The sovereign can no longer say, "You shall think as I do on pain of death;" but he says, "You are free to think differently from me, and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but if such be your determination, you are henceforth an alien among your people."

(Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)

Friday, 16 July 2010

Iran & The West II

In the second part of the BBC documentary on Iran and the West, I noted following things:

  • The UN did not condemn Iraq for attacking Iran, nor did it demand an Iraqi withdrawal from Iranian territory
  • The UN did not condemn the use of chemical weapons against Iran, despite the fact that it was a violation of the Geneva convention
  • When the Israel-Lebanon war started in 1982, Iran send 1000 soldiers to Lebanon, in order to gather support for Iran and the revolution in the Muslim world. The Lebanese who received training by those Iranians became known as Hezbollah
  • Iran intervened to liberate the French hostages (in return the French agreed to stop selling arms to Saddam Hussein and payed a considerable amount of money). This deal was called off, because the French opposition (led by Jaques Chirac) offered the hostage takers of Hezbollah more favorable conditions under the precondition that the release of the hostages was delayed until after the French election
  • Rafsandjani forced Khomenei to accept the ceasefire offered by Iraq
  • After the death of Khomenei, Rafsandjani guided the assembly of religious scholars to elect Khamenei as new supreme leader
  • In August 1998, the Taliban killed nine Iranian diplomats in Masar-i-Sharif. In response, Iran prepared to go to war with the Taliban. In order to really international support, they addressed the Afghanistan committee at the UN, the only forum where Iran and the US both sat together. For the first time, a US foreign minister met with a foreign minister of the Islamic Republic. At least that's what the US believed. Actually, nobody of the US delegation knew the Iranian foreign minister. Finally, Kofi Annan revealed the Americans that it was not the foreign minister but his deputy. Khatami, the Iranian president, had downgraded the level, to appease his domestic rivals.

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