In the period following the downfall of the Soviet Union, this is the first time that favorable conditions have emerged on the side of the peoples around the world to challenge U.S. hegemony and control. Over the past four years, the forces of resistance in Iraq have exhausted a quarter of a million U.S. forces directly and indirectly involved in the war of occupation and weakened the will power of its conservative ruling class. Concurrently, in Lebanon the liberation forces of Hezbollah have effectively humbled the aggressive military forces of Israel, and at the same time the people of Palestine have brought the revolutionary and the real fighting force, Hamas, to power.
It is at this juncture that the peoples of Latin America in Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, etc., along with the people of Cuba in the Caribbean have been challenging the neo-liberal socio-economic order and bringing popular governments into power. China has become a formidable economic, diplomatic and military world power that has to be reckoned with. The real purchasing power of the people of China or India has surpassed that of the U.S. Russia has effectively recovered from its economic dislocation and has made tremendous gains in the realm of foreign trade with stunning improvements in its balance of payments. The rate of economic growth of Cuba, 12% in 2006, was more than twice that of the average among the Caribbean countries.
In the Middle East, U.S. interests go far beyond Iran’s nuclear issue and the U.S. desire to limit nuclear weapons proliferation. The real question to be asked is what right does the U.S. have to go eight thousand miles from its shores wanting to undermine a sovereign nation? The objective of the containment is to prevent Iran from influencing the development of the national liberation movements in the region, while Britain and the U.S. have, for longer than a century, dominated the economic and political affairs of the countries in the region to serve the interests of their corporations and military dominance.
History of the last 27 years has shown that Iran has been capable of dodging the sanctions and breaking the chain of containment. The fact is proven that containment has never worked and is ineffective as an instrument of foreign policy. The U.S. is trying to treat Iran and the countries in the region the same way that the colonial powers did in the past centuries. In that era, the Arab sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf purchased their securities from the British Empire and later on from a new superpower, the United States.
The current U.S. invasion of Iraq and its inability to suppress the national resistance of the Iraqis has led to a lack of confidence even among the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, in U.S. capabilities of providing security for those regimes. On the differences between the U.S. and Iran, the masses of people in the countries of the Middle East and even in Turkey and Pakistan admire Iran’s courageous opposition to the presence of U.S. military forces in Iraq and the surrounding countries. The dominance of such a political atmosphere forces the semi-colonial rulers to deny the U.S. demands to establish or expand its military bases.
According to all indications, the peoples and even some governments of the Persian Gulf states regard Iran as a stabilizing force more than the U.S. scheme of democratization which has given rise to destruction, chaos and more resentment towards the U.S. and the West in general. The age of U.S. invincibility is by-gone. Furthermore, the U.S. watered-down victory in obtaining a resolution from the United Nations Security Council does not automatically translate into China or Russia’s support for the U.S. position that Iran poses a major and urgent threat to international security or even the settler regime of Israel. In its extension, the international community and not just the members of the security council, assembled in the 118-member of Non-Aligned Nations (NAM), supports Iran’s right of developing nuclear energy for the production of electrical power.
The fact has to be recognized that in the Middle East, Iran is a rising power and the U.S. is a falling giant. This picture was drawn by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin when he said that the U.S. and its western allies have to change their behavior, which is not only reckless but also does not reflect the new world balance of forces. It is a well-known fact that the use of tactical nuclear weapons or what is dubbed as “bunker busters” by the U.S. against Iran is strictly unacceptable to Russia and China. Short of being able to use nuclear weapons, the U.S. is now bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and cannot afford entering into another war with a country three times the size of Iraq and impose a much greater burden on the already depleted human and financial resources of the American taxpayers. Given the current situation, the U.S. instead of counting on its war option, would do better if it expresses a plea for détente with Iran.
At this point in time, it is in the interest of the peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, and the United States, if Washington acknowledges Iran’s emergence as the most powerful country in the Persian Gulf and initiates a process of rapprochement with it before it is too late. Along this direction, no one can claim that Tehran has been non-cooperative. In its latest response to the joint proposal of the U.S. and major European countries, Iran expressed its desires for “long-term cooperation in security, economic and political and energy areas in order to achieve sustainable security in the region and long-term energy security.” It continued that “to resolve the issue at hand in a sustainable manner, there would be no alternative except to recognize and remove the underlying roots and causes that have led the two sides to the current complicated position.”
