[News] Iran’s Real Nuclear Revolution
news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Feb 21 12:27:08 EST 2014
Weekend Edition February 21-23, 2014
*A Manufactured Crisis*
Iran’s Real Nuclear Revolution
by PEPE ESCOBAR
The nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members
of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are back this Tuesday in
Vienna. The stakes couldn’t be higher. It will be a long and winding
road. Hidden agendas on both sides badly want the talks to fail – and
will spare no effort towards that goal.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei could be interpreted as a stony
realist, when he said that the talks will go nowhere. It’s as if the
Supreme Leader had read /Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the
Iran Nuclear Scare/
crucial book by Martha Gellhorn Prize winner Gareth Porter, which is
being launched this week in New York. In the book, Porter thoroughly
debunks the whole narrative of the Iran nuclear dossier as sold to the
world by the George W Bush administration, assorted neo-cons and the
And it gets much worse, in terms of prospects for a final deal to be
reached this year. According to Porter, “the Obama administration has
introduced the subject of ‘possible military dimensions’ into the
nuclear negotiations. That means that the United States will be
demanding an explanation for ‘evidence’ that the book shows was
fabricated. That is a decision that could threaten the conclusion of a
final agreement with Iran.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday last week, millions of people hit the streets in
Tehran in a massive rally celebrating the 35 years of the Islamic
revolution. How come?
For all its economic mismanagement, Iran’s illiteracy rate has been
reduced to near zero. Women are active, participative voters (try even
raising the issue in the House of Saud’s paradise). There has been
remarkable scientific progress, even under harsh sanctions. Pursuing a
civilian nuclear program is a matter of national consensus.
– significantly, published by al-Arabiya, which is controlled by the
House of Saud – at least tries not to sound entirely as cheap Arab
propaganda, making a valid point about the real threat for the Islamic
revolution coming from disaffected youth across Iran.
Yet this is not the key point. The Islamic republic won’t disintegrate
tomorrow. What’s much more crucial is to revisit the key reasons why the
revolution happened 35 years ago, and why, when it comes to Iranian
geopolitical independence, it remains somewhat popular.
That may also shed light on why the West – and especially the United
States – still refuses to normalize its relations with Iran. After all,
what happened 35 years ago in Iran was never properly understood in the
US in the first place. In geopolitical terms, this was the real
“nuclear” revolution – one of the most far-reaching developments of what
Eric Hobsbawm defined as “the short 20th century”.
And perhaps this is what the Supreme Leader meant about the talks going
nowhere; certainly the case as long as Washington, especially, refuses
to abandon the reductionism of Iran as a bunch of fanatics.
*That Kissinger oil shock *
As early as the presidency of Harry Truman, the US supported the Shah of
Iran’s dictatorship, no holds barred. No wonder those days are sorely
In 1953, after the CIA coup against Mohammad Mossadegh, the Shah – who
lived mostly in the French Riviera – was “invited” to rule as a CIA
puppet (John F Kennedy had met him in wild parties in the French Riviera
and found him to be a dangerous megalomaniac). In return for
re-establishing British “rights” to Persian oil, Washington
self-attributed 55% for the concessions and the Brits got the rest.
The CIA trained the Savak – the Shah’s secret police. It was the best of
times. The Shah not only excelled in his role of gendarme of
political/economic US interests in the Persian Gulf; as he did not share
Arab hatred of Israel, Tel Aviv had access to Persian oil (that ended
after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power).
The Shah ruthlessly suppressed and persecuted every political party in
Iran and even massacred Kurds (Saddam Hussein was taking notes.) He
started to take his own propaganda seriously, including believing in the
myth of being a new King of Kings. He became the number one cheerleader
of the 1973 OPEC oil shock, to which he got the green light from none
other than Henry Kissinger.
In a nutshell, this was a follow-up of the 1972 “Nixon doctrine”, when
it became clear the US defeat in Vietnam was all but a done deal. That’s
when Tricky Dicky started to promote gatekeepers all over the “free
world”. And no region was more crucial than the Persian Gulf.
The Shah loved it. But he was always complaining that he didn’t have
enough dough to buy all those weapons the industrial-military complex
was offering him. So Kissinger – a David Rockefeller errand boy –
squared the circle, with the rise of oil prices by Organization of the
Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC.
With this move, Kissinger instantly inflated the profits of US Big Oil –
which at the time accounted for five of the Seven Sisters, and crucially
boasted three that were Rockefeller-owned (Exxon, Mobil and Socal). At
the same time, since Japan and then West Germany and the rest of Western
Europe depended on Persian Gulf oil much more than the US did, Kissinger
devised the perfect way to torpedo the devastating Japanese and German
industrial and trade competition.
You won’t find any of this on Kissinger’s turgidly ambitious tomes, or
on any US corporate media files for that matter. But that explains much
of the world born out of the “oil shock”.
Like most US puppets – talk about hubris – the Shah never understood
that he was just a puppet. His corporate multinational economic model as
applied to Iran had the predictable effects; much like today (even in
Europe and the US), a tiny minority consuming like there’s no tomorrow
and a huge majority increasingly miserable, as the Shah bet on cash
crops instead of an agrarian reform to guarantee the subsistence of
millions of peasants – many of them illiterate, pious Shi’ites – who had
been booted out of the countryside by American agribusiness, which
dismissed them as a superfluous workforce.
These miserable masses inflated Tehran and other Iranian big cities,
turning into the mass base for Khomeini’s revolution. And the rest is
*Nothing is inaccessible *
Then Jimmy Carter – that hick Hamlet – when still campaigning for the
presidency against Gerald Ford in 1976, admitted in a debate that the
Shah was a torturer. Two years later, as president, Carter now
considered him “an island of stability” and “a friend”.
During the 1970s, it was “just” for Iran to carry out a nuclear program,
among other motives to intimidate revolutionary Arab nationalism. Yet
now, under an Islamic republic, a civilian nuclear program is an
The Shah’s banker was David Rockefeller, never tired of extolling the
“patriotism” and “tolerance” of his client, not to mention his
modernizing drive – everything duly parroted by US corporate media even
as Amnesty International and the State Department itself had Himalayas
of documents proving the Shah was one of the top torturers of modern
history. What mattered is that he brought excellent dividends for then
One never lost money underestimating the cluelessness of US corporate
media. When the Islamic revolution started, US media as a whole told the
world that the Shah was undefeatable; that Khomeini and his followers
were a minority of religious fanatics; and that the real motive for the
revolution was that the Shah was a Great Modernizer (the Rockefeller
script), rejected by those same Muslim fanatics. It’s fair to say this
script is still being peddled today.
When the Shah fled Iran, the whole US media bought the fallacy of “going
for a holiday”. When Khomeini boarded that Air France flight from Paris
and arrived in Tehran in absolute triumph, no wonder no one in the US
had a clue what was going on. US media preferred to mock Khomeini’s
“fanaticism” – which at the time paled compared with Pope John Paul II,
who considered women to be an inferior species.
The Iranian bourgeoisie – modern, social democrat, inheriting the
political line of Mossadegh – managed to drive a lot of support from
progressives in Europe. At a time when Le Monde was still a very good
newspaper and not the sub-American trash it is today, one just needed to
read the dispatches by ace correspondent Eric Rouleau to confirm it.
Khomeini, for his part, had the charisma (and that spectral voice on
cassette tapes), supported by the only political organization tolerated
by the Shah, the roughly 160,000 mullahs, who duly mobilized those
wretched masses rendered useless by American agribusiness interests.
Yet, from the beginning, Khomeini negotiated with the bourgeoisie – as
when he named Mehdi Bazargan as prime minister and Bani Sadr as
president (a socialist and a Western-style modernizer). Only when the
Shah system was totally eradicated did Khomeini go into overdrive to
purge everyone but his religious followers – recreating, on a smaller
scale, the Shah’s inferno, but in the name of Allah. Well, as Mao said,
no revolution is a dinner party.
As for Jimmy “Hamlet” Carter, he never officially recognized Khomeini as
the Iranian leader. Washington didn’t even try to talk to him. A whiff
of geopolitical intelligence would have the Americans trying to share
some tea when he was still exiled in Paris. But David Rockefeller and
his parrot Kissinger would scream, so a cowed Carter retreated into his
shell. After the Islamic revolution, Washington never returned the
estimated US$60 billion the Shah, family and cronies stole from Iran.
This catalogue of disinformation during the 1970s and 1980s is now
mirrored by the disinformation of all these past few years about the
Iranian nuclear program. No wonder most Americans – and plenty of
Europeans – remain clueless.
When Khomeini died – and I vividly remember every newspaper in Europe on
June 5, 1989, sharing the front page between that and Deng Xiaoping
ordering the Tiananmen massacre – the great philosopher Daryush
Shayegan, a former professor at the University of Tehran, published a
superb article in Liberation explaining the Big Picture, from the Shah’s
“legacy” to Khomeini.
Shayegan wrote that both men, the Shah and the Imam, committed the same
fatal mistakes and “incarnated, each their own way, two typically
Iranian traits: cultural schizophrenia and the dream of grandeur”. So
the whole drama was about two juxtaposed Irans: Imperial Iran and “the
suffering Iran of the blood of the Martyr”. Both expressed an impossible
dream and, “like the 12th century mystical poet Ruzbehan from Shiraz
would say, the same ‘dementia of the inaccessible’.”
Today, 35 years after the Islamic revolution, what Iranians seek is
hardly inaccessible: the end of Western sanctions and the end of
sections of the West perennially treating the country as a bunch of
Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan, other Asian nations, all Latin American
nations, all African nations, all treat Iran as normal. Beyond the clash
of “heroic flexibility” against American exceptionalism, if only the US
establishment would finally get over it, and deal – realistically – with
what happened in Tehran 35 years ago. Only then these talks in Vienna
will go somewhere, and we may have a final nuclear deal in 2014.
/*Pepe Escobar* is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World
is Dissolving into Liquid War
Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge
His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan
Books, 2009). //He may be reached at pepeasia at yahoo.com
<mailto:pepeasia at yahoo.com>. /
//This column originally appeared on Asia Times <http://www.atimes.com/>.//
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