The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the "Mullahs"

The international community now realizes that Iran–with missiles that can reach London, Paris, Berlin and southern Russia – does not only pose a threat to the security of Israel, but to the security and stability of the whole world.

Indeed, Iran has replaced Saddam Hussein as the world’s number one exporter of terror, hate and instability.

(Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom speech at the U.N. General Assembly September 23, 2004)

In reference to a deal being worked out between Iran and the EU negotiators, Britain, France and Germany, over Iran freezing uranium processing, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said on November 20, 2004 that “my view would be that the incentives of the Europeans only work against the backdrop of the United States being strong and firm on this issue . . . In the vernacular, it’s kind of a good-cop bad-cop arrangement. If it works, we’ll all have been successful”

(New York Times, November 21, 2004).

Instead of the “good-cop bad-cop” scenario, it would have been more apt for Mr. Armitage to use the good, the bad and the ugly scheme, since Iran faces not two characters, but three. The third character, the “ugly,” is played by Israel. Mr. Armitage conveniently left out the important role of this last character. But this is quite expected. Israel, as the late Edward Said used to say, is the last taboo. It is sacrosanct. No mention of it in the context of the US foreign policy is possible. It is the Teflon state. Nothing sticks to it, not even the charge of spying.

It was only a few months ago-to be exact, late August 2004-when it was first reported that the FBI had discovered a spy network in the Department of Defense which passed confidential documents, particularly those detailing the Bush Administration’s policy toward Iran, to the main Israeli lobby group in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC-whose website proudly states that through “more than 2,000 meetings with members of Congress – at home and in Washington – AIPAC activists help pass more than 100 pro-Israel legislative initiatives a year”-brought out its heavy artillery. All the AIPAC men and women, including its top leadership, the leadership of other Israeli lobby groups, Congressmen, Israeli officials, and even the officials in the current Administration, went to work and used the O.J. Simpson defense- i.e., anti-Semitism of the FBI agent involved-to put an end to the whole sordid affair in a few days. Indeed, the representatives of both Presidential candidates, namely, Condoleezza Rice and Richard Holbrooke, appeared at AIPAC’s “Largest-Ever National Summit” on October 24-25 in Hollywood, Florida, to pay homage to an agency that was accused of involvement in spying. Soon after, AIPAC’s usual website, which was temporarily halted by the cries of we are “loyal U.S. citizens,” went back to what it does best, i.e., trying to lead the US to wage another war in the Middle East, this time against Iran:

Today, AIPAC has 65,000 members across all 50 states who are at the forefront of the most vexing issues facing Israel today: stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, fighting terrorism and achieving peace. And above all, ensuring that Israel is strong enough to meet these challenges. (AIPAC website)

As I have shown in CounterPunch and elsewhere, Israel, its lobby groups, its Congressmen, its friends in the Administration-both the cons and the neocons-as well as its Chalabi-like mercenaries, who are in the business of fabricating lies, have been trying for sometime to repeat in Iran what they did in Iraq. That is, by accusing Iran of developing nuclear weapons, they have attempted to get the UN to pass economic sanctions against Iran. Once the sanctions are imposed, Israel and its cohorts believe, Iran will be weakened sufficiently to make a military operation against it succeed. That would destroy yet another supporter of the Palestinians and would make Israel’s rule over the entire land between “the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates” possible.

Smelling blood, in recent months Israel and the gang increased their attacks. As the above quotation from Silvan Shalom shows, Iran was said to have “replaced Saddam Hussein as the world’s number one exporter of terror, hate and instability,” and Iranian missiles were ready to reach “London, Paris, Berlin and southern Russia.” Similarly, Ariel Sharon said on October 25, 2004 that “Iran is making every effort to arm itself with nuclear weapons, with ballistic means of delivery, and it is preparing an enormous terrorist network with Syria and Lebanon.” This was, of course, the same Sharon who as far back as February 5, 2002, had told The Times of London that “Iran is the center of ‘world terror,’ and as soon as an Iraq conflict is concluded, he will push for Iran to be at the top of the ‘to do list'”. Even though the “Iraqi conflict” is not yet concluded, Sharon was doing his best to push the US in the direction of destroying Iran. In other words, the tail was once again trying to wag the dog.

