by Waseem Shehzad (World, Crescent International Vol. 36, No. 7, Sha'ban, 1428)
Like a spoiled child that throws a tantrum when it cannot get what it wants, the US government is threatening to place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of Iran on the list of “terrorist” organizations unless the UN Security Council agrees to tougher sanctions against Tehran. The idea is so preposterous that even Washington’s friends have baulked. How can an important arm of government be described as a “terrorist” organization, they ask incredulously. Further, the US has so far applied this label to non-state actors; to include the IRGC (or Pasdaran, as they are known in Iran) on this list would be a dangerous escalation that could easily lead to war. That may well be the Americans’ real intention.
Ostensibly the move is intended to dissuade Tehran from pursuing its nuclear programme, which Iran insists is for purely peaceful purposes and within its rights under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found no evidence of wrongdoing by Iran, but under Western (primarily American) pressure it has tiptoed round the issue in order to not upset the cowboys in Washington. On August 21, however, Iran and the IAEA reached a deal whose details will be made public in about two weeks’ time. IAEA deputy director General Olli Heinonen has described the agreement with Tehran as a “milestone,” but the US, ever eager to play the spoiler’s role, has denounced it. One Vienna-based diplomat, irked by the US’s behaviour, has said that it is “disingenuous to discourage it, partly before even knowing the details of what it contains.” This is typical of the US’s role in its dealings with Iran, and with Muslims in general.
The latest US threat against Iran, issued on August 15, is so ludicrous that a British daily, the Guardian, was forced to say in its editorial on August 16: “But where is the logic of this measure if the policy is to persuade Tehran to stop enriching uranium? Iranwill only negotiate away its enrichment programme if it is convinced that Washington is not seeking regime change.” The proposal was made by the so-called doves in Washington to blunt the hawks’ demands for an attack on Iran. The “attack-Iran” crowd had been baying for war even before Iraq was invaded and occupied. The war plan has not been implemented only because the Iraqi resistance has tied American forces down and neutralised them. The US is not at present in a position to invade another country.
Iran refuses to submit to US demands, unlike other regimes in the Middle East. Instead it insists on pursuing an independent foreign and domestic policy. An Islamic State, by definition, cannot be subservient to anyone but Allah, otherwise it cannot be Islamic. For 28 years Iran has demonstrated that it will not defer to Washington and will pursue policies that are in the best interests of its revolutionary people at home and Islamic activists abroad.
It is no secret that the warlords in Washington would like to attack and destroy Iran. Their real target is the Islamic system that has been established since the Islamic Revolution (1979). Iran refuses to submit to US demands, unlike other regimes in the Middle East. Instead it insists on pursuing an independent foreign and domestic policy. An Islamic State, by definition, cannot be subservient to anyone but Allah, otherwise it cannot be Islamic. For 28 years Iran has demonstrated that it will not defer to Washington and will pursue policies that are in the best interests of its revolutionary people at home and Islamic activists abroad. It is this determined independence that irks Washington in particular, and the West in general. They have tried all kinds of subversive tactics against the Islamic Republic, including an eight-year-long war launched through Ba‘athist Iraq to try to destroy the Islamic state, but have failed because of the steadfastness of Iran’s leaders and the consolidated support of Iran’s people for them.
Economic and financial sanctions to subvert Iran’s society have also failed. Tens of thousands of revolutionary leaders were martyred in a campaign of terror supported and financed by the US. These alone would classify the US as a terrorist state, but because of its vast media network it has continued to make wild allegations about Iran’s alleged support of terrorist organizations. The irony is that the US itself is guilty of the most egregious crimes; for instance, it supports (financially and militarily) the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), a group that has been on the US state department’s list of terrorist organizations since 1997. The MKO has military training-camps in Iraq and it also maintains offices in Washington, not far from the White House. Scores of American congressmen and women support this terrorist outfit. The US really is in no position to call anyone else a terrorist.
The US invasion and occupation of Iraq is illegal. Even former UN secretary general Kofi Annan mustered enough courage just before he left office to declare that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq was illegal. Since March 2003 an estimated one million Iraqi civilians have been killed. This is in addition to the 1.5 million Iraqis who died as a result of the economic sanctions that were imposed by the US and Britain and lasted from 1991 to 2003. According to a recent report by Oxfam, a British charity, 8 million Iraqis are in need of emergency assistance, 2 million have fled the country, and another 2 million are displaced internally. The report has also found that “43 percent of Iraqis suffer from ‘absolute poverty’... Child malnutrition rates have risen from 19 percent before the US-led invasion in 2003 to 28 per cent now ... The number of Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies has risen from 50 percent to 70 percent since 2003, while 80 percent lack effective sanitation.” Add to all this the horrors perpetrated at Abu Ghraib, Falluja and Haditha and one can see why the US is so hated by people worldwide. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis, ostensibly liberated by the Americans, are opposed to their presence and want them to leave immediately.
The invasion and occupation of Iraq were meant to prepare the ground for an attack on Iran. Only the unexpectedly strong resistance in Iraq has frustrated American designs, but it would be wrong to conclude from this that the warlords in Washington have learnt any lessons or given up their nefarious intentions. In fact a body of opinion holds that America might bomb Iran to cover its massive failure in Iraq. The recent escalation in hostile rhetoric, backed by aggressive manoeuvres, is meant to prepare American public opinion for military aggression against Iran. A land invasion is considered highly unlikely, if not impossible, because of lack of troops and their low morale, but an assault from the air cannot be ruled out. Some commentators regard the presence of the large US naval armada in the Persian Gulf as proof of this being the US’s intent.
Whatever America’s real intentions—and all this rhetoric may well be a big bluff—the leaders in Tehran should not rule out any possibility, nor any options, at their disposal. They should prepare for every eventuality; if the US or Israel dares to attack, the Islamic Republic should deliver a fitting response. Self-defence and repelling aggression are completely legitimate under international law. Perpetrating aggression against others, as contemplated by the US and Israel, is not. True, the cowboys in Washington are not going to be deterred by the niceties of international law, but Islamic Iran should prepare a response that Uncle Sam will not forget in a hurry. We should all remember that bullies are ultimately cowards; they can kill tens of thousands of defenceless people and lose no sleep over it, but they cannot take punishment themselves. So that is what Iran must prepare to administer to the biggest bully the world has ever known.