US Shadow Boxing with Iran

Iran and the six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia, along with Germany – will start talks on October 1, 2009. The date was determined through a discussion between Javier Solana, European Union foreign policy chief, and Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. From the U.S. side, William Burns, a third rank diplomat, Undersecretary for Political Affairs at the State Department, will attend the meeting.

Iran, on Wednesday, September 10, 2009, respectfully handed over a package of proposals for prospective talks with the world powers about its preparedness for “Comprehensive and Constructive Negotiations.” A day later, P.J. Crowley, the senior State Department spokesman, said that the five-page proposal distributed to the diplomats of the 5+1 countries “was not really responsive to our greatest concern, which obviously [has been] Iran’s nuclear program.”

At that point, the U.S. administration faced a dilemma: whether to continue the diplomatic opening with no pre-conditions, which was one of President Obama’s winning cards during his presidential campaign, or disregard his campaign promises. But the U.S. government unambiguously had decided to participate in a meeting that was arranged by the European Union through its Foreign Minister Javier Solana. Following this direction, Crowley in his next breath said, “We remain willing to engage Iran.”

It is a fact that the five-page Iranian package mainly dealt with global ‘Political-Security’ issues, ‘reform of the United Nations and the Security Council’, ‘world environmental issues’ and the ‘world economic crisis,’ ‘trade, investment, and the economy of energy.’

Needless to say, the package of proposals by the Islamic Republic of Iran did not include Iran’s nuclear activities, about which the western powers, but the U.S. in particular, have expressed their “concern”. This should not have surprised the six world powers, as Iran has all along emphasized that its nuclear facilities and their relevant files are open to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for inspection and compliance, but not subject to negotiation with the six world powers.

Although the U.S. and its European allies would draw much satisfaction from imposing some more sanctions on the Iranian people and the government of Ahmadinejad, even if the punishing measures appear symbolically as a favor to the pro-western opposition in Iran, but lately they have been under pressure from Russia and China, which have explicitly made it clear that they were opposed to passing new sanctions against Iran.

End of Missile-Shield Delusion

With the new major changes in the U.S. anti-missile shield system which was planned to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic, the U.S. is asking Russia to bring pressure on Iran to give up its right to its nuclear fuel program, which is nothing short of political extortion in exchange for deciding not to plant the missile shield at its doorstep.

Russian officials said explicitly on September 17, 2009 that would be out of the question.

Everyone is aware that the leaders of the world capitalist countries, headed by the United States, have made every effort in the last two decades to pick on Iran’s nuclear activities and use that issue as a tool to isolate and undermine the country’s independent political and economic policies and force it to abandon its revolutionary zeal and policies in the Middle East and accept the hegemony of the imperialist powers.

Since the building of the atomic bomb and immediately on August 6 and August 9, 1945, dropping two massive atomic weapons, equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT, on the Japanese people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing 150,000 and 80,000 civilians respectively, in two brutal attacks, the United States along with its European allies framed a policy to oppose and suppress any nation that independently embarks on nuclear research and development, even if that industry is under the watchful eyes of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its ultimate objective is for the production of electricity.

Believing in the merits of the use of force against other nations in solving international issues, the western powers refuse to believe that the developing nation of Iran with lesser firepower and not a single atomic bomb, would decide to resist and defend its natural and national rights.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on September 13, 2009 stated, “We are ready to hold talks on international cooperation and ways to solve ongoing economic and security problems in the world…” but “We will never negotiate our inalienable rights since our nation regards access to peaceful nuclear technology as its lawful and definite right.”

Attacks on Director General of IAEA

Not being successful in their efforts to intimidate the revolutionary-minded leaders of the Islamic Republic, the three hegemonic powers – the U.S., U.K., and France have tried to muzzle Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from stating that the results of his stringent inspections of the Iranian nuclear facilities have shown that no amount of enriched nuclear materials have been diverted for purposes other than a civilian nuclear program. After years of IAEA inspections (announced and unannounced), the final declaration by ElBaradei was so painful for the western diplomats that according to the BBC Network News, the French government on September 14, 2009, accused the Director General of the United Nation’s inspection agency (IAEA) of withholding facts about Iran’s atomic activity, just as ElBaradei had issued a strong denial of such accusations.

In response to the allegations by the French and other diplomats, ElBaradei at the start of the regular IAEA governor’s meeting in Vienna said, “I am dismayed by the allegations of some member states, which have been fed to the media, that information has been withheld from the Board. These allegations are politically motivated and totally baseless.” He then added that “such attempts to influence the work of the (IAEA’s non-proliferation Inspectorate) and undermine its independence and objectivity are in violation of …the IAEA Statute…” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hassan Ghashghavi on September 17, 2009 criticized French President Nicolas Sarkozy for remarks that were in contradiction with the IAEA’s findings.

But none of the ample scientific inspections, search and analyses has been sufficient to satisfy the abnormal curiosity of the western egotistical politicians and silence the toxic propaganda of their profit-seeking and obedient media against Iran, but especially President Ahmadinejad who has been resolute and persevering in his resistance to U.S. dictates or domination.

At this juncture in the history of U.S.-Iran diplomatic relations, the great majority of the American as well as Iranian working people are eager to see an end to hostilities between the two nations. As to the credibility and willingness of the Islamic Republic of Iran to resolve the differences between the two countries is concerned, the three major approaches by the Iranians at the highest level in the last twenty-two years are well known to the historians of Iran-American relations. But regrettably the same cannot be said for the majority of the U.S. statesmen.

As late as September 15, 2009, a task force of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a non-governmental think-tank that included such conservative politicians as Senator Jon Kyl, a Republican from Arizona, former Senator Charles Robb, a Democrat from Virginia, and former Senator Daniel Coats from Indiana, and also received the full support of one of AIPAC’s truest wardens – Senator Joseph Lieberman – an Independent Democrat from Connecticut, came up with the idea that in order to pressure Iran to give up its right to a civilian nuclear energy program, President Obama must exercise an oil and financial embargo, combined with a threat of military action that could be posed by the lawless state of Israel.

American Ruling Circles at Odds

There have been many indications that the dominant faction of the U.S. ruling class (that does NOT include the hawkish republicans and the neo-cons) had already decided, for different reasons, including high cost and unreliability of the system, to dump the anti-ballistic missile defense shield. But the Obama Administration needed a seemingly logical reason, and that was that Iran is not at a stage where it can build long-range missiles to deliver nuclear devices that it does not have.

It was not a coincidence that the announcement of scrapping Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” missile system came on the same day that Pentagon Secretary Gates announced that a recent assessment of the National Intelligence Estimate’s report showed that Iran does not pose a danger with long-range inter-continental missiles, at least until 2015.

Of course not every faction in U.S. officialdom agrees with the decision of eliminating the threat of U.S. missiles on the borders of Russia, or announcing Iran harmless or benign. There are three factions, or political tendencies within the U.S. ruling class in this regard:

1) The camp of the extreme right which is tied to the Israeli lobbies, and includes such politicians as Senator Joseph Lieberman, Republican Senator Jon Kyl, and Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who advocate slamming Iran with another round of harsh sanctions on Iran’s energy and financial sectors combined with a “credible” threat of bombing by Israel. Furthermore this faction wants to hold onto the anti-ballistic missile shield in Europe for keeping the tensions going with Russia and Iran. Arizona Senator John McCain called the decision to scrap the anti-ballistic missile program as “seriously misguided.”

2) A sort of middle camp of advisors/politicians that prefers to adopt a cold war policy with Iran, similar to the policies the U.S. carried out against the Soviet Union for half a century, using isolation, defamation, threats of missile attacks, economic strangulation, etc., all to prepare the ground for a “velvet revolution”, as happened in the Ukraine and Georgia. The best example of this group of advisors is the Rand Corporation that prepares recommendations for the strategy and the doctrine program for the U.S. Air Force. In its fiscal year 2005 Project, “The USAF’s Role in the Future Middle East,” and later published in the 2008 book entitled: Iran’s Political, Demographic, and Economic Vulnerabilities, the authors of the monograph write, “The United States has successfully pursued long-term policies, as in the containment of the Soviet Union, that have yielded considerable results. With Iran, the U.S. government will again need to keep an eye on the long-term, communicating with the current government but also encouraging more… interactions between Iranians and Americans.” This we understand follows the model of the recently defeated “soft revolution” attempted after the elections in Iran.

3) The third is the Obama camp, that would like to reduce the tensions between the United States and the rest of the world, believing that U.S. capitalism could be saved not by continuation of wars, but by using competitive American technology as a leverage for keeping supremacy of the United States. This trend of thought does not entirely eliminate the issue of force in resolving international tensions, but aims to reduce the number of “hot wars” that the U.S. would be engaged in. It is this faction that gradually has reached the decision that the U.S. should begin a dialogue and establish normal relations with Iran before an Iran-Russia-China alliance takes on a solid form.

It is this circle that has the most realistic assessment of the U.S. economic downturn, the loss of stature and credibility at home and abroad, which wants to establish dialogue between the U.S. and Iran.

Once the relations between the United States and Iran become normalized on the basis of equal rights, then the U.S. would have very little use for the virulent opposition to the Islamic Republic, the groups that include the monarchists, Mojahedin Khalq (MKO) and the far right wing of the “Green Movement” inside Iran – the Karoubi camp and their supporters in the American peace movement.

Later on, a major segment of this group will be channeled into the regular corps of an army of intelligence operatives who will continue to act as the “shock troops” at the service of U.S. imperialism. The remainder of this group will be absorbed by the corporate media to carry on the ideological battles against Iran and the rest of the developing countries.

Ardeshir Ommani is an Iranian-born writer and an activist in the U.S. anti-war and anti-imperialist struggle for over 40 years, including against the Vietnam War, Iraq, Afghanistan and now the Pakistan war. During the past seven years, he has participated in the U.S. peace movement, working to promote dialogue and peace among nations and to prevent a U.S.-spurred war on Iran. He holds two Masters Degrees: one in Political Economy and another in Mathematics Education. Co-founder of the American Iranian Friendship Committee, (AIFC), he writes articles of analysis on Iran -U.S. relations, the U.S. economy and has translated articles and books from English into Farsi, the Persian language. Please visit AIFC’s website to learn more about Iran and Global issues at . Two of his recent articles, “Capitalism’s Sign Post” can be viewed at:, and “Iran’s Compradore Bourgeoisie” at Ardeshir helped launch the successful campaign, the very first Iran internet anti-war campaign.

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