Text and photos by the author
Why should I care whether Iran has nukes? It most likely doesn’t, but even if it does… it never attacked anyone, never overthrew any government, and never performed experiments on human beings. It had not committed a single genocide, and never dreamed about conquering the world.
So why should I even bother to think much about Iran’s nuclear program, big or small, “peaceful” or defensive?
If Iran is capable of defending itself – then excellent; I am only happy! At least it will not be wiped out from the face of the Earth, as happened to its unfortunate neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan or to a bit more distant but not more fortunate countries like Libya.
Do I want this great, ancient Iranian culture to become defenseless and to eventually disappear, to be destroyed, or to get replaced by aggressive Western consumerism, arrogance and pathological lack of compassion? Or more concretely: Do I want Iran to turn into yet another Western colony? I don’t! I want it to survive and to thrive. As I want great Chinese and great Arab cultures to survive and flourish. As I want all cultures on earth to survive and flourish.
But it seems that, as the Empire is on its final bellicose and ideological crusade, unless a truly independent nation begins to roar, unless it shows both its teeth and its missiles, it has almost no chance to survive.
Iran is roaring and it is also logically explaining where it stands. It has both guts and big heart!
Iran is ordered to prove its “innocence”, all the time. There are entire “international” (sponsored and handled by the West) organizations and commissions challenging its course, sticking their muzzles into Iran’s internal affairs.
Iran is told to comply, “or else”. Its tormentors insist on “transparency”, while themselves staying in total murkiness. They are above the law; in fact they are the law. In the world they created, they themselves don’t have to prove absolutely anything, while their victims are routinely challenged, scrutinized, cornered, bullied and humiliated.
After suffering, after bleeding incessantly, it appears that Iran had finally enough. It is no longer willing to play this neo-colonialist game. It is now going public with its grievances.
At the opening of the “2nd International Congress on 17.000 Iranian Martyrs”, (held in Teheran on August 31 – September 1st, 2015) I was allowed to speak right after the President of Iran, Mr. Hassan Rouhani.
President Rouhani gave a powerful speech about the terrorism in the region: “Maybe for many people it is something new, but not for us… Today there are powers in Europe and the United States – they are silent about some terrorist groups, while supportive of others. Can we really win against the terrorism like this?”
“You are being targeted because you are taking care of your people”, I said after him, in my speech, as I was designated a keynote speaker of the Conference. “Iran suffers similar attacks as Latin America. Western imperialism tries to destroy virtually every revolutionary, socialist country. But the world is changing and you are not alone. As Latin America is not alone.”
17.000 Iranian victims; 17.000 human lives lost. And almost no one in the West seems to know! How convenient. How cowardly. How servile!
The West supports the Saudis, Qataris and other Wahhabi extremists. It had been arming ISIL (Dash). It already destroyed almost every socially oriented, moderate and secular nation in the Muslim world, from Yemen to Syria, from Egypt to Indonesia. Little surprise that independent-minded and proud Iran is now at the very top of the Empire’s hit list.
After all, Iran is standing by Syria and it is supportive of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hezbollah is the only true social force in that otherwise collapsing country; the only social force that incorporates several religious and ethnic groups. And it is locked in a dogfight with ISIL, and it fights Israel whenever Israel decides to invade Lebanon. That is why Hezbollah is also on that hit list (or call it “terrorist list”) of the West. The fact that Teheran is backing Hezbollah is yet another reason why Iran is ostracized by Washington, London and Paris.
…It is time for the Western public to wake up and pay attention to the fact that thousands of common Iranian people are dying, have been murdered, for absolutely no reasons… both common people, as well as prominent figures, including some of the country’s top scientists.
I saw mothers and wives holding photos of their murdered loved ones, in terrible grief. I saw men without legs. I saw archive photos depicting aftermaths of countless horrific terrorist explosions, executed by The Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization (MKO), an anti-Iran terrorist group, and by other pro-Western groups.
To me, all this was not new, but it is shocking nevertheless. I saw how the Empire has been murdering thousands, even millions of those who have been reluctant to succumb to its dictate – in the Middle East, in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
But here, in Iran, the West has been behaving with almost absolute ludicrousness. While torturing the country, it was shamelessly insisting that the entire world should actually fear it and despise it. Its propaganda against Iran reached crescendo.
