Friday, June 08, 2007

The Great Satan spars with the Islamic Republic - Deccan Herald - Internet Edition

The Great Satan spars with the Islamic Republic - Deccan Herald - Internet Edition


ANALYSIS
The Great Satan spars with the Islamic Republic
From Michael Jansen
Washington’s backing for the Shah, the presence of US forces and firms, the granting by the shah of extra-territorial status to US citizens, soldiers has transformed Iran into a US client state.

The confrontation between Washington and Teheran over Iran’s nuclear programme can be expected to continue because neither side can afford to back down without losing face. However, this confrontation is unlikely to escalate into a full blown crisis. The parties themselves, the countries trying to mediate between them, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) striving to defuse tensions seek to avoid this possibility. The US, beleaguered by the insurgency in Iraq, cannot court a fresh disaster in neighbouring Iran by taking military action. Teheran would like to end its international isolation and attract foreign investment. Germany, France and Britain are trying to secure Iran's agreement to halt its efforts to enrich uranium in order to avert further US adventurism. India, which, apparently, has also attempted to calm the situation, has close ties with Iran and is improving relations with the US and does not want to be forced to choose between them. Teheran’s refusal to suspend the conversion of raw uranium into gas, the first step in developing an independent fuel cycle, means that Iran is unlikely to resume negotiations with the three European states before the meeting of the IAEA's 35-member board in November. During this gathering the US, the Islamic Republic’s inveterate antagonist, plans to press for Iran to be brought before the UN Security Council. However, China and Russia, which is building Iran’s Bushehr reactor, do not favour referral to the Council and could use their vetoes if the US tables a resolution calling for the imposition of sanctions on Tehran.
Washington argues that Tehran must not be permitted to develop the nuclear fuel cycle which could transform Iran into an independent nuclear power capable of manufacturing atomic weapons. Therefore, Iran must abandon its programme and accept that any nuclear power plants it builds will acquire fuel from established nuclear powers and undergo close IAEA monitoring. This view has been accepted by Britain, Washington’s closest ally, and the rest of the Europeans and, to a certain extent, by the Agency, which is, after all, governed by a board where the US is the most powerful and influential member. Iran argues that the US is trying to deprive it of its rights under the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and is not prepared to capitulate. Its view was spelt out by former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who now heads the powerful Expediency Council. “Iran is ready to negotiate but not when preconditions are attached.” Iranians call Washington's attempts to dictate to others “power-mongering.” The more the US attempts to tell Teheran what to do, the more determined it is to resist bullying. The more Iran resists, the greater becomes the US desire to tame Teheran. The deep antagonism between these two countries developed in 1979 when the mullahs overthrew Washington’s loyal ally the shah. US scholar William O Beeman writing in his book The ‘‘Great Satan’’ vs the "Mad Mullahs:" How the United States and Iran Demonise Each Other, says the defining event was the seizure by radical students of the US embassy in Teheran and the holding of 50 diplomats based there for 444 days. Iranians saw the saga of the “hostages” as payback for years of US domination but Americans were humiliated and infuriated by their government’s inability to secure the release of the diplomats. Since the two countries did not pose a direct political and military threat to one another until the US occupied Iraq in 2003, Beeman says that the conflict was more contrived than real. Thus, he writes, “...both nations construct the 'other' to fit an idealised picture of an enemy.” The constructs they produced – the “Great Satan” and the "Mad Mullahs" – were for home consumption rather than used for name-calling. The “Great Satan” is a religious and cultural symbol for Iranians. The term was applied to Britain at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century when it was intervening in Iranian politics. Beeman says that after the revolution this image was adopted to show Iranians that the "United States and all it supported (in Iran), principally Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, was a force alien to Iran and its civilisation – a force that was attempting to corrupt the Iranian people." Washington’s backing for the shah, the presence of US forces and firms in the country, and the granting by the shah of extraterritorial status to US citizens, soldiers and companies transformed proud Iran into a US client state. The clerical regime adopted a confrontational stance in order to curry to popular sentiment. Angered by the ouster of one of its major political and economic assets in West Asia and stung by Teheran's rejection, Washington, which refuses to accept that Iranians could object to its pre-revolutionary policies, argued that Iran's clerical rulers were irrational and mentally unstable, that is "Mad Mullahs." Washington was doubly insulted when Teheran conditioned a resumption of relations on a demand for dialogue on the basis of "equality." The US expects other countries to bow to its demands and accept inferiority and subservience. Now that US troops are in Iraq, the two countries do pose a threat to each other. The US can use its military assets against Iran while Iran can exploit for political gain its close ties with Islamic Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the dominant parties in the government which are determined to transform that country into an Islamic state. This means that "Great Satan," which has, so far, rejected dialogue with Iran, will have to come to terms with the "Mad Mullahs" to avoid payback in Iraq if, as seems likely, their Shia allies secure control of the full-term parliament in the December poll. An authoritative source in Dubai told The Deccan Herald that Teheran is not worried about Washington's threat of sanctions because the Iran is cooperating with the US in Afghanistan and Iraq. US bluster and bullying and Iran's defiance are meant to camouflage the cooperation between the Great Satan and the Mad Mullahs. This hoax is essential if the two governments are to maintain the current climate of tension and sustain the campaigns of demonisation which both regimes find useful.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I kinda have been expecting this in a way...
But I reali dun think da world is going to end...start a new era maybe but the world is not ending.
That's not gonna happen till a thousand years later! Ok, I'm not sure bout that either but that's not the point! The world's not gonna end! Full stop!
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