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Islamic Revolution: Four decades of Resistance against global arrogance

Iran-America relations were once famous. But as they turned sour over 40 years ago, the non-relations became as famous and has stuck till today. The turning point was Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979. But the western superpower, America, and the west Asian regional power, Iran, were never friends on an equal standing.

Iranians remember no less than 60 years of bi-lateral underlying enmity, beginning with US interference and bullying.

For Washington the loss of influence due to the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran was hard to swallow and caused a knee jerk reaction.

One effort to break away from allegiance to the US was revolutionary and signified by events on the same date, November 4th, in three separate instances, in 3 separate years. November the 4th, or Aban the 13th according to the Iranian calendar, is known as Student’s Day and is commemorated each year.

It takes a bigger bully to beat a bully, but if you’re not looking for an instant solution, even with far lesser means, defying a bully can yield results in the longer term, but not without great sacrifice.

Iran has suffered an 8-year war with Iraq and 40 years of sanctions for standing up to the US. But this country prides itself in having loosened the US’s foothold in West Asia with its resistance, looking at what it sees as America’s humiliating escape from Afghanistan and a partial exit from Iraq, as being a direct result of resistance by Iran.

The US seems to have lost its hold over the world stage where it has lost most of its standing in the eyes of the world.

America is no longer what it used to be. It’s on the decline. It’s losing the power it once used to dominate the region. Its occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, invasion of Libya, helping the coalitions in the war on Yemen, its support for Israel, all of which suggest the Americans are doing their utmost to save their influence and power in the region.

Now they’re forced to either flee or withdraw from the region. The Americans are basically trying to restrict China’s economic and hegemonic power than to think about the future of the Persian Gulf and their interests there [sic].

Hossein Kanani Moghadam, Analyst, Middle East Affairs

The triple events of November the 4th began in 1964, when Imam Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution of Iran was exiled to Turkey for accusing the King, Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi of affiliation with the US.

Years later in 1978, tens of Iranian school children were killed as they protested against the Shah for the same reason.

And finally, a year later, Students of university age fearing that the revolution would be thwarted by American interference, took over the US embassy in Tehran. Imam Khomeini eventually called the takeover “A second revolution”.

The Islamic Republic had a second important component, which was its anti-colonial nature. Of course, tyranny and colonization are co-dependent, meaning that one isn’t possible without the other and that if you want to restore a despotic regime, you have to return to colonization.

The fight against colonization was desirable in itself. One of the slogans of the Islamic Revolution was neither East nor West, but the Islamic Republic.

Abdollah Abdollahi, Journalist, Tasnim News Agency

There were some incidents that took place in the run-up to the US embassy takeover in Iran. There were no plans for the takeover at first. People were protesting America’s policies and there was a dormant hatred toward the US and its allies for what they had done.

The second issue was that the interim government at the time was making arrangements that would re-establish the US influence in Iran.

The interim government was taking measures it thought would help establish the new system and de-escalate tensions, especially considering the way of thinking that Religious-Nationalists mostly adhered to.

Hossein Kanani Moghadam, Analyst, Middle East Affairs

November 4 is commemorated each year as a day signifying the nation’s effort to stand up to the world order imposed by a superpower. Interestingly, former US president, Donald Trump, chose this day to re-impose sanctions on Iran in 2018, having just ditched its nuclear deal with Iran.

Washington’s fellow permanent UN Security Council members soon followed suit with sanctions of their own.

But where did the distrust begin and is America any more trustworthy now? Well US president Joe Biden may be an evolved human being, very unlike what his predecessor appeared to be. But he has also made some pretty self-contradictory moves.

The US and E3 that’s the UK France and Germany have urged or warned Iran to return to the Vienna talks to revive the JCPOA or nuclear deal, to avoid a dangerous escalation.

The US unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA and Europe did nothing to salvage it. Iran said it was considering resuming talks in late November. But the US hit Iran with fresh sanctions, just before the talks, on Friday the 29th!

What’s even funnier is that the talks don’t even directly involve the US as the former US President, Donald Trump, ditched the deal 3 years earlier.

Iran has always said that it’s ready to join a negotiating table that leads to the recognition of the rights of the Iranian people and to find a compromise with the other side that would end up benefiting the Iranian people.

The prognosis is positive, provided Iran takes appropriate action on the ground and sends a clear message to Washington that we are not the ones who are in a state of despair and that the Americans need this negotiation more than we do.

If such a thing happens and we create such equations, we can have a good agreement with the other side.

The recently sanctioned entities are basically two senior members of Iran’s Revolution Guard Corps and two affiliated companies. The companies were sanctioned for supplying engines and technical assistance to Iran’s drone programs.

Why are the US and the E3 obsessed with Iranian drones and missiles?

Around 2000, there was a change in US policy on Iran and its move to engage in a hybrid war with Tehran. The US is using all tools and options available to it to put maximum pressure on the Islamic Republic.

They believe that external pressure and internal strife is the only way to bring about change in Iran. That’s why they have resorted to options running the gamut from media war to cyber and military warfare, supporting terrorism and groups like Daesh and al-Qaeda and the siege of Iran, and the impositions of large-scale economic sanctions.

Hossein Kanani Moghadam, Analyst, Middle East Affairs

The US and probably under US pressure, its European allies, have been attempting to upgrade the JCPOA, to limit not just Iran’s nuclear programme, but also scrap its basic defenses the ballistic missile programme and its influence in its own region, West Asia.

This is while the US should have just stuck by the deal as it were; a deal that was a show of Iranian goodwill and willingness to limit its peaceful nuclear program.

Could the Vienna talks bring about bilateral trust, or perhaps even amicable or at least nonbelligerent, Iran-US relations?

The Islamic Republic of Iran took great strides to reach an understanding. It even ignored its demands in order to reach a win-win deal. But the Americans broke their pledges as the Europeans have acknowledged it.

Furthermore, the atmosphere of mutual confidence built at that time was damaged while it could extend to non-nuclear issues too. Therefore, the Islamic Republic had no other option than resistance.

Amirali Abolfath, US Affairs Analyst

Washington’s desperation for talks

The Americans would never come to the negotiating table if they didn’t have to. Unfortunately, one of the mistakes the previous Iranian government made was that it didn’t understand how desperate the Americans were to enter into talks.

They considered Washington’s move willingness to compromise and not a move made because of desperation.

This is something that John Kerry, William Burns, Hillary Clinton, and other former American officials said in their memoirs. The traces for that can also be seen in Mr. Obama’s memoirs.

They entered into negotiations with Iran only after they exhausted all other options.

Abdollah Abdollahi, Journalist, Tasnim News Agency

Iran had initially complied and continued to comply with the nuclear deal for some years, almost choking its nuclear facilities.

But now it has not only returned to the show, but is enriching uranium to much higher levels than ever before, that’s to 60% enrichment!

It’s a reversible warning measure however. But the west doesn’t seem to be appeasing this country, for that reversal.

In practice democrats and republicans only sound different. It’s no longer a secret that during the Iraq-Iran war the USA knew all about Iraq’s arsenal and which parts of Iran Saddam Hussein intended to strike with them.

At the same time, the US itself attacked Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf tens of times.

Any government that has taken office in the US, be it a Democratic or Republican, Clinton, Carter, Bush the Son or the Father, Trump or Biden, all have been hostile to Iran, either militarily, economically, or any other shape or form.

The threat to conduct a nuclear strike on Iran came when a Democrat was in charge: that was Mr. Obama. He publicly stated that he didn’t rule out a nuclear strike on Iran.

We faced the most severe sanctions both in terms of numbers and their nature during his administration.

Abdollah Abdollahi, Journalist, Tasnim News Agency

In recent years, Iran and the West seemed to be venturing onto a new age of relations; an age when the US-Iran standoff would break into a flow of trade between the two.

Thanks to Republican President Donald Trump, that didn’t happen, but interestingly enough, operational orders to boycott Iran began with Jimmy Carter, another democrat.

The democratic report card is full of such anti Iran sentiments.

After Jimmy Carter went back to his peanut farming, Bill Clinton imposed unprecedented sanctions on Iran to damage this country’s economy when he wasn’t occupied by Monica Lewinsky.

Barak Obama’s government, specifically his foreign secretary, Hilary Clinton, upped the ante by imposing painful sanctions on Iran to sever its lifeline, oil exports.

Mr Obama also strove to rally the world against Iran when his Vice President was Joe Biden, the US president of today.

In other words Trump reinstituted sanctions on Iran; sanctions that were enforced mostly by the former Democratic governments.

It would be both correct to say it would make no difference or would make a difference. You may ask why. It’s because of political psychology, policymaking, international relations. That would make people and parties different from one another.

A case in point is the difference between Obama and Bush Jr. So was the case with Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. Mitt Romney, Colin Powell or McCain would be totally different from Trump were they elected presidents.

However, they are the same regarding the Americans’ objective of containing Iran and causing the country to change its behavior.

Saeed Ajorlu, Editor in Chief, Mosallas Weekly

The blow Iran took due to oil sanctions, among other things, was final proof to Iranian politicians that they have to free this country of depending on ONE source of income, as well as on any other country.

Iran showed once during the Obama era that it can resist such limitations. And now US power appears to be diminishing and its main leverage to pressure other nations, the US dollar, is in danger.

It could be said that sanctions may have led to Iranian self-reliance and a budding of different talents, even turning Iran into a role model for other countries.

Sanctions can also be a blessing in disguise in that it helps you achieve self-sufficiency in some strategic issues, producing strategic power for you. To become a regional and global power, you need to achieve self-sufficiency in some areas.

The sanctions will put you on that path, forcing you to become independent in the production of basic and strategic goods, like fuel. The other important thing about sanctions is that if you can neutralize their effects effectively and promptly, the other side would have to comply with your demands and see you on par with a global power.

Abdollah Abdollahi, Journalist, Tasnim News Agency

The American people at large are themselves fed-up with US military and non-military meddling in regions far and wide. They’d rather have their precious tax money spent on public services IN the US. Iran’s notion of self-dependency and standing on its own feet, could serve as aspiration to other countries.

What exactly made Iranians suspect America even before the revolution?

Going back to the earlier days of the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the deposed Shah of Iran, a newly-modernized developing country like Iran would have to choose  sides between the Eastern and Western superpowers of the cold-war era. And while the Soviet Union merged nations into its ideological block, the US indirectly colonized them with the promise of sharing in economic prosperity.

But the share was far from equal as sensitive US technology didn’t come with a manual. If the Shah wanted to amend this, he didn’t get a chance as a considerable portion of the nation had lost patience.

Iranians began to doubt the honesty of US policy, beginning with what’s come to be known as the 1953 coup that toppled the democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq, who nationalized the Iranian oil industry.

Some other reasons are:

1. Iran’s adoption of the Capitulation Bill which persevered from (October 13, 1964 / November 4, 1964). It was shortlived since it was an intervention both the administration was largely reluctant about, and the people were infuriated by.

2. The US set out to cause the failure of the Islamic Revolution (which came to fruition on January 28, 1979) after it realized that Iran’s new revolutionary rulers would not, and could not, be bent into the ally it had hoped for.

3. The US incitement of separatism among ethnic groups (1979-1980), a ploy it had inherited from European powers of yore and their principle of Divide and Rule.

4. The US issuance of resolutions against Iran and sheltering the Shah or deposed king (1980) for cancer treatment.

5. The US embassy in Tehran, which appeared to be a center for espionage and conspiracy (during the 1960s and 1970s), which is what led to Embassy staffers being apprehended by students who had stormed the embassy.

They were set free 444 days later, on January 21, 1981, just hours after President Reagan delivered his inaugural address.

Students uncovered documents of espionage when they took over the embassy and this was their proof to the world of US interference in Iran as well as other countries.

During the discussions that took place, everybody agreed that the US was in command of all incidents inside Iran, that it was leading counter-revolutionary, insurgent, separatist, and opposition groups and interfered in regional affairs, and that it had to stop.

Based on the intelligence work done on the embassy, it was the base of espionage operations in, not only Iran, but all those carried out in the region.

Hossein Kanani Moghadam, Analyst, Middle East Affairs

US antagonism toward Iran

To name a few examples of US antagonism against the Iranian nation; there was once a coup, and then an attempted coup by the Americans.

Then came a devastating 8-year-long war on Iran, coupled with sanctions which were intensified as the war ended. Then came the US invasion of countries around Iran to surround the country. There were military exercises in 2002, dubbed the Millennium Challenge, aimed at invading Iran, which weren’t successful.

There have been acts of sabotage and widespread assassinations in Iran. The US backed the MKO, one of the most criminal groups in Iran’s history in the past 200-300 years.

We witnessed their excuses and opposition to Iran’s advancements, particularly in the nuclear, defense, and economic fields. We experienced all kinds of actions that a government can make against a nation.

The US has spared no effort in creating a deep feeling of hatred toward it among Iranians.

Abdollah Abdollahi, Journalist, Tasnim News Agency

Iran’s post-revolution history can be summed up very simply: It was an effort for freedom and independence. The idea was that these goals could be achieved by depending on republicanism and Islamism, in the face of an American effort to hold Iran back as a country at the service of the west.

Student’s Day symbolizes the opposition between these two forces.

The American anti Iran effort certainly doesn’t seem to be party-based; US foreign policy towards Iran is the same in essence whether US democrats or republicans are in office. Since US foreign policy makers have not yet realized Iran’s strategic significance in the region, they will not stop talking of reigning in Iran!

The US expected the notorious Maximum Pressure Campaign of sanctions would cause a rift between Iranians and their government. But what happened, with many Iranians, was that whatever rift may have existed, intensified US sanctions only helped to mend; at least until domestic mismanagement blew up in their faces. 

Because those sanctions were as harsh as an economic war on this country and, as has been shown time and again, wars only unite a nation from top to bottom.

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