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There is No Legitimate Reason to Impose Sanctions on Iran

There is No Legitimate Reason to Impose Sanctions on Iran

Photo Source Blondinrikard Fröberg | CC BY 2.0

A friend in Tehran tells me that he marvels at the attitude of the United States ruling establishment towards Iran. ‘Why do they hate us so much’, he asks? It is a fair question. His country, he says, is not perfect, but it is certainly not a threat to the world. The current government – led by Hassan Rouhani (Iran’s seventh president since the 1979 Revolution) – is moderate in many ways, its foreign minister – Javad Zarif – a man of dignity. Certainly, my friend says, there are elements inside the higher reaches of government that are erratic. But, ‘don’t all countries have such people in power’, he says, the smile pointing towards India’s Narendra Modi and Donald Trump of the United States. Can any country these days, he eggs me on, say that it does not have its own version of Trump?

In 1953, the United States and its allies overthrew the democratically elected government in Iran. The reason why Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddegh bothered the West was that he began to nationalise the oil sector. Oil firms could not tolerate this. He had to go. The overthrow of Mosaddegh brought to power the repellent Shah of Iran, who then ruled Iran with an iron fist till the Revolution of 1979. Two years into the Shah’s reign, the United States and Iran signed a Treaty of Amity – a normal agreement signed between countries to promise fair treatment on a wide variety of matters. It is important to underscore that the US signed this treaty not with a democratic government – which it had overthrown – but with the autocratic regime of the Shah – which it had installed.

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