January 5, 2004

Iran's Indifference to Its People's Welfare

Your Dec. 29 editorial "Saving Lives in Bam" correctly points to the responsibility of
Iran's ruling theocracy for the staggering level of death and destruction in the earthquake-stricken city of Bam. While most media attention was appropriately focused on the urgent humanitarian crisis in Bam, a few commentators made the sordid suggestion that this tragedy could provide an "opening" for normalizing relations between Washington and Tehran.

Such suggestions are appalling and contrary to the highest interests of the Iranian people. This regime, rather than investing
Iran's vast natural wealth to develop urban infrastructures and eliminate poverty, has spent billions expanding its military. For any government to be so rich and so negligent of the well-being of its citizens is depraved indifference.

Iran, as the U.S. State Department has stated, is "the most active state sponsor of terrorism." Direct humanitarian aid notwithstanding, the most valuable assistance for the Iranian people would be to support their movement to replace this government with a secular democracy. Any talk of dialogue with the government of Iran will send the worst possible signal to the Iranian people.

Karen Ramus

U.S. Alliance for Democratic Iran