No War, No Surrender

On Iran, Barack Obama may be Jimmy Carter


No War, No Surrender
by Slater Bakhtavar

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"
George Santayana


Those who overlook the lessons of history are likely to repeat the mistakes of the past. President Barack Obama seems to be treading the same path on Iran that former President Jimmy Carter was on. That path led to the disastrous circumstances that are still being felt in today’s political sphere. Carter’s misstep was to turn on a key ally in the region the guise of promoting human rights, thereby assisting in the establishment of the current dictatorship.

Carter urged that Shah’s regime take up the cause of human rights, in effect accusing the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, of blatant human rights violations. This was in the midst of Pahlavi’s democratic and economic reforms. Carter fuelled the discontent of the Iranian people against the government in the context of promoting human rights, which in the end deposed the Shah. This betrayal is still remembered as one of the most damaging foreign policy blunders of the American government.

Now, President Obama is projecting the same approach in calling for talks with the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He even states that the talks will occur at the right time. But Obama is not correct in his approach as the President is only titular, the real power belonging to the unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini, Iran’s preeminent religious figure. The dilemma here is that the intended beneficiaries of the reforms are the true parties in conflict not the minority government in the country wielding little support.

The U.S. support of the British-sponsored overthrow of the democratically elected secular Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeqh in 1953 demonstrates this misplaced sense of value. The coup was planned by Great Britain, disappointed at the nationalization of the oil industry. The British propounded the idea to depose Mossadeqh and falsely project him as a communist. The Iranian people, reeling from decades of war with Iraq, must be given the opportunity the deal with their own issues, but want and deserve moral support. The Bush administration consistently reached out to the people of Iran and the fabrication behind the Axis of Evil speech was ill conceived.

Former Senator and present Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pilloried the Bush Administration for foot dragging on Iran and called for swift military action. In commenting on the action of Bush instating that he left the job to the Europeans. Clinton has just been true to her war stances since her days in the Senate. The enemies are not the people of Iran, but the theocratic hard-liners in control who in the guise of leading their respective countries are actually conducting widespread abuse of the people. President Obama’s mistake of perception is that he underestimates the intellectual capacity of the reigning hard-liners. Thus, negotiations with the people of Iran must be the tack pursued rather than negotiating with the theoretical dictators.

If the Obama administration were to pursue direct negotiations with the hard-liners, it will only seem that the United States is affording them some sense of recognition, and to a degree, recognition of their regimes and acts that they commit. If there is any party the government must pursue, it is the Iranian people, not the unelected leaders. If the administration were to heed a lesson from history, in light of the influence the United States in world affairs, akin to the Shah affair, it could lead to the unification of the parties in Iran to chart their own road to change simply by providing moral support.

War with Iran would be an atrocity and direct negotiations a resignation. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the past and turn our back to one of the most pro-American populace in the world. Democracy needs the United States and resignation is not the answer.

Editor Slater Bakhtavar is president and founder of Republican Youth of America, a frequent commentator and respected analyst on foreign policy issues, an attorney with a post-doctoral degree in International law, and General Counsel of a national corporation.


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by Anonymous414 (not verified) on

Bill Clinton authorizing War on Iraq:


Hillary Clinton threatens to attack Iran:

Hillary Clinton - 'Would Obliterate Iran'


Great to the Democrats it's either 'obliterate Iran' or support the IRI.



by Mehrban on



keep thanking the guy!

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

IRI has many issues including corruption, mismanagement of economy, fanaticism, .. etc. However supporter of a party that symbolizes large scale corruption, mismanagement ($trillion wast), fanaticism (Christian right), ...., and was one of the main players is staring an unnecessary criminal war based on lies, is in no way qualified to preach others.



by AnonymousX13 (not verified) on

One of the best. First time Ive heard a Republican Democrat or Independent support neither war or direct negotiations.

Boy, Bart Simpson have you done damage. Can you stop spamming this board with your irrelevant nonsense? It's childish.

What's your stance? Do you mean everyone that has a picture with Bill Clinton is a rapist? With Hillary Clinton an advocate of total war on Iran? With Joe Biden a supporter of Mujahadeen? Every Democrat, Republican and Independent is different. I do not see an ounce of facts here besides this party and that party.

O'reilly is a lunatic who supports war as does Hillary clinton. Openly condemned here. What is your point?


Good article

by AnonymousX (not verified) on

Thanks Slater. I agree with you: No war and no resignation. Those who attack you in here, obviously prefer resignation, and as a result, the legitimization of the IRI by the USA.

They cry "bomb", to hide their real agendas.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I'm going to take you seriously for a minute Slater !!

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

So let's just say USA ignores Iran. Let's just say Israel doesn't have the hairy scrotum to bomb the shit out of Iran. You will be sad about the latter but happy about the first. 

Now let's say, hypothetically, those Iranian rascals have a press conference that they have weapons. You will be happy of course because you and Tom De Lay can say "we told you so!" at the next CPAC meeting. However, would you like that? really?

