Posted by: Tony Carson | 4 October, 2007

Why does the US hate Iran? There are no sensible reasons

Ted Rall consistently puts the opaque into perspective and he does it with this column about the US incoherent enmity towards Iran.

“WE DON’T SPEAK TO EVIL”
Ted Rall

The nation is Iran. And the reaction is ridiculous.

“The Evil Has Landed,” shrieked the headline of the New York Daily News on the occasion of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speeches at the United Nations and Columbia University. A “madman,” Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post spat, setting the tone for a week of Bizarro News. On “60 Minutes,” the Iranian president said there was no reason his country and ours couldn’t be friends–even the best of friends.

“La la la la–we can’t hear you” was the response.

“Is it the goal of your government, the goal of this nation to build a nuclear weapon?” CBS News’ Scott Pelley asked Ahmadinejad.

He replied: “You have to appreciate we don’t need a nuclear bomb. We don’t need that. What need do we have for a bomb?”

Pelley followed up: “May I take that as a ‘no,’ sir?”

Ahmadinejad: “It is a firm ‘no.'”

Some Americans would pay good money to hear an answer as honest and straightforward as that from their leaders. Yet, minutes later, Pelley kept badgering: “When I ask you a question as direct as ‘Will you pledge not to test a nuclear weapon?’ you dance all around the question. You never say ‘yes.’ You never say ‘no.'”

Weird. Is Pelley hard of hearing? But what I really can’t figure out is how Iran qualifies as our–Very Big Word coming–“enemy.” We’re not at war with Iran. Neither are our allies. What gives?

Capitalizing on the reliable ignorance of the American public and the indolent gullibility of its journalists, the Bush Administration regularly conflates its numerous targets of regime change, pretending they love each other to death and are united only in their desire to slaughter innocent American children. There are gaping chasms in this narrative, but they vanish into our national memory hole.

After the 9/11 attacks turned the U.S. against the Taliban, U.S. media outlets put footage of a handful of jeering Palestinians on heavy rotation. Meanwhile, “In Iran, vast crowds turned out on the streets and held candlelit vigils for the victims. Sixty-thousand spectators respected a minute’s silence at Tehran’s football stadium.”

Wondering why you never heard that? The above quote comes from the BBC. Fox News didn’t report. American news consumers didn’t know, much less decide.

Finding an opportunity for rapprochement and a mutual foe in the Taliban, Iran became a silent America ally after 9/11. The Iranian military offered to conduct search and rescue operations for downed U.S. pilots during the fall 2001 war against the Taliban. It used its influence with the Afghanistan’s Dari population to broker the loya jirga that installed Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan.

Everyone expected U.S.-Iranian relations to thaw. There was even talk about ending sanctions and exchanging ambassadors. A few weeks later, however, White House neocons had Iran named as a member of an “Axis of Evil” in Bush’s 2002 State of the Union address. “We were all shocked by the fact that the U.S. had such a short memory and was so ungrateful about what had happened just a month ago,” remembers Javad Zarif, now the Iranian ambassador to the U.N.

Bush accused Shiite-majority Iran, a mortal enemy of Sunni-dominated Al Qaeda, of offering sanctuary to Al Qaeda fighters fleeing Afghanistan. “Iran must be a contributor in the war against terror,” Bush railed. “Either you’re with us or against us.” The allegation was BS. No one–not the CIA, not one of our allies, no one–believed that Iran would harbor, or had harbored, members of Al Qaeda. “I wasn’t aware of any intelligence supporting that charge,” says James Dobbins, Bush’s special envoy to Afghanistan. But we never took it back.

In May 2003, Iran shook off its annoyance and again tried to make nice. The Iranian overture came in the form of a letter delivered to the State Department after the fall of Baghdad. “Iran appeared willing to put everything on the table–including being completely open about its nuclear program, helping to stabilize Iraq, ending its support for Palestinian militant groups and help in disarming Hezbollah,” reported the BBC.

U.S. officials confirm this overture.

“That letter went to the Americans to say that we are ready to talk, we are ready to address our issues,” says Seyed Adeli, an Iranian foreign minister at the time. Larry Wilkerson, chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, says the Bushies made a conscious decision to ignore it. “We don’t speak to evil,” he recalls that Administration hardliners led by Donald Rumsfeld said.

