Iran

Can Iran Trust the United States?

People often ask whether the United States can trust Iran. The better question is whether the United States government is worthy of trust.

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People ask whether the United States can trust Iran. The better question is whether Iran can trust the United States.

Since 1979 the U.S. government has prosecuted a covert and proxy war against Iran. The objective has been regime change and installation of a government that will loyally serve U.S. state objectives. This war began after the popular overthrow of the U.S. government's client, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, whose brutal regime the Eisenhower administration and CIA had preserved by driving Iran's popular Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh from office in 1953.

Had the U.S. government not supported the shah and his secret police, there would have been no 1979 Islamic Revolution or 444-day hostage-taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.

The U.S. government has pursued its war against Iran in a variety of ways. When Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army invaded Iran in 1980, the Reagan administration supplied Saddam with intelligence and the ingredients for chemical weapons. Saddam, helped by that intelligence, used poison gas against Iranian troops.

During the Iraq-Iran war, the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airplane over Iranian airspace, killing 290 passengers and crew members. The captain of the USS Vincennes said his ship was being attacked by gunboats at the time, and the Airbus A300 was misidentified as an attacking F-14 Tomcat. Iran countered that the civilian flight left Iran every day at the same time. Witnesses with Italy's navy and on a nearby U.S. warship said the airliner was climbing, not diving (as a plane would for an attack), when it was shot down.

The U.S. government, or its closest Middle East ally, Israel, has helped ethnic insurgents to attack Iran's regime. Some groups encouraged by the U.S. government, such as Jundallah and the Mujahedin e-Khalq cult, have been regarded as terrorist organizations by the State Department. Covert warfare has also taken the form of the assassination of Iranian scientistsand cyber warfare. (It strains credulity to think that Israel, which annually receives billions in U.S. military assistance, acts without the knowledge of U.S. officials.)

Then there are the economic sanctions. In international law, sanctions are an act of war. How could they not be? They aim to deprive a population of food, medicine, and other needed goods. The sanctions are said to "cripple the Iranian economy," but an economy consists of people. Thus, sanctions inflict harm on innocent individuals, with the greatest damage to children, the elderly, and the sick. That is cruel and unconscionable. It must stop, yet some in Congress would toughen the sanctions further.

As one can see, the Iranians are the aggrieved party in the conflict with the United States. Thus they have good reason to doubt the sincerity of recent conciliatory statements, especially when President Obama insists that "all options are on the table"—which logically includes a military and even nuclear attack. Obama should match the conciliatory words with action.

But, some will say, Iran is building a nuclear bomb. The problem is that this is not true. Twice the American intelligence complex (more than a dozen agencies) has concluded that Iran abandoned whatever weapons program it had in 2003, the year the U.S. government eliminated its archenemy, Saddam Hussein. Israeli intelligence agrees that Iran has not decided to build a bomb. Indeed, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a religious fatwa condemning  nuclear weapons years ago and has repeatedly invoked it.

It is true that Iran has enriched uranium to near 20 percent (as it may do legally), but it is turning that uranium into plates, which, although suitable for medical purposes, are unsuitable for bombs. (Weapons-grade uranium is 90 percent enriched.)

Moreover, Iran, a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, submits to inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has repeatedly certified that Iran's uranium has not been diverted to making bombs. On the other hand, Israel, a nuclear power whose government (along with its American lobby) agitates for war between America and Iran, is not a member of the NPT.

Ask yourself: What would Iran do with a nuclear weapon when Israel has hundreds of them and America has thousands?

Despite the peace overtures from President Rouhani, which echo those of his predecessors, Obama is on a course for war. He should spurn the warmongers and choose peace.

This column originally appeared in the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. Would you trust a politician from Chicago?

    1. Who doesn’t? He’s so dreamy! He can drone-strike me any time he wants!

      /Tony

      1. Considering that Tony would welcome such a drone strike, do you think that he would care about any damage collateral to the strike?

