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A Footnote?

by ALI CHENAR in Washington, D.C.

29 Nov 2009 22:0119 Comments
obamairan.jpg[ comment ] By the time Sir Winston Churchill became a British premier for a second time in 1951, he was already a legend. He rose from the First Lord of Admiralty in the First World War to the helm of Her Majesty's Government during the Second World War, leading Britain to victory against the Axis powers. From his many positions of power, he bore witness not only to the fall of kings and queens, but the demise of empires, dynasties and states. Other prime ministers, especially those of dusty capitals in his colonial backyard, were mere pawns on his chessboard. In fact, as some historians have noted, Churchill failed to list the coup against Mohammad Mossadegh among his many achievements. For him 1953 was a footnote in a long and distinguished career and men of his stature did not need to concern themselves with such trifling affairs of state.

But what seemed like a minor event to get rid of a trouble-maker in a Third World country, transformed the politics of the Middle East, and indeed much of the world. That footnote became a page in history, the page a chapter, and the chapter is now a book, or a volume in an expanding series. Britain and the United States certainly secured their interest in Iranian oil in the short run. However, in just two short decades, those interests were challenged in a most unexpected way. A Revolution in Iran changed the game, and the rules of the game. And even 30 years after that political earthquake and a half a century after that little coup, everyone keeps circling back to it. In a nutshell, things probably would have looked a lot different today had the West not been so myopic, an unfortunate state it continues to suffer from.

Even though we saw how significant an insignificant event can become in the course of history, no one here seems to heed its lesson today. World powers are making the same mistake. In Washington, many are fixated on the nuclear talks and once again blinded by their short-term interests. They tout their "national interest" over their real "national interest" in the long run: a democratic and peace-seeking Iran. They seem to be prepared to compromise any principle of human rights to reach an agreement.

Washington's obsession with negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue has also created a hazardous atmosphere. First, it's still a barrier to reaching an understanding with the Iranian government in any other matter. It has been used as an excuse to deny any openings to the Iranian private sector, to limit academic exchange and to discourage any other meaningful relationship with Iran or Iranians. Second, the hope to reach an agreement has muddled the facts and encouraged others to turn a blind eye to a monumental shift in Iranian society.

The Western power's chief mistake is downplaying the significance of the Green Movement. Rather than recognizing its achievements, everyone here seems all too eager to write its obituary. Sadly, many Westerner observers prefer to see it as another failed chapter in the long story of social discontent in Iran. The recent protests are being used to remind Tehran of their domestic vulnerabilities and the benefits of reaching a compromise (all safe options that do not obligate anyone to do anything else).

Many Iranians find this approach despicable and deceitful. They do not consider the events of the last summer and the ongoing stream of demonstrations as another closed chapter. In Iran, many genuinely believe that they have succeeded in turning over a new page and see it as the start of a new era. As an eyewitness of Tehran's protests told me, "Looking at those thousands of people marching in silence with their hands in the air showing the sign of peace, I felt another Iran was being born. I felt a respect and a pride that I never ever felt in my life before."

This is something we all felt there.

In this new era, Iranians are demanding real change. And they are determined to have it peacefully and gradually because a majority of them wish to avoid violence and bloodshed. They do not wish to replace a religious dictatorship with another form of it, secular as it may be. Such a process requires time, great tact and patience. An Iranian student who recently arrived in Los Angeles found the attitude of many bystanders mind-boggling and far removed from the reality in Iran. "My classmates and Iranian American friends talk of Gandhi and in the same breath complain about how things stopped in Tehran!" he told me. "Are they crazy? It took Gandhi 30 years to dislodge the British from India. Ghandi had to find new strategies and tactics. He had to come back at them again and again. He had to go back to prison again and again." It seems that many on the sidelines expected events in Iran to unfold like a 90-minute Hollywood movie, where bullets always miss the good guys and the bad guys are easily beaten.

The current situation resembles 1953 in another way. Back then, the communist threat in Iran was exaggerated to the extent that many willingly sacrificed Iran's fledgling democracy to prevent a threat that had not existed in the first place. The nuclear issue is being played in the same way. Its exaggerated significance has come to dominate the discourse in many Western capitals. This time around, it's Iran's young innocent Green Movement that is to be sacrificed for an accomplishment that in the course of history may not even amount to a footnote. A nuclear deal must be reached; negotiations have their place, but not at any price and certainly not at the expense of the Iranian people.

Copyright © 2009 Tehran Bureau

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19 Comments

Ali, very good summary of where the west is going wrong again.

Of course many of our own leftists are also still stuck in the colonial days and attacking any step by the west in support of the protesters.

I hope that they set aside their 1970s anti-imperialist books and see how the world has changed.

Iran can and must have a constructive relationship with the rest of the world, not because it is weak and wants to be exploited but because it is self-assured and wants to catch up with all those SE Asia, Latin American, and East European countries that have left us behind.

Unlike many African countries and places like Afghanistan, we are lucky enough to possess the natural resources that can expedite our progress.

However, our biggest challenge remains inside Iran. We must continue to chip away at the regime's popular support among those sincere Iranians who still fall for the regime's Islamic claims.

Hamid / November 30, 2009 1:05 AM

So what you're advocating is the West (led by the US) afford political intervention in Iran? Are you not asking for a repeat of 1953, only this time serving the interests of your own political faction? How ironic. How hypocritical!

What about the existing political establishment in Iran? Even the most minimal estimates provided by certain Green leaders, in estimates of the June vote (before alleged rigging) give the political establishment of Iran over 50% share of the electorate. (The WPO poll actually provides much higher figures) So you're saying the West should politically intervene in order to force a change of power in favor of a political minority? 1953 all over again!

Like many Green advocates, the author appears willing to consign away Iran's independence to the intentions of foreigners, trusting in them that their liberal ideals can somehow be supplanted upon a majority of the unwilling. History shows that such trust in Western foreigners is highly misplaced.

Tehran Bureau: have you so little realistic political content from which to choose from, that you must revisit the same tired mantras from the same type of forlorn activists, over and over again?

Pirouz / November 30, 2009 1:38 AM

Thank you Ali. Brilliant Analysis!

Melody Moezzi / November 30, 2009 6:54 AM

Ali,
Excellent!! This American cannot agree with you more. Though I continue to hope that this "yes we can" administration will soon speak forcefully against the regimes brutality against it's own people and show support for the Sea of Green. Of all our presidents, Barak Obama should understand what it means to be brutally oppressed. FREE IRAN!!

Rob Watson / November 30, 2009 7:32 AM

Ali,
You seem to water down the influence of the Tudeh party in Mossadegh government in order to prove your point, when the truth is otherwise.Mossadegh had lost control which lead to the Anglo American decision.I find it ironic that the supporters of Mossadegh always use take over of Iran's oil as an excuse when in reality Iran would have no choice but to deal with the Brits or Americans regardless of who was the head of the government.Iran did not have the technical know how to manage the oil industry on her own.Even today, the 21st centuary Iran lags technically in comparison many Persian Gulf countries.I advise Iranians to study the history of oil in Saudi Arabia.You will be surprised to see how responsible these nomads have been towards the national interests of their country vs. Iranians.We are still stuck with 1953. I am sure some time during my own life had I made a right turn vs. a left turn at a traffic light, my life would not have been the same today. But life goes on and I should get over it.What is new? where are we going from here? What are our plans? Unfortunately,it is always the fault of the outsiders.They are the ones.The blame is always on their shoulders and never the Iranians themselves.Western powers down play the Green movement.Westen powers do not negotiate. God bless Ghandi. At least after 30 years he along with his nation managed to free themselves. We have been at it for 30 years too.What have we accomplished? In our strive towards democracy we were to exchange an idiot named Ahmadinejad with one of the founding fathers of the Islamic Republic whose track record reflects some of the darkest days of the Islamic Republic.Do we suffer from short memory? Have we lost our minds? The only practical solution for Iran is Regime Change. We have no future with the Islamic Republic.We shot ourselves in the foot a long time ago. It is time to wake up from this nightmare.Pink, Blue, Orange or any color,that's just a means. The fact of the matter is, we need a "SECULAR" democracy.A government of the people, for the people.

Reza / November 30, 2009 9:19 AM

The writer presumes that a strong, genuinely democratic, independent and resource-rich Islamic state in the core of the Middle East is in the West's interest.


He laments that the West is too dumb to discern its more fundamental long-term interests.