For the leadership and the peoples of Iran, a legitimate question is whether Iran’s interests are best served by appeasing the U.S. or they can do better by continuing to defend its legitimate rights. The eight-year war by Saddam Hossein which was supported by the U.S. militarily, financially and intelligence-wise, with no serious objections from the so-called international community taught the Iranian people and the veterans of the war an important lesson and that is self-reliance. According to the lesson learned, Iran’s interests can best be safeguarded by relying on the energy, creativity and hard work of the Iranian people.
The present leadership headed by Ayatollah Khamenie, and President Mahmood Ahmadinejad are strongly disdainful of empire and its real intent for any call for negotiations with conditions. To many Iranians, the leadership of the U.S. government is corrupt and the system governed by greed and global arrogance. The masses of people in the Middle East are aware that without the U.S. military and financial support for Israel, the oppression of the Palestinian people by the Zionist state would have come to an end a long time ago, because the American citizens who have occupied the Palestinian territories are more reactionary and more blood-thirsty than the Jews who lived in Palestine before WWII. The people of Lebanon are fully aware that the U.S. ruling class and its western allies are the root causes of sharp class division between the Christians in the north and the masses of poor Shi’ites in the south of that country.
There is practically no one on the planet earth who does not understand the architects of the carnage in Iraq, who are none other than the high-ranking officials in the corporate world and the U.S. government. The mass murder of 665,000 Iraqis and millions of injured and displaced speak clearly for themselves. These crimes are all done in the names of “human rights” “democracy” and “capitalist enterprise”. Last, but not least, are the U.S. protection for the reactionary, primitive and despotic puppet governments in the region, including the House of Saud, the King of Jordan and the undemocratic government of Egypt. For this reason the Arab masses not only despise their rulers but also Washington and London that keep them in power.
For those and many more reasons, the majority of the Iranians do not approve of the workings of the U.S. system, in which 2 million 300 thousand persons are in jails run by corporations, 45 million people are denied social healthcare, as many as 3.5 million people experience homelessness in a given year, out of which 5% are minors unaccompanied by adults and millions of American women are dealt like commodities to be bought and sold in the markets. To many the U.S. is a technologically advanced form of the Roman Empire. To them a country whose military budget exceeds the total budgets of the rest of the world is not a model of social justice or peace.
Since the U.S. objections to Iran’s nuclear energy program have more to do with the U.S. control of the M.E. oil, geo-political dominance and world control of the markets, then as long as Iran protects its sovereignty and independence, the U.S. will accuse it of other non-compliances, such as possession of medium-range missiles or intolerable influence in Iraq or being a factor of de-stabilization in the region.
There is no doubt that the U.S. intelligence services are counting very much on their ability to foster divisions in the ranks of the central government, especially among the supporters of President Ahmadinejad and the people of Iran. In recent years, they have also been feverishly engaged in promoting the notion of separatism among the fringes of the ethnic minorities living in the border regions of Khuzistan, Kurdestan, and Baluchistan. But we all know that President Bush’s rate of popularity is a lot lower than that of President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian ethnic minorities are integrated with the Farsi-speaking majority. Suffice to say, part of the 25 million Iranian Turks compose 50% of Tehran’s population.
So far the U.S. intelligence service and Special Forces have not been capable of building a serious opposition to the resistance put up by the Islamic government to the dictates of the United States. Among the entire 72 million population of Iran, the small groups who demonstrate their lack of patriotism towards Iran are groups such as the Mojahedeen Khalgh, the run-away monarchists and a relatively small number of petty-bourgeois self-styled leftist intellectuals who have not visited Iran in the last two and a half decades. These insignificant groups demonstrate their allegiance to foreign powers whose objectives are animus to the ideals of the Iranian people. Their treachery to the people of Iran will be judged harshly by the future generations.
Ardeshir Ommani, an activist in the anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years, including against the Vietnam War. Ardeshir is a co-founder of the American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), where news of his most recent visit to Iran in March & April 2006 can be read. He helped launch the successful StopWarOnIran.org campaign. He has written a number of articles documenting the U.S. foreign policy toward Iran. He has translated many articles into Farsi, which have been published inside Iran in the progressive press. In the 1960's, he was a co-founder of the Iranian Students Association (ISA), which contributed to the struggle against the Shah of Iran, a U.S. puppet. Mr. Ommani returned to Iran in 1979, at the dawn of the revolution and participated in the revolutionary surge of that period. Since returning to the U.S. in 1980, he has been very active in the anti-war movement and in the struggle against the U.S. war and occupation of Iraq.