In a recent interview with Radio Asre Jadid aired on Friday, Abolhassan Banisadr scrutinized the Vienna agreement and concluded that by signing it Khamenei has put Iran under permanent control of the world powers and accepted guardianship of the US.
Further scrutinization of the agreement was needed, he said, as it was impossible to discuss the agreement from different points of view in half an hour. Banisadr used the interview to argue that, according to the Vienna agreement, Iran has made 19 broad commitments which break down into more than 80.
He argued that the Iranian regime has committed itself to never trying to build an atomic bomb. If their initial intention was to do so, they have bid goodbye to it. However, they have also committed to not producing nuclear energy for 15 years. If the country’s atomic apparatus becomes derelict during this time, they have in effect also agreed to close down all nuclear activities and only maintain a façade.
A day of mourning?
Banisadr added that the ‘snap back’ principle, which was introduced for the first time into the world of diplomacy, has deprive Russia and China of veto rights and made it possible for the US and its allies to reinstate all the sanctions if they decide that Iran has violated its commitments. Given the composition of world power, the Iranian regime has therefore put Iran under the guardianship of the US. He also questioned whether the Persian translation of the agreement includes details about about ‘snap back’ and whether Zarif, the foreign minister, has told Iranians that he signed his consent to it. The agreement also places restrictions on the Iranian purchase of conventional weapons for 5 years and 8 years in the case of ballistic technology. But in return for these sanctions, did the regime receive a guarantee from the 5+1 countries that no country will attack Iran during this time? Israel has already stated that it has a right to make a unilateral decision in this regard. If they have been given this assurance, where is it? If they have not, why did the foreign minister signed such an agreement when all of Iran’s neighbours are armed to the teeth?
Banisadr asked why the recent history of the country has been filled with humiliating agreements: in 1919 (an effort to make Iran into a protectorate of Britain), in 1933 (when Reza Shah signed an oil agreement with Britain, which placed Iran’s oil under British control until 1993), the 1980 Algerian agreement over American hostages (which cost Iran over $30bn and led to the election of Ronald Reagan) or in 1988 (when Iran agreed to end its war with Iraq in defeat, having lost chances to end it in victory in 1981 and 1982). According to the information which Banisadr has received and based on many news agencies’ reports, most Iranians did not participate in the so-called celebrations of the signing of the agreement. While many of the minority who participated used slogans which were critical of the regime, it would be even better, if this day was declared as a day of national mourning.
He then referred to his own experience and added that at the time of hostage taking I warned our people and I repeatedly said that in the hostage taking affair, in fact, it is Iran which had become the hostage of the US. Also during the coup (June 1981) in the letter which was read in the Parliament, I argued that the reason for the coup is to continue the war (so they could establish their dictatorship) and predicted that they will continue this victorious war only ending it in defeat. Furthermore, during the nuclear crisis, I constantly warned that that it is going to end in total defeat. So the question of why people did not listen? The reason is clear, which is when people do not want to take responsibility, then, they close their ears so they can’t hear.
The thing is, Banisadr said, that when people trap themselves in an illusion of having to “choose between bad and worse”, they always end up entangled in bad, worse and worst. This agreement entangles the Iranian people in the “bad”. The “worst” is the ruling ideology of velayat faqih, which they are suffering under now. In addition, there are wars outside Iran which the regime is entangled in and which suck your economic resources and young people.
The effect of the Vienna agreement on the Iranian economy
Banisadr also spoke about the economic dimension of the agreement and argued that before signing it was estimated that $180bn of Iranian money would return to Iran. Now that the agreement has been signed, they say that the real amount is $29bn ($5bn of which is already owed to China). He argued that this means either the regime have have lied to the people and asked if this is the case how it could be trusted, or that it is telling the truth and cannot account for $151bn. In any case, he asked, how can you start building the economy in this situation? Trust is the basis of economy and economic investment. How can a person have such trust when $151bn disappears after the signing of the agreement?
He went further and said that even if we assumed for the sake of argument that the regime had made a mistake and had $180bn of savings, people should still ask Mr Rouhani what he has done for the economy during his time in office. What kind of plans did he have, if any, for investing this money? Banisadr argued that people living in Iran could see that there is no plan for rebuilding the economy, as nothing has ever been published.
“Now, I tell you what needs to be done if they wanted to build up the economy. The oil industry is worn out; even under Khatami it was estimated that $200bn investment would be required for its renewal. So, Mr Rouhani, what plan for such development have you introduced?
During his time in office, Mr Rouhani has doubled the amount of currency/cash in the country to 840,000bn toman. You owe that much to the Central Bank. Are you going to repay it? Not paying it back would put immense pressure on the country’s economy and prevent the development of a productive economy. If you repay it, you will be left with nothing.
There are so many unfinished plans for the country. Are you going to finish them or not?
You have said that you are going to turn Iran’s deserts green and prevent Lake Orumieh from drying out. You need big capital and plans to do this. Where are your plans? Where will you get the money from?
Have you changed the composition of the budget? No. You took Ahamadinejad’s budget to the Majles and ratified it. The credits in the banking system are the same as before. The structure of imports hasn’t changed at all. Have you coordinated the imports with investments when they enter Iran? You have not.
More importantly, if a country wants to develop it needs peace within and outside its borders. During Rafsanjani’s presidency, the World Bank provided Iran with a development plan which included the democratisation of the country. Rafsanjani’s government said that they would implement the plan in detail, apart from democratisation. The catastrophic economic situation of Iran is a result of rejecting democratisation. While it is true that it Ahmadinejad destroyed the economy so sanctions worked against Iran, this process began during Rafsanjani’s government. He wanted to use the Chinese model of political dictatorship and economic liberalism. How did you expect economic development when there is repression and no real legal rights for either people or investment? In China, within political space there is dictatorship but within economical space there are such rights and it also enjoys peace, both, internally and externally.
[…] I just read a report from the Revolutionary Guards’ site. It said that Saudi Arabia has sent them a message saying: leave Yemen to us, and we will leave Syria to you. The regime is involved in war there and intervenes in other countries as well. As Iran does not have a strong economy in which people enjoy human and civic rights…the country is not in a position to work for peace in the region.
However, there is a plus in this agreement, which is that the groups who were lobbying the US government to attack Iran so they could get into power (like the Mojaheddin Khalq and monarchists) ended up empty handed; their treacherous methods failed once again.
The only solution which remains [can be found with] those who have always acted on principles of independence and freedom, and who throughout the crisis always analysed the situation and gave timely warnings.”
Banisadr also criticized the armed forces, asking: does the current situation make Iranians proud? Aren’t you responsible for what is happening to the country?
Finally, he saved his strongest criticism for the clergy:
“I am asking the clergy: what have you done to Islam? You have reduced Islam to a fistful of violent acts and totally alienated it in violence. Don’t you feel responsible for the situation? When are you going to take responsibility? Although groups like ISIS are being armed, financed and supported by Arab countries as well as Israel and some western countries, their ideas and methods of thinking are inspired by Khomeinism. So [you say] Islam is nothing but force?
Now you can see the result:
An Iran which is being swallowed by processes of desertification.
An Iran which has come under the guardianship of the US.
An Iran which is economically ruined.
An Iran whose talents are flooding out of the country as a result of your actions.
You cannot escape responsibility. Do not doubt that there is tomorrow after today. Do not doubt that the current regime will not last. The regime is on its last leg. Think of yourself and your country’s tomorrow.
Banisadr finished by saying: “You, the people of Iran – think about your rights, think about your responsibilities. I wish you happiness and victory.”
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