  2. But some will say, Iran is building a nuclear bomb. The problem is that this is not true. Twice the American intelligence complex (more than a dozen agencies) has concluded that Iran abandoned whatever weapons program it had in 2003, the year the U.S. government eliminated its archenemy Saddam Hussein. Israeli intelligence agrees that Iran has not decided to build a bomb. Indeed, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a religious fatwa condemning nuclear weapons years ago and has repeatedly invoked it

    This is perhaps the biggest piece of baloney I’ve ever seen on Reason. First of all our intelligence complex has shown repeatedly its uselessness in everything other than finding selfies. These are the same agencies that said Saddam had WMDs, and couldn’t find bin Laden for 10 years.

    Some Israeli intelligence agencies have said Iran does not have a bomb, but Iran also doesn’t need an actual bomb. If the Iranians simply have breakout capacity(the ability to construct a nuke in a short period), than it makes no difference whether they have possession of an actual bomb or not

    The history Richman cites is also incredibly one sided. It ignores the marine barracks bombing, the vast sums of money given to Hezbollah and Hamas, and the weapons and logistics given to insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan

    His supposition that without the US support for the shah the Iranian revolution would not have happened is also incredibly dubious

    1. Oh noes, the mullahs are coming, the mullahs are coming!

      What are you, an apologist for the national security / national surveillance / empire building state?

      1. No but I’d prefer if an article on REASON actually included all the facts, which are conspicuously absent here.

        1. Their foreign policy pieces are usually like this. Someone doesn’t like the US? Well, we must be oppressing them.

          1. Not that I think the US is immaculate. Far from it. But if I wanted to read emotional rhetoric posing as journalism I’d go on CNN or Slate.

    2. Totally OT, but, has anyone seen Persepolis? French (with subtitles) autobiographical movie about a woman who grows up in the Iranian revolution, under the oppressive regime & leaves for France. If any of what’s in that movie is based on reality, which it is, it’s clear the Iranian people hate the Islamist gov’t

      1. Totally OT, but, has anyone seen Persepolis?

        Yes, I have. There’s an English dub (with Sean Penn and Iggy Pop as some of the voice actors).

        If any of what’s in that movie is based on reality, which it is, it’s clear the Iranian people hate the Islamist gov’t

        I can’t speak for it firsthand, but from what I know via relatives, the parts about the underground social life and dealing with the basiji are pretty close.

  3. Witnesses with Italy’s navy and on a nearby U.S. warship said the airliner was climbing, not diving (as a plane would for an attack), when it was shot down.

    Technical nitpicking: This was in the 80s, not WW2 when the most common tactic for attacking a ship was to dive bomb them. Most anti-ship missiles from that time period were heat seaking missiles that were fired from higher altitude so that their seekers could more easily pick up the heat of the ship against the cooler background of the ocean.

    Some of the more advanced ones would drop to low altitude (so it didn’t matter how high the launching aircraft was) and then “pop up” towards the end to come in at a steeper angle. Both to make sure it hit its target and to do more damage.

    I doubt the Iranians had anything like that in the 80s, so it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that an attacking Iranian aircraft would fire from high altitude. The bigger question is what were the Iranians doing with F-14s… oh wait, that’s right, we sold some to the Shaw. We were so smart and forward thinking back then. /sarc

  4. Fuck Iran, what about Switzerland?

  5. Anyone who doesn’t agree that Israel is acting in self-defense is an anti-semite. This is the reality of American politics…..Israel is always right….

    Considering Israel are the ones who are infiltrating Iran and engaging in assassinations against their people, I would say that Iran are the ones who have the right to retalitory strikes

    1. And Hezbollah’s rockets and Hamas’s bombs don’t factor into this at all right?

      1. Hamas’s rockets are dumb-fired firecrackers that rarely hit civilian populations, and when they do, they fail to explode. Israel’s rockets are laser-guided bombs that level entire civilian structures.

        Considering Israel murders Palestinian citizens with every little fail rocket Hamas fires, the force is not justified

        1. Considering Israel goes to extraordinary measures to limit loss of life, whereas the Palestinians goal is the opposite, I’m curious, what would you do in Israel’s place?

          I’m not saying their is a good answer, but to compare losses without the context of intent is simplistic and childish.

          1. Intent of a specific group does not justify the murder of unrelated bystanders, especially if there were no casualties on the other side.

            And Israel shares the blame for stoking the fires with their refusal to listen to the UN when it comes to expanding in the Gaza strip. Israel doesn’t act like some innocent country being picked on just for existing

            1. So unless someone is killed by the rockets Israel has no right to retaliate? That is a recipe for a society that doesn’t function.

