Friday, 29 November 2013

Iran away from the brink

Iran has at last come in from the cold. 34 years after the Islamic Revolution and the ensuing siege of the US Embassy, the 5+1 agreement with Iran should mean the beginning of the end of the absurd stand-off between America and one of the four most populous countries in the Middle East. With a history stretching back over three millennia, and a culture older than that of any other country apart from Egypt, India and China, Iran cannot be ignored or treated as uncivilized. Having failed to prevent the agreement, Israel now talks unrealistically of making an alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states against Iran. What they should do is the opposite - seek for an agreement with Iran to put an end to chronic hostility. When Iranians speak of Israel "vanishing from the pages of time", they have in mind something like the disappearance of East and West Germany. A one-state solution for Israel and Palestine in a secular state, with equal rights for all its citizens, would satisfy all but the most extreme opponents