Sanctions no cure for fight with Iran
The Sun's editorial calling for a "new round of sanctions" against Iran is wrong ("The Russian option," Feb. 22).
Isn't it time for the Bush administration to get real and focus on a more positive approach for a change? Twenty-six years of sanctions, penalties and punitive measures against Iraq have failed miserably.
These years of enmity have left both countries bereft of knowledge and experience about each other. To narrow this gap, the administration should spend the entire $75 million Congress has committed to change in Iran on student exchanges - otherwise, that money will be wasted.
When it comes to promotion of democracy, Iranians (who are strongly nationalistic) have every right to be suspicious of our ulterior motives.
Neoconservatives and their fellow travelers in the think tanks and in the media are strutting about Washington talking about regime change in Iran.
And it was not all that long ago (1953) when we overthrew a freely elected constitutional government led by Iranian national heroes Mohammed Mossadegh and Hussein Fatemi.
This is a deep wound in the heart of every Iranian that has never healed.
To allay these fears, we must engage Iran in a real dialogue, not the European-sponsored pretend talks, to forge a strategic alliance for peace.
Such an alliance would go a long way to stop the anguish, destruction and death in the Middle East.
Fariborz S. Fatemi
The writer is a former staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Port plan is chance to improve security
I must admit to having mixed feelings about the sale of the company that provides services to the port of Baltimore, and several other ports around the country. It does rather smack of having the fox guard the henhouse ("Port delay offered," Feb. 24).
Part of my discomfort comes from the way this transaction was first reported in the press (including The Sun).
And the confusion is aggravated by the politicians rushing to voice an opinion. Much of the discussion of the issue seems to be driven by political expediency.
But, after all, the United Arab Emirates is not buying the port of Baltimore. And upon further examination, it appears that the scope of the port services that would be provided by Dubai Ports World would be limited to specific areas, and would not include security.
Furthermore, we are now learning that the government of the United Arab Emirates has proved to be a valuable partner in the "war on terror" and that the port of Dubai has some of the world's best security.
I do believe this issue warrants further study and that this transaction should be delayed until the issues raised can be addressed publicly.
But this situation might actually provide an opportunity to improve port security, which we all know has been lacking.
I propose that all companies that provide any services at the port pay some sort of proportional fee that would be dedicated to funding port security services.
And obviously, all port security services should be performed by U.S. government agencies.
Headline distorts birth control studies
The Sun's alarmist headline about two recent birth control patch safety studies does not accurately reflect the evidence from the studies ("Birth-control patch users risk blood clots," Feb. 17). Many readers will be frightened and confused as a result.
Preliminary data were released on two large studies that compared the contraceptive patch with oral contraceptives.
The two studies reached different conclusions regarding the risk of venous thromboembolism (blood clots in veins): One noted a moderately increased risk for users of the birth control patch over that for users of oral contraceptives, and the other found no difference.
While medical literature is complicated and often difficult to interpret, when study results conflict, the appropriate response is to report that the question remains unsettled, and that more research is needed before any conclusion can be reached.
Our concern is that unbalanced reporting of these studies may hurt women's health and contribute to a rise in unintended pregnancies.
Dr. Lee Shulman
Dr. Beth Jordan Washington
The writers are, respectively, the chairman and the medical director of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.
Let the embryos die peacefully
Frozen human embryos are only the size of the dot on an i, but because these little dots are human beings, researchers want them ("Stem cell research accord sought," Feb. 15).
Their cry is: "Don't let them die; give them to us."
But the fact that these embryos may be about to die does not mean that they should be killed for research.
These little-dot babies are at an age each of us passed through without facing an attack on our persons. We should accord them the same safety.
They should be allowed to be adopted or to die in peace, as any of us would wish to die in peace.