And why Israel has reason to worry
By Sayed Hasan
Translated from French by Jenny Bright
While the whole world – with the exception of Israel and Saudi Arabia – celebrates a ‘victory for international diplomacy’ that should end decades of sanctions and repel the risk of international war in the region, certain truths should be recalled about the real motives of the US administration in Iran and Tehran’s foreign policy.
The Vienna agreement concluded July 14th, 2015 between Iran and the “P5 + 1” (the five members of the UN Security Council – China, USA, France, UK, Russia – plus Germany) concluded 12 years of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue. Initiated in 2003 by the Bush administration, the very year of the invasion of Iraq, the accusations that Iran has a secret military nuclear program and aspires to obtain the atomic bomb were as unfounded as those that were brought against the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. These allegations, which all data and all international observers proved to be false, only served as a pretext for the aggression that was to be the last act of the project for a New Middle East redesigned according to the desiderata of Washington. A Middle East in which there would be no room for any state or any force that could represent a danger to US hegemony and their control of resources and strategic areas of the region.
Iran – like Syria – constituted a major obstacle to this project, and was to meet the same fate as Iraq, the invasion of which was only a prelude. Its aggression was planned, and has often been presented as imminent, but the American failure in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Israeli-American debacle against Hezbollah in 2006 and the emergence of new poles around rising powers such as Russia and China, in partnership with Latin America, South Africa and other Eurasian powers, prefigured a geostrategic shift to a multipolar world in which the United States would not only lose their exclusivity, but their very relevance. Hence the American desire to regain some presence – and the will for the Obama administration to achieve some diplomatic ‘successes’ – by concluding the ‘historic’ agreements with Cuba and with Iran, two nations under a State of siege without precedent for decades because of their independent, anti-imperialist and internationalist policies, and who have not folded despite the economic, diplomatic, media (and sometimes military) merciless war to which they were subjected. On the contrary, Cuba, like Iran, had reached an unprecedented regional influence, and despite Western propaganda, the agreements represent for them a resounding victory and a crushing defeat for Washington and its vassals who can put forward only illusory successes, trumpeted to compensate for their inanity.
Thus Barack Obama who put forward a fatwa of Sayed Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, banning the production, possession and use of nuclear weapons, presenting it as a result obtained by the efforts of his administration. But the reality is that this prohibition was enacted by Imam Khomeini as early as 1984, in the middle of the Iran-Iraq war, while Iran was subjected to the chemical attacks of Saddam Hussein – with the active complicity of the West. Despite the existential threat which then weighed upon the Islamic Republic and the pressing demands addressed in this regard by the Iranian political and military elites , Imam Khomeini categorically prohibited any research on chemical, biological or nuclear weapons – and a fortiori any possession or use of such weapons. His authority remains so overwhelming that it is inconceivable to see this religious – and not just political – prohibition challenged by anyone within the Islamic Republic, or even Hezbollah as Hassan Nasrallah could explicitly highlight. Besides, Sayed Ali Khamenei himself issued an explicit fatwa to this effect in the mid-1990s, made public in 2004. It was recalled by Iran in 2005 before the International Agency for Atomic Energy (IAEA), whose reports all testified to there being no hint of Iran pursuing a military nuclear program, all the data clearly establishing the opposite. But perhaps ‘Big Brother’ apportions so many resources to spying on the private conversations of his vassals that he forgets to take note of the official statements and reports of his antagonists, and even of his own intelligence agencies, up to those of Israel , all of which corroborate the purely civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself, caricatured excessively in the West as a genocidal provocateur at his time, by the way of preparing the masses for the coming aggression (when he did not even have the appearance of a ‘mullah’, contrary to Hassan Rouhani; Western ‘codes’ are fickle), recalled that intangible principle from his inaugural address . Finally, Iran has remained a spearhead of the International Conference for Nuclear Disarmament, working for the decommissioning of all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East under the slogan ‘Nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none’. As emphasised by Vladimir Putin, a champion of respect for international law for whom this agreement also represents a great victory, this movement can only be strengthened, and Iran is bound to play a leading role in the Middle East. Thus, only the gullible masses, conditioned by corporate media dutifully following orders, could believe that there was a real danger of possession of nuclear weapons by Iran. Note that the prize for inconsistency must again be awarded to the pathetic Francois Hollande, who dared to declare in response to the enlightened question of a presstitute ("Can we trust the mullah regime?") : “My concern was to prevent nuclear proliferation, to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. If Iran was to get nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia, Israel, other countries would also want to gain access to nuclear weapons. And it would be a risk for the entire planet.” Undoubtedly, a nuclear Israel would be a threat to the entire planet – and it is actually so, this country being one of the few countries to possess hundreds of nuclear warheads without having ratified the Treaty of Non-Proliferation, and without allowing any inspection of its sites by the IAEA. Such contortions speak volumes about the degree of debasement of France faced with USraeli interests.
