Islamic Republic and the ‘winds of change’

History teaches us that every colonial power has made desperate attempts to pre-empt the rising powers challenging its direct or indirect colonialism. Britain and France had to let its colonies in Africa, Middle East and Asia to shore their national integrities. USSR did the same after defeated by Afghan Mujahideen in the 1980s by releasing its colonial grip over most of East European countries. America’s fear of the Islamic Republic is that the later is leading Turkey, Venezuela and Brazil to stand up against the US and Israeli colonialism in South America and the Middle East.

Former U.S. Ambassador Chas Freeman has noted that the rising influence and independence of the nondeferential powers has inserted dysfunctionality into US policymaking. It seems that coping with the “winds of change” is set to be even harder for the United States than it was for Britain or France or Russia. The leaders of those colonial powers at least understood that earlier war entailed such change.

It’s very difficult for the US leaders to learn from the past history – as they still live in the ‘fantasy’ of being the ‘liberator’ of Europe and the ‘leader’ of the so-called ‘free world’. It’s more difficult because the US leadership is controlled by a foreign country (Israel) which has its own axe to grind, especially, against the Muslim world.

The way Washington used forged Israeli documents to blackmail UNSC members to pass the fourth round of sanctions against Islamic Republic. This was followed by both Congress and Senate’s overwhelmingly tough additional sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic’s powerful and self-funded Revolutionary Guards and country’s import of gasoline and the refined energy products. These futile efforts to please their Jewish masters in Tel Aviv are laughable – because such childish threats are not going to stop Tehran to become self-sufficient in energy sector but also hinder the efforts by Turkey and Brazil to find a peaceful and honorable solution to the US-Israel-Iran conflict.

Alastair Crooke in an article, titled Iran and the end of Deference, wrote:

The single-minded furor to impose these sanctions does however say something. It speaks to us about something other than Iran. In many ways, the rush to sanctions (hurried forward to torpedo the Turkish and Brazilian initiative) speaks to us about rising American fears, about the fraying “international order,” about the evaporation of deference toward American leadership, and the concern about the rise of “the new powers.”

The “winds of change” have returned. “New” powers are not now emerging to independence, but to a new confidence and self-esteem. They have their own opinions now. What the U.N. and congressional Iran sanctions votes tell us is just how difficult it is going to be for the United States to come to terms with this new multipolar world. The bringing forward of sanctions were intended to “stiff” two of these new powers – Brazil and Turkey. As one Washington insider put it, they had gotten under the wheels of the great powers: They needed to be kept “in their lane.”

Having recently returned from Iran, I am acutely aware both of this sense of an international order that is dangerously dysfunctional and of the imminence of an irresistible change unfolding before us. Iran, Turkey, and Brazil are part of this change.

One aspect of this dysfunctionality is the persistent Western misreading of what is happening in Iran. Almost all events seem to be not only misread, but their meaning inverted. To travel from Iran to Europe at this time is akin to passing through Lewis Carroll’s “looking glass.” Everything that I had observed, and was told in Iran, is not at all what it appears, according to Europeans. At the European Hatter’s tea party of Guardian newspaper multiday supplements, lauding the achievements of the “Green Revolution,” everything that was clear in Iran turns out to mean quite the opposite in Europe and America.

“Well, the supreme leader has lost his legitimacy, and the crowds are jeering Imam Khomeini’s grandson at Friday prayers,” one senior European figure told me. Another asked, “What now remains of Iranian foreign policy, now that the U.S. has “achieved the upper hand’ through its success in imposing sanctions?”

In Iran, away from Alice’s tea party and in contrast to the wilful analysis of Europeans and Americans, there is a powerful sense of normality in its everyday life. Away from the “green”supplements in Europe eulogizing the opposition, it is clear to me that there has been a major popular adverse reaction against the opposition. It is clear that the supreme leader (Ayatollah Khamenei) was the focus of support at the huge Friday prayers gathering; and whereas some at Friday prayers were chanting “death to Mousavi” at Imam Khomeini’s grandson, it was clear that this was a part of that reaction against the opposition and a rejoinder to the grandson’s early words of support for the opposition, rather than a further example of dissent. But in Europe and America it is the opposite that is the “truth.”

“Iran,” it seems has become an “objectified” idea for many. It has become a “thing,” an idea-object that has become so solidified and its borders so rigidly delineated, that any contrarian input to this conceptualization of “Iran” must be discarded as evidentially wrong. This rigid conceptualization seems immune to rational argument: “We ‘know’ what we know.”

But the gap between the “Iran” of Iran and the “Iran” of Europe and America is widening almost to the point of these two contrasting “image-objects” being unbridgeable. If Western states cannot accurately “read” what is happening at Friday prayers, but believe the inversion; if such straightforward events are totally misread, what does this conceptualization say about the Western political psyche? It smacks of vulnerability and impotence. Is the “Iran” of the Western fantasy destined to repeat the pattern that “Suez Crisis” played to British and French weakening psyches?

The former Spanish Prime Minister, José María Aznar illustrated these lurking fears suggesting that failure to confront threats posed, inter alia, by Iran would “merely serve to illustrate how far we [the West] have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.”

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