Inside Iran Part V: U.S.-Iran Relations Strained

Published November 25, 2005

| FoxNews.com

FOX News' Amy Kellogg recently visited Iran, where she interviewed journalists, students and others on life inside the Islamic Republic. This is the fifth in a series of eight installments about that trip, which will be aired every night on FOX News Channel.

There is no U.S. military or diplomatic presence in Tehran, just a lot of mocking graffiti.

The eagle's head is completely faded on the former U.S. embassy in Tehran; one can barely make out the words on the seal. The United States cut off diplomatic ties with the Islamic republic after militants took about 70 Americans hostage back in 1979.

"We have not received an apology from the Iranian government since then, [they] acted detrimental to American interests," said Nicholas Burns, undersecretary for political affairs for the State Department.

Click in the video box to the right for a report by FOX News' Amy Kellogg.

Iran has a history of resentment toward America; it predates U.S. support of the late Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a strong Cold War ally whose secret police was loathed by Iranians.

The CIA was part of a coup that deposed Iran's first democratically elected prime minister, Mohamed Mossadeq, back in 1953. The Eisenhower administration thought Mossadeq was leaning toward the Soviets and that was the reason for the intervention. Iranians are still bitter.

Iranians point to a period of cooperation between Washington and Tehran after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks when Iran helped bring down the Taliban in Afghanistan. But they say President Bush's "axis of evil" comment set things back in Iran.

"This hurt many Iranian's feelings. If the United States president is interested to win the heart of Iranian people, I'm afraid that hurt more than gaining any sympathy," said Iranian dissident politician Ebrahim Yazdi.

But at this point, no one's talking about sympathy. Washington demands that Iran curtail its nuclear program, stop supporting terrorism in Israel and Iraq and improve its human rights record.

"Iran is a major violator of its own people; there is a great democracy deficit in Iran," Burns said. "It's a large, powerful country but that's going in the wrong direction on these three issues."

In Iran, there is both denial and a sense of siege. Tehran blames the Bush administration for the breakdown of relations.

"They are not ready to respect others, they are not ready to speak with others on equal footing. That is the problem," said Hamid Reza Asefi, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry. "As long as American arrogance in thinking and approach exists, I do not think there is any way out."

Meanwhile, the United States is waiting for Tehran to prove it is not a rogue regime.

The way things look now, especially with a new hard-line regime in Iran, cobwebs are likely to collect at the old U.D. embassy for some time to come.

Watch Part VI of the series, which focuses on the lives of women in Iran, Saturday on FOX News Channel's "FOX Report w/Shepard Smith" at 7 p.m. ET.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2005/11/25/inside-iran-part-v-us-iran-relations-strained