Tag Archives: Ardeshir Zahedi

Iranian Society, Its Neighbors & Enemies

This Blog Post was originally posted on Iran Watching. It is posted here with permission from the Translator.
Iranian Society, Its Neighbors & Enemies by Ardeshir Zahedi, Iran’s Foreign Minister (1966-1973) in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Amir-Abbas Hoveida published 7 July, 2012 on BBC Persian website in Farsi

جامعه ایرانی‌، همسایگان و دشمنانش

اردشیر زاهدی

وزیر امور خارجه ایران در کابینه امیرعباس هویدا 

(بی‌ بی‌ سی‌ فارسی)

[Translator’s Note] I have translated this article from Farsi to English — I hope BBC Persian would not object to my humble translation. If there is any objection please comment, and I will correct it.

An important op-ed published in the website of BBC Persian by one of the most powerful figures of Pahlavi era, who among many things, served as Iran’s Foreign Minister, Ambassador to Britain, and USA. His lavish parties in Washington were legendary, and many American politicians did try to be his friend. Henry Kissinger is still among his friends. For all I know, he lives in U.S.A. Ardeshir Zahedi was Iran’s Ambassador to United States from 1973 till the victory of Islamic Revolution in 1979.

This commentary is inspiring, and thoughtful. It basically expresses the worries and anxieties of an eighty-three-year-old man,a Middle Easterner who is too familiar with the ways of West, and is too anxious that the fate of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan befalls his beloved Iran.I sense that this article is specially impressive for Farsi-speaking readers who are  familiar with the narrative of the post-Islamic Revolution in reference with the powerful figures of the Pahlavi era: “Corrupt Humans” “Lackeys of the Great Satan” “Traitors of Iran” “Alcohol-Drinking Infidels”. However, it is important to observe and recognize how increasing threats toward Iran has united almost all considerable factions of Opposition to Ayatollah to express their strong opposition to any military action against Iran by West, specially USA.   

All the hyper-links, all the brackets, [ ], and anything included in them, are all my doing, except when  [Ayatollah] is before Khomeini’s name, that’s when BBC Persian adds [Ayatollah], in Farsi of course. BBC Persian is very sensitive about calling Khomeini by his theological credentials.The bold texts are my doing as well. 

Read the English Translation:

Many times in recent decades, Iran and Iranians have demonstrated their desire for peace to the international community, and have toiled to maintain peace.

We proceeded to help our brother nations. When there were clashes between India and Pakistan, Iran worked very hard to solve it. Times and times again, Iran tried to end the contentions between Pakistan and Afghanistan or during the clashes between Pakistan and Malaysia, Iran intervened between prime ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Tunku Abdul Rahman. We allowed people of Bahrain which was part of Iran [to declare] independence. 

Bahrain has now become an American Military base and Bahraini police fired shots at its own people because of friendship with US. The Fifth Fleet of the United States Navy is situated in the waters of this very small country, a country which brutally oppresses any democratic movement. A Sunni family rules the country, while majority of the population is Shi’ite. 

When Arab nations imposed an Oil Embargo [in 1973 to protest support of Israel by USA and Europe in the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War], with just a phone call from the American President, Iran aided USA and supplied the needed oil for 7 U.S. Bases without demanding any special favor.

When South Yemen was a close ally of USSR, and threatened Saudi Arabia with a military attack at any moment, for two days and nights Iran sent various military equipment using C-130 planes [military transport aircraft] to prevent the fall of [the Kingdom of ] Saudi Arabia.

Iran has never sought to take revenge. Wasn’t it France which claimed to be a friend of Iran, but hosted [Ayatollah] Khomeini and gave him refuge on French soil? During the reign of Napoléon [Bonaparte], Iran had friendly relations with France. But, France betrayed Iran after [Napoléon’s] meeting with Tsar of Russia in 1807 in Tilsit. A story [of betrayal] that resulted in the 10-year war of Iran with Russia, and Iran lost Georgia and The Caucasus to Russia.

Don’t forget that Iran included Tajikistan during the reign of Nader Shah [1736–1747], and lost huge portions of its lands gradually due to domestic weakness. 

But, Iran’s misfortunes were not ended. After Iran’s attack to Herat [in Afghanistan which was part of Iran] to establish law and order, British Navy violated  our southern borders, and France’s meddling resulted in Naser al-Din Shah’s giving up parts of Afghanistan by signing the Treaty of Paris[1857]. Many similar incidents has been repeated in the history.During the reign of Tsars in Russia, France which claimed to be Iran’s ally, did not accept Iran’s ambassador until after Fat′h-Ali Shah [king of Iran, 1797- 1834] was defeated by Russian army. A result of this betrayal, was Russia imposing [the infamous] Turkamanchai Treaty[1828] on Iran.

