Reprinted from Smirking Chimp
The deal reached in Lausanne, Switzerland by Iran and five powers, led by the US, appears to be about nuclear capability.
In fact, the real issue was not nuclear weapons, which Iran does not now possess, but Iran's potential geopolitical power.
Iran, a nation of 80.8 million, has been bottled up like the proverbial genii by US-led sanctions ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution deposed Shah Pahlavi's corrupt royalist regime. The Shah had been groomed to be the chief US enforcer in the Gulf.
More than a dozen American efforts to overthrow the Islamic government in Tehran have failed. Washington resorted to sabotage and economic warfare, sought to throttle Iran's primary exports, oil and gas, to derail its banking system, and prevent imports of everything from machinery to vitamins.
The US and Israel have used the extremist group People's Mujahidin to murder Iranian officials and scientists.
There is no doubt that this western economic siege drove Iran to make major concessions over its nuclear energy program, a source of great national pride and prestige that broke what Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called the "backwardness" imposed by the western powers on the Muslim world to keep it weak and subservient.
Like Cuba, another state that long defied Washington, Iran eventually found the price of its independence and self-interest too high to bear. As with Saddam's Iraq, US-led sanctions caused its military to rust away and its oil exports to fall painfully.
Israel's anguished alarms over Iran's supposed nuclear "threat" were not even believed by its own crack intelligence services or those of the United States, but the relentless drumbeat of hate Iran propaganda convinced many in North America and even better-informed Europe that Iran is a menace.
What Israel really feared was not Iran's non-existent nuclear threat but rather its ongoing support for the beleaguered Palestinians.
Iran became the last Mideast nation giving strong backing to creation of a Palestinian state. The Arab states opposing Israel have been silenced: Syria, Libya and Iraq crushed by war and torn asunder, Egypt and Jordan bought off with huge bribes. The Saudis have secretly allied themselves to Israel. So only Iran was left to champion Palestine.
That is why Israel made such a determined effort to push the US into war with Iran. With the feeble Arab states largely demolished or gelded, Israel's hold on the Occupied West Bank and Golan would be unchallenged.
But for the United States, the geostrategic calculus is somewhat different. The Iranian revolution of 1979 profoundly challenged America's Mideast imperium -- what I call the American Raj after the manner in which the British Empire ruled India.
Washington's Mideast political-strategic architecture was built on feudal and brutal military regimes. Ever since 1945, the deal was that the feudal oil states supplied oil at bargain basement prices in exchange for US military and political protection. In addition, the Arab oil monarchies undertook to buy huge amounts of American arms from plants in key political states that none of them knew how to effectively use. The most recent deal amounts to $46 billion of US weapons for the Saudis.
Washington's Mideast Raj forms one of the enduring pillars of American global power. Though America consumes less and less Mideast oil each year, its control of the flow of oil from Arabia to Europe, Japan, China and the other parts of the Asian economy gives it huge strategic leverage. Japan and Germany both vividly remember they lost WWII because of lack of oil.
The 1979 Iranian Revolution gravely threatened this sweetheart arrangement. Iran demanded that its Arab neighbors follow Islam's calls to share wealth, avoid ostentation, live modestly, and care for the needy -- in short, the very opposite of the flamboyant Saudis and Gulf Arabs.