There is no need to be scared of Iran and her inhabitants, the Persians. No really, behind the facade of black, black, and black wardrobe, Armani jeans (fake), designer sunglasses (also fake), and Rolex watches (definitely fake), lies a harmless, joyful, friendly, and peaceful soul.
So peaceful, that in 1951 the nation elected a leader in a clear and decisive democratic election. But unfortunately the US and British government deemed it a good idea to remove Mohammed Mossadeq from power in a coup d’etat that would reinstate Shah’s absolute despotic powers over all branches of government and society.
The Shah’s regime was ruthless and uncompromising. Dissent was crushed without mercy. Iran’s people didn’t take kindly to this tutelage. Nor did they appreciate the US government’s ongoing support for the Shah’s regime.
In 1979, the inevitable occurred. The political pendulum swang where it had to swing. Radical extremists, backed by the revolutionary spirit of the populace, and lead by the popular Ayatollah Khomeini, took power in a sweeping subversion. He promised change. And things did change, unfortunately not for the better.
Thanks to US foreign policies we are right now able to observe a buildup toward the same kinds of radical subversions in other middle eastern countries. Don’t ever let it be said that no one warned against the inevitable blowbacks of an ongoing US support of the Pakistani military and nation building efforts in Afghanistan.
Today Iran is surrounded by American bases and soldiers. It is hard to find a spot on the map in the region that is not under US control or at least watchful oversight.
Americans need to ask themselves some simple questions: If we were surrounded by Iranian military bases and soldiers, stationed in Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Cuba, and the Caribbean, what would we do? How would we feel if they just recently, in an unconstitutional undertaking and against the advice and will of all major players in the world, invaded one of these countries and continue to occupy it. What would we do if we knew that those who surround us possess thousands of nuclear warheads, ready to be deployed with the click of a button. How in particular would we feel about being surrounded by the only nation in world history that ever actually utilized nuclear weapons in order to completely annihilate two Japanese cities in 1945. How, especially, would we feel, if that nation was constantly sending threats our way, and calling us part of an “axis of evil”? How lightly would we take the bitter memory that this nation was instrumental in overthrowing our democratically elected Prime Minster in 1953?
Would we not be a little bit upset? How would we feel about not possessing nuclear weapons? Would we not feel like we have the right to own those as well?
Ultimately we all want peace. But it doesn’t work one way. Both sides need to come together.
It is Norouz, Persian New Year. But it can also be a new beginning, usher in a new era of peace and diplomacy, if only we want to. We have a new president who seems to be eager to get to this point. At least his language suggests this, his actions so far haven’t.
This Norouz, if you haven’t done so already, shake hands with a Persian. Maybe even give him a hug. He’ll appreciate it. Tell him “Eide shomah mobarak!”. He will be delighted.
Below President Obama’s Norouz message: