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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about how President Obama can improve the US's relationship with Iran, why theocracy is a major threat to freedom of speech, and why illegal immigration should not be romanticized.

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How Obama can change the US-Iran dynamic

Regarding the April 1 article, "Clinton says US met with Iran delegate": President Obama used the occasion of the Persian New Year to reach out last week to the Iranian government, offering in a video message a new era of "engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Change in America's Iran policy is much needed and long overdue. Yet, that change is not conceivable without understanding the dynamics of Iranian politics. Every US president since Jimmy Carter has sought a coherent Iran policy and has been interested in negotiations with this regime. But all have failed for one reason or another.

Iran observers generally acknowledge that there are two Irans: the one of octogenarian mullahs and the one in vibrant cities. And these two Irans are worlds apart.

As long as Iran remains synonymous with the fundamentalist regime that rules it, US policy options are very limited: more concessions or military action, both of which are doomed to failure.

But how can the US reach out to the Iranian people? The key to such change is the administration's approach to the mullahs and their main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).


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