Thus, the accusations against Tehran have always been shameless lies to hinder its development and to contain its power and sovereignty, which leaders and the Iranian people are well aware of, contrary to what some analysts may suggest. Western sanctions against Iran are to be gradually lifted in the coming months, which will end an artificial crisis ‘completely manufactured’ – in the words of Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs –, to the great dismay of Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu, who had notably campaigned on his intransigence on the Iranian nuclear issue, for which he has threatened his very relations with the White House with an unprecedented interference in American politics, has indeed condemned the agreement in the most explicit terms . This short speech is worth quoting and commenting on:
There follows a parallel with North Korea, which would have obtained nuclear weapons in spite of its commitments and international inspections
Should we see nothing but a sound effect, one of those grotesque and shameless statements which are customary to Netanyahu, like the ‘diagram’ –taken straight out of Looney Tunes cartoons – which he brandished before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2012? Beyond the usual extravagances of the military nature of the Iranian nuclear project, and the blatant inversion of values that constitutes the imputation to Iran, a nation that has committed no aggression since the 18th century, an alleged militarism and expansionist policy (this is rather the true picture of Israel from its establishment to the present), it should be noted that many of the statements of Netanyahu are based on reality, or even, if we replace the terms ‘terrorism’ and ‘aggression’ with ‘Resistance’ and ‘internationalism’, quite relevant.
Yes, the world has changed, and the Israel that terrorised the region and imposed its law for decades is now afraid, and has very good reasons to be afraid. It is a pleasant enough spectacle worthy of being watched more closely.
Since the fall of the Shah in 1979, the Iranian regime has passed from the status of the United States’ main ally in the Middle East, in line with the pro-American medieval autocracies – and before Israel itself, with whom relations were as close as conceivable – to that of its most resolute opponent. One of the first decisions of Imam Khomeini was to close the Israeli embassy and replace it by the first Palestinian embassy in the world; as for the US Embassy, it was also closed after the confinement of American staff for over a year, in order to obtain the extradition of the Shah, exiled to the United States, to be tried and punished for his crimes. If Iran has no direct diplomatic relations with the United States, officially regarded as the ‘Great Satan’ and the ‘heart of global Arrogance’, it does not even recognise the existence of Israel (let alone its legitimacy), the ‘Little Satan’, described by Imam Khomeini as ‘a cancerous tumour that must disappear from existence’ as early as 1979.
Imam Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadan as the International Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, during which millions of Muslims march in Iran (and worldwide) with, indeed, cries of ‘Death to America’, which means Death to American imperialism, and ‘Death to Israel’, which is a call for the outright disappearance of the State of Israel, not just the end of this regime or that policy. And indeed, as Netanyahu stressed, Hassan Rouhani himself participates in such events in which American and Israeli flags are burned – although some mainstream media, for once, questioned the authenticity of the charge of Netanyahu, while in other circumstances, they had always taken for granted the Israeli statements; this proves that the master is Washington before Tel Aviv. Besides, the slogans ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’ punctuate all Sayed Khamenei's speeches, hostility to Israel and American foreign policy being deeply rooted in the whole of Iranian society, which is very cultivated and alert, and even highly sophisticated.
