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Talk or Trap

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich


For years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has sought to open a dialogue with the current occupants of the White House.  The talks set between the U.S. and Iran on May 28th  seem promising.  Yet given that the Bush administration’s stance towards Iran is far from reconciliatory, one must question the underlying motives for these talks.


Rhetoric of war at an all time high, it would seem odd that the White House should seem amenable to this meeting – or at least, for us to be optimistic about their outcome. Here is why.  According to the Chicago Tribune, in 2004, the Bush administration had planned on building 14 bases in Iraq and housing thousands of US soldiers - permanently[i].  However, other than overt and blatant colonization and theft of Iraqi resources, it needed justification to explain its continued and permanent presence in Iraq.   Unrest and civil war were the pretext that warranted the presence of the military – and later the introduction of the paid militia.  But the unrest had to be blamed on the country that was to be the next target of the administration’s invasion - Iran.  

While the mainstream media (MSM) misinforms the public about Iran, it conceals the real threat facing the United States, and the world.  Snug in the belief that we are protected by democracy, leaders, like thieves in the dark, have abducted the very essence of our democratic society.  Paid militias, whose rule of engagement is determined by the highest bidder, are engaged in activities hidden from the public.  Blackwater USA,  co-founded by former Navy Seal Erik Prince,  a “billionaire fundamentalist Christian” who interned in the White House of Bush Sr. is running a group of mercenaries who are here, there, and everywhere.  

It comes as no surprise then that this militia group with a dangerous underlying of Christian fundamentalism, should receive funding from the Bush administration by being rewarded no bid contracts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and post-Katrina.[ii]  Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) stated: "We need to know why the Bush Administration keeps writing blank checks to Blackwater and others, while it keeps Congress and the American people in the dark."[iii]  It is also not surprising that the White House should seek to further strengthen the alliance of the militias with the Evangelical right in preparation for the possibility of yet another illegal and immoral invasion.  It was reported that he met privately with James Dobson and a dozen Christian right leaders to discuss the ‘Iran Policy” for an hour and a half on May 15.[iv]

Furthermore, Mr. Bush adamantly rejects a measure that would prevent him from using Iraq war funds to strike Iran.   Not only is the MSM’s  campaign of defamation and misinformation in full speed, but those who feed this frenzy, are so confident in the unawareness and apathy of the American public, that while their outrageous and inconsistent accusations make first rate material for comedians[v];  the raging vulgarity of their ambition and greed can only be placated with the shedding of innocent blood.   To this end, they claim that not only is Iran allegedly supplying both the Shia and Sunni ‘insurgents/terrorists’ in Iraq with roadside explosives, but on April 28, Mr. Bush’s hand-picked general, General Pace, told the right-wing Washington Times:"It is not as clear in Afghanistan which Iranian entity is responsible, but we have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran,"[vi]. 


This wild accusation comes on the heels of Iran’s diplomats being killed by the Taliban after which incident Iran chose to pursue diplomacy rather than military action in pressing demands for apology and for prosecution of killers by Iranian or international court; stating that the use of military force would undermine its efforts to reassure the world that it is not a threat to its neighbors.  Never mind Iran’s invaluable assistance to the United States post 9/11. 


If indeed Iran is the arms supplier the US generals claim it to be, and which the MSM trumpets,  with Iran’s current young population and nationalist zeal, then  the United States should indeed rethink its rhetoric of war and realize that it has a formidable nation to reckon with. The United States should also realize that it should truly to embark on a real diplomatic solution and recognize Iran’s sovereignty.  While there is no proof of Iran’s arms export other than fabrication and accusations by the U.S., there have been interesting sources regarding the United States track record on conventional arms alone.


The United States has ranked as the world's most prolific arms seller to developing countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and the nearly simultaneous triumph of U.S. arms over Soviet weapons in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The annual report by Congressional Research Service analyst Richard Grimmett classifies all countries as developing except Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, the United States, and all European states.  In inflation-adjusted dollars, U.S. arms agreements in 2003 totaled $15.5 billion and accounted for one-half of the $29 billion in worldwide sales, while the U.S. sum last year made up $44 billion.[vii] Iran, a developing country, is not in Congress’ report; however, MSM is instructed to feed a mass frenzy that Iran is arming its neighbors. 


Undoubtedly, Iranians are generous people, however, even their generosity has its limits.  As such, it has been restricted to housing the displaced millions who have had to flee their occupied war-torn homes as a result of American-led illegal wars and occupations.  In spite of years of U.S. sanctions, Iran, barely able to sustain its own population, has given shelter to millions of Iraqis and Afghanis.  This generosity is overlooked by the world at large.  The world body that sanctioned Iran, punished not only Iran, but those who ran away from conflict, famine, rape, and disease as a result of American greed.  Iran can hardly afford to give free arms in its package of aid; much less have a desire to, especially to the Taliban who killed its diplomats, or the Iraqis where it would like to see stability.   


The Bush administration needs to demonize Iran for it must gain world approval before going to yet another illegal war.  British marketing guru, Simon Anholt who is a specialist on ‘nation branding’, a relatively new concept which holds that countries can change their [negative] image, contends that the solution to improving America’s negative image is to “Ask permission before invading a country”.[viii]  America has been doing just that – getting permission by setting Iran up.  Talks would indicate the U.S. good will towards diplomacy, but their assured failure (U.S. accusations and unreasonable demands, in addition to likely covert operations), would get a blessing from the world for the army of militias to attack.  Mr. Bush knows no conscientious Army general will do his bidding. 


We cannot hold another nation to account while we are breaking the rules ourselves.  Inarguably, Iran has much to improve on.  For those of us who enjoy the freedoms of this country, we must not lose track of them.  There was a time when we looked to leaders for principles and guidance.  The word integrity found its way in the dictionary because it existed among men and women of character.  Today, those qualities have disappeared with the leaders they once represented.  Instead, we are being represented by criminals who have deflowered our virgin belief in integrity, principles, and compassion in a democratic society, and in humanity as a whole.  Lining their pockets with blood money, they enable each other to prey on the fear of one nation to massacre another, while ravaging a third. 


Our objections only sharpen their claws which tighten around our throats, unless we object with one voice.  The strength of our unity will enable us to reclaim our democracy.  We must put an end to the war and stop another one from ever taking place.

[i] Spolar, Christine. "14 'Enduring Bases' Set for Iraq." Chicago Tribune.  March 23, 2004.

[vii] Boese, W. Arms Control Today. Washington: Dec 2006. Vol. 36, Iss.  10;  pg. 28, 3 pgs

[viii] Kahn, Jeremy.  “A Brand-New Approach”. Foreign Policy”. Nov/Dec 2006 p90-92


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