by Zafar Bangash (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 41, No. 12, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1434)
Despite decades of sanctions, internal sabotage and external invasion, the Islamic Republic continues to take major strides in most fields because of the sincerity of its leadership and support of its masses.
The manner in which representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conduct talks with Iran, the latest round of which ended inconclusively in Tehran on January 17, is reflective of the West’s overall attitude toward the Islamic Republic. The IAEA aim, as indeed that of the West in general, is not to hold discussions on the basis of mutual respect or an agreed upon framework but to insist Iran must abandon its rights. While the two sides agreed to meet again on February 12, observers do not hold much hope for success in the next round either if no working framework can guarantee the rights of the NPT signatories and hold the power of the nuclear war club in check, as proposed by Iran.
The Iran-IAEA talks characterize what is wrong with the West’s approach toward the Islamic Republic. Under direction from the US, the IAEA makes allegations against Iran that have no basis in fact. Tehran is expected to disprove a negative, an impossible task. The allegations are marketed and trumpeted by the Zionists who actually set America’s agenda. The aim is to keep Iran under pressure because Tehran refuses to accept the Zionists’ theft of Palestine and actively supports the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian and Lebanese people. This is but one reason for the West’s hostility toward Iran.
As a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran is not only entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes but other signatories are obliged to help it. Far from doing so, incessant demands are made of Iran that go far beyond the purview of the NPT. When Tehran meets one set of IAEA conditions, another set of demands are put forward. The aim is to keep the issue in limbo with no end in sight for a satisfactory resolution. The latest round of talks failed precisely because the IAEA, under instructions from Washington, refused to commit itself to a framework under which the issue would be brought to a close if the Islamic Republic met its latest demands. Tehran insists its right to enrichment must be accepted if any progress in talks is to be made. Zionist Israel, which has refused to sign the NPT, has never had to face any such demands even though it is well known that it possesses at least 200 to 400 nuclear weapons. An international conference on a nuclear-free Middle East to be held in Helsinki in December was cancelled under US-Zionist pressure. It was clear the conference would have demanded that the Middle East be made a nuclear free zone and that Israel must open its nuclear facilities for international inspection. Instead, ludicrous demands are constantly made of Tehran amid allegations that it is “not coming clean” on its nuclear program.
Behind this propaganda lies another fact that is at the root of all Western hostility: Iran’s defiance of the imposed global order under which countries in the “Third World” are expected to serve the interests of the West, especially the US. Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran 34 years ago, the unjust imposed global order has been challenged in ways that have irked Western policy makers profoundly. They have done everything in their power to try and undermine the Islamic Republic. It has been subjected to vicious attacks — verbal as well as physical — to bring it to its knees and make it submit to rules based on kufr. Had it not been for the commitment of the people led by muttaqi leadership (Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei), the Islamic Republic may have collapsed years ago.
To enumerate all the challenges faced by the Islamic Republic would take too much space; some salient points, however, need to be recounted. The Islamic Revolution was brought about by a very broad cross-section of the Iranian population rising against the tyrannical regime of the Shah, which was backed by the West. It was easy for opportunists to infiltrate the ranks of such a broad-based movement. They thought they would ride the wave of revolutionary fervor to power. Initially, Imam Khomeini allowed such figures to prove their credentials and gave them positions in the new government structure. The first group to expose itself was the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), which became popularly known by the more apt name, the munafiqeen. They launched a campaign of assassinations of leading figures of the Revolution as well as bombings, aided and abetted by the US. The aim was to destroy the Islamic Republic from within. It is revealing that a few months ago, the US government removed the MKO from its list of terrorist organizations. This was a mere formality since the MKO terrorists were harbored and protected in Camp Ashraf in Iraq as well as allowed to maintain offices in Washington, DC. These terrorists have enjoyed official support in France, Britain and other Western countries. Imagine a US designated terrorist outfit operating freely from offices on Pennsylvania Avenue, a few blocks from the White House!
Others among those that exposed themselves soon after the victory of the Islamic Revolution were individuals like Abul Hassan Bani Sadr and Sadeq Qutbzadeh. Neither was able to live with the revolution or its revolutionary spirit. The first was elevated to the position of president but he had to flee to Paris after his treachery against the Revolution was exposed and the Majlis in Iran was about to impeach him. Bani Sadr is still sheltered by the French. The second, Qutbzadeh appointed foreign minister was caught attempting to bring about a coup with the help of some air force officers. He met his richly deserved fate. The campaign of bombings and assassinations continued for nearly a decade, aided and abetted by the US through its agents in Iran.
This was only part of a multi-pronged attack on the Islamic Republic. On September 22, 1980, the Ba‘athist regime of Saddam Husain launched a fullscale invasion of the Islamic Republic. The war had the full backing of all Western powers as well as their Arabian agents in the Muslim East. Some pumped in billions of dollars of aid to Iraq; others pumped excessive amounts of oil to bring down its price so that it would bankrupt the Islamic Republic forcing it to abandon its defensive war. Western powers — France, Britain, Germany and the US — provided weapons, intelligence information as well as ingredients for chemical and biological weapons. The entire confederacy of kufr was aligned against the Islamic Republic that defended itself singlehandedly through perseverance and dedication.
The vicious propaganda against the Islamic Republic was intense. Screaming anti-Iran reports were beamed daily by such Zionists as Marvin Kalb of CBS News, predicting the “imminent collapse” of the Islamic Republic (CNN and Fox News did not exist at the time; CBS, NBC and ABC were the monopolistic Zionist propaganda organs). With close connections in the US State Department and the Zionist State, Kalb made bold projections about the collapse of the Islamic Republic after each assassination or bombing attack in Iran. Kalb’s assessment was based on how a tiny minority controls the levers of power in the West: eliminate a few key figures and the entire system collapses. The campaign of assassinations and bombings, instigated by the US and Zionist Israel, should have led to the collapse of any government that operates on the West’s model. Islamic Iran was not based on this model and its survival was not dependent on the West’s goodwill. The young men and women of Iran inspired by the leadership of Imam Khomeini not only withstood the assassination campaign but also continued the defensive war for eight years liberating every inch of their territory from the Ba‘thist invaders. Only people inspired by the revolutionary message and fervor of Islam could do so.
The shooting war against the Islamic Republic ended in August 1988 but war by other means has continued unabated. This has included a raft of sanctions, freezing Iran out of banking transactions as well as freezing its assets and trying to prevent it from trading with other countries through normal trade channels as a consequence of US-Zionist led hostilities. The ostensible reason for all these hostile acts is Iran’s nuclear program that is allegedly geared toward military purposes. While such propaganda has intensified over the last 20 years, apart from innuendos and deliberately misleading allegations, not a single shred of evidence has been produced to prove Iran has done anything in violation of its NPT obligations. In a propaganda war, truth is the first casualty. Besides, if Iran’s nuclear program was the real reason, how does the West explain its hostility towards Iran for the first 14 years of the Revolution when there was no nuclear issue? It is clear the real reason lies elsewhere.
It is Iran’s refusal to submit to Western, primarily US demands to surrender its independence and accept Western hegemony that is at the root of all the hostility. The West would be quite willing to live with Iran’s adherence to some Islamic principles so long as these remain confined to rituals and do not touch on issues of social and political justice or challenge the unjust global order, such as the occupation of the Holy Land by a racist cabal of European Zionists. After all, in terms of strict adherence to the rituals of Islam, Saudi Arabia can be considered to be the “Islamic” model yet the West has never had any problems with Saudi Arabia’s version of Islam. The Saudi regime remains totally subservient to the West; Iran refuses to fall into this category.
