Civil Discourse Now

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The United States hardly is in a good position to "distrust" Iran---1953 is not "ancient" history.

   There is a lack of “trust” between the United States and Iran. Members of Congress have expressed concern about the United States seeking assistance from Iran in regard to the chaos created in Iraq as an aftermath of the United States invasion of Iraq.
   I believe it prudent for the people of Iran not to trust the United States government.
   In 1953, the United States joined with Britain and overthrew the popular Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh.  The Guardian reported the CIA’s admission of its role in that action.  CNN also reported the Agency’s release of information. (“In classified document, CIA acknowledges role in ‘53 Iran coup,”
   Mosaddegh wanted to nationalize Iran’s primary natural resource—oil. He also opposed authoritarian rule by the Shah. The CIA funded military plotters. Mosaddegh was removed from office. The Shah became far more powerful, and the secret police of his SAVAK unleashed terror for the next quarter century.
   One might criticize cultures of the Middle East for holding grudges for several hundred years, but the overthrow of Mosaddegh and its consequences hardly are ancient matters. The Shah left power in 1979.
   A brief recap of highlights of the rule of the Shah of Iran would include SAVAK’s arson—of a crowded theater in the city of Qom the doors of which were sealed shut and which fire resulted in over 600 deaths—its torture of opponents to the Shah—there was a nifty little device developed that popped off fingernails of people who were interrogated—and the usual embezzlement of public funds.
   People in the United States were shocked when our embassy was stormed by Iranian students in 1979 and our embassy personnel were taken hostage. I agree that the students’ actions were wrong and counter to any concept of international law. What many people either do not realize, or choose to forget, is the United States’s acceptance of the Shah into this country for cancer treatments, after the Shah had been deposed and shortly before the embassy was stormed. That was not justification for the students’ reaction, but the leadership of the United States probably acted imprudently in handing a medical visa over to the Shah. The Shah could have gone elsewhere for treatment. Perhaps he would have been welcome in North Korea. The dictator there could work miracles—and his son hit 13 holes-in-one in his first game of golf, ever. Otherwise, the Shah was in the terminal stages of cancer. Our allowing him entrance to this country for treatment was sure to enrage many of the people of Iran. 
   A brief note should be made that, in those end days, the President of the United States was Jimmy Carter. He blew it when he allowed the Shah to enter the United States for treatment. Note also should be made of the arguably treasonous actions of then-candidate Ronald Regan whose assistants negotiated with Iran for release of the hostages as the United States government actively was involved in such negotiations. Later, Ronnie swapped arms and all sorts of stuff with Iran when it suited his, or his handlers’, fancy. 
   United States tampering in other countries’ rule usually turns out differently than what the United States foresaw. In Iran, the Shah became a central figure in OPEC and the energy crisis of the early 1970s. I remember gas stations running out of fuel and being open restricted hours. Of course, the oil companies profited greatly from the Shah. He was their buddy. He also thanked Kermit Roosevelt, the United States, Britain, and the oil companies for making his rise to power possible. 
   The backlash in Iran also brought to power the theocracy still in control today. That is another example of United States foreign policy circling around and dropping guano on our own heads. In this case, the guano has fallen on the heads of many—the people of Iran as well as neighbors of Iran in the Middle East.
   We have not established ourselves as a country in which countries of the Middle East should place trust. We need to establish a record as harbingers of peace, not dealers of arms and bombs.
   We provided the basis for the rise of theocracy in Iran. The basis was Iranian disgust for our emplacement of a dictator over them for a quarter century. We should refrain from expressing distrust of Iran. After all, I cannot remember a reference to Iran attempting to foment a coup in Washington, D.C.

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