By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Obama: US “meddling” in Iran should not be seen
18 June 2009
Amid rhetoric about his commitment to the “universal values” of democratic processes and free speech, US President Barack Obama made one unintentionally revealing statement on Iran Tuesday. “It’s not productive, given the history of the US-Iranian relationship, to be seen as meddling,” he said.
The statement was meant as an explanation of the Obama administration’s failure to join the Iranian opposition led by the defeated candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi in explicitly denouncing last Friday’s presidential election as a “fraud” and as a defense against criticism from the Republican right in the US.
Before Obama made the statement, his Republican opponent in the 2008 election, Arizona Senator John McCain
condemned the administration’s reticence, declaring that Obama “should speak out that this is a corrupt, flawed sham of an election and that the Iranian people have been deprived of their rights.”
Obama’s choice of words, however, spoke volumes. The US should not “be seen as meddling”; as for the meddling itself, that is clearly another matter.
The president’s reference to “the history of the US-Iranian relationship” refers to the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overthrew the country’s nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, who two years earlier had begun to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, until then controlled by Britain.
Nearly one year after the coup, in August 1954, the New York Times published an editorial succinctly explaining the motives behind the CIA action: “Underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism,” the paper editorialized. “It is perhaps too much to hope that Iran’s experience will prevent the rest of Mossadeqs in other countries, but that experience may at least strengthen the hands of more reasonable and far-seeing leaders.”
The obvious question is: what fundamentally has changed in “the US-Iranian relationship” since those days? Washington—under Obama as under Bush—is continuing two colonial-style wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, i.e., on Iran’s western and eastern borders,
The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan might be interpreted as a pincer movement against Iran. However, they were also tacit collaboration between at least some elements of the Bush and Teheran regimes. As Bush’s wars removed two enemies of Teheran: Saddam Hussein, whom they hated for secularism; and the Afghan Taliban, whom they hated for being Sunni and more extremely “fundamentalist” than themselves.
that have claimed the lives of over one million people. The aim of these wars is the same as the objective of the coup of 1953—control of “rich resources” and the pipeline routes for extracting them from the oil-rich Persian Gulf and Central Asia.
Letters on the elections in Iran: here.
The Iranian working class and the revolt: here.
How Iran’s Internet works: here.
With an uncompromising speech at Friday’s prayers, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has set the stage for a potentially bloody confrontation with opposition leaders demanding a re-run of last week’s presidential election: here.