In the minds of the hard right, the case for Iran’s evilness rests on three issues: the 1979 hostage crisis, its opposition to Israel, and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Readers of Mark Bowden’s “Guests of the Ayatollah” can’t help but sympathize with the American embassy staffers who spent 444 days in captivity from late 1979 to early 1981. But the right-wingers’ real beef over this episode concerns our wounded national pride.

What they fail to mention is that President Carter brought the mess upon himself, first by continuing to prop up the corrupt and brutal regime of Reza Shah Pahlavi long after it was obviously doomed, and then by admitting him to the U.S. for cancer treatment. Carter knew that his decision to coddle a toppled tyrant could stir up trouble.

“He went around the room,” said then-Vice President Walter Mondale,” and most of us said, ‘Let him [the Shah] in. And he said, ‘And if [the Iranians] take our employees in our embassy hostage, then what would be your advice?’ And the room just fell dead. No one had an answer to that. Turns out, we never did.”

Iran finances and arms Hezbollah, the paramilitary group-cum-nascent state based in Lebanon that wages sporadic attacks against Israel. If proxy warfare and funding Islamist terror organizations that despise Israel were a consideration, however, the U.S. would cut off relations with and impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. (Can we stop talking to ourselves? We supported the Afghan mujahedeen.) It is possible to maintain friendly relations with nations that hate one another, and we do.

There are two points missing from most discussions of Iran’s nuclear energy program and whether it’s a cover for a weapons program. First, Iran ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970. Leaders of the Islamic Republic inherited the NPT from the Shah. The revolutionaries voluntarily chose to honor the agreement after they threw him out.

Second, the U.S. practices a double standard by threatening war against Iran while ignoring Israel’s refusal to obey a U.N. resolution calling for a nuclear-free Middle East passed in 1996. As of the late 1990s, U.S. intelligence agencies believed Israel to possess between 75 and 130 nukes. Iran has zero. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, there’s even less evidence against Iran than there was against Saddam’s Iraq.

There are many legitimate reasons to criticize the government of Iran. They’re just a regional rival in the Middle East–another frenemy.

(Ted Rall is the author of the new book “Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?,” an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America’s next big foreign policy challenge.)

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Responses

  1. Quite! And this … just because I find the title so witty (and so true) although I believe the author means “Evil du jour.”

    • Man This Is All BullShit!!!Nune Of This Is Real !!!! Yuh Cant Be PostIn UP Fake Shit!!!!!! Who Do yuH tHINK yUH are???? uhhh?

      • realy you think so?
        what good irainain people did to you?
        it tru that a lot of our people have goten brain washed and reapeat marg bar america(die die america) but thre is steel good people who love america.

  2. I am really happy that you see reality.
    the real people of iran want to be friend with u.s.
    a gril from iran-tehran

  3. Too true Evil du jour…. I cannot wait for a new administration, and honestly Obama Barack’s theory of sitting and talking with world leaders of our Frenemies is something that I would greatly support.

  4. You can find some extremely upsetting but very sensible reasons for hating Iran if you just google “human rights” and Iran. Go to the websites run by Iranian refugees. Check out the information on the Qod force. If you want to have nightmares, look at some of the torture images, especially images of those gays who do not exists.

    In fact, this website (carsonspost) is starting to make me sick.

  5. I agree Iran’s government has an appalling Human Rights record. It is disgusting: disappearing journalists, bloggers, and dissidents of all kinds. That is an excellent point, and I’ll look at the web sites you’ve mentioned, and continue to work within Amnesty campaigns to try and help keep the pressure on this government to be more accountable and stop persecuting it’s citizens.

    It is how Iran as a nation is often portrayed that is troubling. And though I don’t agree entirely with the above article, it certainly points out some important and overlooked information about the people in Iran.

  6. world will never see anybody more power hungry than US business n political honchos……..

    human rights ? what about china killin muslims all thru its history….. what about her current treatment of Tibet ? United States, or the world 4 that matter, certainly doesnt give a damn about certain human rights records.

    its always the muslim countries that get targeted.
    double standards rule all around .

    its all , all, all entirely about the OIL and the MONEY.

