Why Do Americans Lie About Iran?

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Guest Commentary: Nilou Irani ~ niloufar.irani (AT) yahoo.com
Hi, FYI Iran's "nuclear threat" is all about what country will get first dibs and access to Iranian uranium.

I personally know that all of the controversy stems from the price of enriched uranium, and the world fears that Iran, given that it has much uranium, as it does oil, will sell enriched uranium at a high cost, so the rest of the world wants a piece of this delish pie :) I really want to make this fact known to the rest of the world, and I would appreciate any info from legit sources you may have on the matter, thanks!
July 22, 2009 8:42:24 PM MDT
Who Is the BIGGEST Threat in the Middle East
The Brookings Institute released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran. The results are rather striking. They show Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel - that's 80%. The second major threat is the United States - that's 77%. Iran is listed as a threat by 10%. Alternet

Iran and Bin Laden/Al Qaeda
In a Time (7.30.09), they provide some history of US and Iranian cooperation in the "war on terror".
Reports last week said Saad bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's fourth son and a mid-ranking al-Qaeda operative, [may have been] killed by a recent CIA Predator strike. But six years ago, the U.S. had an opportunity to get him alive, but lost it when the Bush administration decided to pull away from cooperation with Iran.

Saad had only recently returned to the Afghan-Pakistani border after nearly six years under house arrest in Iran. He was one of several al-Qaeda commanders, including military chief Saif al-Adel, captured by Iranian authorities in the spring and summer of 2003, as they tried to sneak across the border from Afghanistan.

At the time, the Bush administration and the Iranian regime were secretly cooperating in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

... the Iranians wanted a multilateral mechanism, initiated by the US, to get the Arab intruders off their hands. But the Bush administration insisted that the Iranians deport the Arabs without any preconditions ... the Iranians came up with another offer: they would trade their Arab captives, including Saad, for members of the Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iranian terrorist group that was given sanctuary by Saddam. "It was a straightforward swap, your terrorists for ours" ... But the Bush administration was having none of it.
Secret Cooperation? This has been a secret only from the American people, as people like John Bolton (below), a leading NeoCon, have distorted the truth about Iran. NeoCons and the Bush administration blocked greater cooperation and prevented Americans and Iranians from developing more trust between our countries. Iran is not our enemy!

NeoCon Distortions About Iran
John R. Bolton, in an editorial to the LA Times about Iran (6.26.09), wrote, "The Mullahs Must Go." I originally tried to post my reply in response to his neocon rhetoric, but the LA Times limits comments to only silly soundbites. American media does not want citizens to have honest and free discussions over these matters ... therefore, I have posted my comments below:

Ali Gharib, in an editorial to Asia Times (6.27.09), wrote, "But the most glaring misunderstanding of Iran seems to come from US neo-conservatives and their right-wing allies, who have called on Obama to make broader efforts at democracy promotion in Iran and stronger denunciations of the Iranian regime in light of the maltreatment of peaceful protesters."

Iranian-American journalist and author Hooman Majd, one of the best-connected Western journalists in Iran, rejects the neo-conservative mantras as an example of ignorance about Iran and an inability to get over the Bush goal of regime change.
"The neo-cons know nothing about Iran, nothing about the culture of Iran. They have no interest in understanding Iran, in speaking to any Iranian other than Iranian exiles who support the idea of invasions - I'll call them Iranian Chalabis," a reference to now-disgraced neo-conservative darling Iraqi exile Ahmad Chalabi, who reportedly provided some of the bad intelligence on Iraq's weapons programs and was slated for a prominent post-invasion role in Iraq.
I'm not sure why neocons, such as Bolton, get front page coverage in a publication like the LA Times. His warmongering rhetoric isn't helpful to U.S./Iranian relations.

Bolton writes, "Had the U.S. and others over the last 30 years done more to help Iranian dissidents, overtly and covertly, we might be in a different place today."

Give me a break, Johnnie ... Had the U.S., Britain and the west not meddled SO MUCH in Iran between 1952 and 1979, the Islamic and extremist revolution would not have occurred. Our support of the brutal regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi left lasting scars on the Iranian nation.

Bolton writes, "Obama's real objective is to launch negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, in the belief that he can talk Iran out of its 20-year effort to acquire deliverable nuclear weapons."

Yes, and this is an admirable objective. Improving our relations, through peaceful discourse and discussion, leads to understanding and mutual trust. Bolton doesn't understand this strategy. Arrogant, uncompromising and violent talk as we observed during the Bush era pushes people to extremes. It creates fear, which leads to the development of more weapons.

