by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 44, No. 7, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1436)
Americans are so used to being lied to that when they are told the truth, they refuse to believe it. For more than three decades, the US establishment has been harping about Iran’s non-existent nuclear bomb. Now that the people are told that there is no such thing, most Americans find it hard to believe it. Perhaps, they can be forgiven. The dumbing down of America is so thorough that 38% of college students believe France shares a border with America. An equal number believes Uganda is a plant or an animal.
It is, however, the Iran nuclear file that is of interest to us at present. When talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries started in earnest in 2013, US officials — President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and others — kept claiming that Iran had been forced to come to the negotiating table because of the effect of sanctions. The neocon fascists insisted — they still do — that sanctions should be intensified to force Iran to its knees. Others, especially the Zionist cabal and their Christian fundamentalist fellow travelers, want the US to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities.
What is the truth about the effect of sanctions on Iran’s economy? True, they have had some effect but not to the degree that they forced Iran to surrender its rights. Any visitor to Iran can testify that Tehran presents a robust look with rapidly developing skyscrapers, major highways and bridges, and bustling shopping malls, hardly the image of a city ravaged by sanctions.
And it wasn’t Iran that asked for negotiations over its nuclear program. As early as 2011, Obama sought the help of Sultan Qaboos of Oman to approach Iran’s leadership, especially the Rahbar, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei. Obama’s secret message was that the US was willing to negotiate with Iran. In return for some restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program, Washington would lift all sanctions. The Rahbar was initially skeptical telling his Omani visitor that US officials could not be trusted. Sultan Qaboos requested that the US be given one more chance. It was only after this US appeal through the Omani ruler that officials from the Islamic Republic sat down with American officials to discuss the nuclear issue.
Initially, the negotiations in Oman were kept secret. Once an outline of a deal became apparent, only then other countries — Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — were brought into the picture. So the question that must be asked is: who was telling the truth: the US or Iran? Even now American officials continue to speak from both sides of their mouth. As events unfold, officials in the Islamic Republic must be extremely cautious about how they deal with the Americans. Unfortunately, they cannot be trusted at all. Lying and cheating is in their genes.
One final point — and this is something that leaders of Islamic movements everywhere must internalize — is that when the leadership is muttaqi, as it is in Islamic Iran, and has the support of the masses, no power on earth can defeat them. Islamic Iran has shown that any challenge can be surmounted if the leadership has complete trust in Allah (swt) and the support of the masses.