25.01.2020 Author: Viktor Mikhin

United States and Iran, So What’s Next?


A fairly dangerous situation involving Iran has seemingly remained unchanged for some time now. Each side is waiting for its adversary to make the next move, but no one is taking any decisive actions as yet. They are, at present, equalizing their positions and evaluating pluses and minuses. In the meantime, more and more questions are arising among members of the global community about the peculiar downing of a Ukrainian plane in Iran.

Ultimately, one question being asked with great frequency is “Who benefits from this and why was the Ukrainian aircraft shot down at that very moment specifically near the international airport in Tehran?” Only a couple of days after the incident, crystal clear footage showing two missiles being launched and the destruction of the plane was broadcast by CBS Evening News nation-wide. And it is worth mentioning that the video does not appear to have been shot using a smartphone, instead it has all the hallmarks of a film produced in Hollywood. One can see the launch of the first missile, its trajectory (a circle is drawn around the weapon to add clarity for the viewers), it hitting the aircraft and the first explosion. The second missile is then launched, and we see more of the same. After the rockets have found their target, the plane falls to the ground and burning debris is shown on the ground. As if according to a previously devised plan, the Iranian government then informs the public about the timely capture of the individual who made the video. What is strange is that, for years, the Iranian authorities have been unable to locate many opponents of the current regime or to arrest them. But in this particular case, there was an immediate arrest. One is left with the impression that if it had been necessary, the cameraman behind the footage could have been arrested even before the aircraft was shot down. In the meantime, another question arises “Who said that those missiles had been launched in Iran to target the Ukrainian plane?” After all, we only saw footage but not the coordinates of any locations. In fact, nowadays, computer game imagery created in the West is hard to distinguish from reality.

The second question that arises and many are asking is “Why did Tehran accept the “blame” without waiting for proof?” Perhaps there are other culprits responsible for this tragedy. Hence, Iran’s fairly intelligent and sensible Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif offered an official apology to the victims’ families and clearly stated that the tragedy had been caused by “human error” but American “adventurism” was mainly to blame. It would indeed be difficult to express Iran’s position on the issue more clearly.

Normally, a party accused of downing an aircraft either fails to accept responsibility for its actions or blames the tragedy on unfortunate circumstances. Still, it does compensate the victims for their loss in order to prevent an international scandal from flaring up. For instance, on a perfectly fine summer day on 3 July 1988, “courageous” American sailors shot down an Iranian Airbus with 290 passengers, including 66 children, on board over Iranian territorial waters. U.S. President at the time, Ronald Reagan, said the downing of the jetliner was a “proper defensive action” and refused to compensate the families of the victims. Only a ruling by the International Court of Justice in 1996 compelled the United States to pay the victims’ relatives a negligible compensation 8 years after the tragedy. Moreover, the captain of U.S. Navy’s guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes (which downed the aircraft) was celebrated at home as a national hero and was later awarded the Legion of Merit.

What is shocking is the calm or even untroubled attitude (and some degree of understanding) of the U.S. administration towards the incident involving the downing of the plane. This time around, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had threatened Iran with the wrath of the Gods because of a far less serious transgression, appeared simply deflated. Or perhaps, his reaction was well-thought through since a U.S. radar surveillance aircraft had been spotted in Iran’s airspace not far from Tehran at the time of the incident. Some military personnel believe that experts on board such a plane were the ones capable of messing with data of Iran’s antiaircraft system making its operator believe that he was targeting a winged missile, and of interfering with communications. As a result, the operator was unable to reach his command and made the decision single-handedly. In addition, there are over a hundred brand new radiolocation stations capable of (as U.S. military personnel boast) disabling Iran’s entire antiaircraft system. They have been deployed in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, the Sultanate of Oman and Bahrain. Perhaps, Iran’s Ayatollahs were made to understand just that, which would explain the calm reactions of the United States and Iran.

The unscheduled arrival of Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Tehran lends further support to the aforementioned hypothesis. The Qatari leader was immediately welcomed by “Rahbar” (Supreme Leader) Ali Khamenei, which, in itself, is a rare occurrence and indicative of the importance of the visit. Extremely well-informed Israeli newspapers reported right away that he came to deliver a “letter” from Donald Trump’s administration stating Washington’s views on the next steps to be taken in order to stabilize the relationship between the United States and Iran and to deescalate the tensions in the region. The key message delivered by the Emir of Qatar was probably as follows: “You have seen what Americans are capable of. If you continue to be obstinate, Iran will cease to exist.” This would explain the calm, far from aggressive stance adopted by both the United States and Iran towards the tragic incident. In all likelihood, behind-the-scenes negotiations between the USA and Iran on stabilizing the situation on, unquestionably, Washington’s terms will soon take place somewhere in Oman or Qatar. In addition, the Emir of Qatar decided to pay the victims of the disaster $3 billion on behalf of Iran. Of course, Qatar is the richest country in the world, but, as they say, the money will come in handy. It would seem that a very strong “request” was put to the Emir.

The aforementioned outcome will satisfy the United States, Iran and other Arab nations in the region. And as always, only the victims’ relatives will truly grieve for the dead, and some politicians will express their opinions and blame those responsible for the catastrophe. Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has already stated that 176 individuals (including 57 Canadians), on board the plane downed by the missile, would not have died if there had not been a sudden rise in tensions in the region after the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, ordered by Donald Trump. Justin Trudeau was careful not to hold the U.S. President directly responsible for the death of the passengers (after all, the United States is a fairly powerful ally), but his statement clearly pointed at the culprit to blame for all of the latest developments in the far away Persian Gulf region.

Tougher words in the direction of the United States followed from Moscow. Vyacheslav Volodin, Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, openly blamed Washington for the flare-up in tensions in the Middle East, which, subsequently, led to the launch of the missiles that shot down the aircraft, operated by Ukraine International Airlines, near Tehran. “Escalation of tensions is fraught with many risks, including such missile launches. Our country has reiterated and it says again that it is essential to be guided by international rules and principles that we have,” Vyacheslav Volodin stated and added that such issues ought to be discussed at the United Nations.

You need not be clairvoyant to follow the entire chain of deception and betrayal, the United States is responsible for, that began with Pearl Harbor, the Boeing over Moneron Island incident, the Twin Towers tragedy and the downing of Boeing in Ukraine. All of them are indicative of CIA’s “signature” approach: to cause a disaster and then immediately blame the party that “needs” to take the responsibility. At the time the Ukrainian aircraft took off from Tehran, an MQ-9 Reaper, a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle, was spotted nearby. It had violated Iran’s airspace and was certainly capable of directing the Iranian missile towards the plane. Meanwhile, the Pentagon immediately got hold of the “necessary” footage from its satellites showing Iranian missiles manufactured by the Russian Federation. It is important to understand that the only party benefitting from such an operation is the United States, as it needs to divert attention from itself and its other criminal actions. Iran’s willingness to share the responsibility for the attack on the aircraft may stem from some sort of a deal struck by Washington and Tehran.

In any case, all the facts at our disposal indicate that deciding the fate of other people and entire nations by military means, as the United States tends to do, only leads to chaos, wars and tragedies. And the current U.S. administration ought to remember why certain individuals were tried in Nuremberg.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciencesexclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.

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