Iran - blaming the British.


Blackleaf
#1
Blaming the British

From cabbies to shahs, most Iranians believe political events can be traced back to English interference, writes Robert Tait

Wednesday March 1, 2006


Watching his fellow countrymen observe the annual Shia Islamic mourning ceremony of Ashura, the disaffected Tehran taxi driver voiced a wish to convert to Christianity that may not have been as sincere as it was incongruous. But whatever his true ecclesiastical leanings, his beliefs about the source of the religious tyranny that so irked him about Iran were real.

"It is England that has imposed these mullahs on us," the cabbie mused, resisting all protestations at the notion's absurdity.

The idea that the Islamic revolution was a plot hatched in Whitehall, and that its spiritual leader, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was some sort of heavily disguised 007 in the secret service of Her Majesty's government does indeed seem weird. But not to many Iranians.

Suggestions that the convulsive events of 1979, which ushered in the Islamic republic, were manipulated and orchestrated by the British are widely accepted here as a given. It is a belief held, even before his reign was swept to oblivion in a revolutionary tidal wave, by the last shah, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.

Resentful that the British had deposed his pro-German father during the second world war, the shah commissioned a television drama, My Uncle Napoleon, whose main character's catchphrase was: "The British are behind everything". The shah echoed this mantra during his reign's last desperate days, telling the American ambassador, William Sullivan, that he "detected the hand of the English" behind the street demonstrations raging against him. Sullivan surmised that the teetering monarch had lost his mind and, with it, the will to survive.

But the shah was reflecting a broader mindset. The sun may have long set on British imperial might but in Iran it has been replaced by an enduring mirage of dominance which still shines brightly. If the rest of the world has become accustomed to the American hegemonic age, to Iranians Inglestan still wields the true power, albeit stealthily. Behind events great and small, they are ready to perceive the sleight of a hidden British hand. Belief in the "old coloniser's" diabolic powers unites Iranians in a way matched by no other issue, including the Islamic regime's pursuit of nuclear technology.

The regime's staunchest supporters cling to this belief with equal tenacity. Demonstrations by student Basij (Islamic volunteers) outside the British embassy in Tehran occur with bewildering regularity. The most recent railed against Britain's alleged responsibility for last week's destruction of the Shia shrine in Samarra, Iraq.

More generally, the Iranian authorities blame Britain for a wave of bombings that has killed more than 20 people in the southern city of Ahvaz over the past year.

It can be a bit of a jolt to Britons reconciled to their country's reduced global status to be instructed by Iranians of no particular ideological persuasion to "tell your government to leave us alone". It came as such to no less than Jack Straw. Having invested much energy and political capital cultivating a relationship aimed at breaking the ongoing nuclear imbroglio, the foreign secretary was said to be dumbfounded to discover the standard Iranian belief in his government's almost supernatural powers. He shouldn't have been.

For the all-consuming suspicion of British motives is rooted not simply in outlandish superstition, but in solid historical fact. Iran is hardly the only country where imperial Britain has form, but in few places are the memories - or wounds - so raw.

Top of the Iranian grudge list is the 1953 coup that toppled the nationalist prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, and cemented the rule of the shah. The coup was executed largely by the CIA but its genesis lay with the British secret services.

The British had been infuriated by Mossadeq's nationalisation of the Anglo-Iranian oil company, a move prompted by widespread anger at its refusal to share a fairer proportion of its profits (vital to Britain's tax revenues) with Iran.

Having taken the matter to the UN security council and lost, Churchill's government persuaded the Eisenhower administration, then paranoid about the spread of communism, that Mossadeq was a dangerous radical who should be toppled. The resulting chicanery destabilised Iranian politics for the next generation and resonates to this day.

But it is just one among many historical grievances. Britain's dubious distinction is to have alienated just about every identifiable group in Iran. During the 19th century, Iran was a pawn in the Great Game played out between Britain and Russia for power and influence in central Asia.

The ruling Qajar dynasty of the time was bullied into a host of humiliating territorial and economic concessions to each side. The abuses continued into the 20th century and extended to interference in Iranian internal politics.

"Historically, people believe Britain engineered the coup which brought to power Reza Khan, who became Reza Shah [the last shah's father]," said Mohammed Hossein Adeli, until recently Iran's ambassador to Britain.

"His ruthless rule made people blame the British for interference in Iranian affairs. Later, the British deposed Reza Shah. As a result the shah's royal family and the elite affiliated to them were alienated. This united the people and the elite, both of whom became very suspicious of the British."

British policy makers should be sobered to learn that the one thing that unites Iranians is us. If, one day, the taxi driver gets his wish and the rule of the mullahs should end, there is no doubt who will get the credit - or the blame.

guardian.co.uk
 
#juan
No Party Affiliation
#2
Quote:

Top of the Iranian grudge list is the 1953 coup that toppled the nationalist prime minister, Mohammed Mossadeq, and cemented the rule of the shah. The coup was executed largely by the CIA but its genesis lay with the British secret services.

I find it continually amazing that if one digs into any major trouble spot in the world, the root cause is American or British meddling in the affairs of sovereign countries.

Mohammed Mossadeq was a democratically elected leader who wanted for the people of Iran, a fair share of his country's oil resources.
 
Jay
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by #juan

I find it continually amazing that if one digs into any major trouble spot in the world, the root cause is American or British meddling in the affairs of sovereign countries.

I would find it amazing too if it were true.
 
Jersay
#4
It is true Jay. British and American 'people' special forces, cia whatever the British got have mettled in the affairs of foreign nations time and time again. It is known fact there is a ton of proof.

Now other nations have done it too, it is an imperial ideology that they now what is best for whoever it is as long as it benefits them as well.

I will give you an example;

Batitstia in Cuba

Pinochet in Chile

Support for Saddam Hussein

Muhjahadeen forces in Afghanistan some becoming Al Qaeda.

Britain would be for a good example in India in the 18th and 19th century.
 
Jay
#5
"Britain would be for a good example in India in the 18th and 19th century. "


So then we should blame India's successes on Britain too?
 
Jersay
#6
Quote:

"Britain would be for a good example in India in the 18th and 19th century. "


So then we should blame India's successes on Britain too?

Nope. Because, once it gained independence India went and asked for help from the Soviet Union.

Then in the 1980s or middle 1970s did it turn back to western economy.

So no.
 
Jay
#7
Right.
 
Jersay
#8
And what successes would that be actually?

They have a small highly rich upper class,

250 million poor people, the size of America, malnutrition need 50 million students and have a ton of corruption as well.
 
Doryman
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by Jersay

And what successes would that be actually?

They have a small highly rich upper class,

250 million poor people, the size of America, malnutrition need 50 million students and have a ton of corruption as well.

But should these problems be blamed on British interference, or on the millenia old Caste system? It's a part of Hindu society that is in the oldest and most important of holy books (Rig Veda), it was most likely based on racism ( "Varna" meaning caste, stems from the ancient Hindu word for color). IT advocates a strict set of lifestyle and lot for all of it's members, and maintains an extremely powerful and small ruling class. In many rural areas, the penalty for mixing castes or going outside one's caste is death.

It's totally Rudyard Kipling fault though. In no way could one of the oldest societies on the planet could have had any problems or social baggage before the British got busy a few hundred years ago....

The British made mistakes in Iran in the past. So the get the blame for everything. Tell me when will Iran get the blame for the mistakes it makes ,and continues making today?
 
Jay
#10
http://www.iranchamber.com/history/qajar/qajar.php

Fath Ali Shah, 1797 - 1834Under Fath Ali Shah, Iran went to war against Russia, which was expanding from the north into the Caucasus Mountains, an area of historic Iranian interest and influence. Iran suffered major military defeats during the war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Golestan in 1813, Iran recognized Russia's annexation of Georgia and ceded to Russia most of the north Caucasus region. A second war with Russia in the 1820s ended even more disastrously for Iran, which in 1828 was forced to sign the Treaty of Turkmanchai acknowledging Russian sovereignty over the entire area north of the Aras River (territory comprising present-day Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan).


Why aren't we blaming the Russians I wonder?
 
Mogz
Conservative
#11
Why is it that so many people have this knee-jerk to blame the West for everything? I find it hiliarious when people sit there and cast blame on America, or Britain, in the defence of nations that publically murder their own people, oppress women, and threaten our existence of peace. So the West pulls some political strings, who gives a shit? Instead of sitting at your computer, eating alphagetti right out of the can, and dumping all over the Western World, perhaps you should take a look at the nations you defend and constantly propping up. It's like the sesame street song; one of these things is not like the other.