              And by Gaza strip I think you mean west bank. Their has been no Israeli presence in Gaza since 05. That issue is a great deal more complex.

              1. unless they can specifically target the Hamas people responsible for the use of force, there is no justification to include taking out innocents

                1. And that is generally what the Israeli’s do.

            2. The Israelis are often careful in their operations in a way that the Palestinians are not, it is true.

              It seems like RightNut is essentially saying that the Palestinian failure to damage Isrealis more than they do is not for lack of trying, while the Israelis could damage the Palestinians far more than they do, but they in fact practice great restraint.

              This is a function, however, of the extreme power imbalance between the two parties. The Palestinians have lost, but they are not gone – much like Native Americans circa 1900. Genocide is not an option, but what to do with the remaining Palestinians, who are 100% desperate and have 0 to lose?

              Kurbster is also right to point out that these things that get thrown at Israelis are often labelled rather disengenuously as “missles” and “bombs” by the western media, when really it’s often little more than paper bags filled with flaming dog shit. One thing you can count on though, whether or not an Israeli gets stratched, some Palestinians are going to die.

              I think actually if you look at each situation from the perspective of each actor, their behavior makes sense – that’s why this situation is so ugly.

              The Israelis did not take the Palestinians’ land – the British did. This is why the Israelis do not feel that they are being aggressors.

              1. The Israelis did not take the Palestinians’ land – the British did. This is why the Israelis do not feel that they are being aggressors.

                The British didn’t take land from the Palestinians, either. They took it from the Ottomans. As part of the breakup of the losing empires of WW1, the lands were going to be spun off as new countries run by the people living there, the same way Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Poland (among others) were carved out of the Austrian and German empires. Contrary to popular perception, the idea of a Jewish state in the area wasn’t suddenly prompted by the Holocaust. That just made the UN get off its ass and do what the League of Nations was supposed to have done two decades earlier.

                Note that there were both Jewish and Arab populations there. You could have had a combined Jewish/Palestinian country, or two separate ones, as eventually happened peacefully with Czechoslovakia and bloodily with Yugoslavia. As proposed, the Jewish country would have been very small, mostly centered on Tel Aviv and not including any of Jerusalem, with everything else going to the Arabs. If the current Palestinian Arabs want to place original blame, they can assign it to their racist asshat great-grandfathers who violently rejected that plan.

                1. The Ottomans were the empire with political authority over the land. They did not own all the land in the empire.

                  Weird that those racist Palestinians didn’t just give up their country when asked nicely.

                  You are correct that the UN didn’t dream up Israel – it was originally a plan from British aristocrats (the Balfour Doctrine) to get the Jews out of England.

                  The British promised independence to Syria and Palestine in return for their resistance against the Ottomans, even signing a contract with Faisal Hussein to that effect, which they then simply defaulted on and ultimately gave the land to Israel.

                  The British fucked the Palestinians, the French fucked the Syrians and then both washed their hands of the situation and left it for the rest of the world to deal with.

                  1. The Ottomans were the empire with political authority over the land. They did not own all the land in the empire.

                    Weird that those racist Palestinians didn’t just give up their country when asked nicely.

                    And weird that you point out a valid distinction in your first paragraph and ignore it in the second. The Arabs weren’t being asked to give up ownership of their land. Political control formerly exercised by the Ottomans would have been handed over (via the British and the League) primarily to the Arabs except for a small area where it would have been handed over to the Jews. Since there were sizable numbers of both Arabs and Jews living in Palestine at the time, what’s wrong with this plan? Unless — unless, like Aref al-Dajani (major Arab politician at the time) your attitude toward Jews is that “It is impossible for us to make an understanding with them or even to live them together” and “In all the countries where they are at present they are not wanted and undesirables, because they always arrive to suck the blood of everybody.”

                    1. unless, like Aref al-Dajani (major Arab politician at the time) your attitude toward Jews is…

                      Clarification: I should have phrased that as “if one’s attitude toward Jews is…” As it stands, it could sound like I’m accusing Square of being an anti-Semite, and I’m not.

        2. I’d love to hear what you’d say if folks started lobbing similar rockets into your neighborhood. I doubt if those landing in your yard would be written off as mere “dumb-fired firecrackers”.

          1. I’d love to hear what you’d say if someone moved into your house and the government told you that you had to leave and go find somewhere else to live.

            1. Isn’t that what the Thirteen Colony Rebels basically did to the British Loyalists once they too won their own war of Independence?

  6. Is not the secrecy of the atomic programs, testimonial to the intent to potentially build an atom bomb? For a peaceful nuclear program, making it look like a bomb program certainly is incongrous. Almost any state would see the benefits of being feared with something this devastating, be that state North Korea, France, or the USA.

    1. Possibly, and from a certain perspective Iran would be idiotic not to be pursuing a bomb. Most likely scenario seems to be to get as close as they can within “legal” parameters so that they can bolt out with one if need be.

      I think what Richman is getting at in his rather one-sided way is that in US-Israeli hysteria over Iranian weapons and supposed aggression, Israel’s weapons and aggressive behevior tend to be completely ignored.

      When you think of Israel as just this innocent little democracy sitting there minding its own business and playing “live and let live,” then Iranian posturing and support for Hezbollah and Hamas seems really sinister.

      If you take a moment to look at it from Iran’s perspective, however, and note that if it is somehow illegal for Iran to even be considering building a nuclear bomb, yet it’s somehow OK for Isreal to actually HAVE them even though they refuse to sign the NPT and have no more or less RIGHT to have them than Iran does, you start to see a distinct double standard at work.

      When you add to that the generally shitty behavior of western powers towards Iran going back some 200 years, it’s not hard to see why they may be skeptical of any overtures.

      I think that’s all Sheldon is saying, anyway.

      1. You did a much better job than Sheldon at articulating his point.

      2. Factor into the discussion the “genuinely shitty behavior” of lots of people toward Jews for a millennium or so and you might understand their skepticism of outside advice about defending themselves.

        1. Precisely – that’s why I mention above about what an ugly conflict it actually is. It is not a simple question of good guys and bad guys.

  7. If Americans are thinking of themselves lower than Iran now than you need to get a better therapist for that whole self loathing issue.

  8. Congrats to Mr. Richman on yet another complete inversion of the facts of reality, starting with his “What if” scenario for Mossadeq’s overthrow. Actually, Mossadeq was so “popular” that he banned all political parties except the Tudeh, which was the local Soviet-backed Communist Party. The Soviets had occupied Iran at the end of WWII and left many undercover agents in place when they left, biding their time to take over. Russia had its sights on Iran’s oil since before WWI. Mossadeq was fired by the Shah just like Mussolini was fired by the King of Italy, in accordance with the constitutions of both countries at the time. Iran’s Islamists supported Mossadeq’s overthrow at the time, only seizing upon it as a pretext for their openly-declared war against America decades later.

    Iran’s Islamists openly declared war on America in 1979, attacking US soil in the form of the US Embassy in Teheran. Iran started the Iran-Iraq War by sponsoring political assassinations in Iraq in 1979, before Iraq retaliated by going to war against Iran. Iran sponsored Hezbollah’s attack on the US Marines in Beirut in 1983, and sponsored the bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, many thousands of miles away from Iran, in a country which never lifted a finger against Iran in any way. Iran has weekly public rallies in which they chant “Death to America!” But, in Richman’s alternate dimension, this is all America’s fault…

    1. Pertinent facts, good sir. It’s amazing that anyone could come away from this conflict and write an article like this.

    2. Iran has weekly public rallies in which they chant “Death to America!”

      Minor note: most of these rallies are what we here would call “astro-turfing.” The government offers money and a free lunch to people with nothing better to do (the unemployed or homeless or otherwise idle), buses them to the rally site for the day, then brings them back in the evening.

      But, in Richman’s alternate dimension, this is all America’s fault…

      The FFF.org site where this was originally posted is full of this sort of nonsense. Basically, a Rothbardian fever swamp ala AntiWar.com and LewRockwell.com.

      1. Yes, I very nearly added that despite the Mullahcracy’s ravings the Iranian people remain very pro-American, participating in those rallies under extreme duress. A rather strange sort of “blowback” which causes only the Iranian regime to hate America, but not the Iranian people…

        1. Pro-America or not, most Iranians agree that they have a right to enrich uranium

          1. And if the Iranian people as a whole had control of the process via a free democracy, I wouldn’t much mind. Proliferation per se isn’t a big deal for me — there are countries that I wish did have nukes, Taiwan for instance.

