Most people in the United States have no hostility to Iran. Despite deceptive media campaigns and confused propaganda, the average person in New York, California, Texas, Iowa, Alabama, or Michigan does not believe that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a “threat.” Most people in the United States are more worried about finding jobs, paying their mortgages and student loan bills, and trying to survive amid the barely noticeable “economic recovery.”
Studies show that it is the young people of the United States, the ones suffering the most in the new low-wage economy, who are the least hostile to Iran. This new generation, dubbed “millennials” in the US media, voted for Obama in record numbers. They did so hoping they could repudiate the politics of fear-mongering and militarism commonly identified with the Republicans. Polls show that they favor more cooperation with Iran, and are not taken in by scare-mongering propaganda about the notion that Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.
The fact that the June 30 deadline has arrived and no deal ending the sanctions has been reached is not a reflection of popular sentiments in the United States. Rather, it is an illustration that three specific special interest groups have effectively secured their hold on the US political apparatus. Despite the rising discontent recently displayed in the streets of Baltimore, three specific entities still exercise an astronomical amount of influence over US policy. Much to the frustration of the world, this triangle of evil demonstrates that it is still able to overrule the massive sentiment for peace.
The Oil Cartels
The primary interest opposed to any deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran is the oil corporations. Iran’s oil was once the de facto property of Wall Street and London bankers. This was reversed in 1979, when Iran was shaken with a massive uprising against the US-supported dictator.
The popular revolution secured control of Iran’s resources for the Islamic Republic. The Islamic government represents a network of millions of politically involved Iranians with anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist sentiments. The Islamic Republic is based in neighborhood committees and a popular military organization called the Revolutionary Guard. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution is Ali Seyed Khamenei. The Revolutionary Guard Corps and the network of Islamic community organizations are accountable directly to him.
With control of the natural resources, Iran has taken gigantic steps toward improving the life of its population. Medical care is provided free to all citizens by the Ministry of Health. University education is free to all citizens who pass the entrance exams. Literacy has become universal, even in the most isolated rural areas.
The nationalized oil resources have created a vibrant domestic economy. Since the revolution, many Iranians have opened their own businesses. Despite having a broad market sector, the Iranian economy is tightly regulated by the government in order to ensure that Islamic principles and the mass revolutionary organizations keep the upper hand. Iranian leaders are very clear that they oppose the western model of capitalism, where profit comes before all else.
The economic setup of Iran, based on nationalized oil, has always been a problem for the oil corporations based in the United States and Britain. Iran, like Venezuela, exists as a stable competitor, exporting oil and developing its economy independently of the west.
The reason for big oil’s desperate opposition to any lifting of the sanctions is obvious. The sanctions on Iran restrict its petroleum exports. If the sanctions were lifted, Persian oil would flow into the international markets. The Iranian state-owned oil apparatus and the independent economy built up around it would greatly expand. The already low oil prices would drop even further. US oil profits would go down, and a competitor would get stronger. The opposition of big oil to a deal with Iran is defined by basic economics.
The Weapons Manufacturers
After the oil corporations, the second source of major hostility to a deal with Iran is the weapons manufacturers. In the United States, manufacturing missiles, fighter helicopters, uniforms, military satellites, computer programs, tanks, guns, ammunition, and anything else associated with militarism is big business.
The United States has the world’s largest military budget. In addition, the United States is the world’s primary arms manufacturer and exporter.
In addition to the US armed forces, the primary recipients of US-manufactured weapons and military hardware are Iran’s hostile neighbors. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia now has the fourth-largest military budget in the world, with its weapons being purchased almost exclusively from the United States. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and other US-aligned autocracies in the Persian Gulf are also major purchasers of the US weapons. Their budgets have dramatically risen in the last five years, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
In addition, each year the United States government gives an undisclosed amount of military hardware to Israel. The total cost of US taxpayer-financed military equipment given directly to Israel over the last few decades is estimated to be at least tens of billions of dollars. US weapons are also being directly supplied, also at US taxpayer expense, to the violent insurgency against the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran’s ally. The United States military itself also has various military bases and thousands of troops in the Middle East.
Better relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran would cut into one of the biggest money-making schemes in history: war in the Middle East. If Iranian influence greatly expands, and the people of the region begin to coexist peacefully, Raytheon, Boeing, General Electric, and all the other merchants of death will lose out.
Iranian influence is a threat to weapons manufacturers primarily because the Islamic Republic is working hard to stabilize this historically unstable region. In recent times, one of the primary efforts of Iranian foreign policy has been to stop the spread of religious and ethnic-based violence.
Iran has been promoting cooperation between Sunnis and Shias. In Syria, Iran is actively supporting a government that represents Christians, Sunnis, secularists, communists and Alawites. The US and its allies are funding the takfiri extremists who seek to create a Sunni caliphate.
In Iraq, Iran and its allies have been attempting to re-unify the different religious minorities in the country against the campaign of violence from Saudi-funded Sunni extremist organizations.
