Joschka Fischer on Iran

In Dissent, Joschka Fischer’s August 1, 2006 speech to the Iranian Center for Strategic Research in Tehran.

Anyone familiar with recent Iranian history knows that its politics have been marked by a constant search for independence and for security from aggression and influence from its neighbors or from greater powers. For Iran, the lack of respect for and recognition of its independence, its ancient civilization, its strategic potential, and the talent and capabilities of its people has been particularly humiliating and indeed insulting throughout its modern history. When the British, French, and German governments decided in 2003 to react positively to President Mohammed Khatami’s letter and subsequently to send their foreign ministers to Tehran to negotiate a nuclear compromise, the main motivating factor was deep concern that, in the aftermath of the Iraq War, no chance for avoiding another military confrontation in the region should be missed. But this initiative was undoubtedly also underwritten by the spirit of mutual respect and recognition. Regrettably, the initiative failed to bring the desired success, though the Europeans took it very seriously in spite of their very realistic evaluation of the facts.