iran

A thought experiment by Stephen Leece

Now that the moderate Hassan Rouhani has replaced the clearly bi-polar and fiercely anti-Israeli and anti-Western Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as President of Iran one would expect the West, and the US in particular to stop their incessant sabre-rattling at Tehran. But you would be wrong. Washington, London and Tel Aviv are still prattling on like frightened schoolchildren about Iran’s Nuclear Programme.

This attitude represents the blistering ignorance of the West towards matters Eastern. It’s never occurred to Western leaders to even attempt to try to see things from an Eastern perspective.

The problem here initially is to do with education, and how Western education subtly distorts our thinking processes. Education in the West revolves around Judeo-Christian teachings for morality, and for literature and history the Classical World. There should not be any need to discuss the difference between the Judeo-Christianity belief system of the West, and the Shia Islam of Iran. Less obvious though is the impact of Classical thinking on the Western mind-set where the Ancient Greeks, who we have inherited a lot of art, literature, philosophy and history from, were at war with the Persians (Iranians). So automatically, without even realising it, Westerners have a jaundiced view of Iran.

During Mad Mahmoud’s Presidency (2005-13) the West used his ridiculous pronouncements about the Holocaust, and wiping Israel off the map, and demands for Nuclear Power as a reason for continually threatening Tehran. Again this displays weapons-grade stupidity on the West’s part as to how Iran is actually governed.

The President of Iran does not enjoy the same freedom of power as the President of the US. In fact, you could make a very good case for it being a nominal title only. Iran is actually governed by a politburo and in Iran’s case above the president you have the Supreme Leader, currently Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei has been very generous towards the West since September 11 attacks. He roundly condemned 9/11 and as a reward George W Bush added Iran to the Axis of Evil alongside North Korea and Iraq; he offered military support to NATO forces in Afghanistan, which was refused; he offered military support to Coalition troops in Iraq, which was also refused. If they had accepted his offer of maintaining security in Iraq’s Eastern zones, he would have disarmed Lebanese Hezbollah and turned it into a political party only.

Iran is Shia, Iraq and Afghanistan are Sunni. The 9/11 hijackers were Sunni. The London Transport Network bombers were Sunni. The Madrid Train Bombers were Sunni. The Sunni terrorists are funded by Oil Rich GCC States such as Saudi Arabia, who is supposedly a Western ally. Does it not look like Western foreign policy towards the Middle East is upside down and back to front?

If we compare Iran with Israel, they have much in common. Leaving Bahrain to one side, they are both unique in terms of faith, and are surrounded by nations composed of religions that are hostile towards them. Israel has Muslim Egyptians, Muslim Palestinians, Sunni and Shia Lebanese, and Sunni and Shia in Syria. Iran has largely Sunni Iraq, Sunni Afghanistan, and is still in dispute with the Sunni United Arab Emirates over ownership of the islands of Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. Two nations surrounded by hostile countries. Israel has Nuclear Weapons, Iran wants Nuclear capability. Why is it okay for Tel Aviv but not Tehran? They both face the same regional problems.

A further comparison can be made between Palestinian Hamas and the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah. Hamas has no strict chain-of-command. Hamas can execute a prisoner or hostage whenever they want. Hezbollah has a strict hierarchy- they cannot carry out paramilitary operations, kidnappings and executions without the say so of their backer be it Syria or Iran. Which paramilitary organisation is the West more likely to be able to cut a deal with?

The Iran that exists now is not the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini- that Iran died with him on June 3rd 1989.

BY: Stephen Leece