The cons and the neocons also went on a massive campaign to assist the leader of “the only democracy” in the Middle East, or as some know him, the “butcher of Sabra and Shatila.” On August 2, 2004, in reference to the EU’s attempt to engage Iran in a dialogue concerning processing uranium and to prevent another US-Israeli (USraeli) war in the Middle East, the national security adviser Condoleezza Rice warned: “The Iranians have been trouble for a very long time. And it’s one reason that this regime has to be isolated in its bad behavior, not quote-unquote, ‘engaged'” (Reuters, Aug 2, 2004). This was, of course, the same Condoleezza Rice who on September 8, 2002, warned the world about Iraq’s non-existing nuclear weapons by saying “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

Similarly, on August 17, 2004, the Undersecretary of State John Bolton-who after discussing the Iran case with the EU and Russians often stops in Tel Aviv before returning to Washington-said at a neocon event held at the Hudson Institute:

“Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability is moving it further and further down the path toward international isolation. We cannot let Iran, a leading sponsor of international terrorism, acquire nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to Europe, most of central Asia and the Middle East, or beyond. Without serious, concerted, immediate intervention by the international community, Iran will be well on the road to doing so.” (US Department of State)

Then, of course, there are the USraeli mercenaries and hirelings who, like the old Iraqi National Congress, are in the business of cooking up evidence for sanctioning Iran and ultimately attacking it. One such group is the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization, the “good terrorists” who used to work for Saddam, but now work for the USraelis. Every few weeks these Chalabi-like, men-in-black characters-and also Fox News commentators-come up with some “top secret satellite photos” showing non-existent nuclear weapons sites in Iran (how a US designated terrorist organization gets top secret satellite photos is, of course, beyond one’s imagination).

It was apparently one of these men-in-black characters who was behind Colin Powell’s embracing revelation on November 17, 2004. According to the Washington Post, “a ‘walk-in’ source approached U.S. intelligence earlier this month with more than 1,000 pages purported to be Iranian drawings and technical documents, including a nuclear warhead design and modifications to enable Iranian ballistic missiles to deliver an atomic strike” (November 19, 2004). The Secretary of State, who seems to be easily duped, then made a great “revelation” by stating that he was given “some information that would suggest that they [Iranians] have been actively working on delivery systems. “I’m not talking about uranium or fissile material or the warhead,” Powell told the reporters, “I’m talking about what one does with a warhead” (Washington Post, November 19, 2004). This revelation, similar to the “irrefutable evidence” that the Secretary of State presented in February of 2003 at the UN Security Council concerning the Iraqi’s WMD, of course turned out to be nothing but another fabrication.

Such non-existent sites are also reported by other individuals who are in the business of fabricating sensational news. On September 16, 2004, David Albright, a former arms inspector, who now heads some “Institute for Science and International Security,” made a “disclosure” which appeared as headlines in many major US news outlets. This “prominent international expert,” according to Reuters, “disclosed” that the “new satellite images showed the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran may be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons.” Reuters then added that a “senior U.S. official told Reuters on condition of anonymity” that “this clearly shows the intention to develop weapons.” The day after, IAEA chief ElBaradei stated: “We do not have any indication that this site has nuclear-related activities (BBC September 17, 2004). As usual, the news disappeared without a single major US news media reporting that the earlier story was a lie.

All this effort on the part of USraelis, however, has so far failed to produce the desired result. Having lied too many times, USraelis have had a hard time convincing the rest of the world that Iran’s missiles will soon rain on London, Paris, Berlin and southern Russia. Exasperated by their futile efforts, in late November, 2004, the “bad” and the “ugly” had to watch with dismay a deal finalized between the “good” and what the USraelis call the “mullahs” (this is a pejorative and demonizing term used by the USraelis in reference to the primitive nature of the ruling clergy in Iran, as if the Zionist rulers of the “Jewish State” or the Christian fundamentalist rulers of the US are any more modern!).

On November 29, 2004, the Board of Governors of IAEA passed a resolution stating what the “mullahs” had said all along, i.e., “all declared nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for.” It further announced what the “mullahs” had demanded all along, i.e., the halt to enriching uranium by Iran “is a voluntary confidence building measure, not a legal obligation.” It also noted with “interest” a deal made between the EU negotiators, Britain, France and Germany, and the “mullahs.” According to this deal, not only Iran does not give up its right to enrich uranium permanently, but it will get some goodies from the EU. For example, the EU will resume trade negotiations with Iran, which had been halted since the enrichment controversy arose. Also, the EU will actively support Iran joining the World Trade Organization, which so far the US has prevented. In addition, the EU “will confirm its determination to combat terrorism, including the activities of Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, such as Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization” (IRNA, November 15, 2004).

In the final analysis, the “mullahs” have, at least for now, outfoxed the “bad” and the “ugly.” If the “good” can also deliver the promised goodies, the clever “mullahs” will definitely have the last laugh.

SASAN FAYAZMANESH is a professor of economics at Fresno State University. He can be reached at:



Sasan Fayazmanesh is Professor Emeritus of Economics at California State University, Fresno, and is the author of Containing Iran: Obama’s Policy of “Tough Diplomacy.” He can be reached at: