September 21, 2013

Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has lost no time in trying to end the 34-year old political and economic siege imposed on his nation by the United States and its allies.

President Barack Obama, having just been wrong-footed over Syria, now faces a surprise Iranian diplomatic and public relations offensive that will be hard to resist. America’s war party is furious: its dreams of seeing US power crush Syria, then Iran are in jeopardy.

Ever since a popular revolution ousted the US-installed regime of Shah Pahlavi in 1979, Washington has sought to overthrow Iran’s Islamic republic.

Iran has been isolated, put under intense economic and diplomatic siege, become the target of subversion and the US-backed invasion by Iraq in 1980 that killed up to 500,000 Iranians.

The US challenge to Iran is always depicted for public consumption as an effort to stop Tehran getting nuclear weapons. Iran is routinely accused of supporting “terrorism” and subversion.

In reality, US hostility towards Iran is mostly about old-fashioned power politics. In 2003, US Secretary of State Colin Powell let the cat out of the bag by admitting that Iran’s acquisition of a few nuclear weapons would “limit” US ability to use force in the region.

Control of the Mideast is one of the pillars of US world power. The US has dominated the Mideast since 1945, as I detail in my book “American Raj – How America Rules the Mideast.” Islamic Iran emerged after 1979 as the most potent challenge to US regional domination and control of its energy.

Iran and US ally Saudi Arabia have waged a bitter proxy war in Afghanistan, Central Asia, and East Africa by arming and funding extremist groups. Syria is the latest example.

Washington and Israel have used the nuclear arms issue to isolate Iran and make it an outcast state, much as was done with Cuba in the 20th Century.

It’s easy to forget that nearly all of Iran’s nuclear energy industry is under very tight UN supervision, not to mention incessant monitoring by western intelligence agencies and Israel. By contrast, Israel refuses UN inspection and maintains a sizeable nuclear and chemical arsenal.

It’s also easy to forget that the original signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the US, Russia, Britain, France (and later China) – have all violated the pact’s pledge to swiftly reduce, then eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

Iran is now making a major push to convince the world
it has no nuclear weapons ambitions, starting with its spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomenei who has issued a fatwa condemning all nuclear weapons.

So far, the US, strongly pressed by Israel, is responding
cautiously but positively.

Israel has made it clear it wants the US to attack Iran and crush its nuclear and non-nuclear military capabilities. Equally important, says Israel, is the need to liquidate Iran’s scientific nuclear cadre of scientists.

My sources in Iraq report that since the US invasion in 2003, over 200 Iraqi nuclear scientists and technicians have been mysteriously assassinated. A number of Iranian nuclear personnel have also been assassinated by bombs, widely believed to be the work of Israel’s Mossad spy agency.

The logical course for the United States to follow is to welcome Iran’s overtures and restore normal relations between the two powers. An Iran aligned to the outside world is less likely to be troublesome than the angry, frightened, besieged Iran of today.

Furthermore, Washington has at some point got to
accept that Iran is an influential regional power with its own legitimate interests. If Iran truly has no nuclear weapons ambitions, then the only reason for Tehran to suffer punishing sanctions is national pride. Iran needs economic growth, not pride.

If Washington really wants stability rather than just obedience, then it should welcome Iran’s overtures.

As for the near-war state between Iran and Israel, the crux of this confrontation is the lack of a Palestinian state. If Israel ever agrees to such a viable state, hostility with Tehran will sharply lessen. Recall that amidst mutual threats in the 1980’s, Israel quietly sold Iran $5 billion of US arms.

Israel has been using the alleged nuclear threat from Iran to derail progress towards a Palestinian state. PM Rouhani has a golden opportunity to pry open the doors of Mideast peace.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2013

This post is in: Iran, Iraq, Israel, Mideast, Palestine, USA


  1. George Rizk says:

    Having Israel dictates its hysteria, and hypocritical position on America has made us the laugh of most of the informed world. Supporting Israel does not mean being a subordinate to Israel.

    Israel has more nuclear arsenal than all the Europeans. Their Air Force is also second only to the US. That should be a comforting thing, and to add to it, most of the Arab enemies are divided and inept.

    Having a firm position against the theocracy of Iran should be because of its undemocratic system, and not because they are working on building nuclear power plants.

  2. Your review of U.S.-Iran relations is very informative and timely.

    Following are a few added thoughts to your observation, “Washington and Israel have used the nuclear arms issue to isolate Iran and make it an outcast state—“.

