Jim Slattery was making the speech at the Atlantic Council after being the first former US congressman who has visited Iran since 1979. It seems however that all his 'interaction' attempts with the Islamic Republic officials has done nothing to diminish his own ignorance of the ruling religious dictatorship in Iran.
Even before his visit to Iran, Slattery has been doing his best to "interact" with the Islamic Republic officials through the Abrahamic Dialogue interfaith initiative, yet astonishingly, it seems no amount of "interaction" is helping to reduce his sheer ignorance on the nature of the ruling theocracy in Iran.
The Kansas Democrat seems to think he has found a commonality with his counterparts in Iran, religion! “Religion is a big part of their life, just as it is in Kansas” Slattery told the think tank audience. One would assume on the basis of this commonality he has discovered, he will in the near future, also initiate one of his "interaction" trips with the representatives of the Islamic State, as religion seems to be a big part of their life too.
"the one thing they [Islamic Republic officials] yearn for, is respect,” Jim Slattery, the former Democrat representative shared his new found wisdom with the Atlantic Council think tank. The mind boggles at the stupidity of these Western do-gooders and how easily they can be fooled. I wonder as part of his "interaction tour", whether the former Democrat Congressman, also attended one of the Friday Prayer sermons held across Iran, where the faithful are urged to chant "Death to America!" during every Friday prayer, perhaps he would then been wiser as to what was really meant by "yearning respect".
All this stupidity and ignorance reminds me of a time when I, myself, met some of the US State Dept officials at the time of George Bush's presidency. I was told straight away by one of them that "the US foreign policy was not about regime change in Iran, instead it was about changing the behaviour of the regime", to which I replied "Ah thats good! and how do you intend to change their behaviour?"
"We have a website!" The US State Dept official replied. I was shown a website in Persian which promoted democracy and civil society and I assume the hapless diplomat thought that eventually the Iranian ruling clergy will stumble on this wonderful website and find the benefits and advantages of democracy and in time it will lead to a change of their behaviour.
The only words I could find to say at the time was "Well, Good Luck!" and all I can say to the likes of Jim Slattery who attended a conference in Tehran on "combatting violence and extremism" is also "Well, Good Luck!". As I am sure if former Kansas Congressman was around at the time of Hitler, he may have also attended a conference organised by the Nazis on how to combat violence and extremism and came back and told his audience of well wishers, "All the Nazis yearn for is respect!"