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Iran: A Path towards Rapprochement
The problem that the United States is facing with Iran is related to the problem that it had with Iraq and has in part with Afghanistan. One of the problems is the judgment of the administration that Iran is not doing enough to round up the supporters of Al Qaeda who exist within Iran, as was one of the complaints against Iraq. Some of these Al Qaeda supporters within Iran are believed by the United States to have caused the terrorist activities within Saudi Arabia. The other claim by the United States is that Iran is a Shiite Muslim country and they are the main source of support to the Shiite Muslims within Iraq opposing the United States. It has to be recognized here that even Iraq has a majority of Shiite Muslims, but they had been dominated by the Sunnis for quite some time under Saddam Hussein. Another accusation by United States against Iran is that they have an active nuclear activities program. (1)
The reply from Iran has been that United States is being dogmatic in its approach to Iran as also very arrogant. These characteristics of United States are being used for influencing religion and also leading to the use of force, domination of other countries and taking unilateral decisions by the United States. This stopped the practice of freedom and democracy according to Iran. To counter the problem that United States is facing in Iran, there was a plan to support the Iranian opposition group called the People's Mujahedeen or the Mujahedeen-e-Kalq. This group is presently among the foreign terrorist organizations now listed in the United States. They are to be supported for overthrowing the present Iranian government. (2)
At the time of criticizing Iran and its flagrant violations of International laws and standards of behavior, it would be useful to remember that U.S. also does the same. One of such incidents was the case of Terry Anderson, who was an American journalist held hostage in Beirut between 1985 and 1991. This is as per a law that the American Congress passed to permit the victims of terrorism to sue the country that sponsored terrorism. (3) This is against international law which says that one country cannot tell another country what it should do. Thus an U.S. law now violates an old established international law. Even in Japan, there cannot be any national laws that dominate over international law. Thus the law compels U.S. courts to award Anderson money if he can prove that Iran had any role in the kidnapping. It is known that he was kidnapped by Hezbollah and that is a terrorist group in Lebanon, but financed by Iran. (4)
The release of Anderson came after Iran asked for his release. Some of the other people in the same case of kidnapping have already won a total of $315 million. It is obvious that Iran won't pay and the only way of collecting the money will be to seize Iranian assets in U.S.. A further law was also passed to ask the State and Treasury departments to help such victims to locate such assets of foreign countries in 1998. (5) The only person who can stop this charade is the President. In the case of the awarded $315 million, President Clinton had done it. He had also asked the government lawyers to advise the court to make it clear that this will not be paid even if the victims can find out any such asset. The problem is that if one government starts seizing the assets of another, it will start an unending round. That is the purpose of the international law. (6) This shows that the United States also has its own bunch of ignorant mullahs.
Every region of the world has its own superpowers and leaders, and in the Persian gulf United States has always viewed two countries as significant regional powers in the form of Iraq and Iran. It has felt that the interests of these two countries often differ from the view of the world that U.S. has, and to be able to control these countries, the policy used has been dual containment. The theory of dual containment is to stop invasions by Iraq, as it did during its invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Naturally, the world's only superpower also would not like additions to the members of the nuclear club, or even development of biological and chemical weapons. For Iran this had meant the stoppage of its expansion into the Gulf as also its efforts at destabilization of the pro-American powers in that area. (7)
The process of dual containment has been executed by organizing local alliances, the keeping of a large direct military force in that area and the different economic restrictions that had been imposed against these countries. There are good reasons for having been worried about the military might of these countries. In 1989 July, the then President of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani had concluded a deal with the Soviet Union and bought 48 MiG-29 fighters and 100 T-72 tanks.(8) The total purchase was some $1.9 billion. For their own protection they also made a plan to spend $2 billion every year on the purchase of arms. They had then prepared a plan to buy a total of some 300 modern aircraft consisting of MiG-29 and 31s and Su-24s.
The army was to get between 5,000 and 6,000 tanks as also some 2,000 artillery pieces. In addition to the tanks, there were to be a few thousand armored personnel carriers as also three Russian made Kilo-class submarines for the navy. The navy was also to get fast patrol boats with missiles of the type of Phillips 1994. Apart from the Al-Qaeda, Iran has its own terrorist group called the Hezbollah who exist in Lebanon. Iran is viewed as a danger as it has always followed a hegemonic policy in the gulf and is now following adversarial policies towards United States. It is viewed as a serious threat to United States in the region. (9)
Another problem that America has faced is the inconsistencies in its action plans against terrorism. One such case was the attack on the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. During the trials in 2003, it was discovered that the U.S. government of that time knew who had carried out the attacks, yet no action was taken against the people who committed the crime. The worst part of the issue is that U.S. had also received intelligence regarding the planning of the attack and done nothing about it. There was a message to the ambassador of Iran and it asked him to contact the terrorist group leader, Hussein Musawi of Amal and instruct him to take some spectacular action against the Marines. This then resulted in the terrorists driving a truck packed up with 20,000 pounds of TNT and blowing it up within the Marine barracks just outside the airport of Beirut. (10)
The message from Tehran had come about four weeks earlier, and the CIA staff in Damascus had received the copy of the message as soon as it was intercepted. This was then transmitted to the CIA headquarters in Langley. They just sat on it and replied that they were not interested in any information about the Marines. It is said that Osama bin Laden has felt that the Marine bombing and the lack of reply from the U.S. As the biggest encouragement for the jehadi movement. This led them to believe that they could attack the U.S. when they liked. It is only now, after the 11th of September that America is attacking the terrorists in their area. (11) Yet, a distinction has to be made between terrorists and countries.
The biggest question that may be asked is that the Persian Gulf is quite far away from the United States, then why should we pay so much attention to that area? As of now there are a few deaths taking place every week among American soldiers who are posted in Iraq. The basic reason is the presence of oil and two thirds of the world's known reserves of oil are located in the gulf. If theses oil fields were to come under the control of some other power, then the situation of the United States would become difficult. America has a certain amount of oil and may control its own situation with difficulty, but the situation in Japan and Western Europe would be even worse. This is now being threatened by the Islamic revolution and the strength of these countries. To stop the revolution, America has to control the situation in the countries that are under the rule of the friends of America - it has to ensure political and economic reform in countries like Kuwait. (12)
This would remove the conditions of poverty and marginalization that is taking place in these countries. The other problem of this area is the conflict between the…[continue]
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