In 1881, another agreement resulted in Iran losing some other land in Middle Asia, and Britain could gain control of important parts of Baluchistan in the same year.The reason was another agreement in 1907 [Anglo-Russian Entente] was imposed on Iran– this agreement was all brokered by France and its Foreign Minister at the time, The Oil Kings [1852-1923].

I repeat these [facts], so our youth know of [the extent of] the foreign intrusions in Iran affairs and the consequences of these [foreign] interferences for us.These [intrusions] do not date back to the time of Darius [the Great, 522-486 BCE], Anushirvan [Khusrau I, the most celebrated Emperor of Sasanid Dynasty, ruled 531-579 CE], Shah Abbas [the greatest ruler of the Safavid dynasty, ruled 1571–1629] and Nader [Shah]; these events happened in the nineteenth century and less than 150 years has past.

 Iranians must preserve their patriotic feelings. Any regime rules Iran, Iran is our mihan[homeland].  Iranians must decide their fate without any foreign intrusion and solve their current problems.

Some say Iran must be prevented from gaining nuclear energy. In a region where nuclear arms are part of the nations’ arsenals, countries such as Israel and India have not even signed Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

There is an old enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia that is either intensified because of the good relations between Saudi Arabia and U.S., or is escalated due to religious differences of Shia Iran and Sunni Arabia.To see roots of some of these disputes, I suggest reading “The Oil Kings” written by Andrew Scott Cooper, because answers to many question about the issues between Iran and Saudi Arabia can be found in this book. Since Iran has been accused of a plot to endanger the life of Saudi Ambassador in Washington, these enmities have intensified.

According to an agreement between US and Saudi Arabia, 84 F-15SA fighting jets are to be sold to Saudi Arabia and 70 existing F-15 fighting jets of Saudi Arabia get modernized and a cache of munitions, and spare parts be provided to Saudi Arabia. 

Reports imply that this Arms Sales Agreement will lessen tensions between US and Saudi Arabia, tensions which were heightened due to supporting role of United States in the recent unrests in Arab countries. Although United States has withdrawn its army from Iraq, this agreement shows US is still determined to continue its presence in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

Should we still be waiting to learn what motivations US has in selling arms to Saudi Arabia? Are these arms to be used for defending Saudi Arabia or attacking one of the region’s countries?
According to an American knowledgeable source, it is very likely that the arms sales will decrease the high employment rate in US, and will help Obama appeal to voters in the coming presidential election. 

United States has many times interfered in domestic affairs of other countries and each time for a single reason: to appeal to voters. In the past we witnessed such affairs in countries like Pakistan or Iraq. US attacked Iraq and invaded this country for ten years on the pretext that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and chemicals. But, no nuclear weapon was found in Iraq. US interfering in domestic affairs of Afghanistan and Pakistan has happened due to similar reasons. 

I highly oppose that the fate of Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan befalls my country. 

Wars have no victors. The victor of a war, and the loser of a war, are both losers. Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Iran has not attacked any country in the recent years. The eight-year war between Iran and Iraq only occurred after Iraq had gained permission from United States to attack Iran. 

It is reported my friend Henry Kissinger has said Iran and Iraq must war till one of them or both of them are totally destroyed. If Iraq had not attacked Iran, neither millions lost their lives, nor [Ayatollah] Khomeini could hold on [to power]. 

Sale of thirty billion dollars’ worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia to create jobs in the US is one matter, inciting enmity between two countries is a totally different matter. Don’t forget, Iran is not Libya. Iran has thousands of years of history. Each time that this country has been assaulted, its peace-loving and courageous people have defended the borders and never forgot their identity [and heritage]. 

According to a book by Lieutenant General Abdullah Azarbarzin, one of the  commanders of Iran Air Force [deputy commander in chief of operations for the Imperial Iranian Air Force in 1976], many Iranian pilots who were jailed as per [Ayatollah] Khomeini’s orders, [did not hesitate and] participated in that war to defend their country against the [foreign] occupiers. 

When Iraq attacked our country, all of us did put aside our political disagreements,united and defended our country for eight years. 

There was a time that all of us in the Middle East lived like sisters and brothers, which in my opinion was very rational. Religious disagreements did exist, but at no time were they as deep [and polarizing] as today. 

At these times, and with the religious conflicts and foreign intrusions, it is not clear what will happen in the future. 

Iran possesses 3 thousand years of history, and history testifies that Iran has been attacked many times in years, and has lost parts of its soil. Forms of these threats change in each era, but their nature has never changed in the course of history.


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