by Zafar Bangash (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 52, No. 12, Rajab, 1444)
Islamic Iran ranks among the most sanctioned countries in the world. Tiny Cuba (population 11 million) has faced similar US sanctions and siege for more than 60 years. It has also been subjected to US aggression and numerous assassination attempts carried out by the CIA against its leader, the late Fidel Castro.
More than 25 countries are sanctioned by the US. After its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia joined the list of countries that has had to contend with illegal US sanctions. China, too, is sanctioned to various degrees. The Washington warlords have weaponized sanctions as well as the dollar.
Both are used as blunt instruments to bludgeon countries into submission whose leaders dare to act independently to serve their country’s interests. Most rulers, unable to withstand such pressure and fearing a backlash from their people, surrender their sovereignty.
America spares nobody. Just ask the Europeans, supposed long-time allies (read that as puppets) of Uncle Sam. While the US uses Ukrainians as cannon fodder in its proxy war against Russia, the Europeans are forced to bear the financial burden. Industries in Europe, especially in Germany, France and Britain, have been shut down because of energy shortages after the US forced them to not buy oil and gas from Russia.
The US, however, is supplying them gas at four times the price Russia charged. Energy and food prices have sky-rocketed. The Economist’s projections show that some 100,000 people across Europe could die this winter as a result of high energy costs. In Britain, many people unable to afford regular food, are forced to eat pet food.
America has a strange notion of friendship!
But it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that for 44-years, has faced huge threats to its survival. From internal sabotage and assassination of its leading figures to US-Arabian-western-backed war of aggression that lasted eight years (1980-1988), Iran has faced unceasing challenges. During the war, western regimes—Britain, Germany and the US not only supplied the Iraqi regime with weapons and intelligence but also chemical weapons. Tens of thousands of Iranian fighters were poisoned by these banned weapons. Add to that the decades of illegal sanctions that have inflicted massive suffering on ordinary people, and one can begin to see the overall picture.
In recent months, the cultural war against Iran has also intensified whereby a small number of misguided people are used as tools to undermine the Islamic Republic. These people have received direct help from western intelligence agencies led by the CIA. A number of foreign agents have been arrested in Iran and have been dealt with according to law. Others will face similar legal procedures for acting as agents of the enemies of the Islamic Republic. The actions of these individuals amount to treason.
Let us, however, return to the issue of sanctions. These constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Most other countries would have folded a long time ago. Despite its revolutionary credentials, Venezuela was recently forced to compromise with the US in order to get some sanctions relief. While one can sympathize with the Venezuelan leadership, they must be careful because American friendship is even more dangerous than its enmity.
The question that must be asked is: why is Iran subjected to such relentless pressure and what is it that the US and its NATO allies want of Tehran? The simple answer is that Iran has committed the cardinal sin of breaking out of the stranglehold of the west-centric world order that was imposed in the aftermath of the Second World War. The bloodiest war in human history led to the west’s global hegemony.
The underlying principles and philosophy of the Islamic revolution are based on Islam. This needs elaboration. Most people including many Muslims make the fundamental error by assuming that Islam is just like any other religion, emphasizing rituals. As long as people perform these rituals, they have fulfilled their responsibilities.
Islam is not religion as understood in the conventional sense. In the Qur’an Allah (swt) describes it as deen (3:19; 5:03)—a comprehensive way of life that encompasses all aspects of life whether social, cultural, political or economic. Fundamental to all these activities is Islam’s emphasis on social justice. Muslims are commanded to stand up against all forms of injustice and oppression (3:18; 5:08). This is what terrifies the demonic powers and their agents that dominate the world today.
People anywhere in the world that stand up against these demonic powers in support of the oppressed and the downtrodden (the Qur’an refers to them as mustadafeen) are vilified. In most cases, they are attacked and no means are spared to destroy their societies.
This is what has been attempted against the Islamic Republic of Iran since the victory of the Islamic revolution in February 1979. Under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, the people not only overthrew the Shah—a US puppet—but also embarked on a course to make the country totally independent of the oppressive and exploitative policies of all tyrannical powers, especially the US. Ever since, the Washington warlords have used every oppressive tool kit in their arsenal to prevent Iran from breaking the chains of slavery otherwise people elsewhere would get inspiration and seek genuine freedom.
The western-backed terrorist outfit, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), that quickly earned the epithet, the munafiqeen, spearheaded the anti-Iran campaign. It targeted ulama, intellectuals, ministers, the president and prime minister and many others. Some 1200 leading figures were martyred in the first few years after the revolution. Iran’s current leader, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei was also targeted on June 27, 1981 but miraculously survived.
In order to understand the extent of the criminal campaign launched by the west through the MKO terrorists, consider the following episodes.
On June 28, 1981, a massive bomb destroyed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party that resulted in the loss of 72 leading figures of the revolution including the chief justice Ayatullah Beheshti, five other ministers and several members of parliament.
Then on August 30, 1981, another bomb assassinated Iran’s President Mohammad Ali Rajai, Prime Minister Mohammad Bahonar and another person. Th bomb was planted by the MKO terrorists in the prime minister’s office where a meeting was underway. The western-backed MKO terrorists have not hesitated taking their murderous campaign into foreign countries either. Iranian embassies in London, other European countries and even in Ottawa were attacked. On April 5, 1992, the MKO terrorists stormed the Iranian embassy in Ottawa by using ladders to climb through the embassy windows. Once inside, they not only smashed equipment but also attacked the Iranian ambassador breaking his arm.
Despite such a gory record, western regimes starting with the European Union but also the US, Canada and Japan removed the MKO from their list of terrorist organizations. Instead, leading US figures among them such notorious war criminals as John Bolton (former National Security Advisor to Donald Trump), Rudy Giuliani (Trump’s former personal lawyer and an indicted criminal), Mike Pompeo, another Trump crony and a self-confessed liar and crook, have attended MKO meetings and spoken for hefty fees (For the record, Trump refused to pay Giuliani’s legal fees over the election fraud claims!).
The former US ambassador Daniel Benjamin wrote in Politico (November 23, 2016) that “Giuliani took money from a group that killed Americans. Does Trump care?” Trump had just won the presidential election in a surprise outcome. Benjamin names other Americans as well on the take from the MKO terrorists including Bolton!
Trump does not care but he also did not hesitate to order the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and his Iraqi host, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis at Baghdad Airport on January 3, 2020. This, according to the former UN Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, constituted a war crime. Iran’s leaders have vowed to exact revenge at an appropriate time.
The assassinations at Baghdad Airport were preceded by the assassination on November 27, 2020 of Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a top Iranian
nuclear scientist. Other nuclear scientists were assassinated in 2010 and 2011. Both zionist Israel and its MKO allies were involved in these and terrorist acts. Islamic Iran will neither forget nor forgive these crimes.
There is one specific aim behind all these terrorist acts: to undermine the Islamic Republic and bring about its collapse. Far from achieving this nefarious agenda, the Islamic Republic has withstood its ground. True, the Iranian people have suffered greatly as a result of sanctions and other terrorists acts but aware that theirs is a higher calling, this is a price they have willingly paid.