Now for something completely different:

Quote:

whatever the British got have

MI5 and MI6; internal and external respectively.

Quote:

But should these problems be blamed on British interference, or on the millenia old Caste system?

*ding ding ding* An intelligent person, who can see past the anti-western attitude in the World and see the true reason some nations are ass-backwards.

Quote:

The British made mistakes in Iran in the past. So the get the blame for everything. Tell me when will Iran get the blame for the mistakes it makes ,and continues making today?

Exactly my views. People are so critical of Western involvment that they often, either on purpose or by sheer ignorace, overlook the issues that the host nations cause.
 
JoeyB
#12
Interesting... back to the subject at hand though!

Tell me MI5 and MI6 and CIA and KGB NKVD - and Mossad, IRA et al. don't exist.

C'mon tell me the world is flat.

Anyone who denies the existence of subversive secretive government agencies of the world really needs a frontal lobotomy.

Furthermore, denial of their meddling in other countries affairs for their own countries' military / economical / political gain isn't something one should choose to ignore.

People seem to remember mostly US and Soviet secret services and the cold war, because of the huge number of secret service stuffups that were made. Oh I almost forgot that time the poms stuffed up when the IRA took Maggie Thatcher hostage... that was funny.

Reality is every government pays attention to it's foreign affairs. Some go one step further and coerce, bribe or use other subversive means for their own countries gain.
The British involvement in Iran is not altogether unrealistic nor immaterial, given the two countries history, but I would also suggest the UK is not the only government meddling in Iran.

immediately another later issue came to mind.. Iran contra...

See, somewhere along the line, someone will get caught or spill the beans, so why the need for the clandestine?

It's just like a game of monopoly, on a Big boy's scale.
 
Jay
#13
"so why the need for the clandestine? "


Sometimes it's the best way to do things...


All governments worth anything have secret intelligence services...not just the west and Russia.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#14
Quote:

Tell me MI5 and MI6 and CIA and KGB NKVD - and Mossad, IRA et al. don't exist.


Actually the KGB doesn't exist anymore.
 
Jersay
#15
Quote:

Why is it that so many people have this knee-jerk to blame the West for everything? I find it hiliarious when people sit there and cast blame on America, or Britain, in the defence of nations that publically murder their own people, oppress women, and threaten our existence of peace. So the West pulls some political strings, who gives a shit? Instead of sitting at your computer, eating alphagetti right out of the can, and dumping all over the Western World, perhaps you should take a look at the nations you defend and constantly propping up. It's like the sesame street song; one of these things is not like the other.

Now the caste system had something to do with it, but look who ran it to their own advantage. The British. However, Indian upper-class caste should have some blame in it as well, however in urban centers the caste system is almost gone.
 
Jersay
#16
Quote:

Why is it that so many people have this knee-jerk to blame the West for everything? I find it hiliarious when people sit there and cast blame on America, or Britain, in the defence of nations that publically murder their own people, oppress women, and threaten our existence of peace. So the West pulls some political strings, who gives a shit? Instead of sitting at your computer, eating alphagetti right out of the can, and dumping all over the Western World, perhaps you should take a look at the nations you defend and constantly propping up. It's like the sesame street song; one of these things is not like the other.

Now the caste system had something to do with it, but look who ran it to their own advantage. The British. However, Indian upper-class caste should have some blame in it as well, however in urban centers the caste system is almost gone.

Now, listen people the ones who say, stop blaming the weswt, oh stop blaming America and the West for their problems.

I have one thing to say to you, tough luck, colonialism done by Western powers, and America and the cold war and the way they pulled apart 'native' socieities, and affected their political, social, economic, and daily life happened. It is a known fact, it has happened since the 1400s and it continues to today.

If you look at history, you can trace problems today back to all colonial projects of Europe and the meddling of the West and America.

Look it up, it is known fact.
 
Daz_Hockey
#17
true, but britain or other colonials had nothing to do with already waring Bedowin tribes....face it, most of the world yep, I agree, but the middle east has been fighting for so long now...and has little to do with colonialsm
 

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