First, the Iranians have the "right" to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Bolton refuses to acknowledge his own hypocrisy ~ Israel has not signed the nuclear non-proliferation accords and have an arsenal of nuclear weapons ~ in violation of ALL international policies.

Second, the Iranians have told the world repeatedly that they are not interested in nuclear weapons, only nuclear energy. OK, why should you blindly trust? You shouldn't. This matter is too serious. Yet answer the question they continually pose to us: How have our nukes helped us in conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan? They haven't. Nuclear weapons are useless in the 21st century. Providing food, jobs and ensuring decent conditions for citizens is far more important today than building nuclear warheads.

Finally, Bolton furthers neocon belligerence by writing that the "imperative of regime change [is] no less compelling." This attitude is what creates tension. Iran's internal politics are not our business. Bolton and Bush devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to forcing regime change in Iran. We would not tolerate similar interference from countries such as China or Russia.

Do we not recognize that this current election controversy is likely related to CIA and MI6 meddling? Are Americans still that naive? Maybe we should revisit the 1952-53 history of Iran.

Iranian envoy: CIA involved in Neda's shooting?
Tied to this, Iranian Ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, suggested that the CIA may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman whose fatal videotaped shooting Saturday made her a symbol of opposition to the June 12 presidential election results.
"My question is, how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, got shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was behind held? ... If the CIA wants to kill some people and attribute that to the government elements, then choosing women is an appropriate choice, because the death of a woman draws more sympathy."
Though the video appeared to show Neda had been shot in the chest, Ghadiri said the bullet was found in her head and it was not of a type used in Iran.
"These are the methods that terrorists, the CIA and spy agencies employ," he said. "Naturally, they would like to see blood spilled in these demonstrations, so that they can use it against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is of the common methods that the CIA employs in various countries." [source]
Look at this logically, not from a nationalistic lens ... the Bush administration created a program years ago to further regime change in Iran. They allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to this effort. Where would one begin? If I were in charge, I would target an upcoming presidential election. I would create "action" groups within the Iranian socity who would rise up when called. Having millions of dollars at my disposal would make my job very easy.

Think back to the recent Iranian election. Within hours of the polls closing, there were cries of election foul play. How would people know? The U.S. has the most robust democracy in the world. We witnessed our failures in 2000. The U.S. Supreme Court ended up selecting George W. Bush over Al Gore, although the popular vote had gone in Gore's favor. How many people truly believe Ohio wasn't stolen by Republicans in 2004 when Kerry ran against Bush? We may never know the truth about these two elections, yet "experts" told us within hours that Iran's election was falsified. It isn't possible that they knew at that time!

I do know, from accounts listed below, that U.S. power brokers (media and politicians) constantly lie about Iranian matters. The same liars told us Saddam HAD weapons of mass destruction ~ therefore we invaded. Americans were fools. Yet we continue to allow ourselves to be deceived. WAKE UP!
False U.S. Fear Mongering
In February 2009, various members of the traditional media in America, i.e., CNN, NY Times, Washington Post, ran headlines similar to, "Iran ready to build nuclear weapon, analysts say."

On the other hand, world sources lead with headlines such as, "Iran not producing weapon-grade uranium: IAEA." The Hindu, India's national newspaper, wrote on 2.22.09:

Iran has not converted the low-grade uranium that it has produced into weapon-grade uranium, inspectors belonging to the International Atomic Energy Agency have said.

The Austrian Press Agency quoted an IAEA expert as saying that the uranium substances that Iran has produced at its Natanz enrichment facility have been carefully recorded and remote cameras have been installed to supervise part of the stockpile.

"If the Iranians intend to transport these uranium substances to a secret location for further processing, agency's inspectors will find out," he said.

The expert added that "so far, Iran has carried out good cooperation with us in relevant verifications."

IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei has said that Iran has slowed down its uranium enrichment programme. He made this observation while submitting a report to the U.N. Security Council on Thursday. [source]

Afraid of Democracy
Writing in the NY Times (9.18.09), Nazila Fathi summarizes American perception of current Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

"Mr. Ahmadinejad has long been seen as a threat to Israel, especially since he angered the West and Jews worldwide in 2005 when he repeated a slogan from the early days of the revolution, saying, 'Israel should be wiped off the map.' " [source]

The problem with Fathi's commentary is Ahmadinejad did not say "Israel should be wiped off the map." This is a lie and it is repeated frequently by U.S. media. For an excellent review of the Iranian issue, see InfoImagination, Understanding Iran.

