Demotix/Demotix sourced (some rights reserved)
The international community grapples once again with the imminent prospect of a “nuclear deal” between the U.S. (aka P5+1) and Iran before the extended deadline of November 24. Meanwhile, the neo-cons and fundamentalists from both sides have begun undermining possible breakthroughs. With the visionary brinkmanship of both sides, however, the lingering stalemate may still be resolved, ending the fraught sanctions, and opening up prosperous trade and diplomatic relations.
Despite common misconceptions by the public and deliberate media misinformation in western, especially US coverage, Iran has exceeded far beyond its international commitment as mandated by the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for its nuclear development program. Transparent 24/365 surveillance, complemented with unannounced frequent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have remained in effect for years. Some skeptics refute the need for nuclear technology in a fossil fuel rich country, but Iran insists on sustaining nuclear enrichment for its long haul energy and immediate medical applications needs and as a point of national pride. The IRI further asserts the religious decrees (fatwa) in place would prohibit its military use of nuclear technology.
Some inside and outside Iran attribute the IRI’s unwavering insistence on nuclear technology to the quest for security guarantees from the US-led west. This seems to have played a part during Operation Ajax, sponsored by the CIA, when they covertly overthrew a democratically elected lawyer Dr. Mohammad Mosadegh, reinstating absolute monarch Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne. Mosadegh had been able, single-handedly, to defend the sovereign rights of Iran for nationalizing its oil and gas reserves, which in turn, led to a domino effect of similar nationalizations reverberating in the Near East and the world.
In hindsight, the very survival of the regime has been at stake since the taking of hostages accompanied by the slogan, “Down with Great Satan or America”, the export of Islamic revolution ideology, especially oriented towards stirring the repressed Shiites of the Near East, and the launch of IRI’s clandestine nuclear program. Brutal international sanctions led by the US resulted in the formation of multi-layered “ghost” governments and black market linchpins, inflicting severe economic sufferings on ordinary Iranians. All this has in essence intensified political repression of the Iranian grassroots who with little progress have struggled for socio-religious and political reform, economic development, democracy and freedom, civil liberty and civil society, and peace under the rule of law, over the past 150 years.
Sanctions have become an existential threat to the IRI regime, who endured their impact through the promotion of patriotism, self-reliance, anti-American mantras, and the proliferation of black markets, especially since 2006. Prices for essential food and energy commodities have skyrocketed.
Unemployment and underemployment even among college graduates is up to 50% by some accounts. Drug addiction, among young people in particular, has doubled every five years since 1979. Repression of basic human rights is flagrantly pursued by government agencies resulting in thousands of tortured political prisoners of conscience, many exiled, and the execution of several hundred per annum which has earned Iran comparable ranking with China, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, and the US. Low quality imports flooding the black market have reduced and in some cases, eliminated domestic productivity. Another outcome of sanctions has been the mass exodus of the most educated and the wealthy.
Certainly, a small fraction of insiders closely aligned with IRI inner circles have become immensely affluent, driving luxury cars in Tehran and keeping billion dollar secret bank accounts abroad. Paradoxically, the more fundamentalist elements of the IRI, are now frightened with the prospect of diplomatic normalization and the loss of their grip on power. They fear that they will be overthrown military or covertly, the military or heavy presence of the US and allied forces in literally every country surrounding Iran giving credence to such apprehensions.
The Sunni majority/Shiite minority divide that has always persisted, has now been blown up disproportionally and exploited by the US and its so-called allies, especially the despotic sheikhs and self-proclaimed kings of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, and the UAE. Is it not ironic that the Taliban, Al Qaeda and now the so-called ISIS were conceived and financed by the US and their regional cronies? The region has now been infested by fundamentalist Sunni radicals whose reverse crusade-style wars make the governments of Syria or Iraq by contrast look like a rationalist mainstream.
Israel as a non-signatory to NPT convention and IAEA protocols, has acquired and developed up to several hundred transcontinental nuclear warheads, and yet has the brazen audacity to pump up its lobbying machinery in the US, orchestrating opposition to, and instigating war against any possible nuclear deal with Iran. It is baffling to note that despite their rhetoric, the puppet Arab regimes who claim to be the guardians of the Palestinians, walk along precisely the same path as Israel in opposing Iran.
Meanwhile, the anti-rapprochement lobbying picture in Iran is as gloomy as in the US. Fundamentalists in today’s IRI, like their hawkish brethren in the US, Israel, or Saudi Arabia, will resort to any means to circumvent any possible nuclear deal and mutual rapprochement. Acid attacks on innocent women bystanders in Isfahan and the increase in the number of arrests, tortures and executions, are desperate measures in for them, desperate times.