Why is Iran so hostile to the U.S.?


Published: 6/21/2019 9:03:55 AM
Modified: 6/21/2019 9:03:44 AM

Negotiated between President Obama, China, France, Britain, Russia and Germany, the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement halted enrichment by Iran. It was considered a major step toward security in the Middle East. A year ago, in a peevish moment the man directing affairs at the White House decided to pull our country away from the agreement. Sanctions were reimposed. The National Iranian American Council equated this action with kicking a hornet’s nest, a pretty stupid, possibly fatal thing to do.

Presidential Advisor John Bolton has been talking about regime change in Iran, likely since childhood, actively since participating with the Bush Administration. He and those he advises have chosen to forget our ugly history, in the process encouraging radical elements in that country.

As a journalist, I’ve traveled much of Iran. It is a splendid place, with friendly people and rich history. This was Persia, the rival of the Roman Empire! There are the well-preserved sites of that ancient culture.

It’s true, Iran supports the rebels in Yemen whom Saudi Arabia daily bombs. It has no respect for Israel’s Zionist leadership. Like the US, Iran is a player in the Syrian civil war. Like the Russians, Iran is on the other side. This is all Bolton, Pompeo, Trump and Company choose to know. None contemplate why Iran is so angry at the U.S. — why their youth stormed our embassy in 1979, took 52 hostages and held them prisoners 444 days?

President Carter attempted a rescue but that failed when our usually competent airmen allowed their helicopters to run into one another. The hostages were freed 20 minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated — raising the never-resolved question of whether there was a secret deal earlier than the more memorable Oliver North/Reagan Iran-Contra scandal.

I neglected to mention, for the most part, Iranians are not of our own prevailing faith. Most are despised Muslims.

Both Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers and Robert McNamara’s memoirs revealed that the Gulf of Tonkin incident was faked — a “false flag” operation. It launched what President Johnson’s Joint Chiefs of Staff desired — war in Vietnam.

At the UN in 2003, Colin Powell asked we believe Saddam Hussein possessed nuclear weapons, a lie that killed and maimed millions. Instead there was formation of ISIS and further destabilized Middle East.

Does it make sense Iranians would explode a Japanese trading partner’s ship, even while Japanese Prime Minister Abe was visiting Tehran? Shown grainy drone images, we’re asked to believe.

But why this Iranian hostility to us?

Maybe its about their oil. Britain launched control of their reserves in 1908. To guard that oil, Russia, Britain and the U.S. invaded Iran in 1941.

By 1953, Iran had a democratically elected government and, at last, control of its oil, but in August of that year the, CIA teaming with Britain orchestrated a coup removing the Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. They install Shah Pahlavi, who ruled cruelly for the next 26 years.

Two weeks before that aforementioned 1979 revolt and hostage taking, Pahlavi fled the country. Demand for his return to stand trial was set as condition to free the hostages. President Carter refused.

In 1983, President Reagan’s envoy, Donald Rumsfeld, met with Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein, offering U.S. assistance in a war Iraq had provoked with Iran. Weapons, satellite based intelligence and financial aid were provided. By land and air, Iraq attacked in September 1980. Combat came to resemble World War I, with trench warfare, bayonet charges across “no-man’s land” and Iraqi use of poison gas. Yet who remembers this brutal eight-year conflict in which a million soldiers and civilians perished? Iran was the victim of an American-backed aggression that ended in stalemate.

In 1988 a U.S. missile cruiser shot down an Iranian passenger plane with loss of all 290 lives. The U.S. paid compensation for family’s losses but never formally apologized. (British journalist Robert Fisk’s book “The Great War for Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East” is a definitive and very engaging study of these events and also of regional history.)

Recalling the ease with which the 2003 Cheney/Bush invasion of Iraq incited the nationalist mounting of flags on pickups in this country, our concern should be on not allowing a politically embattled Trump to seize upon an attack on Iran to bolster his presidency.

Trump’s proposal of new talks with Iran would best begin with a U.S. apology for historic wrongs.

Charlemont resident Carl Doerner is an author and historian currently at work on a re-examination of and challenge to the “American narrative.”

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