False Sorrow for the People of Iran

In the days before Iran’s presidential elections on June 12, the War Party and the Israel lobby began worrying about the possibility of the victory of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the main reformist candidate. They worried that his victory would take away the main propaganda weapon against Iran, namely, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his incendiary, inaccurate, but inconsequential rhetoric about the Holocaust and Israel. They considered Ahmadinejad to be “Israel’s greatest gift,” and they wanted him to win reelection.

Mousavi said Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric against Israel and the West and the inflexibility in his nuclear policy had hurt Iran’s national interests and security. He promised that, if elected, he would pursue a sober and flexible foreign policy that would preserve Iran’s vital interests but also enable it to reach an accommodation with the West. Mousavi’s promises were not what the War Party and the Israel lobby wanted to hear, since for years their goal has been convincing the public that there is no solution to the confrontation with Iran but a military one.

Although they were fully aware that Iran’s president, while influential, is not the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to foreign policy, the War Party and the Israel lobby had transformed Ahmadinejad into the most powerful man on earth, a mad man who, if he got his hands on a nuclear weapon, would not hesitate to use it against Israel. Thus, they prayed that the U.S. would attack Iran, even though there is no evidence that Iran is interested in making nuclear weapons.

They are, of course, the same people who, before Ahmadinejad was elected in 2005, always mocked Iran’s presidents for being powerless. On the eve of Iran’s presidential election of 2005, George W. Bush declared that in Iran power is held by “an unelected few.” But after Ahmadinejad was elected, he was suddenly as powerful as Adolf Hitler.

So the possibility of Iran’s president being a rational, moderate man determined to make détente with the United States frightened the War Party and the Israel lobby. Thus, a week before the elections, Iran’s president was demoted to a powerless man again! The neoconservatives, the War Party, and the Israel lobby all began emphasizing how it does not matter who Iran’s president is, since all the important decisions regarding foreign policy are made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. For example, writing in the New York Times, Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser to George W. Bush, declared that “the power of a putative reformist [Iranian president] is illusory.”

Alas! Ahmadinejad was declared the “victor” and will apparently be Iran’s president for four more years, even though a great majority of Iranian people living in Iran and in the Diaspora (including the author) consider his second term illegitimate, or at the very least suspect. So what did the War Party and the Israel lobby do? Make a 180-degree turn in less than a week and declare once again that Ahmadinejad is the most dangerous man on earth, bent on destroying Israel and the U.S.? Obviously not; that would be too ridiculous, even for this crowd. Instead, they decided to do the next best thing, namely, shed crocodile tears for the Iranian people and use those tears to prepare the public for a future war.

To be sure, the violent crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations of the Iranian people, which has resulted in the murder of at least two dozen, must be condemned. No one should be indifferent to the cold-blooded murder of Neda Agha-Soltan, the beautiful 27-year-old woman, and others like her. Let there also be no doubt that the arrest of many reformist leaders, journalists, human rights advocates, university students, and other demonstrators, as well as the harsh censorship imposed on the press, should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Just as all peace-loving people condemn the carnage committed by Israel against the Palestinians, by George W. Bush and his cabal against Iraqis, and by Russia against the Chechens, they also condemn what is happening in Iran.

But for the condemnations to have any credibility, the condemners themselves must have credibility. At the international level, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights, the International Federation of Human Rights, Reporters Without Borders, and the United Nations Human Rights Council have consistent and credible track records of defending human rights and can credibly condemn what is happening in Iran. The good people of Iran do not, however, need the crocodile tears of the War Party and the neocons.

Sen. John McCain, the man who said “bomb, bomb, bomb” Iran, the man who has consistently supported the illegal invasion of Iraq and the escalation of the Afghan war by the Obama administration – which have resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people – need not shed crocodile tears for Iran. The decent people of Iran do not need, nor have they asked for, his support.

William Kristol, the man who was a major force behind the invasion of Iraq and who did his utmost best to provoke George W. Bush to attack Iran, also sheds crocodile tears for the Iranian people, criticizing President Obama for being “resolutely irresolute” about condemning the violent crackdown in Iran.

He likens Mir Hossein Mousavi, a pious man with an impeccable record, to Boris Yeltsin, the corrupt drunkard who sold out Russia to the Mafia-like Russian oligarchy, which only goes to show how much the “little Lenin” of the neocons knows about Iran and Iranians.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the turncoat who supported the invasion of Iraq, who did his best to start a war with Iran, and who has been the sponsor of so many Senate resolutions against Iran, “greatly admire[s]" the "courage" and "principle" of the Iranians.

I suppose the imbecile fantasizes that if the democratic movement succeeds, Iran will become a U.S. client state again, and he won’t have to push for bombing Iran for Israel’s sake.

Danielle Pletka, a longtime hard-liner on Iran at the American Enterprise Institute, the same institution that provided the “theoretical foundation” for the invasion of Iraq and was home to such Iran “experts” as Michael Ledeen and Reuel Marc Gerecht, who did their best to start a war with Iran, also sheds crocodile tears for the Iranian people, who, she says, will suffer “the consolidation of power by a ruthless regime.” According to Pletka, “Iran [under Ahmadinejad’s second term] neither needs nor wants accommodation with the West,” meaning diplomacy should not be pursued.

Richard Perle, the Prince of Darkness, the “brain” behind the invasion of Iraq, and the man who has been trying to pick Iran’s future leader by finding an Iranian Ahmed Chalabi, blames President Obama for what has been happening in Iran, because “when you unclench your fist it benefits the hard-liners, because Obama appeared to be saying we can do business with you even with your present policies.” One can only conclude that his crocodile tears are only for justifying a future war with Iran.

Yes, the Iranian people do need moral support. But they do not need the ersatz support of the warmongers who for years have done all they can to start a war with their country. In a message to the Iranians in the Diaspora, Mousavi said, “I am fully aware that your justified demands have nothing to do with groups who do not believe in the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran’s system. It is up to you to distance yourself from them, and do not allow them to misuse the current situation.”

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Author: Muhammad Sahimi

Muhammad Sahimi, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and the NIOC Chair in Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California, is co-founder and editor of the website, Iran News & Middle East Reports.