The War Hawks and Deniers of Reality that find refuge in the US Congress where Money rules are sullying, and often nullifying, the immense good the US has, and is, doing for the world at large. This frightens me and forces me to repeat myself on many topics, but you can expect that because repetition is a perk we Oldies have due to our failing memories preventing us from remembering what we said or to whom we said it. Most topics demand a book rather than a blog so, with Iran, may I refer you to my previous blogs on the subject:
Blog #033 of 17 June 2010 “Cry Wolf!”Blog #068 of 03 February 2012 “War Drums”
Blog #073 of 02 April 2012 “War Drums, Netanyahu, and Jenkins’ Ear”
Blog #121 of 08 March 2015 “Prophet Netanyahu Came To Town.”
That done, I can start with this #132 Blog that limits itself to our harassment of Iran.
It pains me to admit that we have done far more harm to many countries than they have ever done to us. Long an advocate of FAIR PLAY, I try to refrain from judgement until I walk in the shoes of the persons or countries under scrutiny, an impossible but essential task. If I were Iranian what would be my gripes?
I would be angered, resentful, and insulted that the insensitive West, especially the USA, manipulated by Israel, considers us a rogue and untrustworthy nation that needs to be punished and humiliated with harsh sanctions in spite of our long and mostly praiseworthy history when not controlled by foreigners. The US with the world’s most powerful nuclear arsenal, now spending billions to update it, supports an aggressive Israel that gained its arsenal by stealth minus sanctions, is lecturing us who have no desire to join the “Nuke” club. Naturally, we are highly suspicious of the true motives of the bullies on our block.
Yes, our record on Human Rights, that were abysmal under the UK–US imposed Shah, have not been sufficiently improved since. Neither has the massive and cruel US penal system. Both need softening.
Like you, we have shameful periods like the 1736-47 Nader Shah’s invasion of India that slaughtered thousands and brought home enough booty to let us eliminate taxes for 3 years. But . . . .
I would be proud of much of my Persian heritage as over half of our 78 million people are Persian with 25% Azeri, 7% Kurds, 3% Arab, 2% Baloch, and 2% Turkmen. Our heritage can be traced from Cyrus the Great (died 530 BC) through Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) to Iran’s “Greatest Generation” that with enormous sacrifice fought off the unprovoked 1980-88 invasion from Iraq, that was supported by France, Germany, the UK, and US with chemical weapons against which our Shi’a religion dictated we could not retaliate in kind, nor go on to embrace nuclear weapons that the West shamefully insists we are doing.
I would remind you that many of your religious beliefs originated with us. From Animism to Mithraism from which Christianity borrowed much (Virgin birth, resurrection, December 25 birth of Mithra, etc) to Zoroaster who, 4,000 years ago, was the first monotheist giving us an afterlife with judgement, heaven, hell, and purgatory, charitable obligations, holy days, foods to avoid, rituals, etc. Akhenaten in Egypt, died 1365 BC, was also a first. We fought hard against the Arab Muslim invaders from 633 to 651 when Islam was forced upon us, but we evolved our own Shi’a version with sizable Christian, Sunni, Zoroastrian, Jewish, Baha’i minorities with all tolerated and protected except Baha’i which, although originating in Iran and fast-growing elsewhere, is considered an apostate Islamic faith.
Then, I would argue: Our heritage and opposition to one nation controlling another has earned us respect and, we hope, a little love from much of the world. Because of our location and our resources such as oil we have been exploited by both Russia and the West. I would praise the 1979 founder of our republic, Seyed Ruhollah Mustafavi Mousavi Hindi Khomeini born in 1902, and named for his home town of Khomein in central Iran and Hindi for his Kashmir origin. A profuse writer and poet, he was well liked at the Qom seminary. Western preferences forced us to exile him to Iraq, then France. He wrote that Islam was a comprehensive religion whose duty it was to oppose corruption, injustice, and one nation dominating another. He promoted equality among people and nations. On his 1989 death. he was succeeded by Seyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei who, along with the ten following elected presidents, have continued Khomenei’s policies. These honest elections prove our people want to retain these including the guiding influence of our version of Islam.
We share borders with 15 states and have no strategic depth so living in peace is vital to us. We have been humiliated by Russia, the UK, and the US who use us to further their own interests. When we rebelled against this and elected Mohammad Mossadegh as prime minister in 1951 and nationalized our oil, the US and UK overthrew him in 1953 to instal Reza Pahlavi as Shah and arm him to the extent of offering him the wherewithal to produce nuclear weapons by the George W. Bush administration. When we rallied against the cruel shah, the US national security advisor, Zhigniew Brzezhnski urged deadly force be used by the shah against us. So we seized the US embassy in 1979, holding all but 6, whom Canadians help escape, for 444 days, and welcomed Khomeini back. We knew the US would invade Afghanistan after 9/11/01 and offered the US the use of the Northern Alliance that we had organized and funded to be the only effective anti-Taliban force. We even helped the US install Hamid Karzai as president. Our co-operation faded when we realized the US intended to stay on after victory as an occupier and as a base for further expansion. Khomeini explained that Afghanistan is a swamp that no one emerges from not covered in mud.
What gripes me if that, although we have never used a suicide bomber, biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon and made it clear we repudiate their use, unlike Israel that unfairly persecutes us, and in face of the fact that the West has never uncovered any intention on our part, since the Shah, to pursue such weapons, leaving our survival to a good missile defence that a recent US exercise revealed would cost them 20,000 lives to destroy, we have been saddled with blocking us access to our money abroad and the imposition of cruel sanctions while no action is taken against daily Israeli aggression against Palestines, Bedouins, etc. They call Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups when, with our help, they were formed to resist Israeli invasions.
Our parliament (Majles) has 290 seats, with at least 5 being reserved for Christian, Zoroastrian, and Jewish communities, and with all encumbents elected for 4-year terms. The President is limited to two terms. Let us look at one of these presidents the West has criticized heavily: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was elected with large majorities to 2 terms, 2005-2013,winning a second term with 62.5% of an 85% voter turnout.. He spent time in all 31 provinces, often in remote rural area, increased wages and pensions, lowered interest rates, improved infrastructure, gave stipends to assist young couple marry and get established. He and other presidents helped triple the literacy rate for women (doubled for men), grant them 6 months paid maternity leave, and set the stage for the fact that women are now the majority in universities. Scientific papers have increased from a 700 rate in 1978 to 20.000 in 2011.
A crossroads of commerce and migrations among 3 continents, the Middle East contains scores of ethnic groups all desirous of their place in the sun. A fair number of these resort to violence. France, Germany, Russia, the UK, Serbia, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, and the US have all been guilty of recent atrocities there. Our last aggressive move was 260 years ago. Our parliamentary debates are freer than in most Muslim countries.
In no way does Iran deserve the invasions, cyber attacks, scorn, assassinations, and humiliation to which it has been subjected. It can be a beacon of peaceful co-existence. Let it be.
We have more pressing needs, a few of which are: banning all weapons of mass destruction and the weaponization of space, providing the UN with the power to eliminate weapons and people trafficking, over population, climate change, inequalities, cruelties to humans and animals, rescuing failing paper money, and so on.Our species has evolved to where it has control of some of its destinies. It would be a cardinal sin to allow it to destroy itself to which goal a conflict with Iran could be the start.