First a bit of history of the region for those who only watched “The 300” and Fox News and think they have a fully understanding of Iran.
Prior to 1935 the region we know of today as Iran was called Persia. This region is known for the oldest known civilizations in the world dating back over 10,000 years. From the 10th Century through the 7th Century BC the Persian tribes of the area coalesced into part of the Assyrian Empire. During the first half of the 5th Century BC the region was embroiled in the Greco-Persian Wars of which a small part is the basis of the fictional account portrayed in “The 300.” During this time, the predecessors of Iran actually controlled 44% of the entire World’s population, to include exiled Jews from Israel (something worth noting). At no time in history or since has one empire controlled so much of the world’s population.
Towards the end of the Greco-Persian wars, the Persians began to withdraw from Western territories in Europe. In 334 BC Alexander the Great invaded and conquered Persia and the people were under the control of Hellenistic Seleucid Empire in much the same way the Greeks controlled Egypt via the Ptolemy line, ending with Cleopatra. All from when the European Greeks controlled much of the known world to include present day Iran.
In the centuries that followed, the Romans took control following the Roman Parthian Wars. The region was never stable and eventually fell under the control of the Eastern Roman Empire known as the Byzantine Empire. Because the Europeans fighting in the region exhausted themselves over the following 700 years, invading Muslim Arabs took control of the region. In the 7th Century AD the Iranians converted to Islam. However after 200 years, semi-independent Iranian Kingdoms began to coalesce and the Arabic culture was replaced by a revived Persian culture creating a Persian bureaucracy for the region.
An “Islamic Golden Age” for the region began in the 10th and 11th Centuries. Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, science blossomed while Europe was deep in their “Dark Ages.” However in 1219 through 1221 the region was invaded by the Mongols, and three-fourths of the population in the Iranian Plateau were massacred. The population didn’t recover to pre Mongol size until the 20th Century.
From 1501 through 1979 several Iranian/Persian Dynasties came and went. Battles with the Ottomans, Russians and other cultures continued through the centuries leading to the recent history of the region which must be noted because it directly relates to what the views of the Iranian People are today towards the West.
Following years of British and Russian Empire Building, Iran’s first National Parliament was created in 1906. Their Constitution gave formal recognition to Iran’s three religious minorities; Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews. All three actually have recognition in the Iranian Constitution to this very day.
In 1911 the Russians invaded and occupied Northern Iran, During World War 1 the British invaded and occupied Iran until 1921. In 1921 Reza Kahn, Iranian Prime Minister became Shah and remained in power until 1941 when he had to abdicate due to the British returning and taking control of the region. In fact both the British and Soviets occupied Iran during this period.
Eventually in 1951 the Iranians elected Mohammed Mosaddegh as Prime Minister. He was extremely popular especially since he nationalized the Iranian Oil Fields to benefit of the people of Iran. Iran’s democratic government fell in 1953 when a joint Anglo-American covert operation overthrew Mosaddegh and installed a new Shah to take control of Iran and more importantly her oil fields to the benefit of Western Oil interests.
In the decades that followed, the Shah became more tyrannical and westernized. The Iranian people were subjected to totalitarian rule. Religious fundamentalists were imprisoned, killed or exiled to include Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who opposed the secular, westernized and brutal regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
The people of Iran under this regime grew to be more and more anti-western. In 1979 the Shah was forced to abdicate, the Ayatollah returned, the American Embassy was overran and Americans were held for 444 days. This started over 30 years no diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran.
During those years, the United States sold neighboring Iraq and their leader, this guy name Saddam Hussein chemical weapons that he used when he invaded Iran. That war didn’t go well for either nation and it did not go unnoticed that the United States backed Iraq to the Iranians.
Also, many ignore that while we backed Iraq, the Reagan administration were selling weapons to Iran. Go figure.
Then a real odd thing happened. We decided we didn’t like Hussein and we invaded Iraq. The result of that invasion totally destabilized the region resulting in a stronger Iran, followed by Iranian influence in Iraq and what we have today.
Essentially, we created the current Iranian regime by installing the brutal Shah regime and we strengthened the Iranian regime by taking out the only regional power who held them in check. This is our mess.
Now as to be expected when religious zealots are involved in government, there’s a lot of hatred to be expected and this is true for the Iranian Government. Even though they still recognize and protect in their constitution Christians and Jews, they have very anti-Israeli rhetoric from their leaders. So you can expect Israel to be suspicious and fearful of the Iranians.
Further, due to the history of the region going back especially to 1953 between Iran and the United States, you can expect Iran to be suspicious of the United States and since 1979 the United States to be suspicious of Iran. Despite the fact that Israel is already armed with a nuclear deterrent force, they fear Iranian nukes being developed.
By the way, it was the United States Government that began the Iranian Nuclear program prior to 1979 under the Nixon administration.
Now here are some brief facts leading up to the current development of the Iran Deal that as of this rant 52% on the American public are opposed to (most likely due to misleading rhetoric from the right).
- We have frozen Iranian assets since 1979.
- We have imposed economic sanctions against Iran since 1979.
- These sanctions were never sufficient enough to get Iran to the negotiating table because other major powers continued to deal with Iran during this time.
- Upon taking office and with the assistance of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama for the first time was able to get strict international sanctions imposed on Iran. Both Russia and China joined in on these sanctions.
- This got the Iranians to the negotiating table.
The Iranians do not trust us, we don’t trust them and the current deal recognizes and deals with that mistrust.
Removing of sanctions will not begin until the Iranians demonstrate they have begun to dismantle their nuclear bomb program.
If they are caught violating anything in the agreement, the international sanctions are immediately reinstated to include the sanctions from Russia and China.
Inspections are guaranteed and there is no easy or quick way to cover up nuclear research.
If we break the deal as our neocons, AIPAC and Likud demand, Russia and China will pull out and the international sanctions are weaken. We can’t sanction Iran alone.
This deal effectively stops them from getting a bomb for 10 years and during that time, maybe we can start dialoguing and create better agreements and understanding of our two nations.
If we instead go to war, the Iranians will get their bomb much faster and matters will be far worse than they are now.
Here is the text of the deal:
Despite mutual mistrust and bad history, the only way to resolve the matter short of war (which would prolong the problem at a cost that would dwarf the Iraq debacle) is to begin to take a leap of faith and work with each other with mutual respect and common goal of peace.
The only people who stand to gain from this deal not being pursued are those who profit from war, namely the very same people like Dick Cheney and Benjamin Netanyahu who got this nation into war with Iraq which made Iran stronger.
All we are saying is give peace a chance.
One final note to the people who are airing ads against the Iranian deal citing that Iran has violated over 20 international agreements. They aren’t the only ones:
List of Israeli Violations of UN Security Council Resolutions: