January 6, 2018

Listen to the state-‘guided’ US media this past week and you’d believe a series of spontaneous anti-government protests broke out across Iran.  The protests, according to President Donald Trump and his Israeli allies, were caused by `anger over Iran’s spending billions on wars in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and helping the Palestinian movement Hamas.’ Trump tweeted that Iranians were finally rising up against what he called their hated, brutal regime.  

Talk about manufactured news.  Most Iranians were elated and proud of their nation’s role in thwarting US plans to occupy much of Syria and overthrow the government of President Bashar al-Assad.  By contrast, the other side in this long proxy war – the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain – was smarting with defeat and seeking ways to exact revenge on the hateful trio, Syria, Iran and Russia.

Interestingly, the so-called news of protests over Iran’s military spending did not apparently originate in Iran but rather in Washington which spread it far and wide to our state-guided media.  This was clumsy, but the US and Israel were so eager to get this piece of made-up good news out that they forget the basics of propaganda management: wait for the event before you proclaim it.

What in fact was going on in Iran where more than 21 demonstrators have died violent deaths?  As a very long-time Iran watcher allow me to explain.

Restive minority groups in Iran’s Kurdish, Azeri and Sunni Arab regions, most far from the big cities, have been demonstrating and protesting severe economic problems.  Iran is a big, resource-rich nation of 80 million people that should be booming.  But it has been under economic siege warfare by the US and its allies ever since a popular uprising in 1979 overthrew the US-British backed monarchy that was raping the nation and keeping it a vassal of the western powers.

Iran’s new Islamic Republic was deemed a dire threat to Western and Israeli strategic and military interests (think Saudi Arabia).  The very idea that the Islamic Republic would follow the tenets of Islam and share oil wealth with the needy was anathema to London and Washington.  Israel’s intelligence agency, Mossad, ran Iran’s dreaded, brutal secret police, Savak. The crooked royal family looted the nation and stored their swag in California.

The West’s first act was to induce Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to invade Iran, in Sept 1980.  The West (including the Gulf Arabs) armed, financed and supplied Iraq.  As I discovered in Baghdad, Britain and the US supplied Iraq with poison gas and germ warfare toxins. After eight years, 250,000 Iraqis were killed and nearly one million Iranians died. 

Ever since the Islamic Revolution, the US, Britain, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arabs have been trying to overthrow the Tehran government and mount a counter-revolution.   CIA and Britain’s MI6 has ample practice: in 1953, the CIA and MI6 mounted an elaborate operation to overthrow Iran’s democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh who sought to nationalize Iran’s British-owned oil company.  Mobs of specially trained anti-Mossadegh plotters poured into Tehran’s streets. Bombs went off. Army commanders were suborned, lavish bribes handed out.

The 1953 coup went perfectly. Mossadegh was ousted with backing from the Army and Savak.  Iran’s oil remained safe in western hands.  The successful Iran uprising became the template for future ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Russia, Poland, and Romania.

But in 2009 a US-engineered ‘color revolution’ in Iran went badly wrong even though it used all the latest arts of social media to whip up protestors and deploy them in the streets.  Something similar happened in Iran this past weekend where mobs of 20-somethings, agitated by US and British covert social media, poured into the streets of dingy provincial towns.

As of now, this medium-sized uprising in Iran looks to be over, though it could re-ignite at any time. Young Iranians, at least 40% of the population, suffer due to 50% unemployment.   Iran’s $1 trillion economy is extremely fragile and in some cases barely functioning after decades of US-engineered economic warfare and boycotts.  High unemployment is a result of US economic warfare and bullying other nations not to do business with Iran, producing 13% overall unemployment and a 40% inflation rate. The latter and wide-scale corruption were the spark that ignited the latest riots.

In two more weeks, President Trump, who makes no secret of his hatred and contempt for Muslims, must decide whether to reaffirm the multilateral nuclear energy deal with Iran or heed Israel’s demands and refuse to certify it.  His cutoff this week of US military aid to Muslim Pakistan bodes ill for Iran.

Many Iranians observing the current US-North Korea nuclear standoff will wonder if their nation was not better off continuing its nuclear program and holding the Saudi oil fields at risk to deter a US attack.  Trump’s wild, inconsistent and often infantile responses on this issue are making matters murkier…and ever more dangerous.

