Why the Iranians?
In a recent article (posted at the end of this article) in The Guardian the writer criticizes the US congress for passing an amendment to remove the Visa Waiver program that would affect the travel of Iranians in diaspora to U.S., questioning why Iranian Americans should be punished and not the Saudis who were the ones who participated in 911 act of terrorism. Furthermore, the writer claimed that Iranians has never been part of any act of terrorism in the world, why they should be penalized. I couldn’t leave my comment on the article since the comment section was closed at the time, so I decided to post my reflection on the article in here.
In global communities’ point of view, a State is considered terrorist if its government is involved in an act of terrorism, and not by its people. And unfortunately when such State is considered as a terrorist State, its whole people are going to be tagged with label “terrorist” as a collateral damage. But the reverse is not true, for example in every democratic country such as an European country there are underground terrorists but that doesn’t label that country as a terrorist State, it is the same for a totalitarian regime like Saudi Arabia. Even though the participant Jihadists in 911 were mainly from Saudi Arabia but this act of terrorism was not counted on behalf of its government.
In case of Iran the issue is more complex. Iran is more than a terrorist State, it is considered as a rogue State. “Rogue States” is a term applied to States that are considered threatening to the World’s peace. This means meeting certain criteria, such as being ruled by authoritarian regimes that seek to proliferate weapons of mass destruction, sponsor terrorism, and severely restrict human rights. The regime of Iran, as such, is considered as a rogue State. For decades United States is among the countries, which has massively suffered from the Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI’s) sponsorship of terrorism worldwide. It has all started in 1979 when Islamic regime ordered the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in which 66 Americans were held hostagefor 444 days. Later in 1983 the suicide bombing of U.S. military barracks in Beirut executed by the Islamic Jihad Organization, an Iranian regime’s terror proxy, left 299 Americans dead. The Khobar Towers bombing in 1996 carried out by IRI-supported groups of Hezbollah resulted in death of 19 U.S. service men. 60% of all American combat casualties in Iraq and 50% of combat casualties in Afghanistan have been caused by IRI-made IEDs. More importantly the footprint of IRI’s terrorism in America has become more apparent when the U.S. District Court Rules Iran Behind 9/11 Attacks.
But Why Iranian Americans have to be punished?! First if this Iranian Americans are the same under the umbrella of NIAC, I have to say that they are not representing Iranians. They are the paid lobbyists of IRI reformers who have actively been busy lobbying U.S. political officials and lawmakers in foreign states to clean up the mullahs’ messes by presenting to them showcases of fabricated data on IRI’s records in favor of the regime for undermining, its committed crimes, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its nuclear threats, and also to promote the cause for the reform of the Islamic regime. Second, for the same reason mentioned above in the first paragraph, which means that the people of a terrorist State, by the same token, are labelled terrorists.
Western communities are becoming more alert everyday by the global Islamic terrorism threats; they have every right to initiate rules and regulation that can give their nations a guarantee of peace and security. If Iranians in diaspora don’t want to be labelled terrorists, they have to get rid of the terrorist regime in Iran, which has illegally governed their country for 37 years, once and for all, and make efforts to secure a secular democratic government based on the principles of human rights. That is the only right way. If there is still sense of love for their homeland Iran among Iranians in Diaspora they should convey the voice of millions of burdened Iranian grassroots inside Iran to the international communities such as U.S. congress and seek support for their effort to overthrow the tyrannical regime of Iran.
Mansur Rastani, Ph.D.
Dec 14, 2015
Beheading the Blacksmith of Balkh: Iranian Americans scapegoated again
The US Congress is looking to punish Iranian Americans for terrorist acts they have no part in
A radicalised, American-born Pakistani went to Saudi Arabia and married another Pakistani brainwashed with an extremist version of Wahhabism that is the Saudi state religion. The couple came to the US and shot up a Christmas office party killing 14 people.
Guess who is being chosen for punishment for this despicable crime? Iranian Americans, who have never shared that extremist ideology and who, as far as we know, have never had anything to do with this or any other act of terrorism anywhere in the world.
The passage by the United States House of Representatives of the Visa Waiver Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, or HR 158, brings to mind a Persian story about a ruler who heard a blacksmith had committed a crime in the city of Balkh, now in northern Afghanistan. In his desire to appear swift in meting out justice he ordered the arrest and beheading of the culprit.
But, as Balkh was too far away, the ruler decreed that beheading any blacksmith would do. And yet his henchmen were unable to find such an artisan in nearby towns. All they found was a coppersmith in the city of Shushtar in western Iran. So, our zealous ruler called for the execution of the poor coppersmith of Shushtar lest the crime of the blacksmith of Balkh went unpunished.
The US House of Representatives just reenacted that story. If backed by the Senate and president, then the new law will bar Iranian-Americans from a 38-nation visa waiver program that allows visits to signatory countries for up to 90 days without a visa.
Even if we grant that prudence in the cause of security justifies collective punishment, HR 158 does not punish either Pakistani or Saudis dual nationals. Instead Iranian Americans are to be punished – along with dual nationals from Iraq, Sudan and Syria, as well as anyone who has been to any of these four countries in the past five years.
Why? Two reasons. One: somebody had to be nailed. Two: nobody ever pays a political price for targeting Iranian Americans. This is despite the fact no Iranian national, let alone an Iranian American, has ever been proved to be involved in terrorism in the US or Europe – this should not be confused with the state- sponsored assassinations of dissidents by agents of the Islamic Republic that ended in the late 1990s.
So, why do Saudis receive a get-out-of-jail card every time they land on the terrorism square, as they often do? Because they have been the favorites of the American political elites and its ersatz aristocracy including the Bush and Trump dynasties.
Everyone knows that the never-never desert kingdom ruled by the house of Saud was heavily implicated in 9/11. Everyone knows the Saudis have for decades spread the virulent, hardcore ideology of Wahhabism that is now carried by the Taliban, al-Qaida, Isis, Boko Haram, and a dozen other terrorist franchises from Chechnya and Baluchistan to Chad. And yet, the Saudis appear untouchable.
The kabuki of passing HR 158 was an elaborate show that made the House of Representatives look busy without having the slightest effect on the security of US citizens. The legislation would restrict the travel of people who have nothing to do with terrorism but let the most likely suspects continue their movement without restrictions.
The HR 158 would affect people who have travelled directly between the US and Syria, missing the glaring fact that virtually nobody actually does this: Isis recruits usually go back and forth via Turkey. Why not introduce travel restrictions for people who go there? Because Turkey is a member of Nato and confronting them would be costly.
This is an old story. Iranians had nothing to do with 9/11 while the Saudis supplied 15 out of 19 hijackers of that bloody Tuesday.
But it was not the student visas of Saudi nationals but those of Iranians that were restricted after those attacks. It appears that we are perfect scapegoats again. Unable to find the blacksmith of Balkh, the House wants to chop off the head of the coppersmith of Shushtar.
By Ahmad Sadri & James P Gorter
Ahmad Sadri is professor of sociology and James P Gorter Chair of Islamic World Studies at Lake Forest College