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Could Western Propaganda About Iran Spark a Third World War?Perspective by Tim King Salem-New.com
After years of negotiating with a paranoid U.S., Iran stops discussing imaginary nuclear weapons.
(SALEM, Ore.) - In a time when the highest powers in our nation create lies to justify military action, it makes sense to polish up on history and discover the truth about Iran's nuclear ambitions, or lack of them.
Regardless of how many people state that Iran is developing nuclear bombs instead of power, the fact remains that we don't know. Western speculation over Iran's non-existent nuclear arsenal is simply speculation and nothing else.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog. They say they have struggled to get to the bottom of U.S. intelligence suggestions that Iran is preparing to process uranium for atomic fuel, test high explosives at unusually high altitudes, and revamp a Shahab-3 missile to fit a nuclear warhead.
Time after time, Iran has denied the West's suspicions of a covert effort to develop the capacity to fuel nuclear weapons. This nation, the world's 4th largest oil exporter, has stated repeatedly that it is developing nuclear power for generating more electricity.
Analysts have stated that Iran could be as little as one or two years from enriching uranium to use in an atom bomb, if it decided to. The repeated use of this "possibility" ultimately becomes a great example of the scare tactics employed by the war hungry right who would dare to place overburdened American troops in yet another seemingly unwinnable war. In all fairness, the people who would back such a move do not all hail from the right wing exclusively by any means.
Americans believed President Bush and Colin Powell's assertions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
One of the only things that came close to "WMD's" were MiG-29 fighter jets that Saddam Hussein had stashed at Balad Air Base in Iraq, and the U.S. government didn't even know about those going in. A gentleman I came to know in Iraq when I was covering the war, was responsible for getting the planes moved after western forces overtook the base early in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Iran however, is an entirely different story. In Iraq, we have lost thousands and thousands of Americans while fighting a loosely organized band of militias. Iran has a sophisticated military force backed by Russian hardware capable of shooting our jets down and inflicting great damage on any enemy. Maybe that is why they won that Iran/Iraq war back in the days when we liked Saddam Hussein and he was a friend of the United States.
Now Iran is closing the door to any more talk about it. Tehran's decision to stop discussing weapons programs they say they don't have, is frustrating U.S. and world officials.
The U.N. inquiry over alleged atom bomb research by Iran has digressed into a silent standoff just months after Tehran stated that "the matter is over," U.N. officials said on Wednesday.
"We had gridlock before but until September at least we were talking to each other. Now it's worse. There is no communication whatsoever, no progress regarding possible military dimensions in their program," a senior United Nations told Reuters. We reported on July 21st 2008 that Iran's chief nuclear negotiator said Iran wanted no confrontation in the dispute over its nuclear program and was optimistic about the future course of the nuclear talks with world powers.
"We have a forward-looking and constructive approach and believe that we can move forward towards an agreement with understanding," Saeed Jalili said after returning to Tehran from talks in Europe.
He was referring to remarks by US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack who said Tehran should either chose "cooperation or confrontation". (see: Iran Stresses Diplomatic Solution to Nuclear Standoff)
Western History with Iran
I have written about this before, but the history of our problems with Iran date back to the post WWII period and the story is worth repeating.
The Brits were up to their elbows in Iranian crude oil during the years following the war in what was supposed to be a cooperative, international agreement. Iran's government pleaded with the British "Anglo Iranian Oil Company" to open the books and work with them to ensure Iran was being paid the agreed upon price per barrel of oil. The company refused to comply and viewed the Iranian demands to be paid a fair market price as a threat and a hostility, as Iran was gravitating toward the nationalization of oil as a counter measure.
U.S. President Harry Truman refused British calls for assistance in striking out at Iran over the oil issue, but the election of Dwight Eisenhower represented a new opportunity for cooperation, and soon the U.S. government secretly agreed to work with the British SAS and overthrow the first democratically elected President of Iran.
The CIA removed the "Shah" from the country and placed him in a sort of reeducation camp for nine months. After that, the Shah was reinstalled as a puppet leader for Iran who agreed to U.S. demands and for many years, there were peaceful relations between Iran and the west.
That all came to a screaming halt during Iran's Revolution in 1979. Islamic fundamentalists kidnapped a number of Americans and relations between the two countries grew bitter and hostile. A failed rescue attempt that claimed the life of a number of U.S. Marines added to the tension. The American hostages were released as the United States Presidency was changing hands between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.
After that, in retribution for the hostage taking, the U.S. funded Saddam Hussein and prompted him to launch the Iran/Iraq War. Iraq was defeated and Iran retained its status as a foe of great power.
The defeat was apparently not recognized by Saddam Hussein on a public level, as thousands of Iranian military helmets are embedded in concrete on his parade ground in Baghdad where massive crossed swords tower overhead. On the parade ground, Iranian helmets are half sunken into the ground to signify his forces "marching over the heads of the Persians" in victory.
But there was no victory. No victory, no WMD's, and Iran consistently says it has no nuclear weapons program. Want more? Israel, a country settled under very controversial circumstances, that Americans feel they should defend at all costs, has had nukes all along. For decades the Israeli's paraded as a non-nuclear entity falsely under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and as it turns out they at least 150 of them. (see: Carter Reveals Israel's Possession of 150 Nuclear Weapons)
Israel's 1967 Attack on the U.S.S. Liberty
Israel is also the country that attacked the U.S. Navy ship Liberty during the Six Day War in 1967. Sailors aboard the vessel that day have told Salem-News.com and other entities consistently that they were flying the American flag. (see: The Day Israel Attacked the United States)
The Israeli's didn't just attack it once either. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 and wounded more than 170 crew members, while damaging the technical research ship severely.
