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Charge of Electoral Fraud in Iran ‘Propagandistic’: Paul Craig Roberts


The outcome of Iran’s June 12 presidential election, which secured incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s position for another 4-year term, stirred up widespread controversy around the world and drew numerous condemnations, from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Muslim Canadian Congress.

Yet there are several progressive analysts and former state officials in the E.U. and U.S. who have dared to jeopardize their public standing by explicitly taking the side of the Iranian government, and denouncing foreign intervention in Iran’s internal affairs and covert efforts to topple the Islamic Republic establishment.

Paul Craig Roberts is among the prominent progressive pundits who have taken such a stand. An economist who served under President Ronald Reagan as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Roberts has been honored with the title of the “Father of Reaganomics”.

Roberts has long been absent from the pages of the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the other mainstream corporate media, preferring instead to be an independent voice of political non-alignment.

These days, you find him writing for Counterpunch.org, VDare.com, LewRockwell.com, and American Free Press, among others, and though his articles might not find much of a place in the mainstream media, his work is widely known and circulated worldwide.

“The charge that the Iranian election was stolen is propagandistic,” he told me in an exclusive interview for Foreign Policy Journal. “Iran is under attack because it is one of two remaining independent countries in the region. If Iran also falls under U.S. hegemony, it is the end of Syria’s independence and of Hamas and Hezbollah.”

In my extensive discussion with Paul Craig Roberts, he insisted that there is “hard evidence” of U.S. efforts to carry on a color revolution in Iran.

Your recent articles on the post-election unrest have been frequently translated and widely circulated in the Persian-language media outlets in Iran.

Based on your evidence, conservative pundits claimed that Mir-Hossein Mousavi was a close associate of the American initiatives and the democratization institutes, particularly the National Endowment for Democracy, raising the funds of his campaign through their financial assistance. Have you been informed of any hard proof for this possible linkage, or is this only suspicion or possibility?

The question my several columns addressed is U.S. participation in the protests following the recent Iranian election.  There is hard evidence that the U.S. government had a hand in the protests.

For example, neoconservative Kenneth Timmerman heads the Foundation for Democracy, which describes itself as “a private, non-profit organization established in 1995 with grants from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to promote democracy and internationally-recognized standards of human rights in Iran.” From various NED promoted “color revolutions”, as in Georgia and Ukraine, we know what that means.

Writing on June 11 prior to the Iranian election, Timmerman reported, “there’s talk of a green revolution in Tehran.”  In other words, something had been prepared prior to the vote, which raises flags about the spontaneity of the protests. Timmerman continued: “The National Endowment for Democracy has spent millions of dollars during the past decade promoting ‘color’ revolutions in places such as Ukraine and Serbia, training political workers in modern communications and organizational techniques. Some of that money appears to have made it into the hands of pro-Mousavi groups, who have ties to non-governmental organizations outside Iran that the National Endowment for Democracy funds.”

There are also numerous reports, such as the ones cited in my columns, that President George W. Bush signed an order in May 2007 for the CIA to mount a covert “black” propaganda and disinformation operation to destabilize and eventually topple the Iranian political regime. There are also a number of published reports that the U.S. government funds terrorist organizations within Iran that carry out assassinations and bombings. I have no inside information as to how the destabilization plan was implemented or whether Mousavi had any direct links to the PSYOPS activities.

Timmerman, who should know as he is involved in the business, says NED money intended to promote a “color revolution” reached pro-Mousavi groups. Under America’s terrorism laws, this would make Mousavi guilty, and then there is the duck test. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the chances are high that it is a duck. Mousavi declared his victory while people were still voting, according to some accounts, or before the votes were counted, according to other accounts. The purpose of such a premature announcement is to produce an uproar in the event of a different outcome. Other obvious elements of orchestration are apparent. They suggest that groundwork was laid for protests and that the protests were not entirely spontaneous.

According to a Washington Post report in 2007, then-President Bush was granted the authorization to spend some $400 million for activities ranging from espionage on Iran’s nuclear program to “supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics”. While Mir-Hossein Mousavi had been an Iranian governmental insider, having served 8 year as a prime minister  with close ties to some of the high-ranking clerics, could it be possible that his fans or his campaign associates might be ranked among the rebels who seek to topple the government?

This question could only be answered by those involved in the destabilization plan. My opinion, based on what I understand at this time, is that there are Iranian youth, especially in Tehran, who are secularized and westernized and who find the Islamic moral code oppressive. I don’t know where these youth got the idea that Mousavi, “the Butcher of Beirut”, would lift the burden of this code from their personal lives; nevertheless, it appears that the backbone of the protests in terms of numbers in the streets was the group of disaffected youths.

