Rafi Amin

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Iran Vs United States. Multiple football matches to improve relations between two nations. what can be the outcome ?

I love sports & I was wondering why sports is not being used as a tool to improve relations between two countries that have differences maybe with the help of UN or any mediator.

Like multiple sporting events between.

North Korea/South Korea
North Sudan Vs South Sudan
Iran Vs United States

Thousand of people in the ground & millions watching live. what would be the outcome ? Would it also change the minds of politician ?

Thanks.

  • Jul 3 2012: Yes, many matches, maybe one each week, with ordinary people playing. No stadiums, just use a local soccer field. Have the players stay in the homes of ordinary people. Get some conversations started, especially about the terrible history between our countries. What the USA did to Iran was criminal, but kidnapping diplomats was too. Its time for apologies to go in both directions. These people can give their stories to the media, or just publish a blog. The last thing this world needs is more nuclear weapons, but if I lived in Iran, surrounded by nuclear powers, having my own nukes would definitely make me feel more secure.

    For a long time now, I have had the horrible feeling that our countries are needlessly heading in the direction of more violence. If the politicians can't get us off that road, maybe the people can.

    I think this idea is worth very serious effort.
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      Jul 5 2012: Thank you Barry for sharing your thoughts here.
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    Lejan .

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    Jun 30 2012: Hi Rafi,

    based on an average level of skills, spirit and luck of the day, the outcome would be somwhere around 1:1 / 2:1 or 1:2 ... :o)

    But this was neither your question nor an appropriate answer but the fact, that it was my attempt to dissolve the tension which comes by the topic. Here it may match your idea in the way I conceive it at the moment.

    I like your approach of de-escalation as in any case this is to begin with in a state of conflict. As sooner the better.

    By what I have seen so far, sport events are often been used to prolong national vanity, as its competing character serves well as virtual arena or a cold war training ground. May this be advantageous or disadvantageous I would hope for the chance in getting in contact again and this beyond the regular stage of diplomats and foreign affairs.

    Sharing at least one common interest, sport, could let 'the other side' become more 'real' for those at home watching them. And if my memory and knowledge is not leaving me, no war ever evolved from the result of a football game ever...

    ..., well at the moment all Germans are biting their tongue not to declare war on Italy, so we got to wait a while until this statement proofs itself consistent... I will do my very best thet it will! :o)

    Within this idea you proposed I see more chances than risks and therefore I consider it to be a good one. I would not expect for changes in minds after a game or two, but I would hope for ivisible and tiny little micro-cracks within the concrete of seal off minds. Those may become ways later...
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      Jul 1 2012: Hi Jan,

      Thanks for your information. I like your thoughts here.
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    Jun 30 2012: Hi Rafi.
    Trouble is, would the politicians be influenced. If it worked that way then there wouldn't have been WW2.
    Why not put the politicians on a desert island. If they wanted to survive, they would have to co-operate. Or I guess they could opt for hand to hand combat; although I doubt it.
    Either way, the long suffering taxpayers are bound to gain.

    :-)
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      Jul 1 2012: Hi Peter,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

      Recently there was cricket match between Afghanistan & Pakistan. The news that surprised everyone was from Taliban (Insurgents) spokesperson that they are backing Afghanistan team & that they would pray for victory.

      This made me think what can sports play in bringing peace.
    • Jul 3 2012: "put the politicians on a desert island."

      This is off topic, but I think this is a great idea. Don't know how we could make it happen except by public pressure, but I think this could have positive results. Set up some ground rules. Make each politician get a personal history from the other with detailed descriptions of their family members and their years in school. Have them share living quarters, but give them enough room to provide distance when the conversation gets heated. Provide some boxing bags to let off steam. They don't get off the island until they sign an agreement that will improve the relationship in some real permanent way. Most importantly, the food is limited to meals ready to eat (MRE).
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    Jul 4 2012: Rafi, Long ago we had "Ping Pong Diplomacy" between the US and China. No doors were opened, no new agreements, etc. Iran is described as radical Islamic nation and the real power is the religious leadership and the president as a figure head. I cannot see that any thing would change at the upper levels even if this event took place. Iran wants Israel blown off the map and we support Israel. The US as a whole are viewed as non-believers and non-believers must die. Now how do we reconcile that with a football game? I must agree that it would also offer a opportunity for radicals to cause an event that would further deteriorate the relationship.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Jul 3 2012: The president of Iran was invited and did speak at New York University. In the end, a few people felt better about themselves because they had the opportunity to mouth off at him for his comments, but nothing positive came from it that benefitted both countries.

    I won't go into politics but I think it's fair to say that there's not a lot of trust between the two countries. Iran never forgave the USA for reinstalling the Shah despite its revenge in the 1979 hostage crisis, and the USA never forgave Iran for the hostage crisis. It's a comedy of fools.
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      Jul 5 2012: What I,m propsing is not thru mouths of politician but sportsmen ?
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    Jul 2 2012: Dear Rafi...
    That is a great idea!!! I am sure ordinary people on both sides are not enemies. I really hope tensions between both countries can be lowered and football matches can happen...
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      Jul 5 2012: Thank you Hilton. I,m also of same opinion that not all Iranians are against US & same in US.
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    Jul 2 2012: Yeah, Casen is probably right.
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    Jul 2 2012: I find this to be dangerous. Although a seemingly good natured idea, I feel as if radicals would take this opportunity to stage a deadly attack. I don't know how our leaders would feel about sending a group of Americans into the middle of an open stadium of 100,000 Iranians. :p
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      Jul 2 2012: Hi Casen,

      Risking a group of Americans may be a lot better than risking the whole world with nuclear war.

      Above that if purpose of the game is clear than I don't think anybody even radicals would do this.
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        Jul 2 2012: I can't really bring myself around to saying that risking a group of anybody, regardless of cultural background, is morally sound. Unless of course they are trained soldiers going in with the ability to defend themselves if need be and they volunteered for the task at hand. But that's a difference of opinion, and your view is perfectly understandably.

        However, radical extremists are called just that for a reason. I would feel the same way about having an Iranian team over here playing in an open stadium. We have plenty of crazy radicals who wouldn't hesitate just because this is a shot at peace. The radicals don't want peace. They want their opposition dead. That goes for basically all radicals, regardless of geographic location, cultural upbringing, and religion. In the words of the great Alfred Pennyworth, "Some men just want to watch the world burn."
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    Jul 1 2012: That's the problem damn politicans would be screwing it up. I would favor some sporting events involveing them maybe they could hold targets for archery contest. Pretty soon I bet the politicans get a lot smarter.
  • Jun 30 2012: I like this idea. But would it make for an interesting game of football? Perhaps if the stakes were higher, like, whoever wins has to relinquish their nuclear capability, their ancient religions, or their oil reserves -- whatever, it's only deadly radioactive materials, holy texts, and sweet, sweet gooey liquid marine-life death!

    However, things might get more interesting if resources were distributed based on the outcome of a game.
    Perhaps we could settle disputes with a nice friendly match of Call of Duty? There might not then be a need for war. Or at least, the kind that leads to bloodshed.

    The only being capable of judging such a game would have to be unbiased, omniscient, and possibly a member of Mensa. Until such a superhero arrives, we must hope for Apple to deliver a smartphone that will actually lead the human race to wherever it wants to get to in a hurry. Maybe that will be a banana, or an actual Apple. I don't know.
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    Jun 30 2012: Politics itself is game......deadly game at times......one of the most tricky games