Iran is not the problem

Iran (is not the problem) or Iran is not the problem (2008) Iranian documentary film directed, produced and written by Aaron Newman.

The 79-minute feature documentary argues that the American media does not reliably report on Iran’s differences with the US. It also presents a view countering the international perspective that Iran’s nuclear proliferation is aimed at destroying Israel, contrary to fact of the US domination of the world and its diplomatic double speak. It also appraises the democratic movement within Iran, attributes reasons for the conflicts with the USA and Israel, and offers some solutions. Many opinions are screened which express their individual views.

The last time Iran attacked another country was 223 years ago in the Battle of Krtsanisi in 1795. Tbilisi was captured and sacked by Iranian troops. Persian reconquest of the Caucasus and Georgia.

14 March 1950 – Voted against UN Partition Plan, recognised Israel, but voted against admission of Israel to membership of UN. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign state after Turkey.

On June, 29, 1963 The Iranian Ministry of Foreign affairs was ordered to keep relations with Israel secret and not to publish any related news or reports about Iran-Israel relations at the media. This decision was taken 3 days after Shah announced in an interview on July, 23, 1960 that Iran-Israel relations date back to its formation. This announcement created outrage among Arab countries especially Egypt.

On March, 14, 1950, Iran recognized the state of Israel; as De Facto, one year after its creation during Saed government. But Dr. Mosaddegh cut ties with Israel on July, 7, 1951, knowing that the Zionist state was a tool of the British government against nations in the Middle East. The British embassy and officials were evicted from Iran in October 1952. After the CIA backed coup of 1953, diplomatic relations with Britain and her illegitimate child re-started and Mohammad Reza Shah entered a close relationship with Israel, especially in terms of weapons and intelligence. Iran purchased a $500,000,000 worth of arms from Israel per year and exported petroleum even at the time of OPEC embargo.

Iranians were sensitive towards the Palestinian issue. Israel was known for apartheid and discrimination against native residents of Palestine. Therefore Shah wanted to keep their relations secret.

On Feb, 19, 1979, only a week after the Islamic Revolution, in its first official response to the issue, the Revolutionary interim government stated that Iran-Israel relations were to be cut completely. Imam Khomeini declared every last Friday of Ramazan as the Qods Day in support of oppressed Palestinians.

The Israel embassy was shut down and it was dedicated as the Palestinian embassy. Iran’s support for Palestinian resistance groups and Lebanese Hezbollah and close ties with Syria are parts of her official long-term policy that has resulted in pressure from US and its satellite countries. Although the cost has been high, Iranians seem to have embraced staying besides the oppressed rather than cheering international arrogance and ignorance.

In 1947, Iran was one of the eleven nations selected to form a Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) to recommend a resolution to the issue of the Palestine Mandate. After much deliberation the committee presented a Partition plan for Palestine, which had the support of eight out of eleven members of the committee. Iran along with India and Yugoslavia opposed the plan, predicting it would lead to an escalation of violence. Maintaining that peace could only be established through a single federal state, Iran voted against the partition plan when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, predicted that the partition would lead to generations of fighting.

From the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 until the Iranian Revolution and the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, Israel and Iran maintained close ties. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign state after Turkey. Israel viewed Iran as a natural ally as a non-Arab power on the edge of the Arab world, in accordance with David Ben Gurion’s concept of an alliance of the periphery. Israel had a permanent delegation in Tehran which served as a de facto embassy, before Ambassadors were exchanged in the late 1970s.


After the Six-Day War, Iran supplied Israel with a significant portion of its oil needs and Iranian oil was shipped to European markets via the joint Israeli-Iranian Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline. Brisk trade between the countries continued until 1979, with Israeli construction firms and engineers active in Iran. El Al, the Israeli national airline, operated direct flights between Tel Aviv and Tehran. Iranian-Israeli military links and projects were kept secret, but they are believed to have been wide-ranging, for example the joint military project Project Flower (1977–79), an Iranian-Israeli attempt to develop a new missile.

Considerable debts owed to Iran by Israel for business conducted before the Iranian revolution, in the order of a billion dollars, were not paid to Iran. Some of the debt comes from oil purchased by Israel, and a larger amount arises from operation of the Trans-Israel oil pipeline and associated port facilities, which were a joint venture between Israeli companies and the National Iranian Oil Company. The Israeli cabinet decided against paying the debt at a meeting in 1979 and granted legal indemnity to the Israeli companies which owed it. At least one Israeli bank account is known to hold $250 million owed to Iran. Since the 1980s, Iran has been suing in the European courts for payment of the debt and has won several cases. However payment of the debt is legally complicated by the international sanctions against Iran and by the fact that Israel classifies Iran as an enemy state. In May 2015 a European court ordered the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company to pay $1.1 billion to Iran, which Israel refused to do.

Under reformist Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, elected in 1997, some believed Iran–Israel relations would improve. Khatami called Israel an “illegal state” and a “parasite,” but also said in 1999 Jews would be “safe in Iran” and all religious minorities would be protected. A report indicates that Iran tried in 2003 to initiate a rapprochement with Israel by recognizing its existence in a proposal to the United States. The report claims that Iran’s peace proposal with Israel was not accepted by the United States. 

In late February 2012, WikiLeaks published confidential emails from Stratfor, a US-based private intelligence company, which were stolen by the hacking group Anonymous. Among the information released was a claim that Israeli commandos, in collaboration with Kurdish fighters, destroyed several underground Iranian facilities used for nuclear and defense research projects. Khamenei has accused Israel of helping Jundallah to carry out attacks in Iran. According to a New Yorker report, members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalqreceived training in the U.S. and Israeli funding for their operations against the Iranian government.

In January 2014, during a plenary session at the 9th World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, the President of Israel Shimon Peres said in response to a question about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program that “Iran is not an enemy”, and there are no historical hostilities between the two countries. In that regard he added: “I don’t see a reason to spend so much money in the name of hatred”.

The nuclear program of Iran has included several research sites, two uranium mines, a research reactor, and uranium processing facilities that include three known uranium enrichment plants.[1] In 1970, Iran ratified the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),[2] making its nuclear program subject to the IAEA‘s verification.

Iran’s nuclear program was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. [3] The participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran’s nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the last Shah of Iran.[4] Following the 1979 Revolution, most of the international nuclear cooperation with Iran was cut off. In 1981, Iranian officials concluded that the country’s nuclear development should continue. Negotiations took place with France in the late 1980s and with Argentina in the early 1990s, and agreements were reached. In the 1990s, Russia formed a joint research organization with Iran, providing Iran with Russian nuclear experts and technical information.

In the 2000s, the revelation of Iran’s clandestine uranium enrichment program raised concerns that it might be intended for non-peaceful uses. The IAEA launched an investigation in 2003 after an Iranian dissident group revealed undeclared nuclear activities carried out by Iran.[5][6] In 2006, because of Iran’s noncompliance with its NPT obligations, the United Nations Security Councildemanded that Iran suspend its enrichment programs. In 2007, the United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) stated that Iran halted an alleged active nuclear weapons program in fall 2003.[7] In November 2011, the IAEA reported credible evidence that Iran had been conducting experiments aimed at designing a nuclear bomb until 2003, and that research may have continued on a smaller scale after that time.[8][9]

Iran’s first nuclear power plant, the Bushehr I reactor, was completed with major assistance from the Russian government agency Rosatom and officially opened on 12 September 2011.[10] The Russian engineering contractor Atomenergoprom said the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would reach full capacity by the end of 2012.[11] Iran has also announced that it is working on a new 360 MegawattDarkhovin Nuclear Power Plant, and that it will seek more medium-sized nuclear power plants and uranium mines in the future.[12]

As of 2015, Iran’s nuclear program has cost $100 billion in lost oil revenues and lost foreign direct investment because of international sanctions ($500 billion, when including other opportunity costs).[13][14]

On 2 April 2015, hailing the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran on parameters for a comprehensive agreement, President Obama said “Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached an historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”[304]

The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between Iran and Iraq, beginning on 22 September 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran, and ending on 20 August 1988, when Iran accepted the UN-brokered ceasefire. Iraq wanted to replace Iran as the dominant Persian Gulf state, and was worried that the 1979 Iranian Revolution would lead Iraq’s Shi’ite majority to rebel against the Ba’athist government. The war also followed a long history of border disputes, and Iraq planned to annex the oil-rich Khuzestan Province and the east bank of the Shatt al-Arab (Arvand Rud).

Source – Comment

Once upon a time, the US helped to overthrow of the Iranian government.  This was in 1953.  Usually, this is described as the US overthrowing the “democratically” elected Mosaddegh but the story, as with most things in history, is a bit more complicated than that.

The notion of nationalizing the oil industry in Iran first came up in 1951.  The then Prime Minister (who had been appointed by the Shah in June of 1950), General Haj-Ali Razmara, went before the Majlis (the Iranian parliament) and said, “look, we don’t have the technicians or capacity to do this on our own. If you piss off the Brits, this is not going to go well for us.”

Four days later, Gen Razmara was assassinated by a group “allegedly” aligned with Mosaddegh, a militant fundamentalist group called Fadayan-e Islam.  So a new prime minister was appointed and then the Parliament voted to nationalize the British-owned and operated oil industry.  After pressure from both the fundamentalists and from the Iranian communist party, this new prime minister resigned after just a month in office.

So the Shah appointed Mossadegh after he was nominated by the Majlis by a vote of 79-12.  This was pretty touchy considering the fact that Mossadegh himself was from the Qajar dynasty and considered the Pahlavi kings (of which the Shah was one) to be usurpers of *their* (Qajar) throne.   Immediately, Mossadegh inacted huge, sweeping reforms.  Mossadegh demanded the power to appoint the Minister of War and the Chief of Staff, which had always been done by the Shah.  When the Shah refused, Mossadegh resigned.  A new PM was appointed but after five days of massive unrest, Mosaddegh was re-appointed and granted full control of the military as he had demanded.

Now Mossadegh had the power to convince parliament to grant him emergency powers for six months to add any law he felt was necessary to get Iran economically successful but also to reform the electoral, judicial, and educational processes.  His power was  a balance of alignment with both the Communist party and the Islamists.

Mossadegh cut the Shah’s personal budget, forbid him from communicating directly with foreign diplomats and transferred royal lands back to the state.  He also expelled the Shah’s politically active sister.

In Jan 1952, parliamentary elections were held but Mosadegh suspended them declaring concerns of foreign intervention.  Of concern, it appeared he allowed the elections to proceed only long enough for his own supporters to gain power and then stopped any elections that may have put opposition parties into place.  This gave him the majority in the Majlis necessary to declare him PM again.

In 1953, he pressed parliament to extend his emergency powers for another 12 months.  He implemented wide ranging land reform which essentially cut the legs out from under the Communist power since that had always been their key platform.

As the Iranian people became poorer (because now they couldn’t export any oil), Mossadegh began to lose the support of his other alliances, including the Islamists.  Losing power and expecting a coup (staged by the Brits and the US), Mossadegh presented a referendum to the general public to dissolve parliament and give all their powers to make law to himself.  This voting occurred at different polling stations for “yes” votes and “no” votes, so it was clear who would be voting which way.  The measure passed the public vote with 99 percent!  So on August 16, the parliament was suspended *indefinitely* and Mosaddeq’s emergency powers were extended *indefinitely*.

Three days later, a coup (supported and planned by the UK and US intelligence services) overthrew Mosaddeq, placing him under house arrest, and re-instated the Shah as the full and “rightful” ruler of Iran.  The Shah then reinstated the (actually) democratically elected Majlis.  (You might note the US/UK backed coup occurred TWO YEARS after the oil industry was nationalized by THREE DAYS after Mosaddeq suspended the Majlis.  But people always point to the nationalization as the “cause.”)

Granted, things kind of went down hill, but gradually so, particularly after the Shah realized he was dying.  He feared that appearing physically weak would make him a target for a coup himself, and so he ramped up the internal oppression of his country. That, of course, made things much worse and his days were numbered at that point.

The US Embassy was seized when the US allowed the Shah entry into the US for health reasons.  Prior to that, he was in exile in Mexico following a coup in 1978/79.

Mossadegh introduced social security, land reform, and rent control.  (Aside from suspending the Majlis and halting elections.)

The Shah gave women the right to vote, gave workers shares in their companies, free meals to children in school, boosted education throughout the country which saw a tremendous rise in literacy, sent college students abroad to study on the Iranian dime, and significantly increased Iran’s technological capabilities in several areas.

Lastly, Iran’s economy grew significantly under the Shah.  (And the oil company remained nationalized though with a significant “partnership” with the Brits.  Who went back to making sure everything actually worked.)

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