In recent months, the U.S. government has initiated a series of provocative policies directed at the Islamic Republic of Iran with the intention of drawing the country into the vortex of political and economic isolation.
George W. Bush has frequently threatened Iran, but everyone knows that his bark is worse than his bite.
It seems that Bush believes the policy of threats and intimidation is the only one that is effective. Now that he has realized that such threats cannot influence Iran’s policy in the least, he has resorted to economic levers, which can affect only the Iranian people. U.S. officials have defined the U.S. policy toward Iran as a cold war front through which they are attempting to exert pressure on the Iranian people in the vain hope that they may let out a cry of protest.
As in all cold wars, it is the average citizen who suffers the most.
In this context, “We are confronting Iranian behavior across a variety of different fronts, on a number of different, quote and unquote, battlefields, if you will,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters in Washington recently.
McCormack’s choice of the word ‘battlefields’ shows his mind-set. Washington’s hawks believe they must start a war against Iran, either militarily or psychologically. This is their mission: to confront a government that that sees no reason to capitulate to their demands or become their lackey.
However, the first option failed so now the U.S. is resorting to the second option, a psyops campaign.
“I was trying to illustrate that you don’t just confront Iran with guns and soldiers; sometimes you do it with lawyers and accountants and diplomats,” McCormack said.
These are odd words issuing from the mouth of a man who seems to only know the language of threats and confrontation.
The strategy envisaged by the U.S. government includes sanctions prohibiting foreign investment in Iran and barring foreign companies from conducting business with Iranian companies in order to decrease the country’s capital inflows.
Along the same lines, the U.S. Treasury Department has prevented Iranian banks and other institutions from dealing with the U.S. financial system. Many banks in Europe and other parts of the world have stopped their transactions with Iran. Over 40 major international banks and institutions have either cut off or cut back business with the Iranian government and/or private sector.
Iranian families are facing enormous problems in remitting money to their loved ones abroad. The remitted money is either confiscated or gets “lost” in the Byzantine labyrinth of modern finance. Iranian students living abroad find that they are unable to pay their rent and tuition simply because there is no way they can receive money from their parents.
The Iranian economy is also having some difficulties, partly due to Washington’s pressure.
In the latest step, Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are considering designating Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization. The IRGC is a popular army that fought bravely during the eight-year war of aggression that Iraq imposed on Iran. The State Department is trying to sully the reputation of an Iranian military organization whose members made supreme sacrifices in defending their homeland.
Bush and his aides say Iran has made few contributions to efforts to improve the security situation in Afghanistan. Well, it seems that the White house needs a reality check since Afghan President Hamid Karzai praised Iran for its constructive role in Afghanistan during a recent meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Even in his meeting with George W. Bush, Karzai described Iran’s’ role in Afghanistan as positive.
“So far, Iran has been a helper,” Karzai said in an interview with CNN.
However, Bush sounded a far harsher tone.
“From my perspective, the burden of proof is on the Iranian government to show us that they’re a positive force,” Bush said.
Furthermore, he threatened to continue efforts to isolate the country “because they’re not a force for good, as far as we can see.”
Washington also accuses Iran of providing the militias in Iraq with weapons in order to create chaos and insecurity in the war-ravaged country. The absurdity of such an allegation becomes apparent when one considers the fact that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani recently thanked Iran for its herculean efforts to help establish security in the volatile country.
In late July, Rice and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to the Middle East and offered billions in weapons sales packages to Arab nations and a $30-billion, 10-year military aid package to Israel, which is actually the source of insecurity in the Middle East. The rationale: to reduce Iran’s influence in the region.
In addition, Washington is currently supporting the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization. The MKO is arguably the most controversial and perplexing topic in terrorism. Created in 1965, the organization is now protected by the U.S. government. U.S. officials are backing a terrorist organization only because they think the MKO can be employed as a useful tool against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Thus, terrorism is being sponsored by a government that claims to be waging a campaign against the phenomenon.
Words lose their meaning in an Orwellian haze, and hardly a soul seems to have noticed.
Apparently, to George W. Bush, a terrorist in need is a friend indeed.
(Sept. 5 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Ismail Salami)