At the United Nations, Iranian representative Hossein Dehghani revealed that a railroad connecting Afghanistan and Iran is currently being constructed. Dehghani explained that Iran’s plan for halting the violence in Afghanistan is based on developing the Afghan economy with “trade and transport,” and working with China to curb narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
In the Middle East, Iran is a source of economic and political stability, developing independently and seeking to bring religious groups closer together. Within Iran itself Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians coexist peacefully under an Islamic government. It is obvious why those who profit from war and chaos would be opposed to anything that may strengthen Iranian influence.
The Israel Lobby
Israel was forcibly established in 1948, and since that time it has been brutally repressing Palestinians and attacking its neighbors. Opposition to Israel, as well as sympathy for its victims, is almost universal throughout the region.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has supported the Palestinian resistance, despite having many religious and political differences with its leadership. Iranian support for Palestine is not done for geopolitical or strategic reasons, but as a matter of principal. Iranian leaders declare, “We are on the side of the oppressed,” and have championed Palestinian resistance consistently and without pause since the moment their revolution was victorious.
After the 1979 revolution, Iran’s revolutionary leader Imam Khomeni declared that the last Friday of Ramadan be declared “The Day of Al-Quds.” Since the time of this declaration, there have been massive global protests against Israeli crimes on this day, not just in the Middle East, but all over the world.
The forces who are consistently dedicated to preserving Israel and defending its interests above all else see the Islamic Republic of Iran as their primary target. For Israel and its network of supporters around the world, all other targets in the region are secondary. The terrorists in ISIS have declared, “God has commanded us never to attack Israel.” The various Sunni takfiri groups receive funding from Saudi Arabia, and are restrained as they carefully comply with the wishes of this US-aligned monarchy. Zionists know that Iran is the biggest danger to the continuance of Israel’s racist and criminal activities.
The Israelis have long sought to promote division within the region. Israeli leader Oded Yinon openly declared this to be the strategy of Zionist foreign policy. Iran’s efforts to curb religious sectarianism, while threatening the profits of weapons manufacturers, also point toward something that Israel is very afraid of: the unity of the various Muslim and Arab peoples in the region. The Israelis know that a unified block of anti-Zionist resistance would spell the end of their colonial project.
The Israeli government has a vast network of supporters around the world. Many Jews and evangelical Christians are indoctrinated from the time they are young children to become fanatical supporters of Israel. With methods that would commonly be recognized as brainwashing in any other context, millions of people spend their lives within Israel’s web of deception. They are taught to view Israel as infallible despite its record of horrendous atrocities, and to see all innocent children killed by Israelis as “terrorists.”
The American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee has a budget of millions of dollars, and is one of the most well established political lobbies, having sway over both the Democratic and Republican parties. Various nonprofits such as the Jewish United Fund in Chicago also work as miniature Israeli proxies. Young Christians and Jews in the United States are frequently sent to Israel for political indoctrination. The US media largely presents a pro-Israeli perspective on international events, treating all who display pro-Palestinian sentiments as “terrorist sympathizers.”
The phrase “Israel lobby” is anything but an anti-Semitic code for “Jewish conspiracy,” as Zionists claim. The term refers to a well funded global apparatus of Christians, Jews, and even a growing number of atheists who have been well trained to see unconditional defense of a serial human rights violator as their sacred duty.
Wall Street Stands Against Peace
The place where oil cartels, weapons manufacturers, and Israel supporters are most closely concentrated is on Wall Street. Most major US banking institutions contain all three elements. Digging even slightly into the most powerful circles of global financial power will reveal investments in oil, weapons, and Israeli-aligned entities.
The most obvious example is Chase Bank. Chase is financially in control of General Electric, one of the top Pentagon contractors and weapons manufacturers. Chase Bank is also the owner of ExxonMobile, the gigantic oil corporation. General Electric, also under the dominion of Chase Bank, also owns MSNBC, a major TV news network that puts forward a blatant pro-Israel perspective on world events.
The owners of Chase Bank, one of the primary institutions on the global market, simply cannot tolerate an ending of the economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. Profit margins would dramatically decrease.
Though the majority of people in the United States have no hostility toward Iran, and would probably benefit from improving relations, the hostility continues. Rising tensions between the United States and Iran serves to benefit a small but wealthy elite.
The improvement of US-Iran relations will require a huge shift in the balance of forces within US politics. At the moment, every effort is being made by the richest and most powerful people to prevent such an occurrence, and to keep the increasingly dangerous state of affairs intact.
The struggle of the people in the United States who desire peace, not further economic and covert warfare against Iran, is intrinsically bound up with other ongoing confrontations. The struggle for peace is directly linked to the struggle against police brutality and racism. It is bound up with the call to raise the minimum wage and secure the rights of low-wage workers.
A change in US-Iran relations will require the people of the United States, who are becoming more and more frustrated with the decaying state of affairs at home, to assert their own power. Ending the continued efforts to attack and isolate the Islamic Republic of Iran will require the defeat of big money and an upsurge of people’s power
Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.