Don’t ignore our Persian roots

The winner of the presidential election should open up a dialogue with Iran, acknowledging our Persian political roots.

The delivery of this message by postal mail would have had Persian roots: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” originally described the Persian courier system from Sardis to Susa.

The Declaration of Independence has Persian roots: “They are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights … Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” This is similar to the inscription of Darius at Behistun: “A great God is Ahura Mazda, who created the earth, who created the sky, who created man, who created happiness for man.” Darius said that happiness was for man to pursue … governments are designed to effect happiness.

Even the idea of democracy on a large scale has a Persian source. In ancient Greece, democracy applied only to small city states. But according to Herodotus, the Persian councilor Otanes proposed a democracy for the Persian realm, which extended from Egypt to India and from Bulgaria to Ethiopia.

Darius says that he restored temples that had been wrecked and [returned] farms to people who had been robbed. The Persians were very friendly to the Jewish entity. If Cyrus had not allowed them to return from captivity, the Jews may have been just as lost as the other tribes. … And if it were not for Judaism, there would be neither Christianity nor even Islam.

Iran’s current president wants to reverse the long history of friendship with the Jews … [and] destroy the Jewish entity. As if Iran did not have enough problems!

The new [U.S.] president will have an opportunity to deal with Iran as Reagan did with the Soviet Union, negotiating while he built up his forces; using persuasion, not force.
The next president should open a meaningful dialogue with Iran, reminding them of their ancient heritage [while] acknowledging our debt. [Just] as Reagan talked to Gorbachev, he should say to the ayatollahs: Stop thwarting the will of the people and their elected representatives. Allow the religion of Zoroaster to flourish. And be the friend of the Jewish entity that your country once was.

— Edward Woolf

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