Why Iran is currently a little leery, weary and wary of relations with the governments of Britain, Russia or the United States:

To the Editor:

Why Iran is currently a little leery, weary and wary of relations with the governments of Britain, Russia or the United States:

In all the recent discussions of the proud ancient country of Persia (now called Iran, or to be more precise, the Islamic Republic of Iran (Jomhoori-e-Islami e-Iran)), there is almost no mention of the fact that our American CIA was instrumental in the overthrew their democratically-elected government led by Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh back in 1953 and the replacement of him with the dictator Shah Reza Pahlavi. The democratically-elected government led by Mossadegh had the gall to assert that the oil that lay underneath Iran's soil belonged to the Iranian people and not to western oil corporations.

By 1979 the Iranian people had finally grown tired of police state tactics employed by the westernized Shah and overthrew him and created a fundamentalist Islamic Republic. Of course, western imperial powers took an instant dislike to this revolutionary change, for the Shah had long been a great friend of the British, the French and the Americans and their corporate oil interests.

Also in 1979, protesters invaded and occupied the American Embassy in Tehran, asserting that it was a CIA base of operations against the Iranian people. The protesters seized the Embassy staff and held them hostage until the newly elected American President Ronald Reagan negotiated their release and return home. To obtain the release of the hostages, the American State Department apologized to Iran for its intervention and agreed to never again interfere in their domestic affairs. All during this episode, there was a virtual American media blackout on the history of the CIA's participation in the overthrowing the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953 and the replacement of it with the dictator Shah Reza Pahlavi.

In the early 1980s, armed and egged on by America under President Reagan, Saddam's Iraq invaded the Islamic Republic of Iran. Americans supplied poison gases (weapons of mass destruction!) and satellite intelligence photos and other information to Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi military. This war raged from 1980 to 1988. The Iranians suffered millions of casualties during this long war.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British and the Russians divided Iran into two spheres of influence with their Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. After the Russian Revolution and the end of World War I, the British attempted to seize control of all of Iran, but were repulsed. In 1941, the Russians and the British again occupied Iran until the end of World War II.

Is it any wonder that the Iranians are a little leery, weary and wary of relations with the governments of Britain, Russia or the United States?

References:

Encyclopedia Britannica: A New Survey of Universal Knowledge, 1964 edition.

Information Please Almanac, 1998 edition.

The Statesman's Year-Book, 131st edition, 1994-95.

 

Yours truly,

 

James K. Sayre

 

5 January 2003