Stephen Zunes, Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco, writes:
It was the United States, through its Central Intelligence Agency, that overthrew Iran’s last democratic government, ousting Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. As his replacement, the U.S. brought in from exile the tyrannical Shah, who embarked upon a 26-year reign of terror. The United States armed and trained his brutal secret police – known as the SAVAK – which jailed, tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Iranians struggling for their freedom.
The Islamic revolution was a direct consequence of this U.S.-backed repression since the Shah successfully destroyed much of the democratic opposition. In addition, the repressive theocratic rulers that gained power following the Islamic Revolution that ousted the Shah were clandestinely given military support by the U.S. government during the height of their repression during the 1980s. As a result, there is serious question regarding the United States’ support for the freedom of the Iranian people.
I have two observations to make about this:
- There is no mention of the support given to Ayatollah Khomenei by the French government before 1979. No doubt French politicians including Valéry Giscard D’Estaing and Jacques Chirac had no thoughts whatsoever of obtaining oil concessions once the hated US puppet was ousted.
- To the extent that what Chair Zunes writes is at all plausible, outside the USA, the last sentence is undoubtedly true. However, I suspect that there really is a change of view in the US administration, to the effect that simply finding more efficient despots won’t do. If this is the case, I believe that saying so publicly and repeatedly, will be somewhat disarming.