Copyright  Eric S. Margolis 2018


This post is in: Iran


  1. Some good news, maybe, “WASHINGTON – U.S. officials say President Donald Trump will extend waivers on Iran sanctions, keeping the landmark 2015 nuclear deal alive for at least another several months despite his past vows to scuttle the deal.
    The waivers are being announced Friday. Three officials say the waivers will be accompanied by other, targeted sanctions on Iran and a stern warning that Trump will pull out of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration if fixes aren’t made by spring.
    That’s when the next deadline comes for extending sanctions relief for Iran.”

  2. I note in my posting, ” Iran will likely proceed into nuclear mode and the other signatories of the accord will not enter into another one or maybe an accord of any kind if the Americans are involved. Other than internal meddling by the US and/or Israel, Iran will proceed into being a nuclear state with the same protections and threat that the Kim has, but in a different area.”
    From Reuters, the next day, “Iran said on Monday it might reconsider its cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog if the United States failed to respect its commitments in the nuclear deal Tehran struck with world powers in 2015, Fars news agency reported.”
    Seems like a natural progression, except that Iran has somewhat better funding, but, is surrounded by a more hostile environment.

  3. Mike Smith says:

    Trump is not alone in actions like this… Obama in the Ukraine brought back the Cold War in much the same way… https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/30/russia-ukraine-war-kiev-conflict

  4. Since Trump and the Republican Party are anxious to gain more votes and financial support from Jewish-American voters, it’s a fairly safe bet that Trump will heed Israel’s advice and pull the US out of the nuclear energy deal with Iran. Incidentally, I agree that Trump’s poorly thought out comments in the past week made it fairly obvious that US intelligence is playing some role in fomenting the protests.

  5. It’s shaping up to be a pretty good year; it just enhances my feeling of weltschmerz.
    I thought the issues in Iran were likely brought about by outside agitators, namely the US. This being supplemented by Western media; I wasn’t aware that their announcement preceded the event. There is a strange dichotomy at play.
    I don’t know how Iranian youth is today, but, my experience with the three Iranians I knew is that they were articulate and well educated. I would hope this continued. They were glad the Shah was overthrown, but, I’m not sure they were happy with the theocracy that replaced Reza. They, almost in unison, ‘clammed’ up. The students were the ones to benefit most from replacing the Shaw… but, not with a theocracy. I’m not sure why students were the ‘driving force’; they had the most to gain. Maybe they weren’t careful about what they wished for and didn’t know what to say about the end result. That the Iranians have a nuclear program shows that they have an intelligent base to work from and that the religious ‘rulers’ have their fingers in many pies.
    The issue with Pakistan is also interesting… any means of getting supplies into Afghanistan is made much more difficult without access to the Khyber pass. I suspect toll fees have just gone way up. It has to pass through longer and less friendly territory. At three times the cost, it can be air lifted into Afghanistan. The Americans may be hurting for money and are looking at cutting back on their foreign expenditures or external expenditures like the UN.
    It doesn’t seem that the Donald cares who he offends or what sort of long term damage he is doing to the US.
    I’m not sure how the reduction in payments to Pakistan is going to affect Iran. The Americans are showing themselves to be less trustworthy. I suspect that the Donald will refuse to sign the nuclear accord as he’s indicated. Iran will likely proceed into nuclear mode and the other signatories of the accord will not enter into another one or maybe an accord of any kind if the Americans are involved. Other than internal meddling by the US and/or Israel, Iran will proceed into being a nuclear state with the same protections and threat that the Kim has, but in a different area. This will further destabilise the Middle East. Time for more UN sanctions; these seem to work really well.[sarcasm switch]
    Time for my usual plug for rewriting the UN Charter, so it can work and relocating the UN onto its own real estate so it is unencumbered by the US.
    As an aside, since the Kim and South Korea are prepared to talk, it’s interesting that the Donald is suddenly prepared to talk with the Kim, rather than compare buttons… If I were the Kim, I’d refuse to enter any dialogue with the Americans and expand the discussion with South Korea to include Japan (without US included). It’s interesting when I refer to the ‘Rocket Scientist and the Dotard’ in the same line, the Winnipeg Free Press’ moderator ‘steps in’ and deletes the comment.

  6. I’m sure western agents are stirring the fire and maybe even providing the spark but high food prices and shortages have always been the driver of social upheaval.

    On July 14, 1789, the day of the highest grain prices in generations, the downtrodden French poor stormed the Bastille.

    A multi-ethnic, highly stratified society with high levels of inequality may burst into flames first but ultimately any system which doesn’t meet the basic needs of the population is going to crumble.

    I’m sure you could get truly expert commentary on how to make this happen at the right time from British, US and Israeli intelligence services.

    John M.

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