Iran Urged to Get Tough With Uncle Sam

By Anthony Gunde | July 7, 2008 | 8:09 PM EDT

( - An editorial in an Iranian newspaper Sunday argued that if the Iranian government emulated China's hard-line stance against the United States, economic hardships in the Arabic nation would cease. The editorial, appearing in the Kyhan International daily, urged the Iranian government to sue the U.S. for "illegal" economic sanctions and to mount a battle to reclaim the Iranian assets frozen by the U.S. government. However, international think tanks in Washington said Iran must first show interest in opening a dialogue with the U.S.

Last week China sent the United States a bill for $ 1 million to cover personnel and other expenses incurred during the three months a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane spent on Chinese soil. The U.S. State Department called the expenses claimed by China exaggerated and Pentagon spokesman, Craig Quigley said the administration was prepared to reimburse China for reasonable costs.

The Iranian newspaper editorial advised the country's leaders to learn from the Chinese how to deal firmly and effectively with Washington.

"This move should serve as food for thought for many countries of the so-called third world, which often find themselves the target of Uncle Sam's extraterritorial laws," said the paper. It further said the Iranian government should take legal action against the United States for damaging Iranian national interests.

"It's a real pity that the Americans are filing spurious cases against Iran in their courts and siphoning off millions of dollars from the country's frozen accounts," it said.

"Legal measures must be taken against America for holding back Iran's billions of dollars in American banks which have been illegally frozen for the past 21 years. Every Iranian citizen has the right to sue Washington not only to de-freeze their assets, but to demand damages the national economy has incurred as a result," the paper added.

But Judith Kipper, Co-director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said no matter what hard-line stance Iran takes, the U.S. will still sanction the Iranians.

"The Iranians have not made a decision yet to have dialogue with the U.S. Both sides need to have dialogue in order to have much more friendlier relations with each other. When Iran makes that decision, the U.S. will be ready," Kipper said.

She added that the editorial's harsh comments against the U.S. reflect the views of the nation's political hardliners.

Al Hegburg, a consultant with the International Center for Foreign Policy Analysis said the Iranian newspaper is wrong in urging the Arabic nation to emulate the Chinese.

"I do not see any connection between the U.S./China spy plane issue, how both sides handled it and the sour relationship between the U.S. and Iran," Hegburg said.

The Clinton administration last year eased some sanctions against Iran, allowing Americans to purchase Iranian good from carpets to caviar. But the administration left in place a ban prohibiting American investment in Iran's oil industry and declared that the ban would not be lifted until Tehran ended its alleged support for terrorism and pursuit of nuclear weapons. Officials of the Iranian Embassy in Washington could not be reached for reaction to the editorial.