I hope younger Iranians have a more sophisticated world view, free of the fossilized binaries which have long afflicted Iranian thinking about the outside world.


Mossadegh -- ever the gentle patrician -- could not understand why the Americans, whom he had assumed would be delighted at the opportunity to help ease Iran out of Britain' deadly embrace, actually assisted the boycott of Iranian oil, barred international aid and loans from reaching Iran, and did everything else possible to starve the Iranian economy and undermine our country's polity during his premiership.


After doing their utmost to destabilize our country, the West then acclaimed the 1953 coup as the best and only option to prevent Iran's destablization and descent into Communism. Go figure!


The Time issue naming Mossadegh as the Man of Year in 1952 provided a forewarning for Mossadegh, if only it had been written in French; Time said that Iran's nationalization of its resources was dangerous for America's private-sector commercial interests in Saudi Arabia and Latin America, and therefore, the strange, irresponsible 'wizard' who had come to power in that mountainous, backwater Land of Oz should not be allowed to set a successful precedent.


I am not sure if Iranians who take pride in Mossadegh's selection as Time's Man of the Year have actually read the disgusting, scurrilous article that accompanies that nomination.


The American pattern of behaviour in our part of the world is clear for all who wish to see: maintain and enhance Israeli dominance, control access to oil and gas via pliant, corrupt, Westernized local elites, foment disputes between large, powerful states in order to preclude the possibility of regional cooperation and joint action, and finally, plant military bases in the smaller, weaker states.


Would a democratic, independent and strong Iran help or hinder these strategic aims?


By all means, let us struggle for democracy and human rights in Iran. But let us also not forget that we don't have dog in the fight between Iran's homegrown religious despotism and the West's duplicitous imperialism.

Ali from Tehran / November 30, 2009 6:40 PM

I agree with Hamid
Actually any development that makes Iran, such as modern petrochemical industries and refinaries, urban developments, airports, industries, modern military, Iran's prosperous economy during the Shah, modern education system & universities, etc were became possible only because of Shah's cooperations and alliance w/iran
Americans heavily inveted in Iran, there were over 1 million Americans working on various development projects back in 1978 in Iran
even the current nuclear project, one unfinished reactor was a part of Shah's 30 reactors to provide iran's energy 100% from clean nuclear energy by 20 years ago
A US-Iran alliance is necessary and beneficial to both countries in the future free democratic iran

Cyrus / December 1, 2009 9:51 AM

I am truly sorry to see my fellow countrymen diseased with a conspiracy theory whenever politics is the subject matter. Every weakness in the Iranian political system or a political character is white washed through introduction of yet another conspiracy theory.
This is the Time magazine’s report on Mossadegh. I invite all Iranians to overcome one of our biggest national failures namely, failure to read. Please read the Time's article prior to any conclusive conspiracy theory.
http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/personoftheyear/archive/stories/1951.html
Please show me where Ali from Tehran claims can be supported in the above article. ???
Although to his credit, Ali too adds his doubts about Iranians having read the Time’s article. Do not be offended. As a nation we do not read and in most cases our sources of knowledge are based on hearsay.
The Time is critical of Western policies towards the Near East just as much as it is unimpressed with Mossadegh. How many people who are students of American political history and have had the opportunity to study the great political characters of the United States in all honesty would put Mossadegh on their scale of political mastery and achievements?
The Iran of 1952 is a country plagued with disease, illiterate and superstitious. A country that shows no mastery of her future destiny. A country without the technical knowhow to support her claims and ambitions.
Ali says, “if only it (Time’s article) had been written in French”. I assume he means Mossadegh could read French and not English. Can you imagine a head of a state without resources to translate a simple English article? Or, did Mr. Prime minister fail to read as in most Iranians?
Please read the Time’s article and allow yourself a little time to surf the web in order to look for Pro Mossadegh sites. If you are lucky enough to observe the above article on their website, you will also observe the cut out of what is not considered to be in favor. Some are even bold enough to forewarn the reader about the removal of some undesired contents as they like to put it and of course, it is always followed through by another conspiracy theory.
Do you think the supporters of Monarchy are any different?
Perhaps we Iranians lack political maturity, are too lazy to take time to read and research, are too intolerant to hear opposing views and dishonest enough to twist facts to favor our own views.
What do you think Iranian?

Reza / December 1, 2009 5:40 PM

Ali from Tehran, THANK YOU!

Pedestrian / December 1, 2009 9:29 PM

Sorry if this is a repost. I keep getting error messages when I press SEND.

Dear Reza,

Thank you for your comments.

Below are a few choice excerpts from the article you have kindly linked to above.

I have emphasized some words in CAPITAL LETTERS. which will, hopefully, underscore the points I made in my earlier comments on this page:


*************************************************


Once upon a time, in a mountainous land between Baghdad and the Sea of Caviar, there lived a nobleman...

Behind his GROTESQUE ANTICS lay great issues of peace or war, progress or decline, which would affect many lands FAR BEYOND HIS MOUNTAINS...

...In this way, too, he increased the danger of a general war among nations, impoverished his country and brought it and some NEIGHBORING LANDS to the very brink of disaster...

Yet his people loved all that he did, and cheered him to the echo whenever he appeared in the streets...

Around this DIZZY OLD WIZARD swirled a crisis of human destiny...

He was Mohammed Mossadegh, Premier of Iran in the year 1951. He was the Man of the Year. He put Scheherazade in the petroleum business and OILED THE WHEELS OF CHAOS...

In his plaintive, singsong voice he GABBLED a defiant challenge that sprang out of a HATRED AND ENVY ALMOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO THE WEST...

There were millions inside AND OUTSIDE of Iran whom Mossadegh symbolized and spoke for, and whose FANATICAL STATE OF MIND HE HAD HELPED TO CREATE. They would rather see their own nations fall apart than CONTINUE THEIR PRESENT RELATIONS WITH THE WEST...

For all its power, the West in 1951 failed to cope with a weeping, fainting leader of a helpless country; the West had not yet developed the MORAL MUSCLE to define its own goals and responsibilities in the Middle East. Until the West did develop that moral muscle, it had no chance with the millions represented by Mossadegh. In Iran, IN EGYPT, IN A DOZEN OTHER COUNTRIES, when people asked: "Who are you? What are you doing here?" the West's only answer was an unintelligible mutter...

The fact that Iranians accept Mossadegh's suicidal policy is a measure of the HATRED OF THE WEST—and especially the hatred of Britain—in the Near and Middle East. The Iranian crisis was still bubbling when EGYPT EXPLODED with the announcement that it was abrogating its 1936 treaty with Britain. The Egyptian government demanded that British troops get off the soil of Egypt. Since the British were guarding the Suez Canal, they refused. The Egyptians rioted, perhaps in the belief that the U.S., WHICH HAD OPPOSED THE USE OF FORCE IN IRAN, would take the same line in Egypt...

If left to "work out their own destiny" WITHOUT HELP, the countries of the Middle East will disintegrate. The living standard will drop and political life become even more chaotic...

Americans and Britons in the Near and Middle East spend a large part of their energies fighting each other. NO EFFECTIVE WESTERN POLICY IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT WESTERN UNITY...

In its leadership of the non-Communist world, the U.S. has some dire responsibilities to shoulder. One of them is to MEET THE FUNDAMENTAL MORAL CHALLENGE posed by the STRANGE OLD WIZARD who lives in a mountainous land and who is, SAD TO RELATE, the Man of 1951...


*************************************************

Reza, you ask where in the Time article I draw my conclusions from. I hope the above excerpts are self-explanatory.

A gullible reader of Time in 1952 would, I believe, come away from this article with the following explicit or subliminal firmly implanted in his mind:


1. The problem is far larger than a local dispute between an exploited nation and the British Empire. The problem is that immature natives, filled with an incomprehensible hatred of the West, want to take their destiny into their own incompetent and irrational hands.

2. The West must gather the moral resolve, and act in concert, to intervene forcefully in the affairs of these childish nations.

3. Millions outside Iran are looking to Mossadegh, a grotesque wizard, as an exemplar. The West must rise to the challenge of Mossadegh before things get out of hand.


**************************************************


The argument that if Mossadegh had been permitted to stay, Iran's economy would have disintegrated and led to a Tudeh takeover are a standard argument for pro-Coup apologists, as well as a classic case of circular reasoning.

The economy was in trouble because of a British-led boycott of Iran, augmented by a naval blockade.