  7. Well, if we have the right to hate them because of their human rights records, then they would certainly have a right to hate us. Look at how our government ruined Central America and parts of the Caribbean. The Iranian government should be disgraced for torturing its own citizens, but the U.S. should be treated in the same way for doing the same to OTHER citizens. There is certainly enough blame to go around.

    Don’t get me wrong, KLB, I’m not a moral relativist. There are policies that are wrong. But, who’s to tell? Maybe with some dialogue, the country will begin to open up to Iran and they to us and positive change will begin to slowly edge inward.

    What has happened to the United States’ audacity to hope, as coined by Obama? When did we get so cynical and pessimistic?

    I know that our leaders don’t always do right by us, but have you ever stopped to think that we might just get it right this time? Let’s really give peace a chance, people.

  8. [...] global demonization, President Bush depicted Iran as part of an imagined “axis of evil.”  As Ted Rall writes, “Capitalizing on the reliable ignorance of the American public and the indolent [...]

  9. I’m an iranian from tehran.we hate ahmadinejad and other idiots that are ruling in our country.but we can’t do anything.They kill people very easilly.
    They do not represent us.We love everybody.
    Please pay attention.IRAN is not a part of axis of evil,but ISLAMIC REPUBLIC is.There are alot of diffrences between islamic republic and iran.
    We don’t hate americans but I think you hate us.Because you make movies like “300” and “alexander” and disrespect us and our history.
    You’re doing what exactly islamic republic wants.our leaders hate iran and iranians because if you read history you’ll find out that iranians were at war with islam and muslims.Islamic republic leaders look like iranians but the fact is that the’re not.Iranians didn’t fight christions,but they did fight muslims.And that’s why islamic republic wants to destroy iran.We don’t want to be at war with america.We respect americans.But there are alot of brainwashed people in iran.

    • you are right shahed

  10. I hate Iran because their police are corrupt and they hate women. Lets say a man was convicted of rape that involved a woman no matter how innocent the woman is, the blame would be put on her. Extreme measures are taking for crimes against chastity.
    Did you know the legal age of age of consent is 9 over there?! WTF is that shit. Yo, I hate the people who have any kind of power in Iran. As a woman you can’t lead a normal life in that country your life is no more richer than that of a dogs.. and it isn’t their fault. I’m sorry for all of the women stuck in that crap country having to put up with their shit. All of those people are going to hell, treating women that way.

    • You sir are a idiot.

      • *an

    • So, that is why USA hates iran. There are also lot of african countries which are similar so.. is USA also going to hate them… Why if iran wants to have a nuke USA has a problem? Is USA trying to correct all countries in the world who have bad human rights record or bad rights for woman.. by applying international sanctions?

  11. I HATE THEM ALL! BOMB THEM ALL! LESS PROBLEMS FOR THE USA!

  12. I HATE THEM ALL! BOMB THEM ALL! LESS PROBLEMS FOR THE USA! IRAN, AND OTHER COUNTRYS,LIKE TO SCARE US,THEY ARE ALL BACKWARD PEOPLE. USA IS THE BEST IN THE WORLD! I WISH USA WOULD WORRY ABOUT USA ONLY! THERE CHILDREN WILL GROW UP TO HATE US ALSO. LOOK AT 911, AND ALL THE USA PEOPLE WOULD DO IS,CRY,AND CARRY LIGHTS? LIKE WE DONT CARE? WHATS NEXT,WE START CARING FOR THEM? ITS LIKE, IF WE HAVE WAR,WITH THEM,THEY ARE BETTER OFF LATER? WAKE UP AND SEE THE WORLD!

    • -this message from Fox News

  13. From A nonhater

    The Americans were corrupted by

  14. our government for many years We should not hat those we do not know, do not forget We invaded them after a Terrorist group from their country attacked us. We had no right for a invasion and they have every right to hate us but they don’t. Most of the population doesnt hate us nor should wer hate them. They are humans they are not evil or anything of the such. We tortured men who fought invaders. We cruelly killed men who fought for their country. Liberating them was right but did we go in to liberate or for our own purposes….
    Bottom Line I hate no man that wants Peace nor will I stab him in the back I only hate those who wish to cause harm to those who want peace…

    Sorry for the double post

  15. I’m not fully educated on this topic but it seems US problems w Iran started around the time when oil was discovered in that country. Iran was the 1st oil country.
    In my life I have known Iranian women and I’m serious – these ladies had PhD’s and so forth. We’ve funded their neighbours to invade them, demonised them, etc. I don’t understand why. I know the government has a bad record of civil rights. But are we helping the Iranian people by supplying their enemies w arms to bomb Iran?

