Ron Paul and Iran: A Love Story

Unless you have been living in another dimension, you are probably aware that the rogue nation of Iran has repeatedly expressed its desire to wipe us and our ally Israel off the face of the Earth.

Sure. You’re aware.  However, one of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination seems to think that if we just left them alone, the Iranians would forget about how badly they despise us, and we could sit on a hilltop and have a Coke and a smile together.

Perhaps this individual needs a history lesson.  Sherman, start up the Wayback Machine:

In 1953, the CIA staged “Operation Ajax,” which unseated a duly elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, and reinstated Mohammed Reza Pahlavi as Iran’s traditional and ancestral shah (monarch). The agreement stipulated that, in exchange for military and economic aid to Iran, there would a continuous supply of oil to the U.S.

Pahlavi, however, made some bad decisions. In the early 1960s, he promised his people increased personal freedoms and other social reforms. That didn’t happen.

The shah’s wealth grew, and he succumbed to the temptations of a luxurious western lifestyle, which angered the Iranian people, especially the religious right wing. The clergy began to preach long and loud against the shah and his queen, which stirred the masses to revolt. The shah was forced to abdicate the throne again and leave the country in January 1979.

The new ruler, Ayatollah Khomeini (pronounced Ko-MAY-nee), railed against the American government, denouncing it as the “Great Satan” and “Enemy of Islam.”

When the shah was diagnosed with lymphoma, he requested to be treated by U.S. doctors. His request was granted. That was the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back,” and so enraged Iranians that a rabble stormed the American Embassy in Teheran.

On November 4, 1979, an angry mob of some 300 to 500 “students” who called themselves “Imam’s Disciples,” laid siege to the American Embassy in Teheran, Iran, to capture and hold hostage 66 U.S. citizens and diplomats. Although women and African-Americans were released a short time later, 51 hostages remained imprisoned for 444 days with another individual released because of illness midway through the ordeal.

After months of failed negotiations and a failed rescue attempt by the Carter Administration, the hostages were released the very day that Ronald Reagan became the President of the United States.

You’re probably saying, ” Certainly the present leadership in Iran has gotten better than it was back then?

Nope.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the sixth and current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the main political leader of the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, a coalition of conservative political groups in the country. An engineer and teacher from a poor background, Ahmadinejad joined the Office for Strengthening Unity after the Islamic Revolution. Appointed a provincial governor, he was removed after the election of President Mohammad Khatami and returned to teaching. Tehran’s council elected him mayor in 2003. He took a religious hard line, reversing reforms of previous moderate mayors. His 2005 presidential campaign, supported by the Alliance of Builders of Islamic Iran, garnered 62% of the runoff election votes, and he became President on 3 August 2005.

Ahmadinejad is a controversial figure both within Iran and internationally. He has been criticized domestically for his economic lapses and disregard for human rights. He launched a gas rationing plan in 2007 to reduce the country’s fuel consumption, and cut the interest rates that private and public banking facilities could charge. He supports Iran’s nuclear energy program. His election to a second term in 2009 was widely disputed and caused widespread protests domestically and drew significant international criticism. In 2011 the presence of a so-called “deviant current” among his aides and supporters led to the arrest of several of them.

Last night, at the Republican debate in Sioux City, Iowa, Ron Paul caused a lot of jaws to drop in incredulity:

Paul said there was “no U.N. evidence” that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program, calling claims to the contrary “war propaganda.”

“To me the greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact, and we will soon bomb Iran,” he said. “We ought to really sit back and think, not jump the gun and believe that we are going to be attacked. That’s how we got into that useless war in Iraq and lost so much.”

Paul said it “makes more sense” to directly engage with Iran diplomatically. And he even praised President Obama for “wisely backing off on sanctions” against Iran, which he called overreaching.

“We have 12,000 diplomats in our services. We ought to use a little bit of diplomacy once in a while.”

Rick Santorum and then Michele Bachmann rebutted Paul. Santorum equated the leadership of Iran to Al Qaeda and said that the U.S. should be ready to strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“We know without a shadow of a doubt that Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally, Israel, off the face fo the map,” Bachmann said. “And they’ve stated they will use it against the United States of America. We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan.”

Or Ron Paul and his devout followers.

I’m not sure how much tin foil hats cost the days, but I do know that the price of naivete in foreign affairs is nuclear annihilation.

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