Richard Boudreaux, LA Times staff writer, in his commentary (9.23.08) summarizes the difficulties between our two countries:

"The standoff between the United States and Iran has centered on concerns over nuclear proliferation and threats against Israel, which Ahmadinejad has said should be 'wiped off the map.' " [source]

The claim that Ahmadinejad said, "Israel should be wiped off the map," is flawed for a number of reasons. First, Ahmadinejad rarely speaks in English. The quote suggests he did. Instead, he generally speaks in Farsi. In actuality, Iranian's president said, "Een rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Quds bayad az safhih-i ruzgar mahv shavad."

I ask you ... what did Ahmadinejad say? Do you speak or read Farsi?

Is our ignorance to blame? Iran is one of the world's oldest cultures. How come we have so little knowledge of this country and its people?

Juan Cole, a historian and expert on Middle Eastern culture, says the original slogan, expressed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was that Israel would "vanish from the arena of time." Cole explains that Khomeini meant the Zionist regime would collapse on its own, just as the Soviet empire did. Khomeini didn't threaten to wipe anything off anything. [source]

Iran and Ahmadinejad have been consistent and clear about their intentions. They want the Palestinian people to participate (vote) in a free and fair referendum to to choose their own government. This is the principle of "self determination" and shouldn't we, as Americans, support this democratic solution?

When Mike Wallace, 60 Minutes, interviewed Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president called for Democracy, Free and Fair Elections, and a Durable Peace. His comments were deleted from the public version. [source]

CSPAN carried the entire interview and we have posted screen shots of what was left on the cutting room floor (at right).

MR. WALLACE: You still have not answered the question. Israel must be wiped off the map. Why?

PRESIDENT AHMADINEJAD: I think that the Israeli government is a fabricated government ...

[CUT BY CBS 60 MINUTES] ... and I have talked about the solution. The solution is democracy. We have said allow Palestinian people to participate in a free and fair referendum to express their views. What we are saying only serves the cause of durable peace. We want durable peace in that part of the world. A durable peace will only come about with once the views of the people are met.
CBS 60 Minutes Distorts the Truth

SOURCE: "Apologize to the World Mr. Wallace and Return that Emmy," YouTube Video
Boudreaux's LA Times article included an explanation of Ahmadinejad's remarks, noting:

"Iran, promotes a shift in power in the Holy Land by means of elections in which Palestinian residents and returning refugees would vastly outnumber Jews and vote into power a single government over what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

Boudreaux gets to the core of this debate. If the people living in the region of Palestine could vote for their own government, the majority would vote against Israel. Therefore, both the U.S. and Israel oppose a national referendum.

Since we claim it is our destiny to "make the world safe for democracy" and our opposition to a democratic referendum would appear hypocritical, we simpy lie about Iran and their leaders.

In a global world, with an independent media, one would think it would be difficult to further a conspiracy of lies ... apparently we do not have an independent media!

The world press is more courageous. IranMania.com, based on London, points out the distortion of truth:

"It is not the first time President Ahmadinejad's words are misrepresented or distorted by western media. The statement attributed to him that 'Israel should be wiped off the map' is a distortion of the truth and has been determined by a number of Persian linguists, amongst them, Professor Juan Cole, to be a mistranslation." [source]

Jonathan Steele, writing in the Guardian, adds:

"My recent comment piece explaining how Iran's president was badly misquoted when he allegedly called for Israel to be 'wiped off the map' has caused a welcome little storm. The phrase has been seized on by western and Israeli hawks to re-double suspicions of the Iranian government's intentions, so it is important to get the truth of what he really said." [source]

Steele's comments get us to the most important point. Are we a nation of senseless war mongers? We all know today that we rushed into Iraq due to our false beliefs that Saddam Hussein had, or was developing, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

This tragic error has cost countless Iraqi deaths -- maybe a million people by some estimates, including innocent children, woman and men, murdered by flawed American foreign policy.

What about the cost to American families? We have suffered over 30,000 American troop casualties to date. And, at what price to the American taxpayer -- millions of future taxpayers not yet born? The Iraq war is projected to cost over $3 trillion.

We have a media complicit in a conspiracy of violence, death and destruction or they are simply lazy and ignorant. Either way, this is a tragic failure of the media's institutional responsibility to provide truth to the American public.

Are you weak minded and a coward? Or, are you going to demand higher standards from our leaders?