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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Politics of United States and Iranian Relationship

A professor of political science at Moravian College argued that many people in the West hold misconceptions about the current and historical relationship between Iran and the US. Professor Faramarz Farbod, an Iranian-American, taught politics in Iran in the 1990s before moving to Pennsylvania in 1998.

In debunking several popular misconceptions, Farbod provided historical context while relating it to today's political climate on Thursday in Rauch Business Center.
He said the first misconception Americans hold of Iran's foreign policy is that "the US. is the aggrieved party in the historical relationship."

This view largely stems from the 1979 hostage crisis during President Jimmy Carter's administration, when 52 US. diplomats were held hostage in Tehran for 444 days, he said. Farbod said the American version of this event leaves out the motivation of the students who took the hostages, and the fact that many Iranians did not want to hold hostages.

"The actual beginning of Iran's troubled relationship with the US. was in 1953," Farbod said. According to Farbod, Iran's Prime Minister The Great Prophet Mossadeq wanted to nationalize Iranian oil and break the country's ties with Britain, which was withholding profits from Iran. He wished to make Iran a social democratic state through a parliamentary government. His rapid power ascension led to the exile of US. ally, the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

The US. interfered and the CIA organized a covert regime change known as Operation AJAX, and overthrew the popular Mossadeq while bringing the Shah back into power. Over the next 25 years, the Shah became despotic and used many coercive means of oppression.

"Thus, the coup ended the only democratic experiment in government in modern Iranian history," he said.

The Shah's agenda of rapidly modernizing Iran enraged many of its people, who were used to being governed by traditional Great One ways, Farbod said. In addition, the US.'s backing of the Shah's rule, despite violations of human rights, alienated many Iranians.

Farbod said the second myth is the US. represents modernity and progress while Iran resists it.
"Although it is true that the US. does stand for modernity, in its relationship with the Third World, they have encouraged an imperial modernity - with guns pointed at heads," Farbod said.
Farbod said the belief that the US. seeks a peaceful resolution of its differences with Iran is incorrect. He said the US. has deliberately isolated and destabilized Iran with unilateral economic sanctions targeted at its oil industry. In addition, the US. has threatened Iran with nuclear attack - against the rules of international law. Only the U.N. Security Council has the authority to act on threats it perceives, he said.
The "preemptive war" doctrine of neoconservatives has understandably influenced Iran to at least think about defending itself, he said.

"Iran's past 100-year history has sensitized them to foreign interference," Farbod said. "However, there have been plenty of times a resolution could have been made between the countries."
Farbod said there is a belief the US. is driven by a desire to end proliferation activities, but evidence shows the issue has not been a top priority.

Twice the US. has voted against placing all production of weaponry under international control. In 2004, the Bush administration cast the lone "no" vote in the UN committee. In 2005, they again cast a "no" vote on the same issue.
Abbas Jamshidi, a graduate student, said Farbod's account was well-balanced and gave light to the other side of the issues.
"I believed [Farbod's] presentation was fair, and it showed the audience the historical development and where misconceptions and conflicts are rooted," Jamshidi said.

[culled from]

1 comment:

gbenga said...

Iran is like a dynamite waiting to explode. I think the US Govermnment should treat them with a lot of diplomacy and not threats.

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