FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Left and Iran

Because Iran’s leadership and the U.S. power elite each include influential figures who press for dialog between the two countries, we must conclude that Iran is not in danger of a military attack. Conclusion: people of conscience should drop their opposition to a possible U.S. or Israeli attack and instead condemn imperialism’s best ally in the Middle East, Iran. You may laugh, but this is the essence of Reza Fiyouzat’s hawkish argument as he struggles in a recent Counterpunch article to sow antagonism towards Iran. Never mind that the former government of Iraq had diplomatic and trade relations with the U.S. and still was violently overthrown with calamitous consequences. His assessment is the familiar one that we have heard for decades from Iranian Monarchists, who swear that Washington forced out the former Shah in 1979 in order to install a pliable Islamic order in his place.

Such simplistic far left and far right analyses portray Iranians as a nation of simpletons and victims without agency. Missing from Fiyouzat’s neoconservative-style rush to blame the victim is any reference to the enthusiasm of a great majority in Iran, registered in survey after opinion survey, to restore trade and diplomatic relations with the U.S. If Iran’s leadership is indeed eager to welcome U.S. diplomats, investors, and tourists after nearly three decades of estrangement, it is certainly acting with the consent of the governed. With his rejection of détente, Fiyouzat in effect advocates minority rule even as he demands an expanded democracy in which Iran’s left forces would have more room to organize.

What’s more, Fiyouzat argues, mainstream pro-dialog groups, such as the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), are aiding a Tehran-Washington conspiracy to fool and exploit Iranians. His evidence that Iran is, behind the scenes, a partner in crime with Yankee imperialists? Why, of course, it is Iran’s declared but unsuccessful attempts to attract foreign investment. That is proof enough to Fiyouzat that Iran is for sale and advocates of Iran’s national rights, like CASMII, are sell-outs, even if their purpose is to help expose Western double standards. According to this sophomoric fantasy, presumably the nations of the world must all boycott the U.S. to prove their independence! Fiouzat does not explain why Iran should be the first. I suggest he personally set an example by refusing to boost the U.S. war machine with his income tax.

Apparently, journalist Seymour Hersch, who regularly warns us about ongoing U.S. efforts to destabilize Iran, is just another dupe of the Islamic Republic, and so are the other award-winning authors Reese Erlich and Stephen Kinzer, who each spoke in dozens of American cities last fall and winter against a U.S. attack on Iran. The 118-nation Non-Aligned Movement’s repeated declarations of support for Iranian nuclear rights must similarly be delusional.

Ironically, contrary to Fiouzat’s tired claim that Iran’s leadership uses the threat of a foreign attack as a fig leaf for legitimacy, Iran’s Farsi-language state broadcast monopoly downplays the possibility of U.S. or Israeli aggression. Last January, I was asked to leave a televised show on Iran’s Channel Two (I was being interviewed by telephone) after I refused to agree with the host that Iran was safe from foreign attack.
Real anti-imperialists, Fiyouzat suggests with self-righteous rage, should stand by and refuse to take U.S. and Israeli threats of aggression seriously. He conveniently forgets that in 1953, Iran’s communist Tudeh party hastened the overthrow of Iran’s most revered anti-colonial campaigner ever, Mohammad Mossadegh, by withdrawing its support. Tudeh abandoned the prime minister because, it explained, he was too cozy with Washington. Months later the CIA overthrew Mossadegh, ostensibly for his softness on communism! The coup resulted in the executions of hundreds of Tudeh activists, social democrats, and nationalists and ushered in a quarter century of brutal dictatorship that led to the Revolution of 1978-79. The widow of one of the perished, Mossadegh’s heroic foreign minister, Hussein Fatemi, returned to Iran March of this year for a meeting with Iran’s President. Afterwards she told reporters that her husband would have been proud of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s resistance to foreign manipulations.

The centerpiece of Fiyouzat’s attempt to mobilize the progressive left against Iran is Tehran’s participation in regime change in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here, too, Fiyouzat is so eager to paint Iran’s decision makers as unrepresentative that he ignores overwhelming support for that policy among Iranians. He assures us that “Western powers prefer an Islamic to a secular government” and “Western imperialists cannot have it any better than the regime that exists [in Iran] now”, conveniently overlooking the considerable U.S. support for secular elites against the popular Islamist resistance movements in Palestine and Lebanon. Nor does Fiyouzat recognize that Iran’s alliance with Christian Armenia and tense relations with the Shi’i-dominated Republic of Azerbaijan is inspired by Iran’s opposition to U.S. domination in the region.

Similarly, he makes no mention of Iran’s incessant demand, consistent with the wishes of almost all Iraqis, that U.S. forces leave Iraq without extracting concessions. He also fails to mention that Iran’s closest international ally is Venezuela, hardly a U.S. client state. All that seems to matter to him is that the Iranian government is interested in conditional peace with Washington. Never mind that Cuba’s anti-imperialist government is as anxious as Iran’s to have normal trade and diplomatic relations with the U.S.

The obsession leads Fiouzat to lump defenders of Iranian sovereignty with the “realist” wing of U.S. imperialism. It matters not to him that advocates of Iran’s national rights against the West’s intimidation  may be motivated by other than blind support for the current Iranian government. He is troubled that Iran has frustrated desperate U.S. efforts to isolate it. On the fifty-fifth anniversary of the August coup in which anti- imperialists acquiesced in the U.S. subversion of Iranian sovereignty, Fiyouzat recommends that the U.S. antiwar community do the same. Fortunately, only a tiny fraction in the U.S. antiwar movement is likely to be swayed by his short-sighted ideology.

Rostam Pourzal is a board member of the US branch of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran.

 

 

Your Ad Here
 

 

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador   Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail