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PATH THE NEXT U.S PRESIDENT SHOULD NOT FOLLOW

At the heart of the United States of America’s (USA) intervention in Iran in the 1940s was economic interest and civilising mission, not taking into consideration the cultural and historical uniqueness of Iran. Influenced by western ideals, the US backed Iranian leader Reza Shah, in the 1940s outlawed the veil and the head-to-foot chador against the will of Iranian clerics. The Islamic core of Iran saw the action of the Shah as blasphemy, yet he was vehement in ensuring that men in the civil service dressed in western ways. A riot in Mashhad against the western dress code was brutally put down by the forces of the Shah backed by the West.



Reza Shah did not only introduce western dress code, he denied the Muslim religious institutions of their legal and educational functions. He set up modern court system in place of the usual traditional Islamic court system. This act of the Shah set the tone for the hatred the traditional Islamic institutions in Iran later expressed against the United States and the West.

The U.S has been blamed for failing to factor-in the ideology of others in its foreign policy pursuit despite the moral dogma it professes. David Farber in his book “Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam” is of the view that “the recognition of the civil vision, economic opportunity and cultural diversity that shape the politics of the United States is vital, but the contradictory, rash and divisive struggles that surrounds its effort at instilling equality, freedom, inclusivity and its cultural standard abroad is questionable”.

US-Iranian relations in the period before the 1979 revolution in Iran fits into the interpretation offered by Michaeal Barnett and Kathryn Sikkink in the article “International Relations to Global Society” that “there was little appreciation of the increasingly rule bound nature of the decentralized global governance system and the interpretation of rules in the domestic and international realm”. Fomer US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s statement that “no single society has ever had the power, no leadership the resilience, and no faith the dynamism to impose its will enduringly throughout the world” should be a wakeup call for the United States to rethink its foreign policy especially in the Middle East. It is also a reminder to terrorist groups that the capacity to spread violence in the name of Islam runs counter to the ideals of freedom and peaceful co-existence.

In a March 2000 speech, US secretary of state Magdalene Albright acknowledged the negative effect of the 1953 US sponsored coup on Iran’s political future when she said;

“In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular Prime Minister, Mohammed Mosaddegh. The Eisenhower Administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons; but the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs… As President Clinton has said, the United States must bear its fair share of responsibility for the problems that have arisen in U.S.-Iranian relations. Even in more recent years, aspects of U.S policy towards Iraq, during its conflict with Iran appear now to have been regrettably shortsighted, especially in the light of our subsequent experiences with Saddam Hussein. However, we have our own list of grievances, and they are serious”.

Albright’s speech is a confirmation of the absoluteness of U.S intension in Iran before the 1979 revolution. The perpetuation of U.S will on Iran not minding the harrowing conditions of the people under the repressive Shah regime, inspired revolt from top Iranian clerics led by Ayatollah Khomeini.


Khomeini spoke truth to power by condemning U.S. role in his country and opposing the forces of the Shah. Arrested and later forced into exile, Khomeini reemerged to lead the uprising against the Shah government and installed in its place a theocratic and quasi democratic government that is still in place today.

In 1980 Iraq invaded Iran. The United States saw the Iraqi invasion as an opportunity to pay back Iran for overthrowing the shah government and giving it a bloody nose in the 1979 hostage crises when radical Iranian students invaded the US Embassy in Tehran and held 50 US diplomats hostage for 444days.

The U.S. and mostly Sunni led Arab nations mobilized funding, weapons, and intelligence for Iraq to help defeat the revolutionary government. Notwithstanding the broad support offered Iraq, Iran was able to fight back, overturning Iraq initial success. The war ended in 1988, further opening the gulf between the U.S. and Iran.

While, the war raged, USS Vincennes (warship), patrolling in the Persian Gulf, on July 4, 1988 shot down an Iranian commercial airliner killing the more than 200 passengers on board. The U.S claimed the shooting was accidental, but Iranian foreign minister at the time Ali Akbar Velayati called the shooting “the most inhumane military attack in the history of civilian aviation…a barbaric massacre”. This brings to mind the July 2014 shooting down of Malaysia Airline passenger plane carrying 295 people from Eastern Ukraine by Pro-Russian separatists.

The Obama government criticism of the shooting exposes the moral burden in America’s utterances especially when its explanation of the Iran airliner bombing is put through critical analysis. By reason of the animosity between Iran and the U.S at the time of the shooting, rather than apologise, the then Vice-president George H.W. Bush before the UN, explained away the reason for the shooting:

“The critical issue confronting this body is not the how and why of Iran Air 655. It is the continuing refusal of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to comply with resolution 598 to negotiate an end to the war with Iraq, and to cease its acts of aggression against neutral shipping in the Persian Gulf…By allowing a civilian airliner to fly into the area of an engagement between Iranian warships and U.S. forces in the gulf, Iran must bear a substantial measure of responsibility for what has happened”

It is matters like this that stoked the violent conflicts in the Middle East and the next American President must come clean in his or her dealings with the countries in the region.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton must be seen to be addressing the lies and deceit of the operators of U.S ambition round the world or the chaotic state of world affairs will run on the path of greater danger.

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