Iran is stability to counterbalance Israeli ocean of chaos

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl
The historic framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, reached after extensive talks in Lausanne, marks a triumph of sanity amid the insanity responsible for chaos and carnage across the Middle East.

This insanity is most clearly represented by Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, whose tireless efforts to drag the US into war with the Islamic Republic have exposed him as a reckless and dangerous extremist, a man with a Manichean worldview that has more in common with a biblical character from the Old Testament than the leader of an advanced economy in the 21st century.

Iran poses no threat to Israel’s existence. On the contrary, it is Israel that poses a threat to the existence of the Palestinian people, whose oppression at its hands stands as an indictment of the so-called international community and its self-proclaimed status as a champion of human rights and democratic values.

The view that Iran is a threat to Israel is a product of either crass ignorance or mendacity. What Iran does, and has opposed, is Israeli expansionism and militarism, which along with the sponsorship of extremism emanating from Riyadh constitutes the main source of instability in the region.

READ MORE: Explained: 10 short answers to 5 key points on Iran nuclear deal

The very idea that Israel is allowed to maintain an arsenal of undeclared and uninspected nuclear weapons, while Iran has suffered years of sanctions for daring to embark on a civilian nuclear program, merely illustrates the depth of the hypocrisy and double standards that informs the West’s policy towards the region.

Iran is not the demonic power with designs on Shia domination of the Muslim world, as commonly depicted in Riyadh. Nor is it bent on unleashing a genocidal war against Israel. It is a civilized nation of some 70 million people that is intent on developing its economy while refusing to be bullied by the West and its Saudi and Israeli allies.

There was a time when Iran was also a close ally of the West. Its former autocratic dictator, the Shah, was a Western puppet installed in power after the country’s democratically elected government, led by Mohammad Mossadegh, was toppled in a coup orchestrated by the US and Britain in 1953. Mossadegh’s crime in their eyes was his decision to nationalize Iran’s oil, which hitherto had been controlled by the British under the auspices of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), which became British Petroleum (BP) in 1954.

Smoke and sand are seen following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza August 25, 2014. (Reuters/Ahmed Zakot)

From 1908, when the oil started to flow, Britain ensured that the Iranian people did not benefit from the revenues it brought. Instead the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company – which started life as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company – shipped it back to the UK, where it was used to fuel Britain’s vast Royal Navy at a time when its ships were being converted from coal to oil, a far more efficient fuel source giving them longer reach.

Britain's Winston Churchill was moved to describe Iranian oil during this period as “a prize from fairyland beyond our wildest dreams."

It is important to factor in this historical context when looking at Iran’s later development and the sense of colonial entitlement that motivated the US and Britain to violate its sovereignty by removing Mossadegh from power in 1953, again for daring to assert Iran’s right to the ownership and control of its natural resources.

The Shah was a corrupt dictator of the type long supported by the West around the world. His reign was characterized by the brutality of his secret police, the Savak, renowned for its grisly and barbaric methods of torture. The US viewed the Shah as their man in the region, using him as a bulwark against Soviet influence and the spread of Arab nationalism, which had gained wide traction throughout the Arab world under Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, with Soviet support.

By the time of the 1979 revolution, which ushered in the Islamic Republic, the Iranian people’s experience of modernity was one of humiliation, indignity, and repression. It was little wonder they rejected values associated with the West and Western colonialism for Islam with its traditional values of social conservatism and religiosity.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a democracy, albeit one with an unelected clerical head of state in the shape of a Supreme Leader. This places it on a par with Britain, where an unelected monarch in the shape of Her Majesty the Queen is head of state.

 Mohammad Mossadegh (Image from Wikipedia)

Iran’s opposition to foreign domination today is evidence of the decades of colonial exploitation it endured in its past. Israel is viewed by Tehran as a tool of Western colonialism and Zionism as a racist ideology responsible for the immense suffering of the Palestinians. Both have driven Iranian support for Palestinian resistance to Israel’s occupation and siege of Gaza, as well as support for the Lebanese resistance, otherwise known as Hezbollah.

Moreover, as of now, it is the Iranians, in conjunction with Syria, doing the heavy lifting when it comes to confronting the so-called Islamic State. They have been responsible for retraining and re-organizing the Iraqi armed forces, which collapsed in the face of the eruption of IS across the Syrian border into northern Iraq in 2014. Without Iranian support, there is little doubt that the forces belonging to IS would have taken Baghdad by now, plunging the country into an abyss from which it would likely never have emerged.

When it comes to Iran’s development of nuclear energy, not one shred of evidence has thus far been produced by Western intelligence agencies or inspections conducted by the International Atomic Energy Agency over a number of years now that Tehran intends to develop a nuclear weapon. This is supported by Israel’s own intelligence agency, Mossad, whom it was revealed earlier this year disagreed with Netanyahu over his bellicose stance vis-à-vis Iran.

At a time when those renowned ‘sons of liberty’, the Saudis, are bombing and killing civilians in Yemen, using armaments supplied by the United States and Britain, and with Benjamin Netanyahu intent on conflict at any price, the time has come for the US and its allies to change course and regard Iran as an island of stability in a sea of instability and chaos. With this in mind, this historic framework agreement hopefully signals the beginning of a new era in the West’s relations with the Islamic Republic, based on respect, dignity, and the recognition of Iran's legitimate rights and interests.

This way lies a progressive future not only for the Iranian people, but also for the people of the entire region and, by extension, the world.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.