July 15, 2015
Why am I supposed to hate Iran again?
By Mark Wachtler
July 15, 2015. Austria. (ONN) A historic nuclear agreement was reached between Iran and the world’s major powers. It seemingly allows the country to continue generating nuclear electricity and a gradual end to Western sanctions in exchange for an end, or at least a decade-long halt, to its nuclear weapons program and the consent to UN monitoring and inspections. Saudi Arabia, Israel and America’s Republican Party don’t like that and have already increased their anti-Iran rhetoric. But a strange thing has happened over the past 35 years – many Americans forgot why they’re supposed to hate Iran.
Most Americans don’t know the history of US-Iran relations, and are shocked when they find out.
Your author was 9 years old in 1979 when the Iranian people, led mainly by students, stormed the US embassy in Iran and took 52 American hostages. I remember it well. They were held for 444 days and released immediately after US President Jimmy Carter was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan. From that day forward, the American people have been ceaselessly told that Iran is one of their three main national enemies and poses the greatest threat to the safety of the United States. But after 35 years, this author must join the chorus and ask, why am I supposed to hate Iran again?
Why did Iran take our hostages?
Since Iran’s taking of US hostages is historically the top reason Americans dislike Iran, readers are strongly encouraged to research the subject and discover the truth for themselves. If you’re like this author, it will horrify you. Wars have been raging between the Persians and the West since a thousand years before Christianity or Islam even existed. But that’s not the root of today’s animosity. Today’s stand-off begins in 1908 when oil was discovered in Iran.
In 1908, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was created by British oil barons who promised to extract Iran’s oil in exchange for a percentage of the profits. In 1935, the company was renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In 1954, it changed its name once again, this time to British Petroleum (BP). From the start, England’s Winston Churchill saw Iran as the key to its own lack of oil and a way out of dependency on foreign oil companies like Standard Oil and Royal Dutch Petroleum. With the largest Navy in the world, the UK was determined to use Iran’s oil as its own.
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That led to one-sided agreements where British oil companies backed by the British military took as much as 84% of the oil profits, leaving just 16% for Iran. By 1940, Iran had become a large oil producer who supplied numerous nations. In the early years of World War 2, Iran’s national policy was the same as the United States – neutrality. But seeing how much oil was needed to fight the war, the UK decided it had to secure its Iranian source by any means necessary. Four months before the Japanese surprise attack on America, the British and Russians launched a similar attack, invading and overthrowing the Iranian government, installing a puppet leader, and forcing Iran to enter the war on the side of the allies.
Iran elects a sovereign, who the US immediately overthrows
When World War 2 ended, Great Britain went back to exploiting Iran by taking the vast majority of the country’s oil profits, all under the protection of the UK-installed puppet government. By 1951, the Iranian people had become educated about their own plight and the country named its first popularly elected Prime Minister – Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh. Mosaddegh led a peaceful national revolt to keep Iran’s oil profits for itself instead of letting the British take them. He was successful, leading the UK to sue Iran in the World Court. The World Court ruled in favor of Iran.
For further information, read the Whiteout Press article, ‘The real History of the US-Iran Conflict’.
In 1952, with the Western allies fighting Russian and Chinese Communists in Korea, the British tried to convince US President Truman that the shift to democracy by the Iranian people was a secret Communist plot to take over Iran. Truman, who was in the process of trying to end the Korean War, didn’t believe it. When Eisenhower was elected President and took office the following year, he not only wanted to continue the war, he believed the British about the Communist threat in Iran.
That year in 1953, the CIA launched Operation Ajax which overthrew the democratically elected Mosaddegh and replaced him with the US-controlled dictator historically referred to as the Shah of Iran. American, British, Dutch and French oil companies immediately went back to controlling Iran’s oil and its profits.
Taking American hostages
Over the next 25 years, the US-backed Shah’s dictatorship became more and more brutal, ruthless and repressive. The secret police known as the Savak – trained by the CIA and Mossad – waged a nationwide campaign of murder, torture and terror to silence the growing anger and popular protests. By the late 1970’s, the Shah resorted to Martial Law and a ban on protests and demonstrations. The Iranian people responded to that edict by waging the largest protest and general strike the country had ever seen. Over 2,000,000 Iranians flooded the public square in Tehran demanding their freedom and the resignation of the Shah.
As the protest went on, the Shah fled the country to seek medical treatment. Believing the US was once again protecting the hated dictator, Iranian students turned their attention to the American embassy in Iran. The Iranian people knew the 1953 CIA-led coup was carried out from the same building serving as the US embassy. The students stormed the building, taking 52 American employees hostage.
The students had four demands: Return the Shah from the US back to Iran for trial. Return the Shah’s wealth to the Iranian people. A promise from the US not to interfere in Iran’s affairs in the future. And an apology and admission of guilt by the US for its past actions in Iran. None of those things ever happened. In fact, the following year, the US attempted another coup to overthrow the student-imposed theocracy and the country’s new leader Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.
20 years later, US Secretary of State Madeline Albright officially acknowledged the US role in Mosaddegh’s 1953 overthrow. 30 years later, leaked CIA documents confirmed it as well. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘CIA Docs finally admit US overthrew Iran in 1953’ for further details.
