“40 Years of Terror” by Iran? Try nearly 70…by the U.S. of A!

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Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the current crisis and danger of war in the Persian Gulf on “40 years of terror coming out of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Forty years of Iranian terror? What about the nearly 70 years of U.S. intervention, aggression, and terror against Iran?1

1950-53: After World War 2, the U.S. rulers moved to take control of oil-rich Iran from the British. In 1953 the CIA organized a coup deposing a democratically elected nationalist, Mohammed Mossadegh, and returning the Shah (absolute monarch) to power.

1953-1978: The Shah was a hated tyrant who imposed a reign of terror on the Iranian people for 25 years, and turned Iran into a feeding ground for global imperialism and a military garrison for the U.S. His regime was notorious for torturing parents in front of their children.

1978-1979: In 1978 the Iranian people began an uprising against the Shah that grew to millions. The U.S. backed him—including his massacre of thousands in September 1978—until the Shah was forced to flee in January 1979. The 1953 coup and the Shah’s reign helped pave the way for a new Iranian nightmare: the 1979 founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

1980-1988. The U.S. initially tried to turn Iran’s new government into another pro-U.S. client regime. When that failed, the U.S. imposed sanctions, then encouraged Iraq to invade Iran in September 1980, and then helped fuel an eight-year slaughter. Conservative estimates place the war’s death toll at 262,000 to 367,000 Iranians and 105,000 Iraqis, plus an estimated 700,000 injured or wounded on both sides.2

July 2, 1988. The naval warship USS Vincennes shot down an unarmed Iranian civilian passenger jet—Iran Air Flight 655—as it flew over the Persian Gulf. All 290 passengers on board were killed. The U.S. claimed it was an “accident,” but at the time it was trying to compel Iran to agree to an end to the Iran-Iraq war.3

1990s. The U.S. sought to “contain” Iran through increasingly harsh sanctions and a regional military buildup.

2001-2003. The U.S. launches its so-called “war on terror,” invading and occupying Afghanistan and then Iraq, placing its troops in countries bordering Iran on the east and the west. The U.S. secretly planned to quickly take down other regimes that posed obstacles to its imperial agenda and reshape the entire Middle East—even joking “next stop Tehran” (Iran’s capital) after they occupied Iraq.

2007-2014. America’s grand imperialist plans quickly bogged down. Among other things, U.S. atrocities further fueled reactionary, anti-U.S. Islamic fundamentalism and jihadism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and across the region, and Iran’s Islamic Republic ended up gaining greater regional influence. Iran had also begun a nuclear enrichment program. In 2007-2008, the George W. Bush regime was seriously considering a military assault on Iran. The U.S. didn’t attack, but it did launch a series of increasingly punitive economic sanctions against Iran, and the threat of a U.S.-led war continued to loom.

2015. The U.S., and its allies Britain, Germany, and France, along with Russia and China, signed a nuclear agreement with Iran that pledged a lifting of sanctions and economic aid if Iran sharply curtailed its nuclear enrichment program. Over the next two years, Iran abided by the deal, but the U.S. kept many of its sanctions in place and discouraged investment in Iran.

May 2017. The Trump/Pence regime denounced Iran, unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear agreement, and re-imposed even harsher sanctions. This and subsequent moves are responsible for the current trajectory toward confrontation and possibly war.

1. See, “Republicans, Democrats and U.S. Crimes Against Humanity: A Chart,” revcom.us, January 7, 2019.  [back]

2. See Larry Everest, Oil, Power & Empire—Iraq and the U.S. Global Agenda (Common Courage, 2004) p. 99.  [back]

3. Oil, Power & Empire, p. 111.  [back]

CIA/British intelligence coup in Iran, 1953
In Tehran, Iran on August 19, 1953, as part of a CIA-backed coup, mobs joined by the military took over streets chanting “Long live the Shah! Death to Mossadegh!” They ransacked pro-Mossadegh newspapers and attacked his supporters.

Children killed by U.S. airstrike in Kabul, Afghanistan, 2008. (Photo: AP)

The Trump/Pence regime denounced Iran, unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear agreement, and re-imposed even harsher sanctions that have devastated the lives of people and their ability to get medical care.  Woman begs in Tehran, 2018.


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