The Americans not only rejected all of Mossadegh's pleas for financial and technical aid, they even stymied attempts by other Western countries and organizations to run the British blockade or extend loans to Iran.

If the Americans were solely worried about Iran being lost to Communism, then they would have hastened to provide loans and technical assistance for bringing the oilfields and refineries back into operation, and brokered an agreement whereby part of the proceeds of crude sales would be used to pay the British for the nationalized assets.

In this way, ownership of resources and plant would remain nationalized, Western engineers could restart operations under technical contracts, production and export would recommence, the British would received fair compensation for nationalized assets, the Pahlavis would not have been finagled into a direct confrontation with Iranian nationalism, international rule-of-law would have been upheld, and Iran's economy and polity would have been on the path to improvement under a secular and liberal constitutional monarchy.

But the Americans chose a different route. Time magazine, among other pillars of the American establishment, decided to conflate Iran's confrontation with Britain into a civilization clash between the hatred-filled, irrational East and the enlightened, but weak and indecisive West.

Imagine, Reza, liberal Western-educated Mossadegh and Fatemi as fanatical, irrational, hate-filled zealots. Talk about conspiracy theories !!!

Henry Luce, Time Magazine owner and editor-in-chief, a close confidante and golfing buddy of Allen Dulles (the CIA director who engineered the 1953 coup), personally vetted every editorial article in his magazine during his tenure, but I doubt he believed in his own Clash of Civilizations claptrap.

More likely, he thought that allowing a 3rd world, resource-rich country to nationalize its resources and expropriate the assets of a colonial state would set a bad precedent, and harm America's own concessionary interests abroad.

A year after deposing Mossadegh, the CIA helped overthrow the Government of Guatemala. The Guatemalans' crime: nationalizing assets and re-distributing land owned by the United Fruit Company.

But maybe I am wrong, and perhaps the Guatemalans could not hope to grow and sell bananas without the help of the gringos.

Ali from Tehran / December 1, 2009 11:11 PM

Reza you hit the nail right on the head.This is specially true with the generation of our fathers.I think the younger generation on the other hand is more eager to learn having been deprived for so long and also ready to stand up for what it believes in.Good thoughts.

Pooya / December 1, 2009 11:39 PM

Reza,

Thank you for your comments.

Below are a few choice excerpts from the article you have kindly linked to above.

I have emphasized some words in CAPITAL LETTERS. which will, hopefully, underscore the points I made in my earlier comments on this page:

*************************************************

Once upon a time, in a mountainous land between Baghdad and the Sea of Caviar, there lived a nobleman...

Behind his GROTESQUE ANTICS lay great issues of peace or war, progress or decline, which would affect many lands FAR BEYOND HIS MOUNTAINS...

...In this way, too, he increased the danger of a general war among nations, impoverished his country and brought it and some NEIGHBORING LANDS to the very brink of disaster...

Yet his people loved all that he did, and cheered him to the echo whenever he appeared in the streets...

Around this DIZZY OLD WIZARD swirled a crisis of human destiny...

He was Mohammed Mossadegh, Premier of Iran in the year 1951. He was the Man of the Year. He put Scheherazade in the petroleum business and OILED THE WHEELS OF CHAOS...

In his plaintive, singsong voice he GABBLED a defiant challenge that sprang out of a HATRED AND ENVY ALMOST INCOMPREHENSIBLE TO THE WEST...

There were millions inside AND OUTSIDE of Iran whom Mossadegh symbolized and spoke for, and whose FANATICAL STATE OF MIND HE HAD HELPED TO CREATE. They would rather see their own nations fall apart than CONTINUE THEIR PRESENT RELATIONS WITH THE WEST...

For all its power, the West in 1951 failed to cope with a weeping, fainting leader of a helpless country; the West had not yet developed the MORAL MUSCLE to define its own goals and responsibilities in the Middle East. Until the West did develop that moral muscle, it had no chance with the millions represented by Mossadegh. In Iran, IN EGYPT, IN A DOZEN OTHER COUNTRIES, when people asked: "Who are you? What are you doing here?" the West's only answer was an unintelligible mutter...

