According to the Washington Post (3/17/2000), Secretary of State Madeleine Albright plans to announcing a major overture toward Iran. The US plans to lift bans on Iranian luxury goods, return Iran's frozen assets, and allow Irianian academics and athletes to visit the United States. These restrictions have been in place since 1979, when Iran's Islamic revolution removed the CIA-installed monarchy of 1953. Since 1979, Iran has had little trust in the United States which it sees as aiming to deny the people of Iran their democracy.
"Albright will acknowledge past American meddling in Iran, including the CIA-backed coup that toppled Iran's leftist prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, and restored its monarchy in 1953. She also will express regret for Washington's shortsighted support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s." (p. A01 by John Lancaster)
In 1987, at the time that Reagan was being implicated in the Iran-Contra hearings, he had placed a ban on all non-oil imports from Iran. Today Albright announce the U.S. will lift the ban on caviar, Persian rugs, pistachios and dried fruit. The benefits to Iran's economy and workers should be tremendous. Approximately 5 million jobs are based on the carpet industry alone.
Releasing frozen assets held by the United States worth 10 billion dollars, including gold and bank deposits, is a gesture of great importance for Iran, since this money was seized by the U.S. since the 1979 fundamentalist revolution.
President Clinton has already made similar gestures last year, allowing the export of food and medicine, and safety equipment for Iranian airlines.
These changes began after reformist officials were elected into power last February 18. This was perceived by the United States as a sign Iranians may be willing to forgive the United States for its imperialist intervention. The story in the Washington Post states that Albright admits that the U.S. played a "significant role" in the coup of 1953, which led to the Shah to "brutally repress" the freedoms of the Iranian people.