|Bush: linked Iran and Iraq to 9/11 with|
no evidence at all
Iran was once the superpower of the world, the Persian Empire, creating many innovations, including the first postal service. Although remaining a significant realm for much of its history, by the 19th century, it was hard pressed by the two global players of the age, Russia and Britain, who saw Iran as an objective in their "Great Game" of colonial ambition. The Qajar dynasty of Shahs (kings) tried to modernise in response, reforming Iran's education and finance systems. The Majlis, an elected parliament, was established and began to assert a degree of control over the Shah's government.
|A recommended history |
of ancient Persia
By the 1940s, however, Reza's ineffectual son, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was struggling to stem calls for democracy. In 1944, elections were held which saw success for democratic nationalists. Prominent among these was Mohammed Mossadeq, a 70 year old reformist from a patrician background elected on a ticket of nationalising the oil industry. By 1951, he was Prime Minister.
|Western "democracy" - tanks |
correct the election result,
|Ex-Premier Mossadeq was tried and |
confined for life after the coup
Following the 9/11 attacks on the US, the Iranians quickly condemned the event, with the government banning the revolutionary slogan "Death to America". In the streets, thousands of Iranians held candlelit vigils as a mark of respect for the American dead. Khatami sent envoys to the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan to persuade it to side with the US invasion and to accept democratic elections. The Iranians arrested and handed over scores of suspected al-Qaeda operatives to the USA and even offered to deport Osama Bin Laden's son, Saad, in 2003 - an offer that Bush rejected, to the bewilderment of the Iranians.
But all became clear shortly after when, in return for all their gestures and actions of goodwill to the USA, Bush rounded on Iran and declared it to be part of his spurious "Axis of Evil", allegedly in league with Iraq and, even more bizarrely, with North Korea. Without a shred of evidence to back his claims, Bush then trundled his tanks into Iraq, unleashing years of mayhem and over 100,000 deaths - a higher rate than anything seen under Saddam - and repeatedly menacing Iran,now just a short Humvee ride away for the huge American forces based out of Bagdhad.
Unsurprisingly, when Iranians next went to the polls, anti-American candidates performed well and the conservative President Ahmadinejad, renowned for his anti-corruption drives when he was mayor of Tehran, was elected. The gulf between the American government and Iran soon widened further. Although in 2009 the new US President Barak Obama initially offered talks, many analysts speculate that with his recent drubbing in the mid-term elections, the chances of him undertaking a military operation have grown. He has certainly left his options open following America's partial withdrawal from Iraq, possibly with Israel as his proxy.
It can only be hoped that Obama is dissuaded from such a dreadful, self-serving course. Iran is an ancient nation which does not respond positively to the posturings and threats of others. America and the West are living with the consequences of our own hypocrisy of calling for democracy as long as it gets the "right result". It is not the first time - as Spain in 1936, Chile in 1973 and Gaza in 2006 show clearly - and it may not be the last. They may or may not hate us, but it has certainly left our victims confused and sceptical about us. And in many cases bloodied and dead as well.
Does that answer your question, Mr Blair?