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Target Tehran

Rational policy planning should consist of a few basic principles. One would like to assume policy planners, like all rational people, make their decisions according to the possible outcomes of their actions. Secondly, states should apply the same standards to themselves that they apply to other states. We should all remember these principles when we judge the capturing of British personnel in disputed waters on Mar. 23. The background information leading up to this event is significant and as far as I’m aware, was not seriously reported in the U.S. press.

From 1951 till 1953, Iran had its first democratically elected President. American and British citizens should all be aware of this fact. We should also be aware of the fact that it was the U.S. and Britain that put an end to this experiment with a military coup, installing the Shah who terrorized the country until 1979. The U.S. has never accepted Iran’s defiance and has punished the nation ever since: supporting Saddam Hussein’s invasion, endless threats, several bombings, and covert operations. Then on Jan. 29, 2002 President Bush declared Iran a member of the ‘Axis of Evil.’ Since then, relations have soured to their worst in years.

Brian Ross and Christopher Isham, of ABC News, reported on Apr. 3, that ‘a Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for a series of deadly guerrilla raids inside Iran has been secretly encouraged and advised by American officials since 2005.’ The group ‘has taken responsibility for the deaths and kidnappings of more than a dozen Iranian soldiers and officials.’ Furthermore, ‘Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.’ The article concludes that ‘former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s,’ which lead to thousands of deaths.

On Dec. 24, 2006 the U.S. detained five Iranian officials in Baghdad. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, said ‘This action is not compatible with international law and it will have unpleasant consequences.’

Promptly after this affair, the U.S. took further action. To my knowledge it wasn’t reported in the American press. British journalist Patrick Cockburn, from the Independent, reported that American soldiers raided an Iranian office in the Kurdish capital, Arbil, and detained five other officials. Cockburn writes that ‘the US raid could have had even more significant consequences if the Americans had captured the Iranian official they were targeting’hellip; Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish President, Massoud Barzani, told The Independent that ‘they were after Mohammed Jafari, the deputy chairman of Iran’s National Security Council.” They had also attempted to capture ‘General Minojahar Frouzanda, the chief of intelligence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.’

Cockburn also states, which is fundamental if we accept the second principle, that ‘the attempt by the US to seize two senior Iranian security officers openly meeting with Iraqi leaders is somewhat as if Iran had tried to kidnap the heads of the CIA and MI6 while they were on an official visit to a country neighboring Iran such as Pakistan or Afghanistan.’ These are the direct affairs that led up to the capture of these British sailors. It appears that Iran wanted a prisoner swap and achieved its ends.

These actions on the part of all three of these states, Iran, the United States, and Britain,’ are extremely dangerous, reckless, and disgusting. Thousands of Americans and Iranians have been killed and wounded in the past 25 years due to the arrogance of their leaders. Both nations have been attempting to humiliate one another. However, when the dust clears and the smoke settles there may be countless other tragedies we can look forward to if these’ governments do not begin behaving rationally.

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