SF Chronicle--Sean Penn in Iran
By MortazaviBlog on Aug 22, 2005
A very good Sun friend of mine just pointed me to a San Francisco Chronicle series on Sean Penn's visit to Iran during the last, 2005, presidential elections there.
I myself visited Iran (on vacation) a couple of weeks after those elections.
When my family and I arrived in early July, we could still see some of the election posters in far-flung places, including the Gheshm Island, near the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas.
From the remnants of the election posters, it appeared the presidential candidates had focused their campaign energies in different ways and places.
My friend at Sun wanted to know if I cared to comment or blog about Penn's reports.
I had actually read Penn's "short history of U.S.-Iran relations" last night (but not Penn's full report of "Day One," as it was not yet put up at 11 pm) and had written this little note to myself while the kids were asleep and my wife was preparing for the first day of her graduate school work, which starts today.
I think Penn's "short history of U.S.-Iran relationships" (see the "box" or end portion of his first in a series) has the right highlights in the sense that he captures the main starting point of tension between the Iranian people and the U.S. government (and in particular its military and intelligence services) up to the Iranian revolution.
The most significant thing about which I'm sure he knows but keeps silent is the great damage and harm the U.S. has worked hard to do to Iran after the Islamic Revolution.
If it was just the 1953 Coup, it would perhaps be a simpler matter, but when you add the rest, the trust in the U.S. intentions in Iran grows very, very thin----funding of terror groups (like Mujahedin Khalq) in Iran in the early 1980s and up to today, the encouragement given to Saddam's Iraq to invade Iran (when Iran had no standing army to speak of) in Sept. of 1980, supplies and war assistance given to Saddam (including chemical and biological weapons, war field information, actual military support by military presence in the Persian Gulf, threatening to Iran, culminating in the downing of Iranian civilian aircraft which killed more than 200 people, as a signal of U.S. interference to come if Iran continued its war against Saddam, whose tide was turning in Iran's favor as Iran had mustered internal expertise to fight off sanctions) . . . up to today, when the U.S. has adopted a generally combative posture against Iran, continues to freeze its assets, and insists on its policy of last 25 years to "contain" Iran at any cost, including the cost of supporting Saddam up to his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and of supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan in the early and mid 1990s because of their fierce anti-Iranian political and religious postures, the economic sanctions, the active (but mostly fruitless) prevention of Iran from attaining scientific and technological know-how, the active prevention of Iranian-world relationships in all forums, including not only international but also forums local to Iran, and the spread of pure mis-information about Iran.
I should add that none of this posturing or harm done to Iran has stopped it from progressing and gaining a very respectable following in the arena of world politics. What U.S. policy has done is to make the cost of that progress much higher. It has increased what economists call the transaction costs for Iran. It has helped to ensure (up to very recent times) that capital becomes unavailable in Iran. However, this problem has been fading in the last few years. Last but not least, the U.S. posture against Iran has clearly exposed the deep and obvious double standards on which the U.S. foreign policy is based. That policy has been maintained here by the constant barrage to make Iran appear as evil. The policy of animosity towards Iran has actually failed on a global scale but it is hard for those in Washington to admit to its costly failures (direct and indirect, past and present) and to adopt a new posture. Such admission is an admission to the end of the empire or at least a reconfiguration of its intentions. However, even without the admission, reality shows itself for all to see. Sean Penn is one of those who seem to be openning their eyes a little wider.
I wonder if I can blog this tomorrow . . .
Well, I just did . . .