And while murdering Iranian people directly or through vicious sanctions, the West has been demanding from Teheran ever newer proves of its “guiltlessness”.
The entire situation would be grotesque, truly laughable, if those thousands of innocent people would not be dying.
When I spoke in Teheran, my voice was shaking. I addressed the Iranian government and the academia: “We are all brothers”, I said, old images of Chavez and Ahmadinejad embracing, appearing in my mind. Then I recalled the US-sponsored coups in Venezuela, and few moments later, those thousands of innocent, slaughtered Iranian civilians.
I spoke about resistance to imperialism, about new powerful media outlets in Latin America, Russia, and China as well as in Iran itself.
I told them about my 1.000-page book “Exposing Lies of the Empire”, depicting virtually all corners of the globe that have already been ravished by the West. I spoke about those fascist, fundamentalist doctrines behind such attacks. I told them what I saw, how devastated I have been, but also how determined to resist! And I concluded:
“Why is Iran one of the main targets of the terrorists who are supported by the West? It is obviously because Iran is doing many of the right things, for its own people and for the world!”
*Iran, one of the most criticized and scrutinized nations, is in reality one of the most peaceful and long-suffering countries on earth.
The West has been tormenting the Iranian people sadistically, continuously and relentlessly.
Since the ancient Greek Empire, Iran (Persia) was continuously invaded and partitioned, although never fully colonized.
In 1953 the US and Britain overthrew the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh, a socialist leader dedicated to social changes. During his government, the Iranian people were enjoying subsidized housing, good education and medical care. He also launched a comprehensive land reform. In order to improve life of Iranian people, he nationalized Iran’s oil industry. The Brits and the North Americans, of course, considered such behavior as unacceptable. Mosaddegh was ousted, and a tyrant monarch, Shah, put on the throne. Cheap oil began to flow to the West, while thousands of Iranian people were savagely tortured and killed. The Empire later committed the same crimes in Indonesia (1965) and in Chile (1973), to name just two places.
After the Shah was forced to leave, the West armed and encouraged Iraq to invade its neighbor, Iran. In 1980, a terrible war erupted. As a result, around one million people died.
When Iran decided to develop its peaceful nuclear program, brutal sanctions were imposed, destroying lives of millions, including women and children.
Then the extremist terrorist groups were “put to work” by both the West and Israel. Their goal was to spread fear and devastation, and to murder Iran’s prominent scientists.
Attempts to destabilize Iran are constant but have proven to be futile.
Shaken, injured but determined, Iran is facing vicious attacks calmly and with dignity. The more self-respect it radiates, the more vicious propaganda and loud barking are coming from the West, and the more chilling are the threats.
The position of Washington, Paris and London is obvious (and it has been for centuries): non-Western countries have no right to defend themselves. They only exist in order to supply North America and Europe with cheap raw materials and labor. They cannot decide their fate.
And there is no compromise on the table. Either a country fully submits to the Western dictate, or it is destroyed.
But Iran refused to accept such “arrangement” of the world. Too mighty to be out rightly attacked, it rose against Western global dictatorship. Of course Russia did, too. And so did China. Most of Latin American countries did as well. And now several African and Asian countries are also determined to join those who are refusing to kneel.
The West trembles: its dogmas are being challenged! And it does what it has been doing for many terrible centuries: it is trying to murder, to deceive and to trick. It is desperately fighting for being able to maintain its iron grip on the World.
*At the Conference, ideas were exchanged, and concepts erected. Several speakers described how the West has been supporting extreme, ultra-conservative Islamic teaching -Wahabbism – and used it against the socialist Islam, against countries like Turkey, against several Arab states, against the Soviet Union, China and now against Iran. Ahmadinejad called Wahhabism “a cancer that made the entire Middle East sick.” I also argued that it is also making sick entire Indonesia.
One of the speakers, Professor Azizi, declared from the stage of Shahid Beheshti University Conference Center:
“Americans intend to establish their own religion, their own version of Islam… They created DAESH (ISIL) in order to support such version, such “new religion”… They do it this way, covertly, because they would not dare to fight Islam openly, fearing a great backlash.”
