TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - In an interview excerpted from his upcoming book Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, Chomsky discussed the real reasons behind his country’s years-long animosity towards Iran, dismissing as mere smokescreens Washington’s objections to Iran’s nuclear program and its support for resistance groups in Lebanon and Palestine.
“Iran has long been regarded by US leaders, and by US media commentary, as extraordinarily dangerous, perhaps the most dangerous country on the planet,” Chomsky said in response to a question by David Barsamian, the book’s co-author.
The scholar noted that Washington’s doctrinal system tends to introduce Iran as a “dual menace” that “is the leading supporter of terrorism, and its nuclear programs pose an existential threat to Israel, if not the whole world.”
Support for ‘terrorist’ groups
Chomsky explained that America’s branding of Iran as a state sponsor of terror was based on Israel’s interests.
“In the real world, Iranian support for terrorism translates to support for Hezbollah, whose major crime is that it is the sole deterrent to yet another destructive Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and for Hamas, which won a free election in the Gaza Strip—a crime that instantly elicited harsh sanctions and led the US government to prepare a military coup,” he argued.
Rather ironically, the philosopher pointed out to America’s unconditional support for Saudi Arabia, which he described as “a brutal dictatorship, miserably repressive” committing “disgraceful atrocities in Yemen.”
The US has been providing weapons and intelligence to the Riyadh regime over the course of its more than two-year-long aggression that has killed more than 12,000 Yemeni civilians.
Iran’s nuclear program
Chomsky dismissed US claims that Iran was in possession of nuclear weapons and said any concerns in this regard had been alleviated by Tehran’s own calls for destroying all weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the Middle East region.
“Such a zone is strongly supported by the Arab states and most of the rest of the world and is blocked primarily by the United States, which wishes to protect Israel’s WMD capabilities,” he said.
Real reasons behind Washington’s animus
The renowned historian said the “true reasons” behind America’s hostility towards Iran were the country’s growing regional influence and the 1979 Islamic Revolution that led to the ouster of US-backed monarch Mohammad Reza Shah.
“The United States and Israel cannot tolerate an independent force in a region that they take to be theirs by right,” he argued. “An Iran with a nuclear deterrent is unacceptable to rogue states that want to rampage however they wish throughout the Middle East.”
Chomsky said Washington was still angry about the Iranian people’s removal of Shah, “the dictator installed by Washington.”
“Iran cannot be forgiven for overthrowing the dictator installed by Washington in a military coup in 1953, a coup that destroyed Iran’s parliamentary regime and its unconscionable belief that Iran might have some claim on its own natural resources.”
Citing more instances of US double standards, Chomsky noted that former US President George H. W. Bush had invited Iraqi nuclear experts to the US for advanced training in nuclear weapons production.
Chomsky said Washington’s enmity towards Iran has been an ongoing trend over the past six decades and “scarcely a day has passed when Washington was not tormenting Iranians.”
“After the 1953 military coup came US support for a dictator described by Amnesty International as a leading violator of fundamental human rights,” he said.
After that, the Unite States, under then President Ronald Reagan, directly helped Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein with his military invasion against Iran, which lasted for eight years.
“Hundreds of thousands of Iranians were killed, many by chemical weapons. Reagan’s support for his friend Saddam was so extreme that when Iraq attacked a US ship, the USS Stark, killing 37 American sailors, it received only a light tap on the wrist in response. Reagan also sought to blame Iran for Saddam’s horrendous chemical warfare attacks on Iraqi Kurds,” Chomsky added.
Anti-Iran sanctions, Trump presidency
After the Iran-Iraq War, Washington tried to pressure Iran by resorting to harsh economic sanctions.
“Washington has been the driving force behind harsh sanctions against Iran that continue to the present day,” he added.
The situation has only gotten worse under current US President Donald Trump, Chomsky said, adding that the US president “has joined the harshest and most repressive dictators in shouting imprecations at Iran.”
Trump committed to destroying planet: Chomsky
Although Trump has on many occasions threatened Iran and imposed new sanctions against the Islamic Republic in order to weaken a landmark nuclear deal it signed with six world powers in 2015, Chomsky said the animus went beyond the billionaire-turned-president.
“It includes those regarded as the 'adults' in the Trump administration, like James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, the secretary of defense. And it stretches a long way into the past.”