by Mohammad Khaku (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 12, Rabi' al-Thani, 1437)
On February 1st Iran celebrates 37 years of the Islamic Revolution. Many politicians and Islamic scholars were of the view that the Islamic state led by the ‘ulama would not last long. However, Imam Khomeini established the new political system based on the concept of the Velayat-e Faqih (rule of the Jurist Consult) and enshrined it in the constitution. Although the concept was first discussed by Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali in his monumental work, Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Din (Revival of Literacy with the Islamic Social Pattern), it still created quite a stir not only in the Islamic world, but also in the West. However, it has survived for 37 years and is the most important regional player exerting great geopolitical influence by impacting the political chessboard of the region through a unique manifestation of its foreign policy.
The US and Israel have consistently sought to maintain Israel’s nuclear monopoly in the Muslim East (aka the Middle East) and wrongly portrayed Iran as the main source of insecurity and threat. This lie has been exposed by the fact that Iran has repeatedly called for a nuclear-free Muslim East but the US and Israel have consistently blocked this sensible proposal, not to mention exacerbating the problem at every turn.
Since the overthrow of the US-backed Pahlavi regime in 1979 and the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran, a wave of anti-Iranian sentiment has been fostered both by successive US presidents as well as Hollywood producers. The Islamic Republic of Iran is portrayed in a very distorted and negative light.
Today, all Republican candidates and the rightwing media spew venom against Iran. They target Iran, dishonestly portraying it as a state sponsor of terrorism out to destroy Zionist Israel. The fact is, unlike Israel, Iran has not attacked another country in more than 250 years. Instead, it has been the victim of aggression by Saddam Hussein and terror attacks by the Wahhabis unleashed by the Arabian regimes. Political and military pundits have spewed the rhetoric of hate and have endlessly demonized Iran.
Even after signing of the nuclear treaty, the level of distrust between the US and Iran remains very high. One must review the facts of why this is the case. In 1953, the CIA engineered a coup against the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Mohammed Musaddiq. The despotic regime of the Shah was reimposed. Dr. Musaddiq had nationalized Iran’s oil taking its control away from the British. Over the years, the US armed the Shah’s army and even provided the regime with nuclear technology. This support continued despite it being clear that the Shah was a corrupt tyrant.
In 1980, the US and its Arabian puppets supported Saddam Hussein’s attack on Iran, igniting an eight-year war that killed over a million Iranians. When the Iranians fought back, the US and its Western allies provided chemical weapons to the Ba‘thist regime that started using them against Iran’s revolutionary forces from 1983 onward. While Iran was the victim, there was no opprobrium for Saddam’s criminal acts, even at the UN and its convention against the use of chemical weapons.
On July 3, 1988, the US shot down an Iranian passenger plane as it was en route from Bandar Abbas to Dubai murdering 290 civilians, including 66 children, for which the US never apologized. Instead, Captain William C. Rogers of the US frigate, the Vincennes, which fired the missiles at Iran’s passenger plane, was awarded the second highest military medal! As if this were not enough, the US pursued covert operations in the form of assassinations of its leaders and nuclear scientists and even cyber attacks against Iran. Not exactly a record one can be proud of.
The Arabian states on the Western shores of the Persian Gulf comprising the dictatorial regimes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar continue to show extreme hostility toward Islamic Iran because it is not a monarchy. Iran is a republic with a parliament and an electoral system. Indeed, the US supports all of the dictatorial monarchies. These dictatorial Arabian regimes have bought American lawmakers through the creation of think tanks, super-PACs, and lobbyists for oil and defense industries. The anti-Iran sentiment has to do with the influence of money. The casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers and Zionist Christian fundamentalists are openly anti-Iran. Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has made a career out of demonizing the Iranians and Palestinians.
The Arabian monarchs’ hatred of Iran runs deep. They have financed mercenary writers and numerous media outlets such as al-Jazeera and Fox News to paint Iran in a negative light. Anti-Iran hate-speech is a regular feature of TV broadcasts while publications spread hatred in Arabic, English, Urdu, French, Persian and many other languages. They are also re-writing history by distorting it.
The extremist ideology sweeping the globe like wildfire is the direct result of the Arabian regimes’ financing of Wahhabism. Unless this is checked, the Muslim Ummah will not survive the tsunami of sectarian violence. Arabian monarchies will have to be brought down to prevent more tragedies, which we are currently witnessing, from occurring.
True, there is room for improvement in Iran as well; it is not perfect but which country can lay claim to perfection? Iran supports Hizbullah and the government of President Bashar al-Asad. The US supports Zionist Israel, other fascist regimes, drug lords, and terrorists from South America and Africa all the way to Cambodia.
However, the greatest threat of terrorism against the US has not come from Iran, which has been branded an enemy, but from “friendly” Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil sheikdoms, whose royal families have bankrolled al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and all the other Wahhabi organizations around the world in their holy war against the Christians and Shi‘is. If the US were to make a genuine commitment to human rights and not apply double standards, then the war against extremism can be won.
Iran pursues its political goals free from external interference. It chooses who to associate with, who to trade with, and who to support. The Islamic Republic of Iran is blessed with oil and gas as well as a highly educated population, which has made great progress in the fields of science and technology. Iran is one of the top ten countries in the world in stem cell research, Nanotechnology, nuclear technology, and space. Iran recently launched its fourth satellite into orbit. Despite the sanctions, Iran makes highly sophisticated military and medical equipment. As the Google CEO mentioned, Iran is so advanced in technology that it can hack into a US drone system and land it safely, while the Arabian states purchase weapons from the West to terrorize their populations.