The Reagan administration is largely responsible for Iran's dangerous emergence on the world scene.
Over the past few months we have heard cries from the new anti-war left that a war with Iran would be unjust and a show of American aggression in the Middle East. I beg to differ in the strongest possible fashion. Iran currently represents one of the greatest security threats to the western world imaginable. Moreover, unlike Iraq under Saddam Hussein, Iran has engaged in twenty five years of aggressive behavior towards the United States and in the same period of time has been actively developing weapons of mass destruction while arming terrorist groups throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. The campaign of lies and deceit conducted by the Government of the United States over the past three and a half years with regards to Iraq (Whose leader Saddam Hussein unlike Iran's leadership was secular and fairly westernized) will make all the more difficult to deal militarily or diplomatic with the looming threat coming from Central Asia thanks to Iran. Moreover, Tony Blair's British Government seems to be a fan of the current hostile regime in Tehran, because it suits British business interests quite nicely. Recently, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw referred to Iran an a "budding democracy where moderation rules." A budding Democracy, perhaps? (Not that Democracy is the be all and end all- India for years was the world's largest democracy and also the key link between the Soviet Union and developing world. In a future blog I will explain why Democracies in strategic areas make America less secure) Moderation? No way! Iran continues to be run by Conservative Shiite clerics whose official policy towards the United States is calling for the destruction of the nation they call the "Great Satan."
Much of Iran's success over the last 25 years owes itself to failed foreign policy of Ronald Reagan whom American Conservatives compare to George Washington. The misguided policy of Reagan and his team left American interests worldwide vulnerable to attack from Iranian backed terrorists. In 1980 Reagan and his cohorts negotiated a release of American hostages held in Teheran undermining the President Jimmy Carter. Reagan talked tough on Iran, who after all had seized 52 American citizens as hostages when the fundamentalist Khomeni regime seized power in 1979, but in fact Reagan had opened back channels to Iran that cost hundreds of American lives in the 1980s, during his election campaign. After Reagan secured the release of the hostages, the lay American media which was so mesmorized by Reagan's acting ability perpetuated a lie upon the American public: That Iran was so scared of Reagan, and had no fear of Carter, thus they released the hostages to prevent their own inhalation. Looking back this theory is laughable, and among the many lies the Reagan administration sold to the American public during the dark days of the early 1980s.
In 1982, Ronald Reagan, the Conservative superhero sent American troops to war torn Beirut to serve under foreign command and under the United Nations Flag. The next October, 241 American troops were killed by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization taking its cue directly from Tehran and the Shiite clerics that ran the Iranian Government. America was the "great Satan" that needed to be destroyed. However Reagan and his cowboy friends like Oliver North continued to believe Iran's regime was filled with moderates, and after several more terrorist attacks against American interests including the hijacking of a Pan Am jetliner flying from Bombay to Frankfurt, the hijacking of a TWA jetliner flying Athens to Cairo and the hijacking of the Cruise Ship Achille Lauro, Reagan decided to take action. He secretly authorized the sale of arms to Iran while bombing Libya, who was a marginal player in the terrorist underworld. (If Reagan really wanted to attack North Africa, Tunisia playing host to international outlaw Yasser Arafat or Algeria who had its own fundamentalist government backed by Iran would have been more worthy targets.) Reagan's arms sales to Iran kept the war with Saddam Hussein's relatively pro-western Iraqi government going while allowing Iran to secretly funnel weapons to dissidents within the Soviet Union who were trying to make Soviet Central Asia into a fundamentalist Islamic satellite of Tehran. But for the Cowboy Ronald Reagan the Soviet Union was the evil empire, and anyway working to undermine the U.S.S.R who by this time had signed numerous nuclear non proliferation treaties must be supported. Reagan obviously did not buy into the saying, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know. At the same time, Reagan and later the first President Bush sent signals to Tehran that they were open to lifting the freeze on Iranian assets in the United States that had been ordered by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance in 1979. Perhaps the idea of Texas oil companies doing business in one of largest petroleum producing nations in the world was tempting for the Bush administration?
When the USSR collapsed, almost instantly there was a rush from Tehran to install puppet regimes in the newly independent Islamic states of Central Asia. In some places, such as Tajikistan they succeeded. In others such as Uzbekistan, they did not. In those places they did not meet with success, the Iranians continue to create dissent and fund terrorists to overthrow the Government. Official American policy continued to support Iran under George H.W. Bush, as American subsidiaries of US owned corporations were allowed to break the United States' own embargo and do business with Iran. At one point in the early 90s, despite the embargo which had been placed on Iran by Jimmy Carter's administration (and violated by Reagan himself when he approved the arms sale to Iran) over 12% of oil on the American market had come directly from Iranian oil fields after having been passed through American companies regional headquarters in Europe. In 1995 President Bill Clinton put a stop to this madness and made it illegal for any company with a corporate headquarters in the United States to do business with Iran. Despite this the British, the French and Germans still do more business in Iran than any other nations. Throughout this period, Iran has continued to develop weapons of mass destruction, and acquire offensive missiles and tanks from China and North Korea, a topic we will explore in depth tomorrow. All of this has gone on while official American policy was to talk tough on Iran while covertly allowing Iranian terrorists and allies to run unchecked throughout the Middle East. The dangerous policies of Ronald Reagan have put American security at great jeopardy, and we must face the daunting task of dealing with Iran one way or another in the near future.
Coming Tomorrow- Which terrorists Iran supports and what WMDs does Iran possess?
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.