III Publishing

Jimmy Carter, the Shah of Iran, and Syria
June 1, 2017
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation

Hypocrisy, Double-standards, and Americanism exposed

What does the massive suffering of the Syrian people these last few years have to do with former President Jimmy Carter and the former Shah of Iran, Mohammed Pahlavi?

There is a chain of consequences from the events of 1978 to today, but this is really a story of hypocrisy that connects Presidents Carter, Reagan, Obama, and Trump. To keep it short I'll focus on Carter, whose presidency ended in early 1981, before a majority of Americans living today were born.

Jimmy Carter did not create the Shah of Iran. He inherited him. In 1953 President Eisenhower had an elected Iranian government overthrown because it tried to nationalize the oil industry. The CIA, led by former President Theodore Roosevelt's grandson Kermit Roosevelt, elevated Pahlavi, who had inherited the position of Shah back in 1941, to dictator.

Like most powerful men the Shah did some good things, but people got tired of him, and political opponents did not like his suppressing their free speech, imprisoning them, being tortured, and being murdered. [hint: now is the time to think: that sounds like what I've been told about Bashar Assad, the elected President of Syria.]

Jimmy Carter knew what methods the Pahlavi dictatorship used, but while he talked about the rights of dissenters in the U.S.S.R., he had a different attitude towards the pro-American dictator:

"On September 7, the Shah declared martial law throughout Iran, following which there was a bloody confrontation between the police and a large crowd of demonstrating Moslems. Several hundred people were killed by bursts of machine gun fire. After this incident, the strength of the demonstrators grew." — Keeping Faith by Jimmy Carter, page 438

. . .

The Shah expressed deep concern about his own future, trying to decide whether to set up an interim government, set up a military government, or perhaps even to abdicate. We encouraged him to hang firm and to count on our backing.

. . .

I sent him a message stating that whatever action he took, including setting up a military government, I would support him. [page 439]

When the Shah fled Iran, that did not satisfy the people of Iran or the new government. They wanted the Shah returned for trial. After all, he had committed Crimes Against Humanity. For a while the Shah stayed in other countries, but eventually came down with cancer. Instead of letting it kill him, and making everyone happy, Carter and other friends of the tyrant arranged for him to get the world's best medical care in the United States.

Jimmy Carter recounts that on November 4, 1979, after a series of rallies about American support for the Shah, about 3,000 militants seized the American embassy. He says that at first the government of Iran, headed by Khomeini, tried to remove the militants, but their action was so popular "no public official was willing to confront them. "My impression was that originally they had not intended to remain in the embassy or hold Americans captive more than a few hours."

Their demand? "return the Shah and his money to Iran."

But instead of extraditing the Shah, and returning the money stolen from the Iranian people, Carter decided, "We will not release the Shah."

And the stolen money? There were varieties of it, some taken personally by the Shah, which I don't think has ever been returned. But Carter "froze" Iranian money and assets, both governmental and private, that was held in the U.S. I am guessing that the money recently returned to Iran as part of the nuclear freeze deal was from that initial loot, though I have not fact checked that.

Clearly Bashar Assad and the Shah of Iran show similarities. Both are (were) relatively secular, rather than pushing Islam on their peoples. Both had supporters, and both were somewhere in the spectrum closer to dictator than to democratic leader. Both kept the lid on volatile nations, and both resorted to force when necessary. In both cases secular democrats, in opposing their authority, unleashed right-wing, orthodox Islamic revolutions, rather than gaining democracies.

Why, then, does the U.S. establishment love the Shah and hate the Assad family? It it really simple: the Shah was pro-U.S. and a friend of Israel. The Assad family has traditionally been more friendly to Russia and hostile to Israel (which occupies part of Syria, the Golan Heights).

That is it. If you are a friend of Jimmy, or Barack, or the Donald, torturing the opposition is a good thing. They'll give you a medal, a subsidy to buy U.S. made arms, and call your domestic opponents terrorists. If you are not a friend, if you belong to a different country club, they will subsidize your opposition, give arms to radical Islamists, and call them: freedom fighters.

I volunteered in the McGovern for President campaign in 1972. In 1976 I took a look at Jimmy Carter and the recapture of the Democratic Party by its right wing and said, no thank you. And I don't care how many habitats for humanity Mr. Carter has built since his electoral defeat in 1980. I have almost finished reading Keeping Faith, and it has reminded me how terrible the American establishment can be.





III Blog list of articles