Front Page
Global Links
Partner Sites
Press Room
Contact Us
NewsInsider - Main Graphic  


The Struggle for Iran

The US Element in the Struggle for Iran

24 January 2000

It is true that very few of the parameters which shape the United States' relations to Iran are clear and straightforward. But of those that are, one is perhaps the most clear: the rocky relations between them have absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic fundamentalism that governs power relations in Tehran. It is a popular myth that successive US administrations have been morally and politically opposed to Iranian theocrats. In actual fact, the most fundamentalist Muslim government in the region is no other than the monarchist and deeply undemocratic regime of Saudi Arabia. Yet, that has not prevented the US from establishing and maintaining all sorts of political, military and other diplomatic relations with the totalitarian Saudi elite.

Another popular myth, that often goes unquestioned by the 'progressive' North American and Western European liberal community, is that US has decided to isolate the Iranian state because the latter objects to the ideals of democracy and freedom of expression. Nothing could be further from the truth. If that was so, then why does the US not pursue similar policies with the fervently anti-democratic regime of Kuwait, or the violently repressive junta of Turkey? What is more, where would the horrendously immoral "Arms to Iran" scandal fit in this picture? Indeed, if there is one fact that the "Arms to Iran" scandal revealed, it was that US foreign policy is driven solely by its determination to safeguard vital US political, economic and ideological interests, which usually have little, if anything, to do with democracy, popular rights and freedom of expression.

Indeed, religious fundamentalism, anti-democratic movements and military oppression are perceived as threatening to US interests only when they are not directly controlled by those interests. Iran is precisely such a case: ever since the Iranian Revolution, US policy on Iran has centered on the belief that Iranian military and political domination in the area would be fatally threatening to Israeli supremacy in the Middle East. This has been the central pillar of US foreign policy toward Iran during the last two decades.
In terms of the interests of the people of Iran, Mohammad Khatami's rise to power has undoubtedly been a positive development. The struggle for Iran is still undecided and nothing will fundamentally change unless the Iranian people actively challenge the Iranian governing elite. Yet, at this point, genuine and conscientious foreign pressure could play a significant role in assisting the reformist movement in Iran. Even within the United States, voices favoring a more constructive foreign policy against Iran have gradually began to surface. One such voice has been the "Struggle for Iran" radio series, produced by the Stanley Foundation in cooperation with KQED San Francisco. The series, featured in this week's News Insider Focus, is the result of a genuine interest in exploring the complex issues that mark Iranian society, thus promoting further understanding, among Americans and Westerners at large, of Iranian reality.

The News Insider supports such projects and is proud to be part of a dialogue that challenges stereotypes and commonly held myths, while strengthening the call for a just and moral foreign policy by the United States and its political allies.

© The News Insider 2000

Copyright notice

The use of the editorials published on this site is free, as long as News Insider is notified and referred to as the source of the information cited. We believe in the free sharing of information, but we do not encourage plagiarism. If our editorials are of use to you, please contact us to let us know. Thank you for your cooperation.

© The News Insider