The fact that Iranians accept Mossadegh's suicidal policy is a measure of the HATRED OF THE WEST—and especially the hatred of Britain—in the Near and Middle East. The Iranian crisis was still bubbling when EGYPT EXPLODED with the announcement that it was abrogating its 1936 treaty with Britain. The Egyptian government demanded that British troops get off the soil of Egypt. Since the British were guarding the Suez Canal, they refused. The Egyptians rioted, perhaps in the belief that the U.S., WHICH HAD OPPOSED THE USE OF FORCE IN IRAN, would take the same line in Egypt...

If left to "work out their own destiny" WITHOUT HELP, the countries of the Middle East will disintegrate. The living standard will drop and political life become even more chaotic...

Americans and Britons in the Near and Middle East spend a large part of their energies fighting each other. NO EFFECTIVE WESTERN POLICY IS POSSIBLE WITHOUT WESTERN UNITY...

In its leadership of the non-Communist world, the U.S. has some dire responsibilities to shoulder. One of them is to MEET THE FUNDAMENTAL MORAL CHALLENGE posed by the STRANGE OLD WIZARD who lives in a mountainous land and who is, SAD TO RELATE, the Man of 1951...

*************************************************

Reza, you ask where in the Time article I draw my conclusions from. I hope the above excerpts are self-explanatory.

A gullible reader of Time in 1952 would, I believe, come away from this article with the following explicit or subliminal messages firmly implanted in his mind:

1. The problem is far larger than a local dispute between an exploited nation and the British Empire. The problem is that immature natives, filled with an incomprehensible hatred of the West, want to take their destiny into their own incompetent and irrational hands.

2. The West must gather the moral resolve, and act in concert, to intervene forcefully in the affairs of these childish nations.

3. Millions outside Iran are looking to Mossadegh, a grotesque wizard, as an exemplar. The West must rise to the challenge of Mossadegh before things get out of hand.

**************************************************

The argument that if Mossadegh had been permitted to stay, Iran's economy would have disintegrated and led to a Tudeh takeover is standard trope for pro-Coup apologists, and a classic case of circular reasoning.

The economy was in trouble because of a British-led boycott of Iran, augmented by a naval blockade.

The Americans not only rejected all of Mossadegh's pleas for financial and technical aid, they even stymied attempts by other Western countries and organizations to run the British blockade or extend loans to Iran.

If the Americans were solely worried about Iran being lost to Communism, then they would have hastened to provide loans and technical assistance for bringing the oilfields and refineries back into operation, and brokered an agreement whereby part of the proceeds of crude sales would be used to pay the British for the nationalized assets.

In this way, ownership of resources and plant would remain nationalized, Western engineers could restart operations under technical contracts, production and export would recommence, the British would received fair compensation for nationalized assets, the Pahlavis would not have been finagled into a direct confrontation with Iranian nationalism, international rule-of-law would have been upheld, and Iran's economy and polity would have been on the path to improvement under a secular and liberal constitutional monarchy.

But the Americans chose a different route. Time Magazine, among other pillars of the American establishment, decided to conflate Iran's confrontation with Britain into a civilization clash between the hatred-filled, irrational East and the enlightened but indecisive West.

Imagine, Reza, liberal Western-educated Mossadegh and Fatemi as fanatical, irrational, hate-filled zealots. Talk about conspiracy theories !!!

Henry Luce, Time Magazine owner and editor-in-chief, a close confidante and golfing buddy of Allen Dulles (the CIA director who engineered the 1953 coup), personally vetted every editorial article in his magazine during his tenure, but I doubt he believed in his own Clash of Civilizations claptrap.

More likely, he thought that allowing a 3rd world country to nationalize its natural resources and expropriate the assets of a predatory Western state would set a bad precedent, and harm America's own concessionary interests abroad.

A year after deposing Mossadegh, the CIA helped overthrow the Government of Guatemala. The Guatemalans' crime: nationalizing assets and re-distributing land owned by the United Fruit Company. The land in question, around 250,000 acres, had been conceded to America's United Fruit Company by a previous pro-US dictator, who had marched into the Guatemalan parliament with his troops and forced MPs at gunpoint to pass a bill granting the concession.

But maybe I am wrong, and perhaps the Guatemalans could not hope to grow and sell bananas without the help of the gringos.

Ali from Tehran / December 1, 2009 11:52 PM

I do not understand the comments. To me it seems this article is drawing parallels between two situations. In 1953, correctly or uncorrectly, Hawks exaggerated the threat of communism in Iran. This paved the way for uncompromising treatment of Mossadeq and eventual coup. Today many are exaggerating the threat of nuclear Iran. This has stalled any other development in any other aspect between Iran and USA. This fixation with nuclear issue is dangerous. ...now what is the mumbo jumbo about the rest of it...and the number of Americans in 1977 in Iran was 50'000 advisors and businessmen, not a million.

Ali / December 2, 2009 3:05 AM

Dear Ali, why would I claim you are wrong? You do have valid points which you put forth quite elegantly and I commend you for it. I do have a few questions about Mossadegh’s character which do bother me about him. 1) "His methods of government were peculiar. For example, when he decided to shift his governors, he dropped into a bowl slips of paper with the names of provinces; each governor stepped forward and drew a new province." How would you explain that? It is a clear indication that qualifications were of no importance to this government and leader. 2) “Mossadegh put Makki in charge of the oil installations. Makki's view on oil: close up the wells, pull down the refinery and forget about it. Neither Makki, Kashani nor Mossadegh has ever shown any interest in rational plans for the economic reform and development of their country.” Rather than believing an outsider I looked for economic progress at his time to no avail. Would you please explain this irrationality. 3) Why would he be lenient towards the Tuddeh party when it is quite clear they never had the love of country at heart. Another irrationality. 4) finally, don't you think he really set himself up? Who in his right mind can believe the Americans would challenge the Brits in 1952 against a third world back water player most people in the west had not even heard of? Don't you think that was naive on his part? These are questions that need be answered for clarification. I thank you for taking time to answer my questions and thank you again for your mature and graceful response. God bless our country.

Reza / December 2, 2009 3:54 AM

Do you really think that a democrate person, beleiving in human rights, well educated, loving his country, beiliving in justice and knowing about law. Someone who can be able to lead Iran the best way possible, some one who doesn't cheat and doesn't steal; the perfect president for Iran, someone opposite all the dictators who have ruled in Iran, can intersts US and Europan governments? Do you think that this person will be profitable to US and European governments?
The answer is NO; hundred times NO!!
WHY? (I know that you wont put this on the site)
Imagine that this person existq and becomes Iran's President. He will stop all the abuses. He will stop giving away the wealth of Iran. He will build universities and help millions of youth who are willing to have access to the best education.
He will help them to be as performant as Europeans and Americans in science. Will ask the Iranian doctors, engineers and scientists who work in foreign countries to come back and work in Iran. The country will become powerful with strongly willing people who want to erase all these years by working hard and develope their wounded country.
I don't think that US and European government will be interested in this kind of Iran. On the contrary; they need a poor and corrupted Iran exactly the way it has always been and is today with a stupid President who spends the country's wealth by buying everything and never building things itself.
They need a dictator who loves power and wealth so much that he just cares about his own pocket and lets his people struggle to survive so that it won't have the time to put his nose in the governments business, profiting foreing countries.
Why should Iran buy refied petrol from foreign countries? Because in this way Iran is profitable for those countries. If tomorrow the good future Iranian president wants to refine petrol in his own country, he'll be the biggest enemy of those who were doing that job up to now.
There are hundreds of examples like this. In fact US and European governments want an Iran who will always need them, otherwise they will lose billions of income.
That is why Mr. Obama prefers Ahmadinejad and wants to help him to stay Iran's President despite the fact that he knows that Iranians don't want him and want to have a secular country.
Mr. Obama may be a very good lawyer but he's the worth thing that is happening to Iran; worth than Carter. He doesn't know anything about Iran and Islam. He must read about Iran and it's culture and history. He can't just treat all the countries in the same way. Every one knows what a mad person is Ahmadinejad except Mr. Obama. He has even forgotten that this person orders murders and rapes and tortures in his prisons. The only one whose opinions make sense is Mr. Mc cain, but unfortunately he isn't the President.
I think that Michelle Obama instead of walking on the catwalk with her daughters with big smils on their face and being photographed all day long, must talk to her husband. She must imagine how she would have felt if her daughters were bleeding to death on the streets or raped in the prisons by several basidjis, thrown in the desert and burned to be unrecognisable.
WAKE UP MR. OBAMA. DON4T GET DRUNK BY SMELLING PETROL OF OUR COUNTRY. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

Ahoo / December 2, 2009 4:15 AM

Dear Reza,

I don't wish to defend Mossadegh's style of governance, and I don't pretend to know enough to pontificate on this.

