16 June 2003
I had to delve back into the archives to get a handle on the current bizarre and totally hypocritical US attitude toward Iran. Now let me get this straight: in 1979 there was a popular revolution which overthrew the US-installed regime of the Shah of Iran, who had been put in power, when in 1958, a popular revolution threatened US oil interests in Iran (who had already ousted British control of Iranian oil following WWII).
Then in the early days of the 1979 popular revolt in Iran, the US backed the mullahs who represented the most reactionary elements of Iranian society and who had a dual hatred; one of the left-leaning and secular leaders of the popular revolt and which challenged the hegemony of the mullahs (who owned most of the land), and also of the Shah’s modernising (read Western) objectives, which also challenged the mullahs control of the people through the mosques.
The US was afraid that a left-leaning, pro-Soviet government would come to power and it would lose control of the oil and control of Iran’s geographic position on the USSR’s south-eastern border, and as the ‘gateway’ to the Far East which played a pivotal role in US strategic objectives during the Cold War.
So before right-wing religious elements hijacked the revolt against the Shah (and in the process, murdered hundreds if not thousands of the mainly young progressives who led the overthrow of the Shah), the US backed the mullahs. Indeed, at that point, the US propaganda war centered on the ‘anti-religious’ nature of the popular revolt and pushed the idea that the mullahs represented ‘religious freedom’. But this position didn’t last long. After the mullahs, led by Ayatollah Khumeini had crushed the popular uprising and following the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, publicly at least, the US government switched its position to attacking the mullahs and their ‘Moslem fundamentalist’ agenda when it became clear to the US elite that the mullahs were as much anti-western as they were anti-progressive.
Then in 1980, when Iraq attacked Iran, ostensibly over the issue of a border demarcation, the US publicly backed Iraq (as did the UK) and armed Iraq in its years-long war of attrition that pretty well bankrupted both countries. Indeed, the ‘Prince of Darkness’, Henry Kissinger, hoped the war would continue indefinitely (as did Gauleiter L Paul Bremer III of Iraq). The Iran-Iraq war lasted almost ten years, until exhausted, they finally gave it up without either side gaining the advantage.
Then we have the ‘side-show’ of the Iran-Contra affair:
“[O]n the night of October 18, 1980, [Otto] Rupp flew Reagan-Bush campaign director William Casey from Washington’s National Airport to the Le Bourget Airfield north of Paris for a series of secret meetings. According to Brenneke, it was at these meetings – held on October 19 and 20, at the Waldorf Florida and Crillon hotels–that members of the Reagan-Bush campaign secretly negotiated an “arms-for-no-hostages” deal with representatives of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The purpose of this Faustian pact, Brenneke said, was to prevent an “October Surprise” – the release of the hostages prior to the November elections – thereby ensuring President Carter’s defeat. For their part, the Iranians allegedly received $40 million with which they could purchase badly needed American-made weapons and military spare parts for their war against Iraq.”
Source: Z Magazine, July/August 1990
The role of the ‘secret team’ headed by ‘Ollie’ North and the involvement of guns for drugs; guns for the Nicaraguan Contras, the drugs for the youth of US cities, also involved a failed Saving and Loans bank used for money laundering, CIA ‘proprietaries’, assassinations and bombings, Ronald Reagan, the head of the CIA and vice-president George Bush Snr, in short, the usual sordid dealings of US imperialism.
Hence any pronouncements the US government makes about Iran, either one way or the other, should be taken with a stiff pinch of salt, as you can bet that whatever they say, it’s either a lie or there’s some hidden, ulterior motive.
Over the past few years, an internal war has been going on in Iran, between the ‘modernisers’ and the mullahs, with neither side gaining a strategic advantage. But clearly, Iran which has a large and well educated population, needs to modernise it’s economy if it is to satisfy the needs of its growing population. The clerics represent the most backward elements of society, essentially a land-owning feudal autocracy. But regardless of the politics of whatever sections of society, the last thing Iran needs right now, is imperialist meddling in its affairs. By supporting the ‘progressive’ elements (the self same elements it attacked back in 1979), the US is simply reinforcing the mullah’s control of the state. And more than likely this is a deliberate policy as it further destabilises an already unstable situation and helps create the pre-conditions for a future US invasion.