A recent speech given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California entitled Supporting Iranian Voices gives us a strong sense of where American relations with Iran are heading. The location for Mr. Pompeo’s speech was not surprising given that 37 percent of Iranian Americans live in California (2005 – 2007 data) with Los Angeles being home to the largest Iranian community in that state.
Let’s look at some excerpts from his speech starting with the introduction:
“…I know we have many members of the Iranian American community with us this evening. This is just a fraction of the quarter million Iranian Americans in Southern California alone. We have many Iranian American guests from all across the United States here as well. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you this evening, learning more about the situation in Iran as you see it, and understanding what your loved ones and friends are going through living in that place.
And I recognize the Iranian diaspora is diverse. There are many faith backgrounds and many different walks of life, and that’s a good thing, and not all Iranian Americans see things the same way. But I think everyone can agree that the regime in Iran has been a nightmare for the Iranian people, and it is important that your unity on that point is not diminished by differences elsewhere.
Here’s what he feels are the roots of Iran’s problems:
“The ideologues who forcibly came to power in 1979 and remain in power today are driven by a desire to conform all of Iranian society to the tenets of the Islamic Revolution. The regime is also committed to spreading the revolution to other countries, by force if necessary. The total fulfillment of the revolution at home and abroad is the regime’s ultimate goal. It drives their behavior. Thus, the regime has spent four decades mobilizing all elements of the Iranian economy, foreign policy, and political life in service of that objective. To the regime, prosperity, security, and freedom for the Iranian people are acceptable casualties in the march to fulfill the revolution.
Economically, we see how the regime’s decision to prioritize an ideological agenda over the welfare of the Iranian people has put Iran into a long-term economic tailspin. During the time of the nuclear deal, Iran’s increased oil revenues could have gone to improving the lives of the Iranian people. Instead they went to terrorists, dictators, and proxy militias. Today, thanks to regime subsidies, the average Hizballah combatant makes two to three times what an Iranian firefighter makes on the streets of Iran. Regime mismanagement has led to the rial plummeting in value. A third of Iranian youth are unemployed, and a third of Iranians now live below the poverty line.
The bitter irony of the economic situation in Iran is that the regime uses this same time to line its own pockets while its people cry out for jobs and reform and for opportunity. The Iranian economy is going great – but only if you’re a politically-connected member of the elite. Two years ago, Iranians rightfully erupted in anger when leaked paystubs showed massive amounts of money inexplicably flowing into the bank accounts of senior government officials.”
He goes on to list the guilty parties when it comes to economic corruption in Iran as follows:
1.) Sadeq Larijani – Head of Iran’s judiciary – worth at least $300 million which was gained by embezzling public funds.
2.) Sadeq Mahsouili – Former Iranian Republican Guard Corps Officer and Minister of the Interior – worth billions of dollars through the winning of lucrative construction and oil trading contracts.
3.) Grand Ayatollah Makaram Shirazi – worth over $100 million which was gained by illicit trading of sugar.
4.) Ayatollah Khamenei – owns an off-the-books hedge fund called the Setad (aka the Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order or EIKO) which is worth $95 billion. This organization was investigated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 2013 and here is their conclusion:
“The level of corruption and wealth among Iranian leaders shows that Iran is run by something that resembles the mafia more than a government“.
Now, let’s look at some specific accusations about Iran’s mission to export terrorism:
“On foreign policy, the regime’s mission of exporting the revolution has produced a decades-long campaign of ideologically-motivated violence and destabilization abroad. Assad, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Shia militant groups in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen feed on billions of regime cash while the Iranian people shout slogans like “Leave Syria, think about us.”
Our partners in the Middle East are plagued by Iranian cyberattacks and threatening behavior in the waters of the Persian Gulf. The regime and its allies in terror have left a trail of dissident blood across Europe and the Middle East….
And because fighting the United States and destroying Israel is at the core of the regime’s ideology, it has committed and supported many acts of violence and terrorism against both countries and our citizens. As just one example, well over a thousand American service members have been killed and wounded in Iraq from Iranian-made IEDs.”
Let’s close this section of this posting with a very important statement by Mr. Pompeo:
“You know, despite the regime’s clear record of aggression, America and other countries have spent years straining to identify a political moderate. It’s like an Iranian unicorn. (Laughter.) The regime’s revolutionary goals and willingness to commit violent acts haven’t produced anyone to lead Iran that can be remotely called a moderate or a statesman.
Some believe that President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif fit that bill. The truth is they are merely polished front men for the ayatollahs’ international con artistry. Their nuclear deal didn’t make them moderates; it made them wolves in sheep’s clothing. Governments around the world worry that confronting the Islamic Republic harms the cause of moderates, but these so-called moderates within the regime are still violent Islamic revolutionaries with an anti-America, anti-West agenda. You only have to take their own words for it. And for that matter, the evidence reveals that their agenda is a anti-Iran agenda as well.
The regime’s absolute adherence to the Islamic Revolution mean it cannot endure any ideas in the Iranian society that would contradict or undermine it – unlike we just did here this evening. It’s why the regime has for decades heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity, and fundamental freedoms.” (my bolds)
By disparaging Iran’s political and religious leadership, Mr. Pompeo has now set the stage for America to replace Iran’s political leadership with one that is acceptable to Washington, just as they did in their state-rebuilding exercises in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. And how did those experiments in democracy work out? As well, it’s “funny” how Washington can ignore obvious human rights violations in Saudi Arabia, isn’t it?
If you wish to see the entire 25 minute speech, here you go:
Pompeo’s speech along with this tweet from Donald Trump
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
…are not only part of Washington’s efforts to get Iran to renounce its alleged nuclear weapons program but play a very important part of Washington’s plans to “soften” public opinion to the military option in Iran. It is part of a long-game which has the goal to discredit Iran’s leadership and offer support to Iranians that challenge the religious and political leadership of their nation. Washington seems totally unaware that criticisms of Iran just add fuel to the “Death to America” mantra that is the attitude adopted by a significant portion of Iranians both at home and in the United States. In fact, here is a statement released by The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA, a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian organization that represents Iranian Americans, after the Pompeo speech:
…and, just in case you were curious, here is a table showing how the number of Iranian immigrants to the United States has increased since 1960:
It certainly looks like the United States is doing its very best to set the stage for yet another nation-building exercise by laying the groundwork for a war with Iran with Mike Pompeo doing his personal best to use Iranian Americans as pawn in Washington’s political chess game with Iran. Washington seems incapable of learning from its mistakes of the past, particularly when it comes to meddling with Iran, one of the main reason why Iran ended up with a religious leader after the deposing of America’s hand-picked Shah.
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