Prof. Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh is a prominent Iranian scholar of foreign policy and international relations. Alongside Prof. Hamid Mowlana, he is considered to be one of Iran’s foreign policy academia giants.
Despite his non-alignment to governmental organizations and his partial residence in London, where he chairs the Urosevic Research Foundation, Mojtahedzadeh explicitly defends Iran’s “inalienable right to possess peaceful nuclear energy” and criticizes the U.S. of applying double standards in the Middle East. He has been long avoided by the mainstream media outlets, as he represents an independent and objective voice regarding the issues of Iran.
Prof. Mojtahedzadeh obtained his professorship of Political Geography from the University of London and was a consultant for United Nations University from 1995 to 1996.
His recent book Boundary Politics and International Boundaries of Iran was published by the Universal Publishers in USA and he usually appears on independent media outlets, alternative newspapers and even the anti-Iranian chained radio and TV channels to propound his viewpoints.
Here is the first part of Foreign Policy Journal‘s interview with Prof. Mojtahedzadeh in which he discusses a broad range of Iran-related issues, from the nuclear standoff to the Persian Gulf disputes.
Professor Mojtahedzadeh; how do you analyze the U.S. double standards regarding the nuclear dossier of Iran? India, Pakistan and Israel have been already producing atomic bombs for their arsenals, and they enjoy immunity on the end of U.S. and U.N. Why is there no fulfillment of the demands of resolutions 1172 and 487 of the UNSC?
To address the first part of this question I might start by saying that what is universally referred to as U.S. double standards regarding Iran’s nuclear dossier in reality is another interpretation of the fact that with their unfounded fear of an Iranian bomb, the U.S. neo-conservatives failed for eight years to acknowledge Iran’s legitimate quest for nuclear energy. It was actually important at the time for a meaningful dialogue with Tehran to deter it from its alleged endeavor for expanding its nuclear technology to bomb-making, as Washington had declared to be their real concern, without being able to produce a shred of evidence in proving it, and in defiance of repeated IAEA reports of investigation that categorically announced no evidence was found to prove said allegations. Even now that the West apparently wants to settle this dispute, they apply the same double standard.
In his recent announcement of a plan for nuclear weapon reduction, British Prime Minister spoke of Iran’s lack of cooperation with IAEA investigations with the 5+1 strategy of the vilification of Iran’s rights and rightful positions, without even hinting to any thought or plan to deal with nuclear rogue states like Israel, Pakistan, and India, who have developed their nuclear arsenal in secret and in defiance of all international rules and regulations including NPT, while all three of the are countries of volatile stability and constantly at war with their neighbors. This is just a small hint of the scale of hypocrisy that the West has approached Iran’s nuclear program with so far.
The allegation that by its nuclear program Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons, though propagated before the neo-cons assumed power in George Bush Junior’s administration, was grossly exaggerated under the neo-cons. This was mainly because of the coincidence of two political developments at the height of Islamophobia of the West towards the end of the twentieth century. First, the neoconservatives found themselves in Bush Junior’s administration in a ripe position to fulfill their geopolitical vision of new world order through implementation of whatever means available to them, including the notion of unilateralism and the unethical idea of pre-emptive action in attempts for realization of regime change in the so-called ‘Greater Middle East’, which was but another name for the political arena traditionally known as the core areas of the world of Islam, and for such populist excuses as spreading democracy.
Secondly, [there is] the unprecedented success that Israel and the Jewish lobbies in the U.S. had achieved in deepening their influence not only on the new administration but within America’s process of decision making.
This development was so far reaching that I can safely say that no administration in the history of the United States had fallen so deeply and so extensively under the influence of Israel and Jewish lobbies as George W. Bush’s lot did. You just need to remember how anti-Iranian neo-con individuals both within and on the fringes of the administration, people like Dick Cheney, Joe Lieberman, John Bolton, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen and a large number of others worked hand in hand with AIPAC and other Zionist circles.
