Why Does Iran Hate America?
Iranians Are A Peaceful People
Modern Iran is the extant incarnation of a three thousand year old culture. Before 1935, it was known as Persia; an ancient civilization with a rich historical pervasion. After numerous Greek, Roman, Mongol, and Ottoman invasions, the Iranians established the Safavid Empire in 1501, and have remained independent ever since. Contrary to popular Western thought, Iran has been a peaceful country for most of its existence. The last time Iran started a war was in 1856, when they attempted to capture Herat from Afghanistan. Indeed, the name Iran comes from the word ‘Aryan’ and literally means Land of the Aryans. Despite usage by the Nazis, Aryan means ‘noble’ and ‘spiritual’ and was ascribed to the Indo-Iranian world over four millennia ago.
Interference in Iranian Politics
Great Britain and Russia had been interfering in Iranian politics for centuries, but this came to a head in 1941 when they invaded Iran and deposed the Shah (the ruler). The Shah had been trying to break ties with Britain and Russia by giving valuable construction contracts to German, Italian and French engineers. When WW2 broke out, this strategy backfired, as Iran was seen as too close to the axis powers. The Shah was forced to abdicate, and the country was conquered to secure Iran’s oil infrastructure and supply lines. The Shah’s son, Pavlavi, was instated as a puppet ruler.
How Did America Become Involved?
America’s involvement in Iran began in 1953. Great Britain had controlled Iran’s oil resources since the start of the twentieth century. When a politician named Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh democratically rose to the position of prime minister, and nationalized the country’s oil industry, Britain enlisted America to restore the status quo. Operation Ajax was a CIA coup that operated from the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The CIA hired mercenaries to protest against Mossadegh, resulting in violent clashes that left almost 300 dead. The coup successfully deposed Mossadegh and installed Shah Pavlavi as absolute dictator of Iran. Mossadegh was sent to prison, while Pavlavi set about crushing all political opposition; turning Iran into a fascist police state. The secret police (SAVAK) tortured and murdered thousands of Iranians. According to an ex-CIA operative, the CIA trained the SAVAK in methods of torture.
It took 50 years for the U.S. government to acknowledge their role in a coup that deposed a democratic government and installed a ruthless dictatorship. To this day, America has never apologized for destroying the will of a nation. Rather, American politicians have used Iranian distrust of their country to escalate tensions further. The current war propaganda paints Iran as a malevolent entity seeking to destroy the free world (see video).
The Iranian Revolution
In 1979, the population rebelled against the murderous oppression that had been forced upon them by America. The Iranian Revolution liberated Iran, instating popular leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, as Supreme Leader of a theocratic Islamic republic. Shah Pavlavi fled the country and died in exile.
In late 1979, armed Iranian students seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran and accused the Americans of being CIA spies. Khomeini, originally unaware, eventually supported the takeover. The students asked for Shah Pavlavi to be handed over to receive the justice of the people, but the Americans refused to send him back to Iran (Pavlavi had been receiving medical treatment in America). After the Shah died in the summer of 1980, the students demanded the hostages be put on trial for espionage.
Eventually, the release of the hostages was secured in the Algiers Declaration, where the U.S. agreed to release frozen Iranian assets. However, the U.S. reneged on their agreement and refused to return Iran's wealth. Instead, they cut off relations and hoped the theft would go unpunished.
The Iran-Iraq War
After the Iranian revolution, the country was in a fractured and disorganized state. In order to exploit this situation, the ruler of neighboring Iraq, Saddam Hussein, decided to invade Iran in 1980. A bloody and desperate war ensued. Despite Hussein’s early advances that used chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iranian soldiers and civilians, Iraqi troops were pushed back by the Iranian military. Saddam Hussein was forced to agree peace with Iran in 1988.
Even though Iraq was the aggressor in the Iran-Iraq War, the Americans supported Saddam Hussein in his conflict with Iran. Donald Rumsfeld, the then special envoy to President Reagan, can be seen shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in 1983 (see video). He visited again in 1984 on the same day Iraq launched a chemical weapons attack into Iran.
At the U.N. Security council, America blocked condemnation of Iraq’s chemical weapons attacks. No resolution that criticized Iraq’s use of chemical weapons was passed, despite the wishes of the majority to condemn this use. In 1986 the U.N. Security Council recognized that “chemical weapons on many occasions have been used by Iraqi forces against Iranian forces”, a statement that was opposed by the United States.
America’s excuse for invading Iraq in 2003 was to remove weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons. Suffice to say, the hypocrisy was sickening, the public ignorance of history was shameful, and the loss of life was the biggest tragedy of the 21st century.
Despite America’s best efforts, the Iranian government remains an Islamic theocracy under the control of the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. Khamenei was previously the elected President of Iran (1981-1989), and is supported by the Iranian people. The Supreme Leader is in charge of the military and has the final decision on all matters. The second highest authority is the elected President of Iran, currently Hassan Rouhani. Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic ties since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Since WW2, America has contributed directly or indirectly to the deaths of millions of Iranians. By deposing a democratic government in Iran, America subjected the population to a ruthless dictator who murdered and tortured thousands. By refusing to hand over Shah Pavlavi, America denied the Iranian people justice. By supplying Saddam Hussein with weaponry and blocking U.N. attempts to curb Saddam’s use of chemical weapons, America contributed to the deaths of millions of Iranians. The current tension between the two nations can only be understood in this historical context. The Iranians have every reason to distrust America.
So, why does Iran hate America? It’s not for the pseudo-religious reasons popularized by the government-sanctioned American media. The hatred comes from a history of America blocking the rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, and subjecting them to death and destruction. For a nation that prides itself on freedom and liberty, America has done more to destroy it elsewhere in the world than any other country. Like the Americans did in 1776, people can and will fight against it.