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23 December, 2017

Washington’s pre-war demonization formula is targeting Iran ... again

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s grandiose performance in front of the UN on December 15 should send shivers down the spines of those who remember Colin Powell’s equally disturbing performance in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This is just the beginning of the a new media campaign against Iran with regime change as the end goal.

by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Part 1

The United States has had Iran in its crosshairs for decades and current media coverage indicates that US-Iranian relations are only getting worse. In 1953, the CIA overthrew Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mohammed Mossadegh, and replaced him with a brutal U.S.- and U.K.-backed dictator, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. As is typically the case with covert CIA operations, the U.S. had other concerns when it made the decision to lead a coup against Iran’s democratically elected government and opted for a dictatorship instead. As explained by The Guardian:

           Britain, and in particular Sir Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, regarded Mosaddeq as a serious threat to its strategic and economic interests after the Iranian leader nationalised the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, latterly known as BP. But the U.K. needed U.S. support. The Eisenhower administration in Washington was easily persuaded.

The Shah’s subsequent reign and stranglehold over Iran sowed the seeds of anti-Western discontent. The Iranian people overthrew the Shah in the historic 1979 revolution, and have almost completely rejected Western influence ever since. Shortly afterward, the U.S. backed Saddam Hussein in Iraq to take out Iran in a nonsensically brutal conflict that lasted close to a decade, nearly killing off an entire generation. Further, the U.S. knew Saddam Hussein was using chemical weapons against the Iranian people and enabled him to do so — all the while secretly selling arms to the Iranians in order to maximize the death toll.

As political analyst Noam Chomsky famously stated:

           Not a day has passed in which the U.S. has not been torturing Iranians. That’s 60 years, right now.

But what was Iran’s grave crime, for which the U.S. saw fit to punish Iran for the last half a century at least? According to Chomsky:

            Why the assault against Iran? We’re back to the Mafia principle. In 1979, Iranians carried out an illegitimate act: They overthrew a tyrant that the United States had imposed and supported, and moved on an independent path, not following U.S. orders…So, Iran has to be punished for that.

Iran’s greatest crime was wanting to reject American and British companies from intruding on its own soil and resources, and take a nationalist course not unlike many of the countries under the thumb of the American empire that wanted to head in an independent direction. This, one would have to admit, would be the essence of democracy — a country deciding the way forward for its people without extrinsic interference. We would do well to bear this in mind the next time the U.S. alleges it wants to export democracy to the Middle East, having actively and pointedly killed it in 1953.

Furthermore, given that the U.S. supports a number of despotic regimes — including its support for Saddam Hussein prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (which was given a controversial green light by the U.S. to begin with) — the U.S. is left to its own creative devices to manufacture allegations against Iran to justify its transformation into a pariah state on the world stage. Sanctions, saber-rattling, and crying wolf over Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program have been the go-to mantra for years.

As stated by Professor Michel Chossudovsky, the propaganda against Iran and its alleged nuclear program can be easily unpacked when one considers the reality of the situation:

           What is unfolding (in Iran) is the outright legitimization of war in the name of an illusive notion of global security. America’s mini-nukes, with an explosive capacity of up to six times a Hiroshima bomb, are upheld as a ‘humanitarian’ bomb, whereas Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons are branded as an indisputable threat to global security,

Chomsky explains this paradigm from the Iranians’ point of view, stating:

           Israel, India and Pakistan all developed nuclear weapons with U.S. assistance. India and Israel continue to maintain — have a substantial U.S. support for their nuclear weapons programs and other programs, such as the occupation of part of Syria in violation of Security Council orders.

           And Iran is constantly threatened. The United States and Israel, two major nuclear powers—I mean, one a superpower, the other a regional superpower—are constantly threatening Iran with attack, threatening Iran with attack every day. Again, that’s a violation of the U.N. Charter, which bans the threat or use of force, but the U.S. is self-immunized from international law, and its clients inherit that right.

           So Iran is under constant threat. It’s surrounded by hostile nuclear states. It — and maybe [it] is developing a deterrent capacity. We don’t know. [The] New York Times knows, but intelligence doesn’t. That’s the pretext.

As Chomsky notes, Iran’s defense spending is relatively low compared to the rest of the region (barely $15 billion USD). According to the U.S. Defense Department’s annual review of Iran:

           Iran’s military doctrine is defensive. It is designed to deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor, and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities while avoiding any concessions that challenge its core interests.

This type of assessment hardly resonates with the allegations against Iran. If Iran is capable of fanning the fuels of a sectarian conflict from Syria to Yemen, developing a rampant nuclear weapons program, and constantly threatening Iran’s rivals in the region, it has been able to do so on a very limited budget and with very limited resources. Not to mention that Iran would also have had to outmaneuver the U.S.-enforced crippling sanctions that have lasted decades against Iran, all the while simultaneously taking over the entire region.

In other words, Iran’s capabilities and its military spending just don’t harmonize with America’s numerous allegations against the Islamic Republic.

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