Do you want insane ass hats to have nuclear weapons rather than having talks that would stop that possibility? Stop support for terror? I know that would break your heart so I'm not sure you will answer.  


Excellent article!

by MortezaJ (not verified) on

Thank you for an informative, direct and remarkable piece on Iran. I may not agree with some your points but your writing is magnificent.

Keep up the good work!

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

I just want to point out one of Slater's Friends

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

Tom De Lay. Slater used to float a picture of himself with De Lay around the internet. Do you remember those days Slater? What happened to Tom De Lay's vacations to Saipan and Mr. Lee enforcing abortion on the Chinese slaves there? Hmmm? Do still kiss Tom's ass after all that came about?


Thank you Genselmi and Two Cents. Ghazal, where is Bakhtavar?

by Mehrban on


I can see the argument of transparency in negotiations with the Islamic Republic. I can also see ganselmi's suggestion of incorporation of human rights and civil liberties, rule of law and Iranian cultural heritage in the rhetoric (not necessarily empty) of addressing Iranian issues. In my opinion, this change of rhetoric - which has been started by Obama to some extent - may make the life of Iranian Americans easier because they will no longer be associated with the axis of evil but with their rich cultural heritage. (valuable goal in itself)

However, without the engagement of the Islamic Republic I can not see how any of the above mentioned goals can be achieved as a real change on the ground in Iran.  

I wish Slater B. would engage in this discussion as well because it seems to be the crux of his presentation.   



thanks for the link Q

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Q, thanks for the link , isn't it ironic that the party (Republican Party) supported by these fanatic fascists wants to export democracy!?
Perhaps this joojeh republican needs to learn more about his party.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Bahahahaha "interesting points"

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

They do not make any sense. Slater John, have you ever seen Bill O'Reilly? You remind me of him. He just says things and doesn't provide this dumb thing called evidence. Why? Because the show would be cancelled in 2.2 seconds. 

For example. You know Nadya Suleman the lady with 43 children? She is the result of "abortion minded women" and "Roe V. Wade". If O'Reilly can say this kind of bull, you surely can blame Iranian problems on a retired peanut farmer. HA! All things are possible in America.

BTW Your identity has always interested the peasants (like me) in the Iranian community. You swooped in from the elite Republican "tink tank" to  write for many iranian sites since the Iraq war started. What's up with that timing MAN? Also your credentials have been an "interesting point". Credibility may not matter to you, but Bush era is OVERRRRRRRRRRR. 


Interesting points

by tsion on

Thanks Slater.



What Mistake?

by Q on

Slater Bakhtavar, you have made this claim before, please explain how Carter "turned on an ally" ?

What are you trying to say? That America should have kept an "ally" in power, just like 1953? That US should have sent soldiers to crush a popular revolution? What?

This thesis is as ignorant and clueless as the rest of your Bush cheerleading in the past 8 years. The war on Iraq and Afghanistan that you supported have been disasters, so have the Bush economic policies.

While you were too busy self-promoting with the disgraced criminal and religious fanatic, Tom Delay, he was doing his best to bring about Armageddon by bombing Iran.


Fred Halliday on Iran

by Fred H. (not verified) on

Fred Halliday is worried that Obama might turn into another Carter:



anonymous Iranian

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

thanks for the laughs!

no one can say Iranians don't have overactive imagination.


It was not Jimmy's fault!

by Anonymous Iranian (not verified) on

Iranians got tired of the Shah because of the way he was running Iran,After so many young Iranians left Iran to go out of the country to continue their education,they got organized and become a thorn in Shah's eyes.He thought he can get rid of them by giving them a passport to leave Iran,but his plan proved to be fatal for him and Iranian students demonstrations were the beginning of downfall of the Shah.Jimmy of no Jimmy it was time for the Shah to say good bye ,but others have plans for Iran.Anything but a religious government would have a disaster for USA and the west.So a religious based government for Iran was the best answer.first it was anti USSR,second helped to free Afghanistan from Russian hands,third it helped in the break up of Russia.fourth made Iran a backward,overpopulated and therefore a consumer country.If wars an all US Republican presidents could not do anything to bring down Iran government no US democrat presidents including OO baa maa can not do anything.


what's all the negative nonsense?

by IRANdokht on

Eight years of total disaster wasn't enough? The world suffered in the hands of the neo-cons and it will take a great effort lead by a great visionary to set things right. So far President Obama has surpassed all expectations and his ideas are peaceful and constructive.

It sure sounds some people are scared of talks more than bombs, especially if the bombs are falling on other people's heads!

What's wrong with the right wing? no respect for the working people, no respect for the future generations and no respect for other countries and ideologies.

Stop the nonsense.


GEE OH PEE (Thanks Marge) is on its last dying breaths: Hallelujah! 


