Sunday, January 29, 2023

US sanctions do no harm, no harm: Chomsky

Since last September, protests have intensified in Iran in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian girl who died in a hospital in Tehran after being arrested by ethics police days earlier for allegedly violating Had happened. Islamic theocratic dress code. Protesters believe that he was killed by the police (it is suspected that he was beaten to death), but an official medical report by the Iranian Forensic Organization has denied this. The protest has spread to nearly 50 cities, and prominent actors and sports teams have joined the movement.

The protests are not only against some laws, but against the entire divine order of the country. The marchers proclaimed “neither monarchy nor clergy”, and also opposed economic policies whose effects have been exacerbated by US sanctions. The regime has responded with violence, arresting dozens of artists, filmmakers and journalists for their support of the protesters.

Is there a revolution in the making? Noam Chomsky sheds light on this topic in this interview. -Nome, Iranian women started these protests because of the Islamic policies of the government, especially regarding dress, but now the issue seems to be the failed reforms of the regime. The state of the economy seems to be one of the forces sending people into the streets. Teachers, shopkeepers and factory workers have participated in strikes and sit-ins, and there appears to be unity among the various ethnic groups angry with the government, perhaps for the first time since the rise of the Islamic Republic. Can we talk about a revolution in construction?

The description seems to me sufficient, although it would be too far-fetched to speak of a revolution. What is happening is quite remarkable in scale and intensity and especially for the courage and defiance in the face of brutal repression. Also in terms of prominent leadership of women, especially young women.

The word “leadership” can cause confusion. The rebellion appears to have no leader, and no clear goal or platform beyond the overthrow of the hated regime. Some precautions are being taken. We have little information about public opinion in Iran, especially in rural areas, where support for the clerical regime and its authoritarian practices may be stronger.

Repression has been most brutal in areas populated by Kurdish and Baluchi ethnic minorities. It is generally believed that much will depend on how Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei responds. Those familiar with his background speculate that his response will be shaped by his own experience in the resistance that overthrew the Shah in 1979. hawks Americans and Israelis say that if the Shah had been more powerful, he could have suppressed protests with violence. Israel’s de facto ambassador to Iran, Uri Lubrani, clearly expressed this attitude at the time: “I think that Tehran can be captured by a relatively small, firm and brute force. I mean that force. The people leading have to be emotionally open to the possibility of killing thousands.”

Richard Helms, a former CIA director, Robert Comer, a senior Pentagon official, and other hardline American officials in the James Carter administration expressed a similar view. There is speculation that Gemini will take a similar stand, ordering more violent action if the protests continue.

Regarding the effects, we can only speculate with some confidence.

In the West, the protests have been interpreted as part of the ongoing struggle for a secular and democratic Iran, leaving out the fact that the current revolutionary forces in Iran oppose not only the reactionary government, but also the neoliberal It also opposes capitalism and American hegemony. In turn, the Iranian government blames “foreign forces”. To what extent can we expect to see the interaction of external and internal forces? Ultimately, that conversation played a major role in the formation and fate of the protests that shook the Arab world in 2010 and 2011.

There is no doubt that the United States will support efforts to undermine the regime, which has been a priority enemy since 1979, when the Washington-backed tyrant, which was restored in a military coup in 1953, was forced to was overthrown in a popular revolt. , The Americans quickly supported their then-ally Saddam Hussein in his murderous invasion of Iran, and eventually intervened directly to ensure Iran’s virtual surrender, an experience the Iranian people do not forget.

When the war ended, the United States imposed harsh sanctions on Iran. President Bush I – Bush the Statesman – invited Iraqi nuclear engineers to the United States for advanced training in nuclear weapons development and sent a high-level delegation to assure Saddam of his country’s strong support. All this was very dangerous for Iran.

Punishment of Iran has since continued and remains a bipartisan US policy, with little public debate. Iran’s long-time oppressor Britain, which deposed Iran’s democratic government before the United States ousted it in a 1953 coup, is likely to dutifully follow the US diktat, as will its other allies. Israel will undoubtedly do what it can to overthrow its arch-enemy since 1979, and who was a close ally during the Shah’s reign, although his intimate ties were secret.

Both Washington and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran in protest of the violent suppression of the protests. Aren’t these restrictions counterproductive?

We must always ask ourselves: Adverse to whom? Usually, sanctions will backfire if the stated objectives – always noble and humanitarian – have anything to do with real people. But this rarely happens.

The sanctions have severely damaged the Iranian economy, and resulted in enormous suffering. But that has been an American goal for 40 years. It’s different for Europe: Companies there see Iran as an opportunity for investment, trade and the extraction of resources, all blocked by Washington’s policy.

The same is true of American companies. This is one of those rare and instructive cases – Cuba is another – in which the short-term interests of the corporation’s owners are not “exclusively served” by the government, which they largely control (Adm. To borrow Smith’s description) ). The government, in this case, protects very broad class interests by not tolerating “dangerous” freedom of its own will. This is an important case, which in some ways ties back to Washington’s initial interest in Iran in 1953. And which in the case of Cuba is linked to the liberation of the island in 1959.

– One last question. What could be the impact of the protests in the Middle East?

-It depends a lot on the result, still unknown. Whatever the outcome, I see no reason to expect a major impact. Shiite Iran is highly isolated within a mostly Sunni region. Sunni dictatorships in the Gulf are smoothing things over with Iran, much to Washington’s chagrin, but are unlikely to care about the brutal repression they themselves practice.

A successful popular revolution would certainly worry them because it could “spread the infection,” as Kissingerian rhetoric puts it. But this seems too remote a contingency to allow for useful speculation.

, Originally posted on Truthout,

Translation: George Anaya

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