After decades of internal sabotage, the US and its allies have realized that it is virtually impossible to instigate Iran’s people against their Islamic government. Their last attempt in June 2009 immediately after the presidential elections failed miserably. For more than a decade, the US has been threatening military aggression against Iran. This policy, too, like the propaganda campaign, has been Zionist instigated. In fact, Israeli rulers have repeatedly threatened preemptive strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations in an attempt to force the US to do so. Should Israeli rulers make this foolish mistake, it is more than likely that by the time it ends, there will be no Israel left in the world.
Concurrent with threats of military aggression against Iran, there is the foreign inspired insurrection against the regime in Syria. The latter is seen as a conduit for help to Hizbullah and the Palestinians and if Syria were weakened or the government overthrown, it would be a blow to the Iran-led resistance front against Zionist Israel. There is little doubt that Syria’s elimination from the equation would be a setback for Iran but the situation in Syria is not as simple as it is projected in the Western or Arabian media. The Syrian regime is not weak; more importantly, if it were overthrown, it might open a Pandora’s box from which few would come out unscathed.
The tide of history, however, is turning against the US and its bullying tactics. It has suffered two humiliating defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. The two wars, the longest in its history, have bankrupted the US. Its European allies are also on the verge of financial collapse. People in many countries considered crucial for Western interests, have risen up and driven Western-backed dictators from power. This is as true in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen as it is in Central and South America. American hegemony is being challenged in different ways as Washington’s warmongers are forced to turn their attention to the rising economic and military might of China.
The most telling evidence of US-Zionist decline is the successive defeats the Zionists have suffered in Lebanon and tiny Gaza. In Lebanon, the Zionist invaders were given a bloody nose in the Summer of 2006. Israeli casualties were so high and losses in material so great that they dare not contemplate invading Lebanon or grappling with Hizbullah fighters again. A mere 3,000 lightly armed Hizbullah fighters from the Badr brigade confronted 20,000 Israelis soldiers backed by the most lethal weaponry the US could supply and yet the Zionists were defeated. The same held true in Gaza in 2008–2009 and again in November 2012. In the first attack three years ago, the plan was to destroy the Hamas-led government. Even while the Zionists inflicted massive casualties on the civilian population — 1,400 deaths of which 30% were children — and destroyed much of Gaza’s infrastructure, Hamas survived. In the November 2012 invasion, Hamas and Islamic Jihad were able to fire some rockets into Israel as well. Thus, it was not entirely a one-sided affair. The Zionists realized that if they launched another attack against Gaza, there could be even greater blowback.
What is the relation between Gaza and Islamic Iran? As soon as the shooting war in Gaza ended, both Khaled Meshaal of Hamas and Dr. Ramadan Abdullah Shallah of Islamic Jihad publicly acknowledged Iran’s practical help in repelling Zionist aggression. It was Islamic Iran that had provided the know-how to make rockets that could reach as far as Tel Aviv. One of these rockets — M-75, meaning with a range of 75km — was proudly displayed by Hamas during their victory celebrations a few weeks later. It is quite revealing that none of the regimes surrounding Palestine or Gaza has provided any practical help. Instead, the Arabian rulers have indulged in their traditional policy of loud but meaningless rhetoric.
Despite the suffocating sanctions that have undoubtedly caused hardship for ordinary people in Iran, and the campaign of assassination of its nuclear scientists in recent years, Islamic Iran continues to discharge its responsibilities toward oppressed people everywhere in the world. Further, because of sanctions that are viewed by its sincere leadership as a “blessing in disguise,” Iran has made great strides in industrial, technological and electronic fields. It has achieved virtual self-sufficiency in most weaponry; its cyber capabilities were acknowledged even by US General William Shelton, head of the US Air Force Space Command, as recently as January 18.
What Iran has demonstrated is that if Muslims rely on Allah (swt) and are led by muttaqi leadership, the masses would willingly make great sacrifices. All the satanic plots of the enemies of Islam will come to naught. It is this realization that is spreading among Muslims and non-Muslims and it is the awareness of this reality that causes heartburn in Washington, Tel Aviv, London and Paris.