The jet fighters and torpedo boats fired over and over again killing and injuring innocent American "allies" who had waived to the jet pilots after identifying them as Israeli. The issue over the U.S.S. Liberty has never adequately been resolved between the United States and Israel.
In the end, our government effectively ignores an attack on our nation that claim American lives, and yet we demonize Iran which has never fired a shot at us. One of our fighter jets even mistakenly blasted an Iranian airliner out of the sky that led to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people. The U.S. government came up with several stories before finally confessing to the mistake. As angering, wrong and unnecessary as it was when Iran took Americans hostage in 1979, it was bloodless.
Israel was formed by terrorizing Palestinian people from their land in the years following WWII; that is a fact. Many of the first residents of Israel were survivors of the Holocaust; a group that survived unspeakable inhumanities and genocide at the hands of the Nazi's. Their plight is tragic, but the tragedy was pushed onto Arab people in the Mid East and that is the source of the resentment towards the Jewish State.
All of these nations, regardless of their religious and cultural differences and leadership, have good points and bad points. The key toward moving forward is reducing violence and injecting money into food, health and education programs. The history may be harsh but new generations are growing up and people can be reached. The constant paranoia about nuclear weapons that Iran says it doesn't have, just keeps emotions in TV viewers stirred up through the one dimensional western media treatment of the subject. Even if they were aspiring to build nuclear weapons, how do we justify Israel's recently revealed position of possessing these weapons when it officially does not?
Kinder actions among governments and broader cultural understandings are the key elements that can stabilize this part of the world. Iran's position as a political and military power is bolstered by the defeat of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. His government flexed its muscles and kept relations between the nations stable and aggressions at bay. That is what I was told by Iraqi people that I interviewed.
Posturing, lies... it almost sounds like an elementary schoolyard issue, but the players are countries. Each government referred to in this article, including the U.S., has exhibited serious behavioral issues that conflict with any real notion of world peace. The people who like to beat the war drum; politicians like John McCain, Joe Lieberman and more recently Sarah Palin, seem at times like they really and seriously believe attacking Iran is something to consider.
This is another country that has not struck out at us. Their controversial President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wanted to lay flowers at Ground Zero in New York City and he was denied. That is a rotten example of sportsmanship in any context. He can not make a statement and have it properly translated into English either very often either. Networks put their own spin on his words, causing him to sound more aggressive and dangerous toward Iran than he in reality is.
One of the favorite propaganda lines from FOX in particular, is that the Iranian President "denies the Holocaust".
The interesting fact that conflicts with that often repeated accusation, is that Iranian government TV recently ran a multi-episode series on the Holocaust; taking into account the the plight of the Jews and others during WWII. It was government sponsored, that sure doesn't sound like a place that is trying to re-write history.
Ahmadinejad has stated repeatedly that the Holocaust affected far more than just the Jewish people; it is very true when you measure the millions of civilians in Europe who were killed directly or indirectly by Hitler's war machine. He does not deny the Holocaust; he just doesn't want all the people who weren't Jewish or in concentration camps denied.
Another interesting fact is that the people of Iran like Americans; they enjoy our styles, music, etc.
When the U.S. was attacked by terrorists on September 11th 2001, the second largest candlelight vigil in honor of the Americans killed that day was in Tehran, Iran.
Iranian people are a distinct culture, they are Persian. They live under a mix of traditional Islamic and modern western cultural values. Women are not nearly as subjugated as they are in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia; two American allies.
I have developed friendships with a number of people in Iran via MySpace in an effort to better understand their culture, lifestyle, freedoms and ambitions.
One friend in Iran who has shared a good deal of information about Iran's culture and religion from a woman's perspective, Roya, explains that religions "accepted" in Iran are ones that grant the people a right to have social health insurance, free education and parliament members.
She says people are primarily divided among the three Semitic religions, branches of Abraham monotheism religions: Muslims (Shia/Sunni); Christians; and Jews.
She says the religion of all the Iranians before Arabs invaded Iran and converted people to Islam, was Zorastrian.
"We don't have Buddhists, Taoists or Hindus...and Iran's government doesn't consider any right for Bahia people." (Bahiasm is an Iranian religion).
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is much like President Bush in that he is a fundamentalist conservative who bases policy off supposedly religious values. Of course in reality George W. Bush, who has driven this nation into debt like a fast ball, has very few apparent real conservative values.
Ahmadinejad's reign in my opinion, is the backlash of the U.S. and Great Britain treating these people like dirt in the 1940's and early 1950's. All of this, like Vietnam, could have been avoided if we had been fairer nations then. Why are we not accountable for those mistakes? It is time to lay down our egos and suspicions and let the truth be what it is. The price of pushing a conflict carries unimaginable costs and the world is tense right now. It is time to let things cool down and be prepared to search for better answers.
Finally, our military is tired and greatly understaffed. I don't care what anyone says, I know because I have seen it in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Our military forces are faithful, it is time for this nation to be faithful in return and not consider any sort of military action or threat against Iran.
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines. Tim is a former U.S. Marine.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 91 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: email@example.com
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