History of AINF
Efforts to re-establish a national friendship between the great nations of America and Iran goes back to late 1980s.
AINF as a nonpolitical NGO took measurable steps to reconnect both nations and depoliticize the relationship. Americans and Iranians have enjoyed historical and productive friendship for a very long time.
It was United States that forced the Soviets from Azerbaijan Province of Iran in 1946, and the US has always been a fierce proponent of recognizing Persian Gulf as the Persian Gulf. The United States has always been a point of support for Modern Iran and Iranians. The US has prevented or at least balanced off the historic Soviet Empire's colonizing intentions for Iran. Even today, despite the political disagreement between two governments, the US has tried to reduce increasing Russian influence in Iranian domestic affairs. Iranian nationals are the ultimate beneficiary of US support and friendship. The hard-line factions of Iranian government would not be able to assert their domination without Russian support of Quds militants in Iran.
I met Rev. Wayne Smith of Friendship Force International and President Jimmy Carter at Veldhoven, Netherlands, September of 1988. Rev. Smith founded the international cultural exchange organization Friendship Force International with President and First Lady Jimmy Carter, which encouraged friendships between people of different backgrounds and promoted goodwill with weeklong home stays by volunteer "ambassadors" in different countries.
FFI was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and is grown to over 350 chapters in more than 50 countries.
Amazingly many Iranians responded favorably to our advertisement in Tehran Times. Unfortunately, the security forces of Iran approached me and asked me to stop Friendship Force Iran and AINF immediately.
I did meet with government officials and received tentative support. Regretfully that office was eliminated shortly thereafter and we could not continue FFI or AINF in Iran further.
Ever since, for close to 20 years, we have witnessed numerous short-lived overtures of political normalization but none have been longstanding. The current international and economic structure has made it more feasible for both nations to re-establish relationships. Both side are realizing that the alternatives are not attractive.
More importantly, we all realize that Iran can no longer sustain an oil dependent economy and is in need of serious industrialization. American businesses and industries can offer much to that end. There is no question that Iran and America will normalize the relations. The revitalization of friendship between the two people will occur - it is only a matter of time. The question is 'How do we get there?'
The American Iranian National Friendship, After 20 years, the American Iranian National Friendship has been reactivated. AINF, as a nonpolitical NGO, will explore ways to open a new national dialogue between American and Iranian people.