    Because of media attention, Iran has a well known “nuclear program”. In turn, the Israel lobby has been able to get a majority in the U.S. Congress to go along with imposing economic and trade sanctions against Iran. One of the reasons for their success is that the legislators are supported by their own constituents. About half of the American public believes that Iran either has made an atomic bomb or is trying to build one. This misunderstanding is the result of a cleverly constructed media information vacuum.

    A typical media format starts by placing an analysis or debate on Iran’s “nuclear program” in the context of bombs, war, sanctions, etc. During the discussion, no one explains WHY Iran has a nuclear energy program in the first place. After the pros and cons of a topic have been given, the segment ends with a comment like, “The Iranians claim their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes”. Of course, most people think there are no peaceful purposes for an atomic bomb.

    Because of the context of the discussion, a victim of the information vacuum continues to believe the Iranian’s are in the atomic-bomb business.

    Your PEACE OFFENSIVE essay is typical of American commentators. It does not have a paragraph on “why” Iran has a nuclear energy program. Fortunately, Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran, has helped to fill this vacuum. His opinion essay titled, “Why Iran seeks constructive engagement” was posted in the on-line Washington Post on 9-19-13.

    In one paragraph, Rouhani writes, “At their core, the vicious battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are over the nature of those countries’ identities and their consequent roles in our region and the world. The centrality of identity extends to the case of our peaceful nuclear energy program. To us, mastering the atomic fuel cycle and generating nuclear power is as much about diversifying our energy resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation, our demand for dignity and respect and our consequent place in the world. Without comprehending the role of identity, many issues we all face will remain unresolved.”

  3. It is amusing to see Russia, Syria, and Iran totally out maneuver the Americans by sounding rational, reasonable and offering serious efforts for peace and leaving the Americans looking like Dustin Hoffman Captain James Hook pacing the floor and yelling like a spoiled child the cry of “I want my war!”

  4. How can anybody still call Iran a terrorist country and a member of GWB`s ‘axis of evil’ a terrorist? What does Israel think makes it so special, that they can have an excessive number of nuclear and chemical weapons, while lecturing other countries about the evil of its possession?
    Israel is trying every kind of excuse to force Iran to have its central bank put under the control of the banking cartel, that controls just about all other central banks in the world. That is the reason for its belligerence and the US government is controlled by them via that mainly privately owned Federal Reserve. The creation of money out of nothing and the ability to then charge usury interest rates on that money is what should be put back into the hands of the sovereign states. That way the people are the beneficiaries themselves. That is true democracy. Iran and Cuba are the last bulwarks against a privatized world government of gargantuan proportion, the likes of which mankind has never seen or endured.
    Some day we will thank the Islamic Republic of Iran for having saved us out of the claws of indiscriminate world-wide slavery.
    If you think the gap between rich and poor is too wide, enjoy what you have, because even the poor are richer than what they will be then, not to mention their liberty and freedom they still enjoy, or rather what is left of it.

  5. What we have here is a ‘failure to communicate’…

    Obama is his ‘bunglebee’ fashion has become the ‘laughing stock’ of most of the world… I’m not sure what our own Canadian leader is thinking in private…
    As much as I dislike Harper and his policies, I’m pretty sure that is is not so ignorant to be drawn in… political pressure, most likely. It’s unfortunate that he can not call O-bomb-a up as a ‘friend’ and caution him that he (Obama) may be heading down the wrong path. If I thought a friend were making an error, that’s what I would do.

    Israel will not let Rouhani and Obama get too cosy… it’s not in their interests… and they can prevent this by fulminating Middle East unrest… as they have in past.

  6. A devotedly to be wished for rapproachmant between the US and Iran would put the world more at ease but I very doubt we will see it happen anytime soon. Firstly, the Israeli’s and the American Israeli lobby would be furious and consider it a betrayal of Israeli-US security alliance. I believe Iran has more to fear from Israel than the other way round. Secondly, the American embargo and sanctions on Iran is more to do with punishing the Iranians for doing away with the Petrodollar than it is about discouraging Iran from enriching Uranium.
    America’s economic survival depends on the use and demand of it’s currency. However, the Iranians may have little choice but to buckle under US pressure to give up their Nuclear program and resume using the petrodollar unless they are prepared to suffer the fate of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

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