Iran News ...


01/25/16

SEPARATING FACTS FROM FICTION: Truths, Myths, and Outright Lies

By Kambiz Zarrabi

The P5+1/Iran nuclear agreement is a done deal and sanctions against Iran are lifting, much to the chagrin of the war parties here and the Wahhabis there.

Significantly though, Israeli regime’s objection to the agreement is a calculated strategy for blackmail and extortion against its old patron and benefactor, the United States. As expected, the Israeli PM, Netanyahu, has already begun his well-choreographed routine of We need more, give us more, or we’ll screw it up for you!

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party presidential candidate suggests a guarded degree of rapprochement toward Iran, while his rival, the more likely presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, flat-out opposes this idea! Why?

Ten American Marines on two small military crafts end up in Iran’s territorial waters and are detained by the Iranian Navy overnight and returned to their boats within hours on the night before President Obama’s State of the Union Address. The Republican presidential hopefuls, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, refer to the incident as an example of unlawful Iranian aggression! Why?

Five or six prisoners with dual Iranian/American nationalities are released in exchange for six or seven Iranian and dual nationals held in American prisons. Most media pundits here refer to those who were held in Iran, not as prisoners, but as hostages accused of trumped up charges. The hardliners here call this exchange outrageous and disgraceful! Why?

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama takes pride in the monumental achievement of reaching the nuclear agreement with Iran, which he said would prevent or delay Iran from developing the capability of making atomic weapons. He chose his words carefully, he did not say preventing Iran from making the bomb, which would have implied that the Iranians had the intention of doing so clandestinely! Why?

These days it is the news of Iran testing its ballistic missiles (not intercontinental in range, by any means) that is the subject of outrage in the US Congress. They seem outraged that Iran dares to strengthen its defensive arsenal against continuous threats by both the warmongers here and the ill-wishers surrounding it?! Why?

Finally, why is such a large majority of our Congressional representatives, and every Republican presidential hopeful, opposed to what they claim is “giving” Iran something like a 100 to 150 billion dollars, which they all believe will be, at least partially, used to support Iran’s terrorist proxies?

Let’s find some answers to these Whys:

Why did Hillary Clinton reject any suggestion to welcome an opening with Iran? Well, she is already showing signs of alarm as her lead over Mr. Sanders is shrinking in some circles. Sanders is a liberal-minded socialist democrat, with some of whose views I do happen to agree. But he is fully aware that his candidacy is simply serving as a vehicle to awaken the public to the corruption of the political system under the prevailing predatory capitalism that has plagued the country. Had he been seriously after the job of the President of the United States, he would never have offered his views, such as the merits of a rapprochement with Iran, so fearlessly and frankly; but under the current circumstances he’s got nothing to lose by voicing his views.

Hillary, on the other hand, is a consummate politician, she says what she knows will get her the support she must have in her campaign. Under the prevailing political atmosphere presenting any position that might appear conciliatory toward Iran, the pariah state, would play in the hands of her warmongering Republican rivals and even rob her of the voting public’s support. It matters not what Mrs. Clinton truly believes in private, what matters is winning the upcoming elections; and she would never risk that.

Regarding the ten American Marines “lost at sea”, what is so shocking that, with all the open expressions of hostility against Iran, they were not welcomed with open arms when they showed up uninvited in Iranian territorial waters (not in the open seas or international waters) near a very strategic Iranian naval base?! No, they were not forced to kneel down at gun point or humiliated in any way as our brave, patriotic campaigners portray; they were treated with accepted standard military protocol, and quite respectfully; and were released just in time to avoid yet another, perhaps even well-planned, politically motivated scandal.