I heard terms like “social terrorism”.
Finian Cunningham, renowned columnist from Northern Ireland, compared the operations of British death squads in his country to other acts of terror that the Empire has been spreading all over the world, including places like Yemen and Iran: “Illegal war of aggression against sovereign nations.”
I was told by several Iranian participants, repeatedly, that one hidden “secret” which the Western media has been keeping away from the public, is that both Ahmadinejad and Chavez were actually building two respective socialist countries, two states with different history and cultures, but with very similar, socialist principles.
Western propaganda is depicting Iran as some brutal religious dogmatic state, not as an enormous 80-million inhabitants country that is re-inventing itself on the values of the socialist Islam.
High above the city, at the viewing platform of the magnificent Milad Tower, I listened to a passionate discourse of my new friend, Soraya Sebahpour-Ulrich, a great Iranian thinker, and a stepdaughter of a former cabinet minister who also happened to be the Shah’s ghostwriter:
“The world sees Iran not as it is, but as it is projected by Western media. It pains me. I see the kindness and beauty, and then I am told that it is being ugly. And this destructed image is stabbing me in the heart. I just want to say: ‘I am Iran and Iran is me… I want people to see me as I am, and I want them to see real Iran.”
Soraya also believes that Iran is a socialist country, and she wants it to stay this way: “This is Iran that I love and appreciate much more than that Iran, where I had a very privileged life.”
*I report that I saw great socialist city – Teheran – standing tall, proud and determined.
Teheran with its old bazaars and mosques, palaces and mountains, but above all with thousands of projects designed to provide welfare for its people.
In Teheran, like in Caracas, I witnessed a breathtaking struggle for a better world. Sanctions or not, Teheran is impressive, with its modern public transportation system, huge public parks, wide sidewalks, vast cultural institutions, free medical facilities and schools.
I did not see slums. I did not see people begging. I did not witness frustration or rage. Instead, I felt kindness at each and every corner, and I also felt great confidence of the nation with tremendous culture and 5 thousand years of recorded history.
At one point, I was driven to the studios of Press TV and asked to comment on the diplomatic conflict between the USA and Russia. There was absolute trust. Few minutes later, IRINN TV interviewed me on the West–Iran relationship. Radio stations, including IRIB, were lining up, microphones ready. Some interviews were live. No one was asking those ‘BBC screening question’: “What are you going to say, Mr. Vltchek?”
It was like interacting with other progressive channels – like TeleSUR or RT.
Iran was not scared of me, as I was not scared of Iran.
What I said in Teheran, I have been saying again and again in Caracas, Quito, Beijing and Pretoria: “If we are united, we will never be defeated! Venezuela may appear far away on the world map, but in reality it is standing right here, shoulder to shoulder with you.”
The powerful specter of a united, internationalist, and anti-imperialist block horrifies the West. That is why Iran is now under attack. That is why fascist gangsters are hitting Venezuela. That is why the imperialists are encircling Russia and China. That is why Western propaganda is demonizing all proud and noble countries around the world.
17.000 Iranian victims of terrorism sponsored by the West. More than one million victims since the West overthrew the progressive government in 1953. What a tremendous toll! But true freedom is priceless.
I report that Iran is standing! And it will not succumb to vicious and senseless attacks. It will never kneel, because it knows – surrendering would lead directly to slavery.
One is of course tempted to ask: how much is too much? How many people have to die, before the patience of the oppressed of the world runs out?
I interacted with many Iranian people. Their peaceful nuclear program does not scare me. And it does not scare people of Western and Central Asia. Iranian culture is thousands of years old and it is deep and tolerant. It gained the trust of the world; of people who are not blinded by toxic propaganda.
But I have to admit that the Western Empire increasingly disgusts me, as it terrifies billions of people all over the world. It already lost all breaks, all sense of decency. It already ruined and finished billons of lives, by spreading and forcing its fundamentalist dogmas, its greed and incomparable brutality. I don’t want more lives to be destroyed. I don’t want more countries, more nations, to be shattered.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter: @AndreVltchek .
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