US resorting to allegations to steal Iran assets: Journalist
Press TV has conducted an interview with Tony Gosling, an investigative journalist from Bristol, about Tehran’s criticism of US seizure of frozen Iranian assets.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Iran is irate that it is having assets seized behind a bombing which the country had no due process to defend itself against the allegation of having involvement in it, your thoughts?
Gosling: Well, this is a bit tricky of the Americans, isn’t it, to freeze this money — two billion dollars, easy to say — but it’s a tremendous amount of money under the sanctions regime. And then as the sanctions are being relaxed, rather than hand the money back now it (the US) wants to steal it for itself. It’s just reluctant to go along with the agreements that it’s made under the sanctions about this money. The Iranian foreign minister has quite rightly called this “highway robbery.”
The bombing that the Americans want the compensation for is the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, which killed nearly 250 US soldiers and injured another 150 or so civilians. It was an enormous death toll but there is no evidence the Americans have put forward that this was the responsibility of Iran. It was part of what was the Lebanese civil war, which killed hundreds of thousands of people.
So, it sounds a terrible thing to say, but this was a drop in the ocean in that very long civil war but it hurt the Americans and it hurt them bad and they actually then withdrew almost all their soldiers from Lebanon and stopped interfering in that conflict and I think that still hurts. So, they have been deciding to use this as part of a propaganda campaign to demonize Iran, demonize Muslims, which they’ve been doing ever since the invasion of Afghanistan, the September 11th attacks. And it’s really, I think, just another way of propaganda, getting this into the news; but the thing is they are judge and jury on their own decision. Iran is absolutely right to take this to the International Court of Justice.
Press TV: And what kind of precedent is set here if the US can arbitrarily hold Iran responsible for this bombing and seize the country’s assets?
Gosling: Well, it’s a very bad precedent and it’s the same sort of thing that happened in fact in Libya. The Libya assets were seized before the invasion of the country, the takeover and the toppling of Gaddafi; and then a lot of that money suddenly started to disappear into American coffers. This is, as the foreign minister said, “highway robbery” right across the world for everyone to see.
The International Court of Justice is not quite the same as the International Criminal Court although they are both based in the Hague in the Netherlands. And both of these institutions have got a lot to live up to particularly with the accusations against Tony Blair this week here in Britain, the Chilcot report saying that effectively that there was no real excuse for him to go to war.
And the International Criminal Court has backed off from any kind of prosecution. So, one wonders where is justice in the world today and everyone will be looking to the Hague, to the International Court of Justice, to deliver some real justice — not just Americans making decisions about themselves and seizing cash like thieves. That’s effectively what they are right now and let’s hope this can be put to rights.