The results of our United States policy toward Iran in modern times was forecast long ago. Actually, about 2,750 years ago by Hosea, a prophet of the Kingdom of Israel.
Of course Hosea knew nothing of us, or of our times. His words were directed toward his own people when he warned them if they did not repent of their sins….well… this was his warning: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7 King James Version).”
So let us see how we have “sowed” the relations between the United State and Iran and consider the “whirlwind” we have reaped and may reap again thanks to Donald J Trump, a truly ignorant and dangerous man as he has proved yet again today.
In the early 1950s, an Iranian reform politician came to power as the Prime Minister of Iran, first by appointment and then through a democratic election of the Iranian people. His name was Mohammed Mosaddegh.
Talk about Reform.
Mosaddegh introduced Social Security, Unemployment compensation, sick benefits for workers and more (think Franklin Roosevelt)but his biggest reform was the Nationalization of the Iranian oil industry. Iran had lots of high priced oil but the Iranian people weren’t getting the profits. No,a British oil company with a long lease got the lion’s share of the profits. Until Mosaddegh acted on the post World War II view that the earth’s natural resources belonged to the Country in which they were located, not to Belgium or Portugal, or Britain.
The British Oil company and the British Government were furious and set about reversing the situation. By offering a new lease that gave the major profits to Iran?
Oh, no, by devising a plan to overthrow Mosaddegh with the aid of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and get their “profits” back. But the British needed help and guess from where they got it.
From the United States Government headed by President Eisenhower and more specifically, from the U S Central Intelligence Agency. Yes, the CIA was in charge of the operation to overthrow Masaddegh which was code-named Ajax
Ajax consisted of mis-information about Mosaddegh (today we just say “lies”), destabilization of the Prime Minister’s reforms (think whittling down the Affordable Care Act), pay-offs to Mosaddegh’s political opponents and whatever else might work to destroy the Prime Minister’s popularity with the Iranian people.
Ajax, whose CIA action officer in this was Kermit Roosevelt (his father had been a Reformer named Theodore) worked brilliantly. Finally by August 1953, Mosaddegh had been so dis-credited that the Shah felt bold enough to dismiss him and install a government that promptly gave the British back the oil. Many of Mosaddegh’s main supporters were executed. He, himself, was kept under house arrest until he died.
Now, you ask why when the charismatic Ayatollah Khomeini made a revolution that overthrew the Shah and we then gave the exiled Shah medical treatment the Iranian people seized our Embassy and chanting “death to the great Satan (us)” shouted their hatred of the United States to the world.
Ah, Ajax, we certainly “reaped” that one. But let us move on.
It is true that Iran under Khomeini and later has followed a course of hatred in the mid-east that had nothing to do with the United States. Iran is an implacable and perhaps mortal enemy of Israel. It has aided and encouraged attacks on Israel. And in Iraq and Syria has sowed its own ill wind.
And it is true, the Iran of today must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.
Which brings us to the present “sowing” by that master tiller of the soil Donald J Trump.
Trump has now pulled the United States out of an agreement meant to slow down the Iranian effort to build atomic weapons, an agreement signed by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany),and the European Union.
Despite the pleas of the other Countries who had signed the agreement, Trump promised not only to pull out but to immediately impose punishing sanctions again and to the extent possible get other countries to respect and enforce the sanctions.
After an arduous two years plus of negotiation, Iran had agreed to the following.
-Beginning in 2015, it would not move forward in any way toward building a nuclear weapon
-Iran agreed to dismantle most of its centrifuges used to produce nuclear fuel reducing the number from 20,000 to 5,060
Iran agreed to give up and send out of the Country 98% of its’ stockpile of uranium, reducing the amount held to 660 pounds.
-Iran agreed to inspections of its major nuclear facilities by International IAEA inspectors who say that so far Iran has not violated the agreement.
-At the end of the fifteen years, in 2030, Iran would be free to restart a nuclear program but only for peaceful uses of atomic energy.
In return for this agreement, Iran got punishing sanctions lifted and it’s money that had been frozen in foreign banks returned. When Trump implies (says) that U S taxpayers have now given Iran billions of dollars that is simply not true (surprise, surprise), Iran is getting its own money back.
Alright, the agreement itself does not strip Iran forever from being able to pursue atomic weapons but when that Country was working “pell mell” to build atomic weapons now, fifteen years is a long time and many changes in geo politics that would be favorable to the U S and the other countries that signed the agreement can occur.
To say that the agreement is “flawed” and not perfect is correct but the “flaws” are minor compared to the overall accomplishment and if Trump had been willing the other Countries were ready to help strengthen the Agreement.
Instead, Trump simply tore it up, saying: “We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement.”
However, we could have delayed it for a significant period of time. But not now.
Our allies are busily trying to build support for a strengthening, not abrogation, of the Agreement. And Iran has said it will talk, negotiate, for about two weeks but if the Agreement is not restored it will feel free to resume work on atomic weapons.
Trump, of course, believes his forceful, tough action will make Iran quake and come to the table willing to give it all up.
In a “pigs eye,” but then most bullies think they can force others to do what they want. And if Iran won’t be bullied, what then? Does Donald J Trump have a plan? To send in the U S marines?
To drop bombs on Teheran? To force other nations to withhold food and medical supplies to the Iranian people and starve them into submission? Oh, that would make us popular around the world.
No, the son of Ajax is come again and I fear the Whirlwind could follow.
But Trump remains defiant and cock-sure of his action, saying today that the Agreement he has shredded was “a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and all citizens of the United States.”
No, President Trump, you are the embarrassment to us all.
May your reign of ignorance and terror end soon.
PS – By the way, of course we know why Trump hates this Agreement so – it was negotiated by the Obama Administration.
One Reply to “The U S and Iran: From Ajax to Trump”
Having lived in Iran during the infancy of Khomeini’s revolution, one of the first electronic revolutions, by the way, as evinced by all the incendiary audio cassette tapes that the cab drivers would listen to that featured the Ayatollah’s rantings, I am chagrinned that the United States was able to destroy the once close relationship we had with the Persians under Shah; and made little to no effort to build bridges to regain the populations trust.
Instead, as we often do, we picked up our sabres and cajoled and threatened and eventually our rhetoric began to sound much as Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s contraband audio cassettes smuggled into Iran from France. In effect we became what we most despised, intolerant Jihadists.