            Whether or not a given country has the right to nukes is not the question. The question is whether a given leader or set of leaders do. I don’t have any worries about David Cameron, Francois Hollande, Manhoman Singh, or Benjamin Netanyahu having control of a nuclear arsenal, and wouldn’t worry about Fredrik Reinfeldt, Shinzo Abe, or Bronislaw Komorowski having such control either, because all of them were democratically elected by nations that are at least mostly-respectful of human rights. Unfortunately we can’t take the nukes out of the hands of the Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, or Nawaz Sharif, but there’s no reason to let anyone else add themselves to that list.

            Rule #1: Nuclear weapons for democracies only.
            Rule #2: Fast learn Rule #1.

        2. I am glad to see someone that actually uses reason and detailed facts about Iran. Blowback is a ridiculous claim brought up unfortunately by Libertarians constantly. If blowback was a valid reason, you would think there would be Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, German terrorist groups out there. Millions of their own people perished in wars with the USA. The idea that we are getting blowback because of some nonsensical notion that our CIA removed some tinpot Iranian ruler from office is just more ridiculous western projection and narcissism. Iran and other actors in the Middle East are just carrying on the legacy of brutalization and terrorism that their Muslim forefathers started centuries ago.

    3. Don’t forget that the Iranians are also causing global warming, conspired to bring TB back, started WWII and Hurricane Sandy, and probably were behind 9/11.

  9. Fucking squirrels ate my post. Short version: Rouhani isn’t the one actually in charge. Look to the actual dictator and his history to understand what’s going on there.

    Either way: not our business.

  10. Coming soon from Reason: an in-depth article profiling the heroic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his stand against imperialist hegemony of the American Empire!

    1. Coming soon from David, an in-depth look at how America has done nothing but defend truth and freedom around the world! Also “civilians killed by American bombs: terrorists in disguise?”

  11. my friend’s sister makes =$?8?0= an hour on the laptop. She has been fired from work for seven months but last month her pay check was =$?1?2?7?4?1= just working on the laptop for a few hours. here are the findings…

    http://WWW.WORKS23.COM

  12. All the hawks are coming out, huh? It’s interesting how the mere suggestion that the U.S. does not always act in good faith and that Iran may be acting rationally is treated as “herp derp you hate America!!” by “libertarians” around here.

    1. Uh, no, you’re the one trying to force the facts into a sort of Procrustean morality play, in which the big bad USA is being mean to poor little innocent Iran. Who cares whether America acts in “good faith” or Iran acts “rationally”? Those are just euphemisms for “America bad, Iran good.”

      America overthrew hostile regimes all over the world and replaced them with friendly ones. During the Cold War, these were usually authoritarian dictatorships. Very few of them were ever overthrown by regimes which then sponsored terrorism against America in retaliation. Most of them were pushed into democracy by the US toward the end of the Cold War (e.g., South Korea, Philippines) or shortly after (e.g., Indonesia). America even overthrew some of those dictators despite the fact they were former allies (Noriega, Saddam).

      In Richman’s fantasyland, no foreign regimes really hate freedom, despite the fact that they don’t allow any in their own countries. None of them deflect their own domestic unpopularity by whipping up hatred of foreign enemies who allow their people greater freedom. They only get uppity when those nasty Western democracies meddle in their internal affairs.

      Of course, this is exactly the same argument that was made by the defenders of Jim Crow in the South. If only those outside agitators didn’t make such a fuss, the negroes would be happy in their rightful place, and the South would be happy to leave the North alone…

  13. It’s interesting how the mere suggestion that the U.S. does not always act in good faith and that Iran may be acting rationally

    If we were talking about, say, a disagreement between Britain and France, which side I took would indeed depend on the rationality of their actions. When it comes to evil folks like the mullahs in Tehran (or rather, Qom), my concern with their rationality is confined to predicting and countering their actions. Beyond that, saying that the mullahs are acting rationally matters as much as whether or not Jeffrey Dahmer rationally followed food safety guidelines and thoroughly cooked the meat from his victims before consuming it.

    is treated as “herp derp you hate America!!”