    Just as *we* hoped the world would not hate Americans just because *our* government was fascist (GWB admin)n do not blame the Iranian people for the evils of their government. But the government itself supports the US – it backed us in Afghan, there were candlelight vigils after 9-11. WTF is wrong w this picture?

  16. If Americans learned a second language, they’d understand the words you use create the world you live in. Your politicians are using your language to control you!!!

  17. I still dont understand why USA hates iran. If iran has nuke so what USA also has nukes.. If iran has bad human rights record so what… there are many countries in the world who hav bad human rights record… So does it mean that USA hates all those countries.. Seriously USA is so insecure.. it spends most of its resources worried about other countries… And bother all other countries in the world. If USA is really such great country then it should be more confident and dont worry abt what others say & not insecure..

  18. if all you do is hate, and do name calling, what do you expect, sometimes my beloved country [USA] acts like a high school bullies, who are we to decide who is and is not evil..if all we do is lable countries, what do you expect, seems to me all the irans want is what we now have, the freedom to run their own country without outside interfreence, I dont think we would all that to happen here, yet we lable every other country…dont get me wrong i am a retired person from the viet nam area,..but its time to START MAKING FRIENDS,..i would go to iran anytime without frear, we are NOT the police men of the world, lets just take care of ourselves..o.k. i have ranted long enough,

  19. There is one obvious thing why USA hates Iran. Saddam Hussein said in 2002 he won’t agree on selling oil for dollars – he got killed, there was a war. In 2010 Muamar Kaddafi created arabian golden dinar and didn’t want to trade with USA no more – he got killed, there was an inside war – guess who gave the funds. Now Iran on the 20th of March 2012 will bring their own stock market where everything can be sold or bought BUT dollars won’t be accepted. I don’t sympathy with arabian countries but I don’t like USA for sticking their noses everywhere for profit. People in USA don’t even bother to know where those countries are, they just care about tanking cheap fuel to their cars. Guess why Saudi Arabia is safe? For 15 years now they have deal with USA and guess how they pay them – ONLY in dollars. Everyone knows that this can’t go on like this forever. USA is weak that is why they need to be agressive again but attacking Iran won’t do any good. This is not Libia with 6mln people – it is Iran with 70 milions who will fight for their country and with strong alliace with Pakistan the results of war would be terrible for both sides. Never likes USA being the “guardian of the whole world”, I hope someone will kick their ass and put them back into the row where they belong.

    • Ageed

  20. Nice respond in return of this matter with genuine arguments
    and explaining everything regarding that.

  21. Iran KNOWS it gets destroyed in the Apocalypse. A lot of people want there revenge and they will have it. It is amazing that so many countries absolutely detest iran.

  22. How many countries have beef with iran? A lot. The entire Muslim world hates iran. All Turks hate iran. All Arabs hate iran. Jews are on a mission to destroy iran. I am pretty sure that europe hates iran. America has been preparing to annihilate iran and can do so in a blitzkrieg attack that iran can never defend against. Iran has effed with so many countries for so long their total annihilation is deserved. Iran is a nation of souleaters, literally if you know what I am talking about. World War I and II were truly caused by iran. World War III is the destruction of persian/iran. Iran might have two nukes but those nukes are tracked by the U.S. all the time and the U.S. has 12, 000 nukes. I wonder who would win? Iranians walk around california like they own the place which is laughable when your in the know. Does iran think they can outsmart everyone or that anyone cares about there history? The U.S. is tracking iranians all day long and has NSA hit squads that are on standby to kill all iranians in the U.S. when needed. America is not stupid, Turks know iran better then anyone and hate iran, and jews are paving the way for the annihilation of iran. And iran deserves it. That is all.


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