to cover like millions of other women in Iran, Sudan, and Saudi Arabia. In these countries, refusal to cover leads to severe punishment, including 100 lashes.

I am not against the hijab. I believe, however, that every Muslim woman should have the freedom to choose or to reject the hijab. If we are not given that choice, we will not be happy.

Rebecca Can San Jose, Calif.

Keeping ads out of schools

Regarding the editorial ''School as Billboard,'' March 4: Thank you for making an editorial statement against this new, short-sighted grab for funds by school districts. All of us need areas of our lives that are free of commercial messages - young people especially. The argument that students are walking billboards may be true, but it doesn't follow that school-sanctioned advertising is simply more of the same. Approval is implied by the fact that districts decide what products can be advertised. Schools, libraries, and houses of worship are valuable places for remembering that truly sustaining and enriching resources are available without a price tag.

Jerry Jordan Portland, Ore.

A rock by any other name...

The author of the opinion-page article ''Dangerous Isles: Even Barren Rocks Attract Conflict,'' March 7, uses a Greek name to refer to a small piece of land within the Turkish maritime topography. He ignores the fact that the closest Greek land is almost 12 miles away, and the ''rock'' lies 3.8 miles from the Turkish shorelines. For centuries it's been known as Kardak, not Imia.

Mahmut Esat Ozan Miami Lakes, Fla.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and sent to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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