A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the conflicting opinions circulating throughout more progressive media outlets regarding the Iranian election results. While the mainstream media was predictably unanimous in its accusations of fraud, independent sources were asking deeper questions: what if Athmadinejad actually won? I cited the work of various investigative journalists, intellectuals, who claimed that the furore over the election and the use yet again of a colour to describe it was nothing more than a CIA remote controlled coup attempt. There is no doubt that this has been the strategy of the US National Endowment for Democracy organization for a number of years.
All this sounds a little far-fetched, I know. But then again far-fetched is what the US military-industrial complex does best. The destabilization of Iran has been official US policy for at least over two years. It was even reported in the London Telegraph May 2007. According to the Telegraph Bush had ‘given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran.” Even ABC news couldn’t keep the secret. According to reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito ‘he CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community’. This is still official US policy in spite of the amiable facade of Obamism.
Speaking on Pakistan’s Pashto Radio last week, former Pakistani army general Mirza Aslam Beig claimed that the CIA distributed over 400 million dollars throughout Iran before the elections to stir up unrest. It has also been widely reported that the pseudo-leftist Mujahedeen Al Khalq, a terrorist organisation now exiled in Paris and the Jundallah Sunni terrorist organisation operating the southern Iranian province of Baluchistan are CIA assets. Indeed CIA sponsored covert terrorism in Iran has been the source of significant tension between Pakistan and Iran, with the Iranian government often accusing the Pakistanis of not controlling their Sunni extremists. Given their history of black operations installing fascist dictatorships throughout Latin America and other continents since the 1950s it would be unreasonable to exclude the hidden hand of the American or indeed British secret services in Iran’s turmoil.
So in a sense Athmadinejad and Khatemei are right to blame the Anglo-American establishment for much of the post-election trouble. But this time the Iranian government has turned decidedly Anglophobic. They have blamed the BBC for disseminating lies and anti-Iranian propaganda. Here again there is an element of truth in this. Take the BBC website headline on June 17th for example ‘Obama refuses to meddle in Iran’. Fine, but what about the picture underneath the heading? They published a picture of an Athmadinejad’s supporters in Tehran while claiming it was a demonstration by his opponents! The fraud was exposed on the website ‘What really happened.com and the BBC later apologised for the ‘error’. It is not the first time that pictures have been manipulated by the Western media for propaganda purposes. When the US and Britain invaded Iraq in 2003, footage was released of a mob dancing around the fallen statue of Saddam Hussein. In reality there was only a few people present, but cleaver manipulation of the camera’s focal length created the impression that there were thousands of jubilant Iraqies present.
The confusion surrounding the Iranian elections is compounded when one considers the fact that socialist leaders like Hugo Chavez support Athmadinejad. To be sure, Venezuela’s president knows a thing or two about CIA dirty tricks; they created chaos in Venezuala for a brief period when Chavez was first elected, having their agents disguised as Chavistas fire on the crowd in order to blame the socialist leader. However, it is still hard to determine which side of the left/right political divide corresponds to Athamadinejad. Privatisation has been favoured by the Ayatollah Khatemei and is central to the five year economic development plan proposed in 2005. But many say that the ‘justice shares’ offered to the lowest income families from newly privatised companies are the key to Athmadinejad’s popularity. Having said that, a high percentage of both neo-liberal and hard left Iranian organisations remain vehemently opposed to Athmadinejad. The Tudah communist party, the Iranian Communist Party(Marxist-Leninist-Maoist )and the Worker Communist Party of Iran all lambast the Iranian leader in their websites. These Marxist parties are all based outside the country as they were forcibly exiled after the Islamic revolution.What is clear from all of this is that the demonstrations in Iran transcend the election issue. The people have risen up against the clerical oligarchy, not in an effort to open Iran up to the world but to open it up to Iranians.
Yet the problem for Iran is that it finds itself governed by a clerical oligarchy split between support for stronger alignment with Russia and China(Athmadinejad and Khamenei) and negociation with the US ( Mousavi and Rafsanjani). It is easy to see how the latter could be manipulated by Washington. Both Rafsanjani and Moussavi were key players in the secret Iran/contra deals during the 1980s. Secret deals with America turned Rafsanjani into Iran's wealthiest man. So, the problem for Iran is that there is conflict on three fundamental levels. Class conflict among the people; conflict regarding the country's geopolitical direction among the ruling class; and conflict between the imperial powers for a say in Iran's natural resources.