Iran Faces Greater Risks Than It Knows

Stephen Kinzer`s bookAll the Shah`s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror,

tells the story of the overthrow of Iran`s
democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mosaddeq, by the
CIA and the British MI6 in 1953.  The CIA bribed
Iranian government officials, businessmen, and
reporters, and paid Iranians to demonstrate in the

The 1953 street demonstrations, together with the Cold
War claim that the US had to grab Iran before the
Soviets did, served as the US government`s justification
for overthrowing Iranian democracy.  What the
Iranian people wanted was not important.

Today, the street demonstrations in Tehran show signs of
orchestration.  The protesters, primarily young
people, especially young women opposed to the dress
codes, carry signs written in English:
"Where is My
  The signs are intended for the western
media—not for the Iranian government.  

More evidence of orchestration is provided by the
protesters` chant,
"death to the
dictator, death to Ahmadinejad."
  Every Iranian
knows that the president of Iran is a public figure with
limited powers.  His main role is to take the heat
from the governing grand Ayatollah. No Iranian, and no
informed Westerner, could possibly believe that
Ahmadinejad is a dictator.  Even Ahmadinejad`s
superior, Khamenei, is not a dictator, as he is
appointed by a government body that can remove him.

The demonstrations, like those in 1953, are intended to
discredit the Iranian government and to establish for
Western opinion that the government is a repressive
regime that does not have the support of the Iranian
people.  This manipulation of opinion sets up Iran
as another Iraq ruled by a dictator who must be
overthrown by sanctions or an invasion.

On American TV, the protesters who are interviewed speak
perfect English.  They are either westernized
secular Iranians who were allied with the Shah and fled
to the West during the 1978 Iranian revolution or they
are the young Westernized residents of Tehran. 

Many of the demonstrators may be sincere in their
protest, hoping to free themselves from Islamic moral
codes.  But if reports of the US government`s plans
to destabilize Iran are correct, paid troublemakers are
in their ranks.

Some observers, such as

George Friedman

that the American destabilization plan will fail. 
However, many ayatollahs feel animosity toward
Ahmadinejad, who assaults the ayatollahs for corruption. 
Many in the Iranian countryside believe that the
ayatollahs have too much wealth and power. 
Amadinejad`s attack on corruption resonates with the
Iranian countryside, but not with the ayatollahs. 

Amadinejad`s campaign against corruption has brought
Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri out against him. 
Montazeri is a rival to ruling Ayatollah Khamenei. 
Montazeri sees in the street protests an opportunity to
challenge Khamenei for the leadership role. 

So, once again, as so many times in history, the
ambitions of one person might seal the fate of the
Iranian state.  

Khamenei knows that the elected president is an
underling. If he has to sacrifice Ahmadinejad`s election
in order to fend off Montazeri, he might recount the
vote and elect Mousavi, thinking that will bring an end
to the controversy.   

Khamenei, solving his personal problem, would play into
the hands of the American-Israeli assault on his

On the surface, the departure of Ahmadeinjad would cost
Israel and the US the loss of their useful
boggy-man.  But in fact it would play into the
American-Israeli propaganda.  The story would be
that the remote, isolated, Iranian ruling Ayatollah was
forced by the Iranian people to admit the falsity of the
rigged election, calling into question rule by
Ayatollahs who do not stand for election.

Mousavi and Ayatollah Montazeri are putting their
besieged country at risk.  Possibly they believe
that ridding Iran of Ahmadeinjad`s extreme image would
gain Iran breathing room. 

If Mousavi and Montazeri succeed in their ambitions, one
likely result would be a loss in Iran`s independence. 
The new rulers would have to continually defend Iran`s
new moderate and reformist image by giving in to
American demands.  If the government admits to a
rigged election, the legitimacy of the Iranian
Revolution would be called into question, setting up
Iran for more US interference in its internal affairs.

For the American

democratic countries are those countries that submit to
America`s will, regardless of their form of government. 
"Democracy" is achieved by America ruling through puppet officials. 

The American public might never know whether the Iranian
election was legitimate or stolen.  The US media
serves as a propaganda device, not as a purveyor of
truth. Election fraud is certainly a possibility–it
happens even in America–and signs of fraud have
appeared.  Large numbers of votes were swiftly
counted, which raises the question whether votes were
counted or merely a result was announced.

The US media`s response to the election was equally
rapid. Having invested heavily in demonizing Ahmadinejad,
the media is unwilling to accept election results that
vindicate Ahmadinejad and declared fraud in advance of
evidence, despite the pre-election poll results
published in the June 15
Washington Post, which found Ahmadinejad to be the projected winner.

There are many American interest groups that have a
vested interest in the charge that the election was
rigged.  What is important to many Americans is not
whether the election was fair, but whether the winner`s
rhetoric is allied with their goals.

For example, those numerous Americans who believe that
both presidential and congressional elections were
stolen during the Karl Rove Republican years are tempted
to use the Iranian election protests to shame Americans
for accepting the stolen Bush elections.

Feminists take the side of the

Neoconservatives damn the election for suppressing the
"peace candidate"
who might acquiescent to Israel`s demands to halt the
development of Iranian nuclear energy.

Ideological and emotional agendas result in people
distancing themselves from factual and analytical
information, preferring instead information that fits
with their material interests and emotional disposition. 

The primacy of emotion over fact bids ill for the
future. The extraordinary attention given to the Iranian
election suggests that many American interests and
emotions have a stake in the outcome.

Paul Craig Roberts [email
] was Assistant
Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan`s
first term.  He was Associate Editor of the
Street Journal.  He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair,
Center for Strategic and International Studies,
Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow,
Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded
the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
Mitterrand. He is the author of

Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider`s Account of
Policymaking in Washington
and the Soviet Economy

Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy
and is the co-author
with Lawrence M. Stratton of

The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and
Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name
of Justice
. Click

for Peter
Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts
about the recent epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct.