Recent media reports about Ahmadinejad has run slightly afoul of the clerics in that country's Council of Guardians. Most specifically, the Imam Khamenei has publicly criticized the president's statements about Iran's nuclear program and his government's failure to stop inflation in . Khamenei, for those who don't know, is the Supreme Leader of , which means that, he reviews every political decision made by the Iranian legislature and the president according to the Koran and its interpretations. He has issued a fatwa that states the production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons was forbidden under Islam. He has also supported the economic subsidies of basic goods and shelter and free medical care for all Iranians -- two programs currently existing in This support stems from the Koran's teaching that those who can afford it must pay zakat to help the poor, although the institutionalization of it through could be considered part of the Islamic government's successful attempts to remove leftists and their thought from the revolutionary regime by renaming their programs and then killing the left. suggest that President
Like those that exist in
any country, there are those in Iran's ruling elites who would like to
see all subsidies ended, with
If the government is so
bad, one might ask, then what's wrong with the US trying to overthrow
it? Besides the obvious -- that preemptive war is both illegal and
immoral, there is the example of
A recent tactic fromas it seeks to motivate the people of the US for another war in the is its claim that is arming the various insurgent groups fighting US troops in . The people pushing this story (specifically Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno) have even gone so far as to tell the press that the US military has traced the serial numbers found on some captured weapons back to . Now, even if this were true, there is more than one possible explanation for these serial numbers. The one that springs first to mind is that SCIRI, an Iraqi party supported by the since before the invasion with a militia known as the Badr Brigades that was trained in , has many of these such weapons. Consequently, it is quite possible that the weaponry supposedly captured by US troops and traced back to was stolen from the Badr Brigades. Other possible explanations could be that the rumored weapons don't even exist, were bought on the black market, or were planted by anti-Iranian forces in or US intelligence. In short, this claim rings as hollow as the yellow cake uranium claims made by the as it lied the US into war with . On the other hand, if it is true to some degree, that wouldn't be unusual. After all, even the US insurgency against the British was funded by the French.
As I write, indications are that there are US Special Forces engaged in operations in . Rumors name the province of Khuzestan as the locale for these operations. They are probably being helped by various exiles who are either current or former members of organizations that believe the ends justify the means and are therefore willing to help the enemy in to overthrow the mullahs. A similar scenario existed when the US overthrew the popular Iranian leader Mossadegh in 1953. Various clerics waffled between support of the US coup and the popular government. According to the coup's architect Kermit Roosevelt, it was the loss of support of Khomeini's mentor, the cleric Ayatollah Kashani, that created the necessary power shift to allow the US coup to go forward. Some accounts state that the ayatollah withdrew his support from Mossadegh because of his fear that Mossadegh was a communist (a fear stirred up by CIA personnel) and others allow that a substantial amount of CIA money was provided to the cleric's accounts for the poor and other social services. Either way, it was US manipulation that precipitated the shift. Another interesting aspect of the 1953 coup was that the US had special forces operatives operating in southern (Khuzestan) at least a year before the actual coup.
It is curious thatwould want to ramp up the rhetoric against now, when US forces are tired and thin. The only reason that makes sense is that the Cheney-Bush plan to remake the before they leave office is still in place, and any war on must begin soon. Since Washington's attempts to scare the world into sanctioning and attacking over its nuclear program seems to be going nowhere, then the news stories concerning Iran's involvement in and the arrests of Iranian officials may very well be an alternative attempt to convince Congress that war on is necessary. One thing is clear: Washington is not interested in a democratic After all, if it were, it would not have made the deals it did with the clerics back in the 1980s and neither would it have supported in the --Iraq war, since the effect of both of these efforts was the consolidation of the clerical dictatorship's power. Any US attack on would probably consolidate that power even more or install a US client regime in , with neither result being very positive for the aspirations of the Iranian people, who have yet to see the democratic hopes of their revolution fulfilled.
Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground (Verso 1997). His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, should be out in early 2007.
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