    Kindly point to where I or anyone else said that.

    1. “Countering their actions”

      i.e. War, Destruction, Empire. Do you not advocate the same for “friendly” evil folks, like the Saudis? No, because you are a nationalist hawk and probably a neocon as well

      Their rationality matters because it is vital to determining whether the Mullahs are an actual threat to our safety, as opposed to our influence. If they are rational (not crazy), they aren’t going to attack us. I don’t give on shit if they are “evil” to their own people, or to Israel. Not our problem

      1. i.e. War, Destruction, Empire.

        Anyone who calls the US an “Empire” immediately forfeits the necessity of being taken seriously. Have the US done things it shouldn’t have done? Certainly. Is it an Empire? Hardly.

        Do you not advocate the same for “friendly” evil folks, like the Saudis?

        Since they unfortunately have us by the short and curlies due to decades of stagnation in our domestic energy supplies (thank you, environmentalists), not yet. That’s one reason, among many others, that I’m all for getting the government out of the way of drilling, fracking, etc. etc., so that we have a freer hand.

        No, because you are a nationalist hawk and probably a neocon as well

        Like “empire”, “hawk” is a term (along with “warmonger”, “imperialist”, and various others) that folks from the Rothbard wing throw around to mean “person or country that doesn’t agree with my strict non-interventionist views.” I think intervention is a bad or good idea depending on the circumstances. I think the government’s job of protecting Americans from foreign attack is made easier by having a world with fewer tyrannies in it. If that makes me a hawk in your eyes, fine. On the other hand, if you’re saying I think war is a “tonic of serious moral adventure” ala Herbert Croly, or similar nonsense, then you’re wrong.

        (continued…)

      2. (… continued)

        Now, you may say that my view leads to “blowback” or has other flaws. It’s possible that you’re right. But that’s an “it won’t work” objection, not the “it’s morally wrong” objection you’re positing.

        You probably will also say “I’m being taxed to pay for these interventions I don’t want.” And you’d be right. But that’s a minarchy problem, not an interventionist problem, and applies to everything supported by taxes. If I were totally callous and indifferent, I might say (since I’m an adult and have no kids) that I don’t want my money being spent on arresting child molesters, since they’re no threat to me. This is equivalent to your foreign policy stance.

        Either we have anarchocapitalism, in which it’s not alright to tax in order to protect citizens from initiation of force, period, and the whole interventionist/non-interventionist question never comes up, or we have taxes, and then debate on what policy protects us the best. “The military is paid for with taxes” does not somehow magically imply “therefore it can only be used against immediate threats.” A proactive policy like I favor may be wise, or it may be stupid, but that’s no more a moral question than what model of rifle our army will use.

      3. Please explain the “rationality” of Iran’s bombing of the Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

        1. My understsanding is that there has never been any evidence that either Hezbollah or Iran had any involvement in the Buenos Aires bombing.

          The entire case was based on motive, and that case was based on counter-factual statements regarding various agreements between Iran and Argentina. They didn’t even have enough evidence to extradite their suspects.

          The investigation of the Buenos Aires bombing (twenty years ago) was a clusterfuck of corruption and incompetence from the get-go, and the public outrage over the fact that it remained no ways near solved in 2005 resulted in the Argentinian government’s decision to blame Iran.

          Israel and the US were ready enough to believe it, or at least to make it seem true, that it’s been the official narrative ever since.

  14. The reader is the aggrieved party here, after reading this parody of an article.

    First we should acknowledge that getting a degree in economics (many years ago) does not contribute to knowledge or wisdom in foreign policy. Nothing in the non-aggression principle requires the kind of suicidal and self-abasing policies prescribed by the hysterical Sheldon. That’s not to say, US polices were/are correct.

    Since when does popularity provide a kind of moral shield to a Marxist politician who was about to nationalize (i.e. forcibly seize) the oil infrastructure built in Iran by western oil companies?

    Since when does morality prohibit the execution of scientists who are working to build a nuclear bomb, which the Iran gov’t plans to use to erase Israel from the pages of history?

    Sheldon here displays his ignorance of history, logic, military science, and basic facts.

