Despite escalating US-Iran tensions, remarkable similarities between their peoples have prompted some to suggest that the two nations could one day be powerful ‘natural’ allies.
It is a provocative concept, since these very qualities have also made the US and Iran proud and uncompromising enemies since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But Iranians were among the first – and very few in the Middle East – to hold candlelight vigils after the 9/11 attacks. Here are five traits they share with Americans:
Iran's first-world pretensions hark back to an ancient era, when the Persian Empire was the indispensable nation of its day. It is the sense of national purpose, of national mission – this heady exceptionalism – that today imbues aspirations in Iran, just as it has throughout the much shorter history of the US.
Here lies Iran's steadfast insistence on pursuing its nuclear ambitions, for example – which it claims are limited to peaceful nuclear energy, not bombs. Here, too, is one root of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claims that Iran is a superpower that has enabled the "collapse" of Western capitalism.
The words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 ring as true in Iranian ears as they have for Americans.
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