FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Argo and the Stolen Truth About Iran

by MAHMOOD DELKHASTEH

This year’s Oscar-winning movie ‘Argo’ recently spurred Iran’s former president, Abolhassan Banisadr to write an article about the ‘October Surprise’. In it, he discusses the secret deal between Ronald Reagan and Ayatollah Khomeini which, by delaying the release of the hostages being held in the US embassy in Tehran, swayed the results of the 1980 US presidential election to favour Reagan over the incumbent Jimmy Carter. Banisadr argues that through ‘falsifying, misrepresenting and taking critical facts out of context,’ the film ‘delivers a pro-CIA message,’ and that by portraying Iranians as irrational and aggressive people it prepares the US public to support a war should the current nuclear negotiations fail.

The day after Banisadr’s article was published, Robert Parry, who had written previously about the ‘short-sighted history of Argo’, wrote a second article supporting these arguments. He added that ‘the House Task Force which was examining this so-called October Surprise controversy in 1992 had come to the conclusion that they had found “no credible evidence” of a Republican-Iranian deal had reached such a conclusion only by ignoring important facts and burying a letter from Banisadr letter detailing his behind-the-scenes struggle with Khomeini and Khomeini’s son Ahmad over their secret dealing with the Reagan campaign.

Soon after, Barbara Honneger, a former White House Domestic Policy Advisor who had played a major role in exposing this secret deal, wrote an extended comment on Parry’s article. Her article illuminates how the report by the Task Force, which was chaired by Rep. Lee Hamilton, was nothing but a ‘white wash and cover up.’ One of its members, Dymally, drafted a Minority Report, but Hamilton prevented him from publishing it through bullying and threatening to fire his entire Congressional Staff. Honneger reveals how Banisadr’s letter was coordinated with a two-hour press conference where she presented reporters at the National Press Club with reams of incriminating evidence on the October Surprise cover up (she is now planning to release a videotape of this two-hour press conference). As she writes, this ‘flood of last-minute’ evidence on that historic day implicated the Reagan-Bush campaign in plans in delaying the release of the hostages, and led the Task Force Chief Council Lawrence Barcella to ask Lee Hamilton to extend the enquiry for a further three months. Hamilton refused.

This may seem puzzling at first. Why would Hamilton prefer to produce a ‘white wash and cover up’ report rather than extend the enquiry? The answer could lie in a conversation he had with Banisadr before the Task Force was established. In a personal interview, Banisadr revealed that Hamilton told him if there had been a clandestine deal between Reagan and Khomeini, all governments in the last twelve years would be considered illegal, and that this would be extremely harmful for the political system. Banisadr told him that the price of lying would be even higher, as the American people would lose trust not only in politicians but the entire political system if they became aware of this lie, which soon or late they would.

Here, we can see that Hamilton had already decided to produce his report even before setting up the Task Force, as he had calculated that the price of telling the truth would be extremely high. Had had he told the truth, it is nearly certain that many of the political decisions which have had disastrous global consequences, such as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, would not have taken place.

This brings me to my main point. It is that it is doubtful that Ben Affleck intentionally produced a movie to serve the interests of warmongers in Washington, and more likely that the script is over-reliant on CIA documents. However, reactions to the movie provide us with an opportunity to introduce what Robert Parry calls ‘America’s Stolen Narrative’ so that Americans realize the price that they and the world have paid and are still paying as a result of being lied to.

Oliver Stone once considered making a movie about the October Surprise. If he again considered producing one based on facts rather than fiction, he could make a major contribution to returning this stolen truth to the historical record in the public mind. Recovering this may ultimately thwart the advance of future wars that are already being planned by the very people who helped bring Reagan to power.

Mahmood Delkhasteh is a political sociologist, expert in Iranian revolution and a human rights activist.  He is currently working on a new book based on his doctoral dissertation, Islamic Discourses of Power and Freedom in the Iranian Revolution, 1979-81.

Mahmood Delkhasteh is a political sociologist, expert in Iranian revolution and a human rights activist.  He is currently working on a new book based on his doctoral dissertation, Islamic Discourses of Power and Freedom in the Iranian Revolution, 1979-81.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
Joseph Natoli
The Politics of Crazy and Stupid
Sher Ali Khan
Empirocracy
Nauman Sadiq
A House Divided: Turkey’s Failed Coup Plot
Franklin Lamb
A Roadmap for Lebanon to Grant Civil Rights for Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon
Colin Todhunter
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder
Michael Barker
UK Labour’s Rightwing Select Corporate Lobbyist to Oppose Jeremy Corbyn
Graham Peebles
Brexit, Trump and Lots of Anger
Anhvinh Doanvo
Civilian Deaths, Iraq, Syria, ISIS and Drones
Christopher Brauchli
Kansas and the Phantom Voters
Peter Lee
Gavin Long’s Manifesto and the Politics of “Terrorism”
Missy Comley Beattie
An Alarmingly Ignorant Fuck
Robert Koehler
Volatile America
Adam Vogal
Why Black Lives Matter To Me
Raouf Halaby
It Is Not Plagiarism, Y’all
Rev. Jeff Hood
Deliver Us From Babel
Frances Madeson
Juvenile Life Without Parole, Captured in ‘Natural Life’
Charles R. Larson
Review: Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian”
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail