US Struggle With Iran's
By Eric Margolis
Clearing House -
Iran’s newly elected
president, Hassan Rouhani, has lost no time in trying to end the
34-year old political and economic siege imposed on his nation
by the United States and its allies.
President Barack Obama, having just been wrong-footed over
Syria, now faces a surprise Iranian diplomatic and public
relations offensive that will be hard to resist. America’s war
party is furious: its dreams of seeing US power crush Syria,
then Iran are in jeopardy.
Ever since a popular revolution ousted the US-installed regime
of Shah Pahlavi in 1979, Washington has sought to overthrow
Iran’s Islamic republic.
Iran has been isolated, put under intense economic and
diplomatic siege, become the target of subversion and the
US-backed invasion by Iraq in 1980 that killed up to 500,000
The US challenge to Iran is always depicted for public
consumption as an effort to stop Tehran getting nuclear weapons.
Iran is routinely accused of supporting “terrorism” and
In reality, US hostility towards Iran is mostly about
old-fashioned power politics. In 2003, US Secretary of State
Colin Powell let the cat out of the bag by admitting that Iran’s
acquisition of a few nuclear weapons would “limit” US ability to
use force in the region.
Control of the Mideast is one of the pillars of US world power.
The US has dominated the Mideast since 1945, as I detail in my
book “American Raj – How America Rules the Mideast.” Islamic
Iran emerged after 1979 as the most potent challenge to US
regional domination and control of its energy.
Iran and US ally Saudi Arabia have waged a bitter proxy war in
Afghanistan, Central Asia, and East Africa by arming and funding
extremist groups. Syria is the latest example.
Washington and Israel have used the nuclear arms issue to
isolate Iran and make it an outcast state, much as was done with
Cuba in the 20th Century.
It’s easy to forget that nearly all of Iran’s nuclear energy
industry is under very tight UN supervision, not to mention
incessant monitoring by western intelligence agencies and
Israel. By contrast, Israel refuses UN inspection and maintains
a sizeable nuclear and chemical arsenal.
It’s also easy to forget that the original signatories of the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – the US, Russia, Britain,
France (and later China) – have all violated the pact’s pledge
to swiftly reduce, then eliminate their nuclear arsenals.
Iran is now making a major push to convince the world
it has no nuclear weapons ambitions, starting with its spiritual
leader, Ayatollah Khomenei who has issued a fatwa condemning all
So far, the US, strongly pressed by Israel, is responding
cautiously but positively.
Israel has made it clear it wants the US to attack Iran and
crush its nuclear and non-nuclear military capabilities. Equally
important, says Israel, is the need to liquidate Iran’s
scientific nuclear cadre of scientists.
My sources in Iraq report that since the US invasion in 2003,
over 200 Iraqi nuclear scientists and technicians have been
mysteriously assassinated. A number of Iranian nuclear personnel
have also been assassinated by bombs, widely believed to be the
work of Israel’s Mossad spy agency.
The logical course for the United States to follow is to welcome
Iran’s overtures and restore normal relations between the two
powers. An Iran aligned to the outside world is less likely to
be troublesome than the angry, frightened, besieged Iran of
Furthermore, Washington has at some point got to
accept that Iran is an influential regional power with its own
legitimate interests. If Iran truly has no nuclear weapons
ambitions, then the only reason for Tehran to suffer punishing
sanctions is national pride. Iran needs economic growth, not
If Washington really wants stability rather than just obedience,
then it should welcome Iran’s overtures.
As for the near-war state between Iran and Israel, the crux of
this confrontation is the lack of a Palestinian state. If Israel
ever agrees to such a viable state, hostility with Tehran will
sharply lessen. Recall that amidst mutual threats in the 1980’s,
Israel quietly sold Iran $5 billion of US arms.
Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated
columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the
International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of
London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan,
Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in
Copyright 2013 Eric S. Margolis
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