Can America Afford Another Jimmy Carter?

by Editors (not verified) on

The current presidential election is reminiscent of the presidency of Richard Nixon; one cannot help but be reminded of the Watergate Scandal, the biggest political scandal in American history. Watergate caused the American public to lose faith in the presidency and especially the Republican Party. As a result, in 1977 Democrats and some conservative Christian voters rushed to the polls to elect a virtually unknown political figure outside of Georgia and one of the most unqualified presidents in the history of America, Mr. Jimmy Carter.



Slater, can you cite a couple of examples...

by Ostaad on

when the US admin in general and the conservatives in particular gave a rat's arse about the "Iranian people"? nuffsaid.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

YOu're back! HOOORAY for sucky articles about GEE oh Pee

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

Welcome back you GOP slave you! How's the weather in hell? Does Reagan regret giving weapons to Khomeini? Does he have brunch with Khomeini?

Jimmy Carter did nothing wrong. Iranians just suck. The shah sucked. Jimmy carter and Obama and Bush and any American president have no loyalty to Iran. Even Nixon saw shah for what he was and called him a dictator who was under America's thumb. Maybe sexy mr. shah didn't see it. 

Anyway He's dead and soon Carter may be also. But guess what, the talks will happen and the world will go on. What do you expect Slater? For no talks, no nothing, let iran be slimy and bad behind the scenes? Hopefully this way we can open up the doors to war, regime change, and hopefully you will be ambassador of the GOP jackasses in charge of "restoring Iranian ties". I aint talkin cravats either! 


the whole world + all Americans have spoken on this

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

ganselmi, it's not about being conservative... it's about stupid ideas that have proven to have been HUGE mistakes.

people who have made those mistakes cannot be trusted.



by ganselmi on

What's with the insistence among so many readers here that any conservative idea or theory automatically and unequivocally = absolute evil?



I think USA has said all it needs to the Iranian people

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

This article is terrible conservative policy that will lead nowhere. USA has already talked to iranians, what do you think VOA is?

this writer assumes US has a moral authority to hear the problems of Iranians. That's not even a conservative principle, let alone good policy.

Who the hell is US to be talking to the Iranians people? for what? what is it going to do for us? change the regime? US should just stick to undoing the problems it creates in the middle east and getting the hell out of the region.



That's Easy -- It Just Takes Political Will!

by ganselmi on

The US can take the following concrete steps to directly engage the people of Iran...

1. Broaden the scope of the conversation about Iran beyond just the nuclear dossier. Don't get me wrong: the nuclear issue is important and a nuclearized IRI represents profound perils, however, too often the US and its partners have forgotten the Iranian people's desire for democracy, human rights, rule of law, and free markets -- not realizing that the internal situation Iran and the confidence of Iranian civil society has direct bearing on the outcome of the security objectives of the West.

2. In speaking about Iran, make a point to explicitly and consistently reference Iranian's proud and complex history. Ensure that official statements reflect a genuine appreciation for and understanding of this history so as to (re-)gain credibility with the Iranian people. 

3. Foster more authentic intercultural exchanges focused on renewing, in the minds of the Iranian people, the values of American democracy and civil society which have always attracted the respect and admiration of folks around the globe -- that is, all those elements of American civil society and daily life which helped to bring down Soviet tyranny and for which the next generation of Iranian youths are desperately hungry.

4. Insist that Iran's full territorial sovereignty and ethnic cohesion is not only important to the United States, but also in the interests of a stable, prosperous middle east. 

5. Disown the MKO as a discredited, illegitimate entity once and for all. 

6. Continue to fund civil society groups and non-governmental organizations (and not just those approved by NIAC and Trita Parsi). 


Americans must be transparent in dealings with Iran's mullahs

by My two cents (not verified) on

I believe their dialogue with Iranian people can start with American officials' FULL transparency in their dealings and negotiations with Iranian people's captors, the ruling mullahs of Iran.


Dear Mehrban. Reading this

by Ghazal (not verified) on

Dear Mehrban.

Reading this article, I have the exact same question as you do...
Not sure how the US can have a dialogue with the people of Iran either!



by capt_ayhab on

You said[This was in the midst of Pahlavi’s democratic and economic reforms.....]

Are you referring to ONE PARTY system of [Rastakhiz e Meli]? Join the party or leave the country. That is democracy by definition.





Bravo Kambiz Tehrani

by Anonymous111 (not verified) on

Afarin my brother, sad afarin!!! My sentiments exactly.

PS, don't be surprised if you are called an Israeli, Zionist, war monger, neocon, blah, blah, blah. That's the IRI propoganda machine's MO in silencing differing points of views.


Containment as the solution?

by RF (not verified) on

Looks like Americans are already considering the issue of mullahs getting the bomb as a fait accompli and are opting for Soviet-style containment of mullahs' Iran:



Dialogue with the people of Iran

by Mehrban (not verified) on

How do you envision the logistics of a dialogue between Obama (American government) and the people of Iran.

I hear this often but I don't know what is meant by it and how it is physically possible? What are your proposals as how to achieve this?