    1. Oh, where did you get your degree? “Erase Israel from history?” Talk about fucking ignorance

      1. “Today, the Palestinians identify with your name Khomeini, your memory, and in your path. They are walking in your illuminated path and the Zionist regime has reached a total dead end. Thanks to God, your wish will soon be realized, and this germ of corruption will be wiped off.” — Ahmadinejad, June 2008

        Sounds pretty close to “erase Israel from history” to me. And it certainly justifies Israel assassinating nuclear scientists serving such a man.

        Are you going to address any of Kevin’s points? Or are you just going to quote four words and assert without evidence that he’s ignorant?

        1. YAAAAWN. You seize on one quote by a relatively powerless individual (who has now lost what power he did have) to make the case that their regime is utterly irrational, despite all other evidence. Do you really think these guys are suicidal?

          How come that quote counts, but not the fatwa against nukes by the Supreme Leader (someone with ACTUAL power)? If they are the new Nazis, how do you explain the relatively large Jewish population WITHIN Iran?

        2. Um… what’s shocking about Mr. Ahmadinejad’s 2008 comments is that they are remarkably similar to US government officials’ statements regarding regimes in control of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, etc.

          “Axis of Evil”, come to mind?

          Also, as RyanXXX mentioned, this man is not even President anymore, an office that is nothing more than a bully pulpit in Iran. There is no indication he said those things with the approval of the people with ACTUAL power.

          Furthermore, things may have been lost in translation. Who interpreted those statements? Was it a direct translation from Farsi or double- or even triple-translated?

          1. BTW, what did Israel ever do to Iran?

            1. Seriously?

              You mean besides the bombings and assassinations?

              1. OK, so Israel has tried to prevent Iran from getting nukes with which to destroy Israel. What’s so bad about that?

                Since you’re so obtuse as to fail to get my point, what did Israel do to Iran before 1979?

          2. Actually, the souce of the “wipe Israel off the map” comment was when Ahmedinijad was asked by a western journalist why the maps used to teach geography in Iranian public schools label the area we think of as being “Israel” as “Palestine.”

            Is this really a question you have to ask?

            Ahmedinijad’s response was that Iran does not recognize Israel’s right to sovereignty over the land [shock, alarm].

            Therefore, Ahmedinijad said, Iran believes that Israel should not be represented on the map.

            Western media said YOU HEARD IT FOLKS – HE SAID ISRAEL SHOULD BE WIPED OFF THE MAP! HE WANTS TO EXTERMINATE THE JEWS!

            Is “wiped off the map” even an expression in Farsi?

            Does the western media even care?

          3. Not similar at all. No US official has ever said that the State of Iraq should not exist anymore. What they said was that it shouldn’t be ruled by Saddam anymore. What Ahneedahandjob said was more like when Saddam annexed Kuwait, abolishing it as an independent state, which is worse than what Hitler did to France. (At least Hitler bothered to set up a puppet regime in France.)

            So, you speak Farsi now, do you?

    2. “Since when does popularity provide a kind of moral shield to a Marxist politician who was about to nationalize (i.e. forcibly seize) the oil infrastructure built in Iran by western oil companies?”

      When they are democratically elected by the people of other countries. And by “western oil companies” please clarify to “British Petroleum.” This is a US problem how?

      “Since when does morality prohibit the execution of scientists who are working to build a nuclear bomb, which the Iran gov’t plans to use to erase Israel from the pages of history?”

      When those scientists are in a sovereign country that you are not dictator of and when you are assuming that you know what they are working on when you don’t.

      Believing Isreal should not be a sovereign Jewish theocracy is not the same as wanted to exterminate all Jews and erase them from history.

      Please take a deep breath and stop endangering us all with this hysterical paranoia.

      1. Iran is a “sovereign Islamic theocracy.” Israel’s not a theocracy of any kind, but what business is it of Iran’s what type of government Israel has? How come you “anti-interventionists” aren’t decrying Iranian intervention in Israel’s internal affairs?

        1. Iran should not be a soveriegn Islamic theocracy, either.

          Israel has no constitution, but it does have a race-based state religion, and it uses that religious symbol AS ITS FLAG.

          All people living under Iranian rule have equal voting rights regardless of their religions. This is not true in Israel.

          Main point: Do you know whose choice it isn’t what type of governments other people have?

