Iran has been one of the major failures of U.S. foreign policy since the Cold War. In 1953, a nationalist and proud leader, Mohammad Mosaddegh, who tried to nationalize Iran's petroleum, was overthrown through a coup d'état fomented by the CIA. The young Shah Pahlavi, son to a national hero, Reza Pahlavi was enthroned in the place of the elected popular leader. This blunt interference in Iranian politics did create a strong anti-American sentiment among the population, despite the very pro-American and very repressive regime put in place by the Shah.
In 1979, very much like in February 1917 in Russia, there has been a very large uprising against the regime. The Shah had to leave the country, without being able to use his elite troops, called the Javidan (immortals). Again very much like in Russia, once the regime was overthrown, there was a void to fill. Like Vladimir Lenin and the Bolshevik Party, that almost fomented a coup d'état within the revolution, the very conservative part of the Iranian clergy has taken over the power, after the revolution ousted the former regime. All the allied forces and personalities in the early times of the Iranian revolution, the Mujaheddin, the Toudeh, the first elected President Abol Hassan Bani Sadr, the first Foreign Affairs Minister Sadegh Ghotbzadeh had been dismantled or executed, if they did not flee the country to save their lives.
Everyone expected the new regime implemented by Ayatollah Khomeini, extremely and virulently anti-American, to get closer to the Soviet Union, as had already happened in Cuba. The move by the "Islamic students" to storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and imprison all the diplomatic staff was an open provocation to the U.S. The latter, under the Jimmy Carter administration, tried to put up a rescue operation using military means, but it failed badly with a helicopter being downed. This also looked like the failed Bay of Pigs invasion against the Cuban regime of Castro.
The surprise came afterward, while everyone expected Khomeini to get closer to the USSR, he took a very virulently anti-communist stance and called the Soviet Union "the Great Satan." It was a first in the bipolar world. The Iranian revolution had its back broken through the very violent and deadly war Khomeini waged against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Called today the Holy Defense, the war lasted eight years and caused the death of a million people. On top of it, Ayatollah Khomeini decided to pay back all the foreign debts Iran has accumulated, not only the interests but also the whole capital. His death left Iran penniless and bloodless. His inheritance was a very weak Iran, whose intelligentsia was out of the country, whose army was under-equipped, whose frontier with Iraq needed constant military surveillance, whose trouble in Afghanistan to support the Shia minority against the Taliban remained very costly.
How could Iran get out of this trouble? Through the George W. Bush administration neoconservative policies after 9/11. First Afghanistan was tamed by the U.S. Army, albeit shortly, freeing Iran from the front against the Taliban. Then came the Iraq war, rejected by every government with some common sense, but waged by the U.S. administration. There was Iran's real relief. Together with the bonanza in oil prices, the Iranian regime, which was in a dire situation, has seen an upturn that has been more than welcome.
In spite of the fact that there is not really a ruling political party, the Iranian regime is very solidly organised. The armed forces have been structured taking the model of the German Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS. There is the regular army and there is the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which was created not just to defend the Iranian state but the 1979 revolution itself. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) does not just control Iran's security apparatus; it controls much of the economy too. It remains the real alternative to the civilian power.
Now Iran, having been ostracized for decades, especially for carrying out "unlawful" research for nuclear energy, that could allow a development of nuclear arms technology, did see a way out through the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was the framework for normalization. Alas, this was too much for the Trump administration (if there is any), which decided to withdraw the U.S. from a conventional international agreement with no tangible reason.
Not only is Donald Trump's rebuff of Iran's agreement comparable to the storming of the U.S. Embassy by a cohort of militants back in 1979 in Tehran, but it also opened Pandora's box. Last week, and it has gone largely unnoticed, in an open letter to the president, the commander of an elite branch of the Iranian armed forces criticized the way the country's economic crisis was being managed. He called for what he termed "revolutionary action" to resolve it.
That shows clearly that the last steps taken by President Trump bear the deadly risk to push an entire region into civil war and further instability. Who will be lucid enough to say "no" to Trump this time, to prevent an umpteenth American false step in the region?
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.