Iran: an inside view

Questioning the U.S. narrative

The author, a Cohasset resident, is a retired Chico State political science professor.

With Hillary Clinton’s campaign claim that Iran is the destabilizing force in the Middle East (unchallenged by any presidential candidate) in mind, I recently accepted an invitation to speak at Tehran University’s Islamic Human Rights Conference.

Contrary to nearly 40 years of U.S.-Israeli demonization of Iran as a monolithic society ruled by religious zealots, underneath the expected patriarchy I found a culturally complex, politically diverse, tradition-based yet modern country with intellectually interested citizens wanting friendship with the U.S. and its people.

As a hybrid theocracy/democracy, the country’s political economy doesn’t fit the preferred U.S. capitalist/liberal democratic model. But neither do secular dictatorships and pure theocracies, such as Saudi Arabia, that the U.S. uncritically embraces.

U.S. criticism of Iran’s “human rights violations” bewilders Iranians. Memories of U.S. support for Shah Reza Pahlavi’s dictatorship remain vivid. Some victims of his torture machine hold powerful political positions, as others, severely damaged physically and psychologically, suffer through life.

Iranians know pro-Israel/Wahabi Saudi politics drive the U.S. War on Terror (14,000-18,000 Iraq/Syria civilian casualties,, August 2014- July 2017) that is devastating the Middle East. Yet, they fight ISIS, allegedly the U.S.’s major enemy, in Iraq and Syria. Complying with the Joint Plan of Action, Iran poured concrete into its Arak nuclear reactor. Yet, Congress refuses to lift economic sanctions and more are coming.

Iranians fear that unless they unilaterally surrender their sovereignty, they are next in line for U.S. “shock and awe” terrorism. A U.S.-Israel imposed “regime change” means the Shah’s family (his son and wife await in Paris) will return to torture and plunder, and the U.S. principal of human rights, based on the ownership of property (the more you own, the more rights you have), will again prevail.

As a sovereign nation, Iran has every right to resist this U.S.-Israeli imperialist scenario. While self-preservation is the major concern, Iran is also fighting to prevent the neo-conservative disaster from spreading, possibly to Israel and the U.S. I came home from Iran even more determined to help. I encourage you to do the same.