“Perhaps we should get some perspective by imagining how we might react if the Iranians had occupied France and were patrolling the English channel,” runs a post on the UK Telegraph, responding to the capture of 15 British sailors by Iran.
Indeed. But I can think of one better.
Perhaps we’d get some perspective if we realized MI6 and the CIA plotted against the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. “If there had not been a military coup, there would not have been 25 years of the Shah’s brutal regime, there would not have been a revolution in 1979 and a government of clerics,” Ibrahim Yazdi, a former foreign minister and leading member of a political party that traces its origins to Mossadegh’s National Front, told the Christian Science Monitor on the 50th anniversary of the coup and installation of the Shah. “Now it seems that the Americans are pushing towards the same direction again. That shows they have not learned anything from history.”
“When Iranians rose up against the Shah with cries of ‘Death to the American Shah!,’ when their new regime emerged as bitterly anti-American, and when a group of them took American diplomats hostage in 1979, many Americans wondered how this could have happened in a country they had always considered friendly,” Stephen Kinzer, author of All the Shah’s Men, told the History News Network. “Once they understand what the United States did to Iran in 1953, they will understand why so many Iranians became angry at the United States.”
“For many Iranians, the coup was a tragedy from which their country has never recovered. Perhaps because Mossadegh represents a future denied, his memory has approached myth,” Dan De Luce writes for the Guardian. “Beyond Iran, America remains deeply resented for siding with authoritarian rule in the region.”
Of course, the average American, who likely would have a difficult time finding Iran on a map, is almost completely ignorant of these historical facts. He does not know that the Shah’s secret police, SAVAK, trained by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad, “became a law unto itself, having legal authority to arrest and detain suspected persons indefinitely” and “operated its own prisons in Tehran (the Komiteh and Evin facilities) and, many suspected, throughout the country as well. SAVAK’s torture methods included electric shock, whipping, beating, inserting broken glass and pouring boiling water into the rectum, tying weights to the testicles, and the extraction of teeth and nails,” according to the Federation of American Scientists.
Finally, Britain’s largest newspaper, in fact the highest circulation newspaper in the world, neocon Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, amidst banner ads of naked women showing off curvy derrieres, declares Leading Seaman Faye Turney “was forced on the orders of ranting president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to write a letter of apology to the Iranian people.”
Even if true, this is a shade better than being kidnapped in Afghanistan, Iraq, or on the streets of Milan, Italy, and “extraordinarily” rendered by the CIA and sent to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, or Uzbekistan to be tortured.
No doubt Ahmadinejad’s alleged rant is mild when compared to water boarding or the sort of severe trauma inflicted on prisoners at the Bagram torture facility (said to be comparable to being run over by a bus) or for that matter rape by way of chemical light at Abu Ghraib.