So why do the likes of Cruz and Rubio portray the incident as an example of Iranian aggression? Well, both, along with a majority of the members of the US Congress, are bought and paid for and, therefore, beholden to the powerful special interest lobbies. Rubio is in his political adolescence. He might even truly believe in what he says and feel that exaggerations and hyperbolae would make him more appealing to his handlers and enhance his chances in his future political career. Cruz is not as innocently ignorant; he is a shrewd, scheming charlatan who is trying to appeal to a fear-driven bovine public. He is not a stupid man, but he must be thinking of the public he tries to reach as stupid. I remember Mr. Cruz openly fantasizing about the possibility of Iran launching a missile from the Atlantic Ocean off New Jersey shorelines and detonate some electro-magnetic device over the East Coast that would disrupt the nation’s communications systems! He was addressing a crowd of supporters that he must have regarded as no more than impressionable, unsophisticated, elementary school children. Is Mr. Cruz, or Donald Trump, for that matter, making the right assumptions?!

Now, about the exchange of prisoners:

There are hundreds of thousands of foreigners, tens of thousands visiting or resident dual citizens, and literally many hundreds of American tourists or businessmen in Iran, and the numbers are increasing; and thanks to our media barrage, Jason Rezaian was perhaps the highest profile one among them. He was held on charges of collecting information that the Iranian version of our Homeland Security considered classified; information such as the identity of Iranians who might have been involved in activities that violated the sanctions regimes imposed by the United States against Iran.

Whether the national security regulations in Iran, or right here in the United States, are overly draconian or subject to abuse remain a bona fide issue to address. But similar charges could be brought against American Homeland Security regulations that allow for the arrest and imprisonment of people who violate our laws and regulations, laws against activities such as attempting to send to Iran items which might potentially have both civilian and military applications, which might include materials with the chosen flavor of the day as the authorities see fit!

Other cases were not that different. One man, a former US Marine, who under the Iranian law is considered a citizen of that country regardless his dual citizenship status, had served in the military of a foreign regime hostile toward Iran. What would we do here in the United States if a US citizen joins Al Qa’eda or ISIS and returns home to America? So the issue here is whether his serving in the military of another country should have automatically revoked his Iranian citizenship, as would be the law here. Of course we do make exceptions here; the Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, had served with the Israeli Air Force! But we all know that Israel is just “different”; don’t we!

Why did the United States under Mr. Obama’s presidency finally begin steps to mend fences with Iran? Was it really the honest concern over Iran’s atomic energy programs which, if not dealt with, would have posed a real threat to the safety and security of the region and ultimately to the West? Hardly.

Every country that has nuclear power plants also has the capacity to gain the knowledge and technology of developing nuclear weapons if it so choses. Having the will to actually pursue the production of atomic bombs is another matter. Both the American and the Israeli intelligence agencies have been in agreement that Iran has not been after producing an atomic bomb, at least in the past twelve years, and highly questionable even before 2003. However, Iranian ambitions to develop nuclear weapons has been a myth that the Israelis have successfully sold the American people as a horrible reality, which first and foremost, presents an existential threat to America’s dear friend and ally, the Jewish state. The public has bought into that nonsense without a second thought as to why would Iran use such a weapon against a trigger-happy state that possesses a large nuclear arsenal and is protected by the might of the United States, and risk an assured total devastation.

The truth is that the animosity between the United States and the Islamic Republic that has been sustained for far too long owes it longevity to the political powerhouses that continue to thrive on this mutually counterproductive entanglement. The problem is that the public mindset here has become so polluted against the Islamic Republic of Iran for such a long time now, which would require a proportionately long period to recover even through the most constructive dialogue between the two governments.

Clearly, if Iran’s most powerful center of authority, Ayatollah Khameneh’i, had not been agreeable to resolving the nuclear issue, the P5+1/Iran negotiations would not have taken place. And, similarly, the Obama Administration must also have felt that continued hostility toward the Iranian regime was not serving America’s best interests. Mr. Obama had to wait until half-way through his second and final term in office to challenge the Congressional establishment and the press for resolving the issues that had prevented any conciliatory rapprochement with Iran. Both the White House and the various rightwing-dominated House and Senate Committees dealing with foreign affairs were fully aware of the politics of pressure and coercion, principally by the Zionist camps, against any deal with Iran.

