FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Can Iran Trust the United States?

by SHELDON RICHMAN

People ask whether the United States can trust Iran. The better question is whether Iran can trust the United States.

Since 1979 the U.S. government has prosecuted a covert and proxy war against Iran. The objective has been regime change and installation of a government that will loyally serve U.S. state objectives. This war began after the popular overthrow of the U.S. government’s client, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, whose brutal regime the Eisenhower administration and CIA had preserved by driving Iran’s popular Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh from office in 1953.

Had the U.S. government not supported the shah and his secret police, there would have been no 1979 Islamic Revolution or 444-day hostage-taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

The U.S. government has pursued regime change in a variety of ways. When Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army invaded Iran in 1980, the Reagan administration supplied Saddam with intelligence and the ingredients for chemical weapons. Saddam, helped by that intelligence, used poison gas against Iranian troops.

During the Iraq-Iran war, the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airplane over Iranian airspace, killing 290 passengers and crew members. The captain of the USS Vincennes said his ship was being attacked by gunboats at the time, and the Airbus A300 was misidentified as an attacking F-14 Tomcat. Iran countered that the civilian flight left Iran every day at the same time. Witnesses with Italy’s navy and on a nearby U.S. warship said the airliner was climbing, not diving (as a plane would for an attack), when it was shot down.

The U.S. government, or its closest Middle East ally, Israel, has helped ethnic insurgents to attack Iran’s regime. Some groups encouraged by the U.S. government, such as Jundallah and the Mujahedin e-Khalq cult, have been regarded as terrorist organizations by the State Department. Covert warfare has also taken the form of the assassination of Iranian scientistsand cyber warfare. (It strains credulity to think that Israel, which annually receives billions in U.S. military assistance, acts without the knowledge of U.S. officials.)

Then there are the economic sanctions. In international law, sanctions are an act of war. How could they not be? They aim to deprive a population of food, medicine, and other needed goods. The sanctions are said to “cripple the Iranian economy,” but an economy consists of people. Thus, sanctions inflict harm on innocent individuals, with the greatest damage to children, the elderly, and the sick. That is cruel and unconscionable. It must stop, yet some in Congress would toughen the sanctions further.

As one can see, the Iranians are the aggrieved party in the conflict with the United States. Thus they have good reason to doubt the sincerity of recent conciliatory statements, especially when President Obama insists that “all options are on the table” — which logically includes a military and even nuclear attack. Obama should match the conciliatory words with action.

But, some will say, Iran is building a nuclear bomb. The problem is that this is not true. Twice the American intelligence complex (some 14 agencies) has concluded that Iran abandoned whatever weapons program it had in 2003, the year the U.S. government eliminated its archenemy, Saddam Hussein. Israeli intelligence agrees that Iran has not decided to build a bomb. Indeed, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a religious fatwacondemning  nuclear weapons years ago and has repeatedly invoked it.

It is true that Iran has enriched uranium to near 20 percent (as it may do legally), but it is turning that uranium into plates, which, although suitable for medical purposes, are unsuitable for bombs. (Weapons-grade uranium is 90 percent enriched.)

Moreover, Iran, a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, submits to inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has repeatedly certified that Iran’s uranium has not been diverted to making bombs. On the other hand, Israel, a nuclear power whose government (and American lobby) agitates for war between America and Iran, is not a member of the NPT.

Ask yourself: What would Iran do with a nuclear weapon when Israel has hundreds of them and America has thousands?

Despite the peace overtures from President Rouhani, which echo those of his predecessors, Obama is on a course for war. He should spurn the warmongers and choose peace.

Sheldon Richman is vice president and editor at The Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va. (www.fff.org).

Sheldon Richman keeps the blog “Free Association” and is a senior fellow and chair of the trustees of the Center for a Stateless Society.

Weekend Edition
February 12-14, 2016
Andrew Levine
What Next in the War on Clintonism?
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Comedy of Terrors: When in Doubt, Bomb Syria
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh – Anthony A. Gabb
Financial Oligarchy vs. Feudal Aristocracy
Paul Street
When Plan A Meets Plan B: Talking Politics and Revolution with the Green Party’s Jill Stein
Rob Urie
The (Political) Season of Our Discontent
Pepe Escobar
It Takes a Greek to Save Europa
Gerald Sussman
Why Hillary Clinton Spells Democratic Party Defeat
Carol Norris
What Do Hillary’s Women Want? A Psychologist on the Clinton Campaign’s Women’s Club Strategy
Robert Fantina
The U.S. Election: Any Good News for Palestine?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Radioactive Handouts: the Nuclear Subsidies Buried Inside Obama’s “Clean” Energy Budget
Michael Welton
Lenin, Putin and Me
Manuel García, Jr.
Fire in the Hole: Bernie and the Cracks in the Neo-Liberal Lid
Thomas Stephens
The Flint River Lead Poisoning Catastrophe in Historical Perspective
David Rosen
When Trump Confronted a Transgender Beauty
Will Parrish
Cap and Clear-Cut
Victor Grossman
Coming Cutthroats and Parting Pirates
Ben Terrall
Raw Deals: Challenging the Sharing Economy
David Yearsley
Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Formation: Form-Fitting Uniforms of Revolution and Commerce
David Mattson
Divvying Up the Dead: Grizzly Bears in a Post-ESA World
Matthew Stevenson
Confessions of a Primary Insider
Jeff Mackler
Friedrichs v. U.S. Public Employee Unions
Franklin Lamb
Notes From Tehran: Trump, the Iranian Elections and the End of Sanctions
Pete Dolack
More Unemployment and Less Security
Christopher Brauchli
The Cruzifiction of Michael Wayne Haley
Bill Quigley
Law on the Margins: a Profile of Social Justice Lawyer Chaumtoli Huq
Uri Avnery
A Lady With a Smile
Katja Kipping
The Opposite of Transparency: What I Didn’t Read in the TIPP Reading Room
B. R. Gowani
Hellish Woman: ISIS’s Granny Endorses Hillary
Kent Paterson
The Futures of Whales and Humans in Mexico
James Heddle
Why the Current Nuclear Showdown in California Should Matter to You
Michael Howard
Hollywood’s Grotesque Animal Abuse
Steven Gorelick
Branding Tradition: a Bittersweet Tale of Capitalism at Work
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s UN Victory and Redemption of the West
Patrick Bond
World Bank Punches South Africa’s Poor, by Ignoring the Rich
Mel Gurtov
Is US-Russia Engagement Still Possible?
Dan Bacher
Governor Jerry Brown Receives Cold, Dead Fish Award Four Years In A Row
Wolfgang Lieberknecht
Fighting and Protecting Refugees
Jennifer Matsui
Doglegs, An Unforgettable Film
Soud Sharabani
Israeli Myths: An Interview with Ramzy Baroud
Terry Simons
Bernie? Why Not?
Missy Comley Beattie
When Thoughtful People Think Illogically
Christy Rodgers
Everywhere is War: Luke Mogelson’s These Heroic, Happy Dead: Stories
Ron Jacobs
Springsteen: Rockin’ the House in Albany, NY
Barbara Nimri Aziz
“The Martian”: This Heroism is for Chinese Viewers Too
Charles R. Larson
No Brainers: When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail