Americans vs. Iranians – Is it About Culture?!

This MSNBC reporter is apparently spending some time in Tehran, and after what I’m sure is no more than a couple of weeks, thinks that he has fully figured out Iranian politics! He says,

I can now understand why Ali Larijani was chosen as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, and can sympathize with those who sit opposite him at the negotiating table.
He is also head of Iran’s powerful Supreme National Security Council, and with President Ahmadinejad abroad, it was left to the wily Larijani to answer questions about whether Iran would attend a regional security conference on Iraq – a conference that will involve the highest-level contact with the United States in more than two years.

I don’t know exactly what it is, but I assume it’s because of something cultural, that Americans don’t seem to figure out just how Iran works! Americans have a habit of being direct and clear in the speeches, Iranians speak excessively metaphorically, almost never PRONOUNCING what they want to say, but implying it. That’s a way, in Persian culture, of testing your adversary’s intelligence and seeing if they can read between the lines, and sometimes it’s just out of politeness and courtesy. I think at least some of the misunderstandings between the two nations are based on cultural differences and style.

The following is the real story behind what our MSNBC correspondent THOUGHT he had discovered and was left below the article by a fellow from Tehran, Iran:

I don’t know about your sources but I can say two things about Iranian politics. First of all, it seems that all the decision makers in the West do not understand the power structure here and that two, Larijani speaks for the Supreme Leader, an individual who contrary to belief rules by concensus. The Iranian president is more like a Secretary of Interior whilst Larijani speaks for the seasoned politicians. I am not defending this regime in any manner but it would be important to understand how this country works before making the statement that since AN is out of the country it is up to Larijani to answer. These matters are almost always left to Larijani. He speaks for the Mullahs. Yes Iran is testing the waters, for good reason. It helped the US in Afghanistan and initially in Iraq but has seen its relations with the West deteriorate due to US pressure. Iranians never forget history and our history is one of third party involvement. The Brits and Russians were the original players and post Mossadegh it was the Americans. All this came to a a fiery collision with the revolution and the hostage taking. The treatment of Iran during the war with Iraq, the supply of arms and intelligence to Saddam by the West. Rumsfeld’s famous visit to Baghdad to reassure Saddam that the UN would not act on his use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops. The Shooting down of an Iranian Airbus etc etc. WHy is it that no one ever says here are all the facts. I am sure Iran has meddled in so much but so has everyone else. It is time to look at all the players’ foreign policy and try to resolve these issues diplomatically.

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