Mr. Obama simply had to cloak his approach in such a way that it would appear to the American public as the best way to prevent the “rogue” state of Iran from attempting to even learn how to make a nuclear bomb, in exchange for lifting the crippling economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. He couldn’t very well say, and the American public would never have believed, that years of bowing under the Zionist yoke to pressure Iran into submission and the abandonment of its revolutionary zeal for independence was not serving America’s best geopolitical and economic interests. Neither Mr. Obama, nor his replacement as the next President, whoever it might be, would or could ever openly declare that not only has Israel not been a trusted friend and ally of the United States, our relation with Israel has always been that of a parasite and the host. While Israel has been a bottomless hole sapping America’s money and undue sympathy, and giving in return nothing other than disastrous, costly involvements in that region by dragging the United States into the mayhem and quagmires that it has been creating to serve Israel’s own aggressive purposes, Iran as the largest potential economic and trading power has been effectively equated out of consideration for decades. But even hinting at this reality would be catastrophic for the political futures of anyone in American politics.

So, we should not be surprised that President Obama, or his likely replacement, Hillary Clinton, so often sound hawkish when referring to Iran and use tough, deceptive language that appeals to the general public and appeases the hardliners in the Administration.

We have a similar situation in Iran. The Iranian leadership is also understandably concerned with the established mindset among the lay people or public opinion. The Supreme Leader cannot possibly turn around and proclaim to the general public that he might be sensing a change away from hostility and toward moderation in America’s policies toward the Islamic Republic. He also has to deal with the Iranian Parliament with its many hardliners who, just like their counterparts here in the United States, take pride in their bullheaded opposition to any rapprochement between the two countries.

In Iran, however, overcoming this obstacle is not as difficult as it is in the United States. The Iranian educated, liberal-minded white-collar professional class, even the younger generation, is much more inclined toward an opening to the West, provided it is under mutual respect and equal terms. The general population that is simply too preoccupied with daily chores and lack the interest or the time to devote to international affairs or politics is, however, dedicated strongly enough to the ethos of the Islamic Revolution to follow the proclamations and mandates of the Supreme Leader. Therefore, any opening with the United States that does not violate Iran’s security, independence and legitimate national interests would be welcomed by Iran.

The process of normalization of relations between the United States and Iran will not be as easily managed as it is within the Iranian society. We do not have a charismatic Supreme Leader here who could sell an idea, no matter how logical and advantageous, to a long-indoctrinated public. The process will be long and arduous and in stages. President Obama has taken the first steps along that path; but whether his vision will be carried on after he leaves office remains to be seen.

Next topic is the concern, even the alarm, about Iran’s ballistic missile tests that seem to agitate so many of the members of Congress, the presidential candidates and the news media. Missiles, ballistic or guided, are part of any country’s defensive arsenal. All military experts seem to agree that the Iranian armed forces need to modernize in equipment and technique to meet the nation’s defensive needs in today’s hostile environment. One of the most effective deterrent weapon systems in the absence of adequate numbers of fighter and bomber aircrafts is the unmanned airborne drones and ballistic missiles. Iran’s ballistic missiles do not have and do not need long-range capabilities beyond a couple of thousand miles to worry our Congressional fearmongers!

Finally, the very deliberately and maliciously propagated story about the 100 to 150 billion dollars that might be “given” to Iran as part of the G5+1/Iran nuclear agreement is being repeated by our concerned politicians who believe, or want us to believe, that the Obama Administration has capitulated and granted way too much to the Iranian regime.

 

In reality, only a tiny fraction of that money was being held by the United States. The rest is money, in the form of accounts receivable, owed to Iran for the purchase of oil, etc. by other countries who, under pressure and coercion by the United States and through the UN Security Council had withheld those payments, pending the implementation of the nuclear agreement. So, we are not talking about American taxpayers’ moneys that we are concerned about, it is Iran’s own money that must be repatriated, with interest.

And about the prospects of Iran funding its “terrorist” proxies with that money; well, who are we do decide who is a terrorist, a state supporter of terrorism or a terrorist state?

Please allow me to get into this subject in another article.

About the author:

Kam Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.




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