This hostility from Iran to US hegemony and Israeli militarism is not only political and diplomatic but also economic and military: as early as 1979, the factions of the Palestinian, then Lebanese, Resistance, found a first choice ally in Tehran, who lavishly dispensed money, training and weaponry to Hezbollah and the PLO, then to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, unconditionally. Initially clandestine, Iran and its allies do not even keep quiet about this support anymore, and claim it loud and clear. It is thanks to them that Israel could be routed in Lebanon and held in check in Gaza. Iran affirms it does everything possible to arm Resistance factions, and never responded to US-Israeli threats but by upmanship:
« No, we are not involved in Bahrain. Whenever we are involved, we explicitly declare it. We were involved in the fight against Israel, which resulted in victories in the 33-days [Lebanon, 2006] and 22-days wars [Gaza, 2008-2009. And from now on, wherever a nation or a group fights and confronts the Zionist entity, we will support and help it, and we are not at all afraid of saying this. This is a fact. » Sayed Ali Khamenei, 3 February 2012
These are the official posture and language of the Islamic Republic of Iran and all its leaders and representatives, whether Sayed Khamenei or Hassan Rouhani, of their Syrian allies or Hezbollah, and whether the Western press makes its headlines out of it or passes over it – tamely – in silence to allow its masters to brag of an alleged diplomatic victory. Such is the policy of Iran since 1979, continued despite all the tensions, through the Iran-Iraq war that ravaged the country, and at the height of Western sanctions and US-Israeli aggression threats. The lifting of sanctions against Iran will inevitably result in increased support for the Resistance movements in the Middle East, as Netanyahu fears, and announces new defeats for Israel .
Thus we easily understand the rage of the Israeli Prime Minister, who, after trying to get US support to attack Iran, then to derail the nuclear negotiations, and finally, in desperation, to include recognition of the existence of Israel in the final agreement (which the Islamic Republic of Iran categorically rejected and will not accept ever), finds himself completely isolated and humiliated. Certainly, for the terrorist, racist and colonialist state of Israel, Iran is an existential threat. Not that it threatens its people with genocide, of course. Sayed Khamenei explained what he meant by the necessary disappearance of the Zionist entity, and we should listen carefully:
“The Zionist entity is an entity that has set itself the goal of showing blatant violence since the beginning of its illegitimate birth. They do not even deny this violence. They have set themselves the goal of clenching an iron fist. They say this everywhere and they are proud of it. This is their policy.
Since the year 1948 – when this illegitimate entity came into being officially – until today, they have been pursuing this policy. It is 66 years now that they have been pursuing this policy. Of course, it had committed many crimes in Palestine even before it was officially recognized and even before colonialists imposed it on the world and on the region. But during these 66 years, they did whatever they could as a government and as a political system. They committed any violent act that one can think a government can do to a people. And they have no scruples whatsoever. This is the truth of the Zionist entity.
There is no cure for this except the annihilation of this entity. Annihilating the Zionist entity does not at all mean massacring the Jewish people in the region. The logical statement that our magnanimous Imam (may God bless him) made – that Israel should be annihilated – is based on a humanist principle. We presented to the world the practical solution for this and no one could criticize it in a reasonable way. We said that a poll and a referendum should be conducted so that the people who live in, come from and belong to this region will determine who should rule over it. We said that the people should resolve this issue.
This is the meaning of annihilating the Zionist entity. This is the solution. This solution is understandable and favored by today's standards of logic in the world. This is a practical solution. We even put forward a proposal to the United Nations and a number of international organizations in charge of such affairs. And this proposal was discussed by them.
There is no cure for the problem that this savage and wolfish entity – whose policy is to behave towards people with iron fists, cruelty and savagery and that does not care about and deny killing people and children, attacking different regions and causing destruction – has created except its destruction and annihilation. If, by Allah's favor, that day comes and if it is annihilated, then so much the better. But what is the cure as long as this fake entity survives? The cure is decisive and militant resistance against this regime.
The Palestinians should display power in the face of the Zionist entity. No one should think that if it had not been for the missiles of Gaza, the Zionist entity would have stopped its incursions. This is not the case. Notice what they are doing in the West Bank. This is while there is no missile, weapon and gun in the West Bank. The only weapon that the people have there is stones. Notice what the Zionist entity is doing there. It is doing whatever it can. It destroys people's homes, it destroys their gardens, it destroys their lives and it humiliates and belittles them. If it is necessary, it closes water on them and it blacks out electricity.
The Zionists could not tolerate someone like Yasser Arafat who compromised with them. They besieged, humiliated, poisoned and destroyed him. It is not the case that if we do not display power in the face of the Zionists, they will tolerate and show mercy to people and observe their rights. This is not the case at all. The only cure that exists before the Zionist entity is annihilated is that the Palestinians manage to act in a powerful way.
If they act in a powerful way, it is possible that the other side – which is this wolfish and violent regime – will retreat, as they are looking for a truce with all their power. This means that they have become desperate. They kill people and children and they show cruelty in an excessive way. But they are desperate as well. They are in dire straits and this is why they are after a truce.
Therefore, we believe that the West Bank should become armed like Gaza. It is necessary to show power. Those people who are interested in the fate of Palestine should do whatever they can. This is what should be done: the people in the West Bank should become armed as well. The only thing that can alleviate the Palestinians' pains is to show power. Otherwise, if we act in a tame, subservient and obedient way, nothing that is to the advantage of the Palestinians will be done and the violence that this violent, malevolent and wolfish creature is showing will not decrease.” Sayed Ali Khamenei, July 23rd, 2014
This is Iran. Iran is determined to arm the Palestinian people and any Resistance movement for their self-defence against the policy of terror and occupation. And in the middle of the Israeli aggression against Gaza, while everyone spoke only of peace, it said in front of the world it intended to intensify its internationalist policy of arming factions of the Resistance (its policy of ‘aggression’, according to Netanyahu) and extend it to the West Bank. For Iran, not only is this the only way to improve the lives of Palestinians, as demonstrated by Hezbollah in Lebanon, but it is only one step before the final disappearance of the Zionist entity from the Middle East map. Incidentally, is it not Cuban internationalism in Congo and Angola which dealt the fatal blow to the racist regime of South Africa? The analogy is certainly not perfect, but many parallels can be drawn between Havana and Tehran – two brave, sovereign and anti-imperialist powers, truly at the service of their people and of the oppressed, moved only by humanitarian considerations in their foreign policy, without the slightest expansionary hint. Cuba is in the process of normalising its relations with Washington, which has irretrievably lost Latin America, but for Tehran, the die is not cast yet.
Yes, such is the Iranian vision. Whether one considers the Iranian view of the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as possible, desirable or unthinkable is not the issue (although it will be interesting to evaluate it in terms of morality, international law and pragmatism; one can already point out the example of the end of French Algeria): what matters is that this is the official and unofficial position of Iran, that Iran is determined to work without relief and mobilise all its resources for this purpose. And what is clear is that the Middle East is in the process of remodelling with Iran as the main regional power, bound to play a world power role. The Axis of Resistance (Iran-Syria-Hezbollah) will definitely be strengthened, while Israel and Saudi Arabia, and their regional allies (Turkey, Egypt, Gulf countries, etc.), can only see their influence wane. Having failed to hinder the development of Iran and to influence this Iranian internationalist foreign policy, which is the real American preoccupation, Washington was forced to negotiate exclusively on the nuclear issue, and give in to demands from Iran.
Faced with this dramatic victory of the Islamic Republic, which has seen all its requirements met without any truly significant concession on his part, Barack Obama vainly self-congratulated by presenting the agreement as “a powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy”. He nevertheless acknowledged:
“We will continue to have profound differences with Iran... even if Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, Iran still poses challenges to our interests and our values... Israel has legitimate concerns about its security relative to Iran. You have a large country with a significant military that has proclaimed that Israel shouldn’t exist… that has financed Hezbollah, and as a consequence there are missiles that are pointed towards Tel Aviv... But will we try to encourage them to take a more constructive path? Of course. But we're not betting on it.”
You’d better not, Mr Terrorist-in-Chief.