In their short-sighted views, these neo-con aids and advisers of the U.S. President thought of Iran as a terrorist nation who could not be trusted to have nuclear weapons while India, Pakistan and Israel who are constantly at war with their neighbors are welcomed to have it.
Though Iran had never opted for nuclear weapons, it is sad that the United States of America was not allowed to arrive at the wisdom that a geostrategic imbalance in any geopolitical region amounts to no less than a dangerous imbalance that ought to be the cause for concern about regional stability and global safety.
The U.S. President was deprived of the advice of wise people, which America has never been short of, that Iran is a major cultural, political, and strategic influence in the Middle East. The balances of forces between it and its rivals are the natural desire of the time and space. I explained in my open letter of 16 April 2006 to President Bush that for understandable historical reasons Israel tends to over-exaggerate its security concerns, and this is why Israeli leaders like Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres, and Netanyahu have convinced the United States [government] of the neo-cons that Iran has already manufactured a nuclear bomb, and the neo-cons bought that lie without any reservation.
They managed to confuse the world opinion with lies like with its nuclear energy program, Iran in reality wants to manufacture nuclear weapons to be used against Israel. Ariel Sharon went as far as declaring in the year 2000 that Iran had already manufactured 6 atomic bombs and wants to drop them on Israel. I argued in my letter to President Bush: Let us assume for the argument’s sake, that Iran has a nuclear bomb and wants to use it against Israel. How could anyone think that an Islamic State would dare to drop an atomic bomb on Israel without causing catastrophe to the Holy Mosque in Jerusalem, and to the Muslim nation of Palestine, the densely populated areas of which are situated in such a close proximity of Israel’s population centers.
Having said all that, we know that Israel’s real concerns is not security threats that it discerns to emanate from Iran’s nuclear program, but the reality is that Israel is highly agitated about the idea or possibility that Iran’s strategic use of its nuclear industry would create a real strategic balance between her and the Muslim world, which would deprive Israel of its present monopoly of nuclear power in the Middle East.
The second part of your question is about reasons for the U.S. double standard regarding implementation of UNSC resolutions against Iran and Israel; I might venture to say the reason is quite obvious. Not only does Washington dare not ask Israel to respect more than 60 legitimately issued U.N. resolutions to behave responsibly in its treatment of human beings in the region, but the United States has prevented the issue of many more resolutions on the basis of the slogan “America is committed to the security of Israel”.
In reality however, as I put to the U.S. President in my said letter, America has proved that it is obligated by the force of Zionist lobbies to commit itself blindly to supporting all Israeli excesses in the Middle East. But in respect of resolutions illegally passed against Iran as a result of U.S.-EU pressure, they cannot be enforced properly because there was no real commitment to it from the beginning by such powers as Russia, China and some of the E.U. states as well as the largest number of nations around the world who consistently demanded a peaceful settlement to the imposed crisis on the issue of the Iranian nuclear energy program, a demand that has culminated eventually in President Obama’s vision of settling problems with Iran through negotiations.
I referred to UNSC resolutions against Iran as “illegal”. My argument is based on the facts that although the IAEA investigations of the country proved that no evidence was found indicating an Iranian intention of using its nuclear industry for strategic purposes, the IAEA decided, on the instructions from Washington and Tel Aviv, as well as the European Union, to refer Iran’s dossier to the U.N. Security Council by invoking Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, whereas Chapter VII of the UN Charter specifies that a country can be referred to UNSC under that chapter only if it threatened the peace, has broken the peace, and/or has undertaken acts of aggression. Not only did the IAEA not accuse Iran of any of those, but the documents the IAEA included in the dossier in support of its referral consistently confirm that no evidence had been found that would incriminate Iran of trying to use its nuclear industry for strategic [military] purposes.
Hence, by trying to put Iran’s nuclear energy program on trial in a process legally unjustifiable, the U.N. Security Council has indeed put on trial its own integrity and credibility. This has made the international community emphatically demand a peaceful settlement of Iran’s nuclear energy crisis through diplomacy.
