By Stuart Littlewood – London
In the turmoil following Iran’s presidential election, the country’s Supreme Leader has denounced Britain as the "most treacherous" of Iran’s enemies. Western diplomats, he said, "are displaying their enmity against the Islamic state, and the most evil of them is the British government".
I hope he doesn’t include ordinary British people in his condemnation. However, he’s welcome to hammer our politicians.
During the Iran-Iraq war my company was among hundreds of British firms happily doing business with the Iranian government and building good relations the proper way – through trade. Our efforts were suddenly torpedoed by British government busybodies, who declared they were supporting Saddam. Further exports to Iran were banned and those carefully developed relationships wrecked.
No British foreign secretary had set foot in Iran since the 1979 Revolution, and that remained the case until Jack Straw’s one-day visit in 2001, prompted by 9/11. It was an appalling dereliction of duty considering what a friend Iran (Persia) had once been. In 1901 Persia granted William Knox D’Arcy a 60-year oil concession covering half-a-million square miles. When D’Arcy struck oil in 1908 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was formed, a vital asset to Britain in World War One. From this sprang Anglo-Iranian Oil and subsequently the mighty BP.
We repaid Iran with corporate greed and diplomatic double-cross. America and Britain are still smarting from the time when Iran democratically elected Dr. Mossadeq, who sensibly nationalized her vast oil resources. Up till then the grasping British were raking in more profit from Anglo-Iranian Oil than the Iranians themselves.
Back in the 1920s the US State Department had described the oil deposits in the Middle East as “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history”. Ever since, its designs on Iraq and Iran have been plain to see.
When a CIA-engineered coup toppled Dr. Mossadeq, reinstated the hated Shah and his secret police, and let the American oil companies in, it was the final straw for the Iranians. The British-American conspiracy backfired spectacularly 25 years later with the Islamic Revolution of 1978-9, the humiliating 444-day hostage crisis in the American embassy and a tragically botched rescue mission.
What should have been a sharp lesson for western meddlers has become a festering sore and an excuse for plotting revenge and scheming to seize the energy prize, and never mind the consequences for millions of innocents.
In its twisted definition of "terrorism" the US State Department names Iran as the “most active” state sponsor (not counting itself and Israel, of course).
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has rightly rebuked the US for sniping about Iran’s democratic shortcomings and alleged vote-rigging. "American officials’ remarks about human rights are not acceptable because they have no idea about human rights after what they have done in Afghanistan and Iraq and other parts of the world," he said. "We do not need advice from them."
Who would disagree? US and British leaders have of late demonstrated that there is nothing too devious or too dishonest for them to contemplate… and carry out. They wallow in double standards. It is laughable – and embarrassing – when they lecture others.
– Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.