But you are quoting from Time about Mossadegh's peculiarities, and I don't think Henry Luce's rag is a reliable resource for drawing a character potrait.

The Americans challenged the mighty Soviet Union over Iran in 1946, so it was not implausible for them to take on the much less formidable British also.

Even with WW2 in progress, Churchill sent a letter to Roosevelt complaining about American oil executives "circling like vultures" over Abadan, and received Roosevelt's curt rejoinder that the Brits were acting similarly towards American oil interests in Saudi Arabia.

When the war was over, the Americans refused to write off Britain's huge debts stemming from the purchase of war materiel delivered under the Lend-Lease Agreement, and basically turned war-ravaged Britain into an indentured servant. The Americans used their financial leverage during the Suez Crisis, when they punished the Brits for their unauthorized invasion of Nasser's Egypt by calling in the debts, causing the collapse of the Pound, the immediate downfall of the Eden Government, and the ignominious retreat of British troops from Egypt.

But all of this is besides the point.

My main contention is that our compatriots should not deluded themselves into treating the West as a natural ally in the struggle for human rights and democracy in Iran.

If the West decries the very real human rights abuses in Iran, it is only because Iran does not accept American tutelage.

Back when Saddam was serving American interests in his fight against Iran, the CIA had the gall to claim that the Halabja gas attack was perpetrated by Iran, not Iraq. The American media dutifully parroted these ridiculous allegations.

Years later, after killing nearly a million Iraqis by the most barbaric sanctions in modern history, the Americans justified their invasion of Iraq by claiming that they were on a humanitarian mission to rid that unfortunate country of a dictator 'that has gassed his own people.'

If the West really desires to promote democracy and human rights in our region, let it start with its own clients, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morrocco, Tunisia, etc. Charity, as they say, begins at home.

And don't forget that all of these US stooges treat political dissidents in a manner that makes our IRI thugs look like Sunday Schoolers by comparison.

Of course, you don't hear much about it on VOA.

Ali from Tehran / December 2, 2009 6:00 AM

Ahoo, you are an example of the very attitude I am talking about.It is always someone else’s fault. Only if the big bad Americans or Europeans would not mess with our internal affairs.STOP.Think for a minute.Where are the 68 million Iranians that live in Iran? Obviously in Iran.Are they that idiotic and simple minded that every Tom, Dick or Harry from the West can take advantage of them and at any time in histroy? If that is the case then forget it. Iranians are Sheep.But that is not the case, is it? We must learn to point the finger at ourselves. We are responsible for all our problems. We have been simple minded many times during our history. We have been too trusting at times, i.e. Khomeini. We have done it to ourselves all along. This is a typical Iranian attitude, "I am what Cyrus the great accomplished 2500 years ago." Well, that was 2500 years ago, where do we stand at this time in history? The answer, Ahmadinejad, Khamenei and the dreaded Islamic Republic.No foreign government or foreign leader or foreign nation owes us anything or they would not be "Foreign". Obama's responsibility is to the United States.He is the president of the United States of America. On the issue of finances. There we go again, I wish Iranians would read a little.Take Iran's income at 2008 estimates.Our GDP is not even close to Saudi Arabia's with a per capita income almost half of theirs.I am talking about Saudi Arabia my friend, another third world country.Now lets look at U.S.A. with a 13 Trillion dollar economy.We are a drop in the ocean in comparison.I am not even including the European community.They could forget about us til kingdom come and it would not matter.We need them more than they need us.Saudies have already increased their daily output to 12000000 barrels and we are lucky if we achieve pre revolution rates. Our oil wells are losing productivity due to lack of maintenance.We the Iranian people my friend are in a sorry state. We need a drastic attitude change and fast to save ourselves as well as our country. However, we need to do it with knowledge and a clear undertanding of the world and not with yet another conspiracy theory. Enough is enough.

Reza / December 2, 2009 1:52 PM

The little wagon has once again,in its long history ,landed in a ditch. How to get it out?

pirooz / December 5, 2009 12:12 PM