          Yours.

          1. Israel grants full voting rights to non-Jews. In Iran, everyone has equal rights to vote in the meaningless elections in which the Revolutionary Guard can ban anyone from running for office for being insufficiently Shi’ite. Women are only allowed to vote in Iran because they were granted suffrage under the Shah, and the precedent was too hard to revoke.

            Israel had an atheist (Sharon) as head of state. No theocracy (e.g, Iran) has ever had an atheist head of state.

            Again, how come you have no objection to Iranian meddling in Israel’s internal affairs? What business is it of yours or Iran’s what type of government Israel has?

            I have the right to alter or abolish any government that threatens my rights. So does everyone else. That includes the Iranian government.

    3. Since when does a threat to nationalize oil infrastructure provide a kind of moral shield to foment a coup (i.e. forcibly seize control of) against the government of Iran by a western power?

      1. Since theft of Western oil equipment in Iran would’ve put Iranian oil into the hands of the Soviets, who were out to conquer the world & destroy the USA.

        1. Good thing the Soviets never got their hands on that oil!

          1. Yes, it is. Iran’s oil was in the hands of a Western ally from 1953 until 1979, about a quarter-century, until Carter let Khomeini take over. How would we have been better off if Iran’s oil had been in Soviet hands that whole time?

  15. The United States has invaded two of Iran’s neighbors in the past 12 years, has strong military ties with about a dozen countries in Iran’s region, has placed carrier groups within easy striking distance of Iran’s ports, likely attacked Iran’s computer infrastructure with STUXNet, has pushed for harsher and harsher economic sanctions over a nuclear program that is COMPLETELY legal under international law, etc.

    If I were Iran, I would not trust the USA.

    1. In the 1950s, the US had invaded many of France’s neighbors within the past decade or so, had strong military ties with many countries in France’s region, had large military bases in neighboring countries, had recently overthrown the government of France, had imposed harsh economic sanctions against France as part of our economic warfare campaign against the Axis, etc.

      So, France would’ve been justified in sponsoring terrorism against the US & our allies, right? Not to mention developing nuclear weapons to use against us, too?

      1. 1) France has never been our enemy. Ever.

        2) I’ll wager that never has anyone in this country ever entertained the idea of overthrowing the French government. Ever.

        3) “Overthrown the government of France” is an interesting way to phrase “helped France throw off the yoke of a foreign conqueror. Twice.”

        4) What terrorism against the US are you talking about?

        1. 1) Actually, we fought the Quasi-War with France in the 1790s, and the French ambassador tried to foment a military coup against President Adams. We then allied with Britain against any further French or Spanish colonization in the Western hemisphere in the 1820s. This was known as the “Monroe Doctrine,” perhaps you’ve heard of it. France violated the Monroe Doctrine while we were preoccupied with the Civil War by setting up Maximilian Bonaparte as ruler of Mexico.

          2) We overthrew the Vichy government of France in 1944-45 as part of a little thing called WWII. Perhaps you’ve heard of that?

          3) Vichy was a German client regime, just as Mossadeq was well on his way to becoming an Soviet client. Both had just as much legitimacy. If Mossadeq had remained in power, he would’ve been a Soviet puppet just like any other Soviet client state.

          4) What Iranian terrorism against the US? How ’bout the attack upon our embassies in Teheran & holding our people hostage for more than a year or so? Or does that not count as terrorism in your book?

        2. 3) “Overthrown the government of France” is an interesting way to phrase “helped France throw off the yoke of a foreign conqueror. Twice.”

          Tim has already replied to and addressed the major point of this, but this reminds me: since when are libertarians supposed to consider it important that the oppressor and the oppressed are of the same nationality? Unless you consider the nation-state as the basic unit of morality and identity, there is no difference between an invasion by an external tyrant and the rise of an internal one.

    2. In the 1950s, the US had invaded many of France’s neighbors within the past decade or so, had strong military ties with many countries in France’s region, had large military bases in neighboring countries, had recently overthrown the government of France, had imposed harsh economic sanctions against France as part of our economic warfare campaign against the Axis, etc.

      So, France would’ve been justified in sponsoring terrorism against the US & our allies, right? Not to mention developing nuclear weapons to use against us, too?

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