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Understanding Why Iranians Bash the US Government


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Two days ago, the New York Times carried an article by Times’ journalist Thomas Erdbrink entitled, “For Iran, a Grand Occasion to Bash the US,” which was about Iran’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of its revolution in 1979. The article included the following sentence, “And like some evil doppelgänger, the United States was omnipresent, despite having broken all ties with Iran in 1981.”

Unfortunately, Erdbrink failed to point out two things: One, it is understandable why the Iranian people bash the US government, and, two, while the US government may have broken diplomatic ties with Iran, it has nonetheless continued to use economic sanctions to target the Iranian people with impoverishment and death as a way of hopefully effecting another regime change within the country.

First things first though. When the Times refers to “bashing the US,” it makes a common mistake by conflating the US government and our nation. Actually, they are two separate and distinct entities, a phenomenon best reflected by the Bill of Rights, which expressly protects the citizenry (i.e., our country) from the US government.

The distinction is important because the Iranian people love Americans. They just hate the US government. And when one considers what the US government has done to Iranians and continues to do to Iranians, which, unfortunately, many Americans don’t like to think about, it is not difficult to understand the deep enmity that Iranians have toward the US government.

In 1953, the CIA, which is one of three principal parts of the national-security branch of the federal government, secretly initiated a regime-change coup in Iran, one that not only ousted from power the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadegh, but also destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy. That’s ironic, of course, given that US officials are always reminding people how enamored they are with “democracy.”

Why did the CIA initiate this regime-change operation? Because the US national-security establishment was convinced that there was a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world, a conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!)

What did that supposed worldwide conspiracy have to do with Mossadegh? The CIA was convinced that Mossadegh was leaning left because he had nationalized British oil interests, which, needless to say, had not sat well with British oil companies. Therefore, the CIA concluded, Mossadegh could conceivably be a secret agent for this supposed worldwide communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Russia.

Upon ousting Mossadegh from power, the CIA made the Shah of Iran its supreme dictator in Iran. He turned out to be one of the most cruel and brutal tyrants in the world, with the full support of the CIA and the rest of the US national-security establishment. In fact, the CIA helped organize and train the Shah’s tyrannical enforcement agency, the SAVAK, which was a combination Gestapo, KGB, Pentagon, NSA, and CIA.

For the next 25 years, the Shah and the CIA-trained and CIA-supported SAVAK ruled Iran with a brutal and oppressive iron fist. Indefinite detention, brutal torture, kangaroo trials, and executions were hallmarks of the Shah’s regime. Of course, from the standpoint of the US government, the Shah was a kind and friendly ruler, one who was a loyal partner and ally of the US government. From the standpoint of US officials, the Shah and his SAVAK were just displaying the “law and order” mentality within the country that characterized all US-supported foreign dictators.

In 1979, the Iranian people had had enough of the Shah’s, the SAVAK’s, and the CIA’s brutal tyranny and oppression. That’s when they decided to revolt, violently. If their revolution had failed, there would have been a horrific backlash involving mass arrests, incarceration, torture, kangaroo trials, and executions at the hands of the Shah and his CIA-trained and CIA-supported SAVAK.

But the revolution succeeded, much to the chagrin of US officials, who have never forgiven the Iranian people for ousting the CIA’s man from power. Unfortunately, however, the Iranian people were unable to restore the democratic experiment that the CIA had destroyed some 26 years before. Iranians ended up with another brutal dictatorship, this one a religious theocracy.

Ever since the Iranian revolution, US officials have never ceased their efforts to effect another regime change in Iran, one that would bring another pro-US dictator into power, one who would be permitted to wield totalitarian power over the Iranian people in return for loyal support of the US Empire in foreign affairs.

That’s what the US sanctions against Iran are all about. The sanctions target the Iranian people with impoverishment, suffering, and even death in the hopes that they will initiate a violent revolution against their government or, alternatively, in the hope of bringing a collapse of the Iranian government, or, alternatively, in the hope of inciting a pro-US coup within the regime, or, alternatively, in the hope of provoking a regime-change war between Iran and the United States.

The Iranian people are obviously the pawns in this process. Like with other US regime-change operations (e.g., Iraq, Chile, Guatemala, Libya, Afghanistan, etc.), no amount of death, suffering, and impoverishment among the Iranian people is considered too high. When asked in 1996 whether the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children (yes, children!) from the US sanctions were worth US regime-change efforts in Iraq, the response of US Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright reflects the current mindset towards the massive suffering and death of the Iranian people from US sanctions: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price–we think the price is worth it.”

Is it any surprise why Iranians are bashing the US government and President Trump as Iranians celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ouster of the cruel and brutal tyrant that the CIA installed and trained in their country?

Reprinted with permission from the Future of Freedom Foundation.
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