OK

It seems we are entering a new world.  A hopeful, peaceful world.

Many are probably not too concerned about the relationship between the U.S. and Iran and Israel.  Who really cares, they may think.  Iran is trying to get a nuke.  Go ahead and bomb them.  The world will be safer.  

Let’s go back to some of the basics of the history of our relationship with Iran.  The U.S. was responsible for a CIA coup that removed a democratically elected leader and installed a Western friendly Shah back in 1953.  http://www.iranchamber.com/...  Good for relations with the U.S. and Western countries who wanted access to Iran’s oil, not so good for many of the Persian people, many suffered under his oppressive regime.  Their democratically elected president, Dr. Mosaddeq, wanted to nationalize the oil industry, but British and American interests wanted access to the large Iranian oil fields.  So, they infiltrated Iran and got their way, and gained access to the oil and installed a leader of their choosing.  This led the country towards a “westernization,” which went against many of the more traditional ways of some of the population who valued a more conservative religious society.

During this time, there were Persians who enjoyed the relationship between the U.S. and Iran.  There was a shipment of American goods that were flown in on a weekly basis and sold in Tehran and they were very popular.  American movies were brought in and translated into farsi.  Women were hanging out in bikinis on public beaches.  I know, I saw the photos of my daughters’ grandmother back in the days of the Shah.

Yet, those who were oppressed by the Shah’s regime fought back.  As with the 1953 coup, whispers throughout the country became a fevered pitch, and people gathered in the streets demanding their country back from Western influence and control.  The Iranian people believed what they were demonstrating for would be a better Iran, a better life for Persian people.  Many did not support the take over of the American Embassy, certainly not the holding of hostages.  They simply wanted a better life for themselves and their families.  

What most did not anticipate was the even more repressive regime that would replace it.

The people of Iran did not know that their country would become the religiously oppressive government that turned back the clock on their lives.  While any voices who supported the Shah and who were not happy about the new restrictions imposed by the new regime were quickly squashed, there were also simple freedoms once taken for granted that were soon lost to the people of Iran.  Women were not allowed to speak to a man in public that they were not related to.  Dancing in public was forbidden, women were required to be covered only exposing their faces and their hands, and make up and even nail polish was forbidden.  Even men were not allowed to wear shorts in public.  This was not the Iran that most of the population had envisioned, certainly not the one they took to the streets and demonstrated for.  The loss of personal freedoms was devastating to the people there.

Then came the Iran/Iraq war, a war so destructive that as many as a million lost their lives in the conflict.  The reality was, there were many outside forces playing their hand in the conflict, but none so blatantly apparent as Donald Rumsfled meeting with Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 1983.  http://www.youtube.com/...  The truth is, the U.S. was playing both sides against each other, as well as other countries providing weapons and both real and false information to gain influence.  Chaos creates havoc for warring countries, weakens their military making them vulnerable to outside influence, and causing not only internal turmoil but financial hardships as well.  http://www.iranchamber.com/...  The Persian Gulf is where the oil is, and so the world players have sought to gain influence and military maneuvering to keep control over the flow of those energy markets.

After the experience of a westernized Shah, and for the last 30+ years of a repressive religious regime, the Green Revolution in 2009 revealed an Iranian society ready for a new freedom in Iran.

Most Iranians were not fond of Ahmadinegad, and they are glad he has been replace.  They favor a better relationship with people of the West, and are hopeful that the new president will be able to bring about peaceful resolutions between Iran and the U.S.  I cannot help but be hopeful after hearing President Rouhani speak at the UN, and also the news that he spoke on the phone with President Obama.  

Yet despite President Rouhani’s continuous claims that Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons, and despite his recent media tour speaking words of reconciliation and peaceful negotiations, and despite actually being able to follow him on Twitter (who’d have ever thought THAT would happen) here comes Israeli President Netanyahu reiterating his hardline approach on Iran, that President Rouhani is not to be trusted, that Israel would in fact act alone if they must to “defend” themselves, and that he knows that Iran is this close  to having a nuclear bomb.  In just a couple days after Rouhani left the U.S., Bibi made a visit to the White House and spoke at the UN with his usual anti-Iran, pro military force bluster.

In the hopes of fostering peaceful relationships in the Middle East, and promoting better relationships between nations, I want to take some time to address some obvious concerns that should be taken into consideration.

Any country and population should be able to defend itself from outside aggression.  Let’s be clear, though, DEFENDING yourself does not imply taking action against another entity that has not indeed perpetrated an attack on you first.  

While I do believe that Israel should have the power to defend itself against outside aggression, I do NOT believe they have a right to attack Iran, or any other country, by any means.  

What most Americans do not understand is one of the reasons why many Muslim countries in the region are upset with Israel, because it is not discussed in the American media.  Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people has been a human rights atrocity that continuously goes unpunished.  Gaza has been suffering horrific conditions for years, their treatment by Israel goes against international law.  80% of the population must rely on humanitarian aid.  http://www.oxfam.org/...  Israel has put up blockades refusing to let Gaza aid flotillas enter the area, claiming there is not a humanitarian crisis.  Estimates say 70% of the population is food insecure.  There are other stories that Israel has used chemical weapons on the Palestinians.  The US media suppressed a UN report from 2009 that stated that Israel did indeed perpetrate such a despicable act.  http://axisoflogic.com/...  Yet, no one is coming to the rescue of the Palestinian people.  Americans are kept in the dark about such actions, despite the fact that US gives $3 BILLION in aid to Israel every year.  Israel is relishing in a booming economy right now, while the American government is shut down.  We are slashing food stamps from the hungry, sequester cuts are harming all areas of American society, yet we can afford to send Israel billions of dollars to support their thriving economy?  And we do nothing when they use chemical weapons against a population of innocent people?

Another area of concern about Israel is the fact that they are the only nuclear threat in the Middle East, yet they refuse to sign onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  They also have secret chemical and biological weapons labs that if used could unleash untold terror.  http://www.globalresearch.ca/...  

Countries in the Middle East understand the deep relationship that the US has with Israel.  They also witnessed what happened in Iraq when a country that did NOTHING to provoke a war with America suffered untold horrors at the hands of not only US military, but the private Blackwater militia.  Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, never had any WMD’s, yet we bombed and destroyed much of the country, murdered tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children, created untold havoc, created torture prisons, and still have a president claiming the standards of American exceptionalism to the UN.

Yet Israel is worried that Iran is going to get a nuclear bomb?

Just for argument’s sake, what if Iran did attain nuclear weapons capabilities?  What would they do with it?  Does anyone in their right mind seriously believe that after witnessing what the US did to Iraq in an UNprovoked war, that Iran would somehow take an aggressive stance and attack Israel (who has the largest military arsenal in the region, including chemical and biological weapons) who happens to be best buddies with the US?  They would be committing suicide, literally, for their country.

Let us not forget that Iran is surrounded by US forces in the region.  From Cyprus to Afghanistan to Pakistan, Iraq and Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and plenty of navy ships in the Arabian Sea, there is no lack of American military might in the area.  http://www.aljazeera.com/...  Imagine if the US had that kind of military might of a foreign country surrounding our borders, after our resources, threatening to take military action against us.  Sometimes we need to imagine slipping our feet into someone else’s shoes to imagine what the reality is for those on the receiving end of our power posturing.

So, what are the solutions?  What are the objectives?  What can be accomplished to resolve the crisis in the area, to foster peace?

I don’t claim to have all of the answers, but let’s state the obvious.  The Palestinian people need to be treated properly, and Israel should be forced to uphold international law.  While Israel has every right to defend itself, it should not have the right to inflict such humanitarian atrocities on a population.  Yes, the Jewish people have a right to their own country, but so do the Palestinians.  How to solve this issue?  There are better people equipped to come up with good answers.  The Palestinians should be allowed to live with dignity and respect, free from oppression.  That should be addressed and supported.

Bibi needs to stop with the threatening of Iran.  Enough is enough already.  Why are we at the mercy of what Israel demands when WE are the ones sending billions in aid to them every year?  Why do we need to send aid to a country that is experiencing a robust economy?  Glad you are doing well, Israel, but guess what?  Americans need help with their own economy, thank you.  

If we are to hold Syria accountable to their chemical weapons, then we must also hold not only Israel, but OURSELVES accountable to chemical weapons.  They are a vile and cruel form of warfare, and while I am against all war, the stockpile that countries have now acquired, ANY country that has acquired, must be held accountable and subject to international laws.  If we are truly to be a country that talks about “exceptionalism” then we must be leaders in the world and not only demand other countries to respect international laws, but follow them as well.

We should also expect that Israel sign onto the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  http://www.jpost.com/...  Israel should not have any authority to decide what Iran does when Israel does not honor international laws.

I hope that President Obama continues talks with President Rouhani.  The people of Iran have suffered greatly from the sanctions imposed by the West.  It’s time to stop this.  The door has been opened for a renegotiation of goodwill between one time enemies.  Iran is not our enemy, and the Persian people do not hate those in the West.  They want a better country for their citizens, and a better future for their children.  The country is suffering 30% inflation, and 20% of it’s country is unemployed. http://www.politifact.com/...  Iran is not a military threat to other nations, it is a rich oil nation.

If we are to be exceptional, Mr. President, then we must stop the assault on the population of Iran, hold Israel accountable to international law, stop allowing the persecution of the Palestinian people,  and encourage peaceful relationships in the region.

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