However, Iran is not the only country to pursue nuclear “ambitions”, as the American media has termed it recently. Brazil, Turkey, Argentina and even the tiny Arab nations of the Persian Gulf are looking to develop nuclear technology. Why is all of the American pressure set against Iran?
The answer to this is quite simple. The reason for U.S., U.K., and French media’s obsession with Iran’s nuclear program is what I described in my answer to your first question; and that is, unlike Iran, those countries do not have an enemy like Israel that is obsessed by Iranophobia and fanatically wants to wipe Iran off the map of the world.
To do so, they have done their best to make use of President Ahmadinejad’s ideological remarks that the state of Israel ought to be wiped off the pages of time, to justify their practical acts inside Iran in trying to enforce the disintegration of that country, while what Ahmadinejad had uttered was but an expression of ideological desire which was not supported by the state or people of Iran; neither was it supported by any practical plan or policy to be carried out. It was just ideological rhetoric that had been repeated many times before him in the world of Islam without having caused such a fuss. Israel makes no effort to hide these Iranophobic acts. It constantly threatens to invade Iran and on at least one occasion a former Israeli defense minister who spoke Persian threatened on the Persian Voice of Israel to start a nuclear war on Iran.
The Western media have been propagating the idea of an imminent war against Iran over the past years. What’s your idea about that? Aside from the rhetoric of Israel, which was apparently psychological warfare, are they going to launch a real campaign against Iran under the extremist Netanyahu?
Although Israel has great influence on the process of U.S. Middle East policy decision making, I do not think it is up to fanatical leaders of Israel to decide on war or peace on behalf of the West. You talk about Netanyahu as if he is the only fanatical Zionist leader in Israel and others might be less fanatical. To be frank, I do not see any difference of real substance between any of them. I do not see any difference between Netanyahu and people like [Ehud] Olmert, Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres and [Ehud] Barak, etc., when it comes to Islam and Iran. They all want war with Iran for the destruction of the Islamic Republic much the same way they managed to get the United States of neo-cons to do their dirty job in Iraq.
On the other hand, we all know very well that the talk of war against Iran has been conducted by the Jewish Lobby and Zionist circles, especially in the United States. People like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John Bolton, Lieberman etc. have been promoting war with Iran in close consultation with these warmongering circles. The same was done in respect to Iraq and the United States has experienced its devastating consequences. And I don’t think once bitten is not twice shy.
I do not think Israel is at all in a position to declare war on Iran without risking its own survival, and this fact is very well recognized in the West. Therefore Netanyahu and other Israeli warmongers’ threats of military invasion of Iran is in reality a tactical war to get the United States to do their dirty work. We know that they know that in order to prevent a major catastrophe arising from an Israeli military operation on major Muslim countries like Iran and Iraq, the United States must sometime decide to do it themselves. This was the reality in the case of Iraq and as I have explained this reality taught America a lesson that I do not think can be forgotten in the foreseeable future.
Let’s switch over to other Iran issues. What, in your view, is the reason for Iran’s passive stance toward the hypocritical and unfriendly manner of Arab neighbors? They threaten the national security of Iran by questioning its territorial integrity, ridiculing the foreign policy of Iran in their remarks and so forth. Why doesn’t Iran take decisive action against them?
In my opinion, the reason for the current Iranian government’s display of tolerance towards Arab intrigues against her is to be found in its geopolitical perception of its position in the Middle East as the umm-al-qura or the venerable centre of an Islamic campaign against the evil of “anti-Islamic” forces that oppress those Muslims who fight for their homeland and their national dignity and integrity.
This view directly clashes with the position of many Arab leaders who are deeply involved with the United States and Israel on the idea of the so-called Arab-Israeli peace process that had started from Camp David and other agreements which in practice, from the Iranian point of view, have sold out Arab groups like Hezbollah of Lebanon and Hamas of Palestine. Iran sees these groups as legitimate organizations democratically elected to lead an Arab and Palestinian campaign against Israeli occupation of Arab lands, and their activities have been endorsed democratically by their Arab nations.
This makes Ahmadinejad and his government venerable with Arab people, a position strongly detested by Arab leaders in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and to a lesser degree by Saudi Arabia and others. At the same time, some of these Arab leaders–particularly the King of Jordan, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, and some Saudi princes, together with active participation of Ehud Olmert and other Israeli leaders–concocted the theory of a “Shiite Crescent”, implying that as Iran is a Shiite majority nation, the Iranian regime, which has never shown any sectarian inclination in it regional and international strategies, is bound to work for the creation of a geopolitical alliance with Shiite majority countries of the region, which could put her in the dominant political position over the Sunni countries of the Middle East.
Leaders in Tehran are fully aware that while this idea so patently lacks any credible substance, it is concocted primarily to create an ideological rift between Iran and other Muslims in the Middle East, and is best ignored in order to deny it the needed stimulant to flare up and destroy Arab-Iranian friendship and cooperation.
From their point of view, the idea of a “Shiite crescent” does not cross the mind of the regime that has come into being on the basis of an Islamic fundamentalist revolution, and its practical politics in the Middle East suggests in no way that it is designed to include non-Shiite Arab countries like Syria and non-Shiite Arab groups like Hamas in a fanciful Shiite Crescent.
But this tactical decision of ignoring the mentioned ideas will not work in the face of the fact that major Arab and Muslim societies, like powerful circles in Saudi Arabia, seem to have embraced the conspiracy of Shiite Crescent and are acting on that belief. Others in the region like the UAE are also doing their fair share to harm the overall Arab-Iranian relations, seemingly on the excuse of pursuing an old territorial grudge against Iran, which is completely invalid from all historical, geographical, and legal points of view.
By actually ignoring all these intrigues, Dr. Ahmadinejad’s government has started a new round of charm offensive in the hope of preventing the Israeli desires of a complete rift among the Muslim nations of the region being realized.
American corporate media are excessively under the control of certain lobbies, which mostly censor the pro-Iranian remarks, news, reports and every kind of Iran-related information that is beyond their clichés and stereotypes. Are there some practical ways to confront this hostile stream?
It is not only American corporate media that are under the control of the Jewish lobbies and Zionist circles in the West, but even the British, French, Canadian, Italian and Australian outlets have also been under the control of these sinister circles, creating a chorus of anti-Iranian propaganda.
The governments in the West are also strongly influenced by the same Iranophobic circles, and these lobbies had declared themselves the national enemies of Iran as early as the emergence of the revolutionary regime in that country.
These lobbies, in close cooperation with Israeli leaders, did their best to get the West to spread Islamophobia, and in pursuit of Israel’s unholy designs against Iran they managed to get the neocon regime in the United States to formulate belligerent concepts like “pre-emptive” action for “regime change” for which they destroyed a whole nation, Iraq, and put the people of Iran under economic siege, nearly starting a war that could destroy the nation of Iran alongside many other nations in the Middle East.
These severe media-promoted economic sanctions against the people of Iran encouraged other evil treatment of Iran to the detriment of USA global standing as a defender of peace and democracy and to the detriment of their own credibility as promoters of truth. The media in the West pushed these extremist anti-Islam and anti-Iran views of said circles so far that their repercussions destroyed Christian Zionism and neo-con inclinations in the United States.
Western governments made no secret of their sigh of relief when America decided to throw the neo-cons out of office. I for one, have also been the subject of the media censorship for having defended Iran’s indisputable rights to nuclear energy, and a victim of an unholy campaign of vilification among some Arabs and Iranians even inside Iran.
I do not think we need to do anything to change this, because it seems with president Obama’s policy of “change”, especially change of attitude regarding Iran, this problem is also beginning to sort itself out.