As for Mousavi and his powerful allies, such as Rafsanjani and Montazeri, I do not believe that their intention is to topple the government. These are ambitious and frustrated men who had lost out and wish to get back in the game. Making an issue of the elections was a way to do that.

Moreover, these are men accused of corruption by Ahmadinejad. They would not want an uncontested government in place that might act against them on corruption charges.  It is certainly possible that the CIA and the NED-funded-Iranians knew enough of the splits, ambitions, and animosities among the ruling class to exploit them. I don’t think there was a danger that the protests would topple the government. However, the protests have served the U.S. purpose of further discrediting and isolating the Iranian government, setting up Iran for more pressure or more sanctions or even a military attack.

There have been extensive and contradictory reports of foreign intervention in Iran’s post-election turmoil. The majority of Western leaders condemned the crackdowns, having previously expressed their outrage at the results and alleged irregularities. A question arises here, and that is on the reasons for Western leaders’ silence and apathy about the deteriorating process of democracy in the neighboring monarchies and semi-tyrannies; Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, etc. If they really care about democracy, why don’t they take steps to democratize these autocracies?

The charge that the Iranian election was stolen is propagandistic. Iran is under attack because it is one of two remaining independent countries in the region. If Iran also falls under U.S. hegemony, it is the end of Syria’s independence and of Hamas and Hezbollah.  The campaign against Iran has nothing to do with the state of Iranian democracy or elections and the campaign has little to do with nuclear energy or weapons. The allegation of an Iranian nuclear weapon is the fear factor equivalent to Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction”.  What the U.S. cannot tolerate is Iran’s existence as an independent country.

Did the U.S. corporate and mainstream media organize structural and pre-planned efforts to sow the seeds of uncertainty and ambiguity about the results of Iran’s presidential elections during the campaign season and even before the election took place?

The U.S. media’s demonization of Ahmadinejad during his first term created the foundation for the propagandistic charge that Ahmadinejad stole his reelection. Everything that Ahmadinejad did, said, and did not say was used to demonize him in the Western media.

For example, the false charge that Ahmadinejad wants to “wipe Israel off the map” is based on an incorrect translation that many language experts have exposed. Yet, the entire western media continues to report every time Ahmadinejad is mentioned that he wants to wipe Israel off the map.

In the years preceding the recent Iranian election, Ahmadinejad was portrayed as an embarrassment and an oppressor whom Iranians would remove in the next election.

What’s your idea on the prospects for Iran’s relations with the West under the shadows of the current row? Should Iran pursue a confrontational and antagonistic foreign policy in order to avoid becoming a “U.S. puppet” and an “E.U. stooge” in the eyes of global public opinion?

It is not Iran that is pursuing a confrontational foreign policy. It is the U.S. government. The U.S. government is antagonistic to the 30-year old Islamic government in Iran because it overthrew the U.S. puppet government in Iran. The U.S. government hides its antagonism behind moral veils such as “women’s rights”, “democracy”, “human rights”, and so forth, but the real intention is to bring Iran to heel. Whether Iran remains independent might depend on how Russia and China view the American threat to themselves.

Inarguably, one of the main reasons the Western media outlets and political leaders dislike Ahmadinejad is his steadfast stance on the nuclear program. According to the new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief, there hasn’t been any categorical evidence for Iran’s atomic deviation, and U.S. statesmen haven’t shown any proof either. Given the forceful remarks of President Obama, who has expressed his commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons technology, should we expect the continuance of belligerence and hostility between the two governments in the coming years?

The nuclear weapon issue is a pretext for Washington, not a real issue. It is merely a way to paint Iran as a threat. If Iran were to develop a weapon, it could not be used against Israel without destroying the Palestinians as well, and perhaps Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and areas of Syria.

As a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, Iran is permitted a nuclear energy program. The IAEA inspections, to which Iran submits, are designed to detect any diversion to a weapons program. The U.S. government should stop making false charges against the Iranian government. If the IAEA finds evidence of a weapons program, then it would be appropriate for the U.S. to lead in imposing sanctions. Instead, the U.S. government has put the cart before the horse, imposing sanctions and threatening military attack prior to any evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

The unanimous NIE [National Intelligence Estimate] report concluded that Iran had abandoned its weapons program 5 years ago. As for Ahmadinejad, he lacks the authority to decide for or against a nuclear program, whether energy or weapons. Ahmadinejad is not the leader of Iran. He is essentially an administrator and a spokesman, a chief operating officer.

Source: Foreign Policy Journal

Original article published on July 11, 2009

About the author

Kourosh Ziabari is a member of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity. This article may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source and author are cited.

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UMMA : 15/07/2009