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The Algiers Accords: Decades of Violations - And Silence

By       Message Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich       (Page 1 of 5 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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This week marks the 37th anniversary of a pledge made by the United States in 1981:

"The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs."

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This week also marks 37 continuous years of the United States failing to uphold its pledge: the 1981 Algiers Accords.

Just how many people have heard of the 1981 Algiers Accords, a bilateral treaty signed on January 19, 1981 between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran? Chances are, not many. Just as chances are that not many are fully aware of what actually led to the signing of this treaty.

Following the success of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah, America's strongman in Iran, plans were made to topple the new government in Tehran. In 1980, under the Carter administration, the United States began clandestine radio broadcasts into Iran from Egypt. The broadcasts called for Khomeini's overthrow and urged support for Shahpur Bakhtiar [i] , the last prime minister under the Shah. Other plans included the failed Nojeh coup plot as well as plans for a possible American invasion of Iran using Turkish bases [ii] .

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The new Revolutionary government in Iran, with a look to the past and the 1953 British-CIA coup d'e'tat that overthrew the Mossadegh government and reinstalled the Shah, had good reason to believe that the United States was planning to abort the revolution in its nascent stages. Fearful, enthusiastic students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took the diplomats as hostages in order to prevent such plans from fruition.

These events led to the negotiation and conclusion the Algiers Accords, point 1 of which was the pledge by the United States not to intervene in Iran's internal affairs in anyway. The Algiers Accords brought about the release of the American hostages and established the Iran--U.S. Claims Tribunal ("Tribunal") at The Hague, the Netherlands. The Tribunal ruled consistently "the Declarations were to be interpreted in accordance with the process of interpretation set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties." [iii] ( [*] )

A pledge is only as valid and worthy as the person making it. From the onset, the United States failed to uphold its own pledge. For instance, starting in 1982, the CIA provided $100,000 a month to a group in Paris called the Front for the Liberation of Iran. The group headed by Ali Amini who had presided over the reversion of Iranian oil to foreign control after the CIA-backed coup in 1953 [iv] . Additionally, America provided support to two Iranian paramilitary groups based in Turkey, one of them headed by General Bahram Aryana, the former Shah's army chief with close ties to Bakhtiar [v] .

In 1986, the CIA went so far as to pirate Iran's national television network frequency to transmit an address by the Shah's son, Reza Pahlavi, over Iranian TV in which he vowed: "I will return," [vi] . The support did not end there. Pahlavi had C.LA. funding for a number of years in the eighties which stopped with the Iran-Contra affair. He was successful at soliciting funds from the emir of Kuwait, the emir of Bahrain, the king of Morocco, and the royal family of Saudi Arabia, all staunch U.S. allies [vii] .

In late 2002, Michael Ledeen joined Morris Amitay, vice-president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs; ex-CIA head James Woolsey; former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney; former senator Paul Simon; and oil consultant Rob Sobhani to set up a group called the Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI) [viii] . In spite of his lack of charisma as a leader, in May, 2003, Michael Ledeen wrote a policy brief for the American Enterprise Institute Web site arguing that Pahlavi would make a suitable leader for a transitional government, describing him as "widely admired inside Iran, despite his refreshing lack of avidity for power or wealth." [ix]

In August 2003, the Pentagon issued new guidelines. All meetings with Iranian dissidents had to be cleared with Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. Reza Pahlavis' name was included in the list of contacts that had been meeting with Pentagon analysts [x] .

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Concurrent with this direct interference, and in the following decade, Washington concentrated its efforts into putting a chokehold on the Iranian economy. A provision of the Algiers Accords was that "the United States will revoke all trade sanctions which were directed against Iran in the period November 4, 1979, to date." Embargoes and sanctions became the norm. Failing to interfere in Iran's domestic affairs in order to topple the Islamic Republic through economic hardship, the United States once again turned up pressure through broadcasts and direct support for dissidents and terrorists -- in conjunction with economic sanctions.

This stranglehold was taking place while concurrently, and in violation of the Algiers Accords, the CIA front National Endowment for Democracy was providing funds to various groups, namely "Iran Teachers Association" (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,2001, 2002, 2003); The Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI founded in 1995 by Kenneth R. Timmerman, Peter Rodman, Joshua Muravchik, and American intelligence officials advocating regime change in Iran), National Iranian American Council (NIAC) 2002, 2005, 2006), and others [xi] .

Funds from NED to interfere in Iran continued after the signing of the JCPOA. The 2016 funding stood at well over $1m.

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Soraya has lived and studied in-Iran, UK, France, and has obtained her Master's degree in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg and USC School for International Studies, Los Angeles.- She is an independent researcher, public speaker, radio (more...)
 

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