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America's Role in Iran's Unrest

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Much has been said about President Obama's recent statement that the US should not "meddle" into Iran's election process. Many conservatives feel the President should speak out more about the Iranian crisis. Rush Limbaugh said that President Ronald Reagan would always call out injustice when he saw it.

Let's take a look at that and see where our past meddling has gotten us. The history of Iran goes back thousands of years but let's start with the 20th century. During World War I and II, both the United States and Great Britain relied on Iran's oil for their machines of war. (http://dc-meh.blogspot.com/2009/04/foreign-domination-in-iran-1918-1953.html) After WW II Britain continued its military occupation of Iran to guard their oil interests.

Mohammad Mosaddeq, Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 was famous for his passionate opposition to foreign intervention and for being the architect of the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry. He felt that Iranians should share the oil 50-50 with the British instead of being totally controlled by Great Britain.

Needless to say, this did not sit well with Great Britain and the United States and their respective leaders, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Mosaddeq was removed from power in a 1953 coup d'etat funded by the British and US governments and led by General Fazlollah Zahedi. The Shah (Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi who had been in exile) was returned to power and Zahedi was appointed Prime Minister. The lasting effect of the Coup is chronicled in the book "Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran," edited by Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Bryne. Below is an excerpt:

"The '28 Mordad' coup, as it is known by its Persian date, was a watershed for Iran, for the Middle East and for the standing of the United States in the region. The joint U.S.-British operation ended Iran's drive to assert sovereign control over its own resources and helped put an end to a vibrant chapter in the history of the country's nationalist and democratic movements. These consequences resonated with dramatic effect in later years. When the Shah finally fell in 1979, memories of the U.S. intervention in 1953, which made possible the monarch's subsequent, and increasingly unpopular, 25-year reign intensified the anti-American character of the revolution in the minds of many Iranians."

This coup eventually led to dissatisfaction of the Shah's monarchy within the Iranian populace. Thus seeds were planted that produced the 1979 Iranian Revolution where the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became Supreme Leader and made Iran an Islamic Republic officially marrying government and religion. It has been called an event that "made Islamic fundamentalism a political force ...from Morocco to Malaysia." Some Iranians explain the revolution as a time which "promised us heaven, but...created a hell on earth."

An Iranian-American friend of mine who came to this country when he was seventeen (thirty two years ago) believes the Revolution has turned out to be a disaster. The Ayatollah and Mullahs rule Iran with an iron fist while oppressing women, gays, and youths. The recent unrest in Iran over the June election results bears this out. (NCR-Iran.org)

Another example of serious meddling by the United States is the Iran-Iraq war which lasted from 1980-1988. In 1983, the Reagan Administration provided chemical and biological weapons to Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq to assist in their fight against Iran. (www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/arming_iraq.php)

As we all know, Hussein would later invade Kuwait in 1990 leading to the First Gulf War with President George HW Bush and after 9/11, the invasion of Iraq by his son, President George W. Bush becoming the Iraq War (or the Second Gulf War) which continues to this day.

To recap, with Iran, the United States of America in the last five decades has supported a coup against a popular leader which allowed the Shah to be replaced by an Islamic Revolution, and supplied chemical and biological weapons to its enemy, Iraq, during the Iran-Iraq war. And Americans wonder why there is so much anti-American sentiment in Iran!

Some conservative commentators are unhappy with what they call an "apology" tour of the Middle East by President Obama. In my eyes, we have a lot to apologize for, especially to Iran.