Flash forward to 2015. For the past 35 years, the Iranian people have enjoyed a flourishing and growing economy. They’ve ruled themselves with a democratic theocracy. In fact, just like America, the Iranian President is term limited to two four-year terms. But unlike America, the Iranian President is elected by a direct vote of the people. Iran also enjoys the largest middle class in the Middle East and has become so Westernized, it performs the most nose jobs and other elective glamour surgeries of any nation in the region.
If Iran has one major problem today, it’s that its citizens are a mixture of religions, mainly Zoroastrians, but ruled by Shiite Muslims. Unfortunately, 85% of the Muslim world is Sunni Muslim and determined to exterminate them. With the rise of Islamic Jihadism and the global civil war between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, your author has noticed a few facts that seem to conflict with the constant stories emanating from America’s TV sets. I’ve often wondered – are we on the wrong side of the Islamic civil war?
While the American-backed Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and others are ruled by brutal and tyrannical dictatorships, the multi-religion, Shiite-led Iran is a republic. While the Sunni countries repress women and force them to be completely clothed in black garb, the streets of Iran look like the streets of any Eastern European country. The only garb they seem required to wear are those colorful head scarves my Polish grandma used to wear everyday and call a babushka.
And as far as freedom goes, Iran recently witnessed a massive protest march by its citizens demanding the country’s leaders be responsible world citizens and get the devastating economic sanctions lifted. I don’t recall ever seeing popular demonstrations in the American-allied Sunni countries like that.
Iranian military threat
One statement we’re ceaselessly told is that Iran is one of, if not thee, largest state sponsors of terror in the world. With the advent of ISIS, it would seem that designation should now belong to Saudi Arabia. There’s a reason the American people are told that Iran is such a threat, and it originates from two of our closest allies – Israel and Saudi Arabia.
In reality, the Shiite Muslims and Iran are the 15% persecuted minority just trying to keep from being exterminated by the 85% Sunni Muslims pledged to do it. The Sunni Muslim extremists are determined to take over not only the Middle East, but the whole world. It’s the Sunnis who fly the black flag of ISIS and impose Sharia law, not the Shiites, and certainly not the Zoroastrians who make up much of Iran. As the 15% global minority, the Shiites are in no position to conquer anything. They’re simply trying to survive.
Similarly, for the past 20 years Americans were told the Kurds were international terrorists, even appearing on the official US terror list. Today, the world knows differently. They’re a seemingly proud, righteous people who simply want their country back – Kurdistan. They’re only considered terrorists by America as a favor to Turkey, because Turkey doesn’t want to give the Kurds their land back. Today, American soldiers fight right alongside the Kurds in their war against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. In Iraq, American soldiers are fighting side by side with the Kurds, the Shiite Militias, and even the Iranians against the Sunni ISIS army.
While the Assad regime is a brutal dictatorship, it’s hard to miss the fact that its portion of Syria is a safe haven for all the religions of the world – Shiites, Christians, Jews, Alawites, Druze and even some ancient religions most of us have never heard of, all united against Sunni ISIS. For its part, the US has unsuccessfully and repeatedly attempted to forge together a ‘moderate Sunni’ army to create a third force. They just can’t seem to find very many moderate Sunnis these days.
Saudi Arabia and Israel
Two other hot spots where Iran is accused of supporting terror are Palestine and Yemen. In Yemen, it looks like the same old story – the country is half Sunni and half Shiite, known locally as Houthis. The problem is that Yemen is a tiny country on the tip of Saudi Arabia’s peninsula and Saudi Arabia will not tolerate Shiites ruling any part of their peninsula. For its part, Iran is supporting fellow Shiites being persecuted by Sunni extremists funded, armed and supported by the giant Sunni neighbor next door.
In Palestine, this author used to often wonder why Israel considers Iran its number one threat when all of its Sunni Muslim neighbors, have, and continue to plot its destruction. Iran is a Shiite-ruled country on the other side of the Middle East trying to keep from being wiped out by the same Sunni countries surrounding Israel and determined to do the same to her. But then a realization emerged – the Palestinian West Bank.
With the United States vetoing nearly every UN resolution against Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian West Bank, why doesn’t Israel just evict or murder the Palestinians out of the West Bank all at once? Israel’s already cleansed half of the entire West Bank with the territory now open only to Jewish settlements. The answer seems to be…Iran.
Iran backs the Shiite Lebanese Hezbollah. And Hezbollah backs the Palestinians in the West Bank. The Palestinians in Gaza are under the historically protective jurisdiction of Egypt and Hamas. But Iran has always pledged to defend the Shiites in the West Bank if Israel ever attempted to genocide them out of existence. That would be this author’s guess as to why Israel, and in turn the US, hates Iran so much.
For the record, this author doesn’t love or hate Iran or the Iranian people. I’m relieved there was a nuclear agreement signed onto by all the world’s major leaders. That will hopefully eliminate what was looking like a preordained US war against Iran. This author just never understood, with the threats from ISIS, China’s military expanse, Russia in Ukraine, North Korean nukes, just to name a few, why was Iran considered the number one threat to America? Today I understand.