Hands Off Iran


An Iranian diplomat has been abducted in the jungle that has become Iraq. The abduction of Jalal Sharafi, the embassy’s Second Secretary is likely to increase tension between Iran and the United States of America, which occupies Iraq. This week however, the case took a new twist with Iran saying it believed its diplomat was arrested and not abducted. The US has denied having a hand the disappearance of the diplomat. Recently, Washington vowed to kill or capture what it termed Iranian agents operating in Iraq once found after accusing Teheran of fomenting trouble in its occupied territory. Last month, the US raided an Iranian office in Iraq and arrested four Iranian officials claiming they were members of the Revolutionary Guard, Iran’s Special Forces. The arrests were carried out without the authority and knowledge of the Iraqi government that has in the meantime distanced itself from this action. The unilateral decision to arrest the four Iranians inside Iraq says a lot about that country’s sovereignty and occupation despite the symbolic appearance of self-rule by Nouri al Maliki’s government. It is clear that it is George W. Bush and not al Maliki who is calling the shots in Iraq. The US has also dispatched a second warship to the Gulf. Washington has upped its rhetoric against Iran. There have been warnings, one after another, directed at Iran from senior American officials including President Bush, accusing it of fanning the sectarian violence in Iraq by providing training, arms and logistics to those who are fighting US occupation forces in that country. The problem between Washington and Teheran dates back to the years of the fall of the Shah’s regime in 1979 and the rise of Ayatollah Al Khamenei. In the 1980s, the US worked hand in glove with Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s former ruler, to fight Iran. The Americans are still sheltering and funding Iranian dissidents that are fighting their government. The latest bone of contention however is Iran’s nuclear programme and the escalation of the war in Iraq, which Washington blames on Iran. While Washington has professed to be committed to a diplomatic solution between itself and its protagonist, indications are that everything is being done to prepare for a conflict, perhaps a military confrontation, and this is worrisome. Questions are being asked even by some of America’s leaders in the Congress on whether their country is preparing for war with Iran. Although there have been denials from the Bush White House about the intention to wage war against Iran, such answers are suspect given the administration’s track record of peddling falsehoods in order to cover up its true intentions as has happened in Iraq. The world must speak with one voice against Bush’s real intentions in Iran. Bush’s war in Iraq is a disaster and a shame. A war with Iran would be even worse. The issue of Iran’s nuclear programme is a matter for the international community. It should never be turned into an America vs Iran issue. The US does not represent the world. It is only a part of the world and should therefore stop speaking on behalf of the world. Each time Bush speaks on this issue, he is fond of saying the international community will never allow Iran to possess nuclear weapons as if he is the spokesman of the international community. He must stop behaving like one because he is not. The Secretary General of the United Nations is. Another war, whether in Iran or elsewhere, will have profound repercussions on international peace and security. In this world of high tech and greater sophistication, no nation is too small or weak to fight especially if it is pushed to the brink. Iraq is a case in point. The world’s only superpower has just discovered that, never mind the excuse that Iran and Syria are the ones allowing insurgents to come into Iraq. The point is that the US asked for war in Iraq. It got it. Rather than look through the window for the ghosts of Iran and Syria, Washington has to look for the enemy within. The Iraqi people can no longer brook occupation. They want their country back and America must just accept that instead of delving in hollow promises of spreading democracy. The US cannot spread democracy in Iraq while giving guns and money to Israel to thwart freedom and democracy in Palestine.