Iran used to be called Persia and it was a great power long before Jesus was born. At times it was conquered and incorporated into other empires; at times it was the center of an extensive empire itself. In the process it became predominantly Shiite Moslem in religious faith. European imperial powers began nibbling at the edges of Persia as early as the 17th century, mostly at seaports. The traditional autocrat, the Shah, was forced into a constitutional role in 1906, so the Iranians have a tradition of democracy dating from at least that time.
But unfortunately oil was discovered by the British in 1908 just after they had agreed with Russian to divide Iran into spheres of influence. Both countries occupied Iran during World War I, then did it again during World War II. In theory Iran regained its independence at the end of World War II and was ruled by Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi with a parliamentary system. The democratic faction tried to nationalize the oil industry in 1951, which led to a U.S. and British supported coup in 1953. An international consortium was given the right to run the Iranian oil field for 25 years.
Dissatisfaction with the Shah's regime grew over time. The Shah tried to modernize Iran, which had two effects. It created a large group of people who thought modernization should include ideas like democracy, free speech, and an end to corruption. And it created another group of people who liked the older, stricter Moslem religious ways. This eventually led to the Islamic Revolution of 1979. It is important to note that the Islamicists did not set up a dictatorship; they set up a democracy.
The U.S. and Britain were pissed off that their puppet Shah had been overthrown and were worried about their oil interests. So they paid Iraq, led by Saddam Hussein, to invade Iran in 1980. In 1988 the US committed a terroristic act, the shooting down of a civilian Iranian passenger jet, Flight 655. When the tables turned and Iraq was clearly losing the war, a peace agreement was reached through the UN, which as usual had done nothing to protect Iran from the US and its allied and puppet fellow-predators.
Given both that history and the U.S. habit of using force to grab whatever it wants in the world, it isn't hard to understand Iran's diplomatic relationships with the other nations of the world.
I am not in favor of an extension of nuclear power. I am for nuclear disarmament. But I haven't been able to convince my fellow Americans to dismantle our nuclear weapons. Or our non-defensive, non-nuclear military equipment. I live in an aggressor state that has been alternately run by two War Crimes parties since its birth. We have never had a party of peace in power in the United States of America.
Bush haters should be aware that George W. Bush is no different that prior Democratic Party and Republican Party presidents. Bashing Bush as Bush just plays into the hands of the Democratic Party, the worst party in the history of the world (in terms of war crimes committed) with the exception of the Tory Party in Great Britain.
I hope Iran is able to avoid armed confrontation with the USA, for their sake and ours. I don't expect them to be the pushover that Iraq turned out to be. Iran is better governed; it has a larger population (68.9 million v. 25.2 and declining in Iraq); and a much larger land mass.
The problem for Iran is that the USA is a notorious aggressor and bully. So they can't just play nice. First we'll demand they stop nuclear development, then we'll demand their oil, then to set up a puppet government to our liking, then we'll use them as an economic equivalent of a sex-slave. So they need to make life difficult for the US in Iraq; they need to cooperate with the still-rare nations that have stood up to the US, such as Venezuela and Syria.
And what the ethical citizens of the US need to do is oust not just the current administration but the two-party system. Right now the only viable alternative to the war crimes parties is the Green Party. So I'm going to start writing more about the Green Party in future blogs and under the Politics section of this web site.
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