Originally published in the Winter 2020 edition of the Virginia Defender, printed February 17. Reproduced here in for accessibility and archival purposes. To find other stories in this issue or download the full PDF, see this post. For the full web catalog, see our Full Issues page.
By Sanaz Ghodsi
Western media outlets sell a very particular narrative to the American people about Iran, and I’m sure that there are many people in the United States who truly believe that Iran is the rogue nation that it is painted to be.
By pushing this depiction of Iran, American politicians seek to convince the American people and the rest of the international community that the United States is right to threaten military intervention with Iran and to impose 40 years of sanctions that have severely affected the livelihood of the Iranian people.
As an Iranian-American, I have been following the politics and the history of Iran for 10 years now, and have gone to Iran many times. I have studied the religious and political philosophies that contributed to the creation of the Islamic Republic and have gone to many lectures by Iranian academics. With this, I can say one thing for certain:
The Iranian people have an excellent memory. The animosity between Iran and the United States goes back much farther than the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Walk in the streets of Iran and ask the people living there of the legacy of the United States in Iran, and they will likely begin with Operation Ajax in 1953. That was the CIAcoordinated military coup that overthrew democratically elected Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh.
Why? Because he had just nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, taking back Iran’s own oil resurces from Great Britain, a close U.S. ally.
As a result, the brutal Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was reinstalled as Shah.
A long 26 years later, the Shah was overthrown and was granted asylum in the United States, where his son and family continue to live a life of luxury with money stolen from Iran. This provoked Iranian students to take over the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which was referred to as “a den of espionage,” and compile and publish all the documents containing evidence of U.S. deceit and manipulation of Iran.
Not long after the 1979 Revolution, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein attacked Iran, beginning an eight-year war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands on both sides. The chemical weapons Saddam used on Iran were sold to him by the United States, as the U.S. is notorious for profiting off of weapons sales to anyone who will buy them.
The war is deeply felt in Iran even to this day. Visiting my father’s high school in Iran, I was able to see a mural of his classmates who were martyred during the war.
Iranians also remember the United States shooting down an Iranian airplane, Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, killing all 290 passengers, who were mostly women and children. ThenVice President George H.W. Bush responded to the downing of the aircraft by saying, “I will never apologize for the United States – I don’t care what the facts are … I’m not an apologize-for-America kind of guy.”
I also want to explain to readers the significance of economic sanctions. Iran has been heavily sanctioned by the United States for more than 40 years. Sanctions have crippled the Iranian economy to the point of mass inflation.
Under sanctions, Iran was not allowed to receive any humanitarian aid when it suffered two earthquakes in 2017 in Kermanshah. Iran also cannot import lifesaving chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer patients. And since Iran cannot enrich its own oil under sanctions, the country has resorted to purchasing low-quality fuel from the black market. The resulting exhaust fills the air, causing increased rates of lung cancer. Iran cannot have technologies to purify the pollution produced by its factories, contributing to the pollution.
I encourage the American people to educate themselves, not only on the legacy of the United States in Iran and the rest of the region, but in the rest of the world. Regime change wars and imperialism by the United States have also affected Latin American, African, South Asian and East Asian nations as well.
Anytime a nation wants to rid itself of the imperialism of the United States, it conveniently needs a regime-change war headed by Western powers that will install a puppet dictator who will appease Western corporations and oil executives.
Iran is one of many countries that have suffered severely due to Western greed. However, not all have successfully resisted attempts of foreign infiltration like Iran has. I’m sure further escalations will occur in the future, and Iran will continue to stand strong.
Iran was one of the world’s first countries and contains a civilization and history that goes back millennia. Decades of hostility by the United States are but a thorn on the bottom of the shoe of Iran and I know that Iran will prevail, no matter what.
Sanaz Ghodsi is a local Iranian American who follows the interests of her people and family in Iran.
Categories: International & Antiwar News