The nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are back this Tuesday in Vienna. The stakes couldn't be higher. It will be a long and winding road. Hidden agendas on both sides badly want the talks to fail -- and will spare no effort towards that goal.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei could be interpreted as a stony realist, when he said that the talks will go nowhere. It's as if the Supreme Leader had read Manufactured Crisis:The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, a crucial book by Martha Gellhorn Prize winner Gareth Porter which is being launched today in New York. In the book, Porter thoroughly debunks the whole narrative of the Iran nuclear dossier as sold to the world by the George W Bush administration, assorted neo-cons and the Israeli Likud.
And it gets much worse, in terms of prospects for a final deal to be reached this year. According to Porter, "the Obama administration has introduced the subject of 'possible military dimensions' into the nuclear negotiations. That means that the United States will be demanding an explanation for 'evidence' that the book shows was fabricated. That is a decision that could threaten the conclusion of a final agreement with Iran."
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Meanwhile, on Tuesday last week, millions of people hit the streets in Tehran in a massive rally celebrating the 35 years of the Islamic revolution. How come?
For all its economic mismanagement, Iran's illiteracy rate has been reduced to near zero. Women are active, participative voters (try even raising the issue in the House of Saud's paradise). There has been remarkable scientific progress, even under harsh sanctions. Pursuing a civilian nuclear program is a matter of national consensus.
This piece -- significantly, published by al-Arabiya, which is controlled by the House of Saud -- at least tries not to sound entirely as cheap Arab propaganda, making a valid point about the real threat for the Islamic revolution coming from disaffected youth across Iran.
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Yet this is not the key point. The Islamic republic won't disintegrate tomorrow. What's much more crucial is to revisit the key reasons why the revolution happened 35 years ago, and why, when it comes to Iranian geopolitical independence, it remains somewhat popular.
That may also shed light on why the West -- and especially the United States -- still refuses to normalize its relations with Iran. After all, what happened 35 years ago in Iran was never properly understood in the US in the first place. In geopolitical terms, this was the real "nuclear" revolution -- one of the most far-reaching developments of what Eric Hobsbawm defined as "the short 20th century."
And perhaps this is what the Supreme Leader meant about the talks going nowhere; certainly the case as long as Washington, especially, refuses to abandon the reductionism of Iran as a bunch of fanatics.
That Kissinger oil shock
As early as the presidency of Harry Truman, the US supported the Shah of Iran's dictatorship, no holds barred. No wonder those days are sorely missed.
In 1953, after the CIA coup against Mohammad Mossadegh, the Shah -- who lived mostly in the French Riviera -- was "invited" to rule as a CIA puppet (John F Kennedy had met him in wild parties in the French Riviera and found him to be a dangerous megalomaniac). In return for re-establishing British "rights" to Persian oil, Washington self-attributed 55% for the concessions and the Brits got the rest.
The CIA trained the Savak -- the Shah's secret police. It was the best of times. The Shah not only excelled in his role of gendarme of political/economic US interests in the Persian Gulf; as he did not share Arab hatred of Israel, Tel Aviv had access to Persian oil (that ended after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini seized power).
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The Shah ruthlessly suppressed and persecuted every political party in Iran and even massacred Kurds (Saddam Hussein was taking notes.) He started to take his own propaganda seriously, including believing in the myth of being a new King of Kings. He became the number one cheerleader of the 1973 OPEC oil shock, to which he got the green light from none other than Henry Kissinger.
In a nutshell, this was a follow-up of the 1972 "Nixon doctrine," when it became clear the US defeat in Vietnam was all but a done deal. That's when Tricky Dicky started to promote gatekeepers all over the "free world." And no region was more crucial than the Persian Gulf.
The Shah loved it. But he was always complaining that he didn't have enough dough to buy all those weapons the industrial-military complex was offering him. So Kissinger -- a David Rockefeller errand boy -- squared the circle, with the rise of oil prices by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC.
With this move, Kissinger instantly inflated the profits of US Big Oil -- which at the time accounted for five of the Seven Sisters, and crucially boasted three that were Rockefeller-owned (Exxon, Mobil and Socal). At the same time, since Japan and then West Germany and the rest of Western Europe depended on Persian Gulf oil much more than the US did, Kissinger devised the perfect way to torpedo the devastating Japanese and German industrial and trade competition.
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)