This is a crosspost from Legal Blogger
Recently, Juan Cole, a professor at the University of Michigan, claimed that Iran has not launched an “aggressive war in modern history (unlike the US or Israel),” a claim only outmatched in error by Yousaf Butt’s assertion that Iran has adhered to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) for four-decades. In 500 words or less, I will explain why both of these claims are false.
To make sense of Cole’s position, one must interpret “aggressive war” to mean that Iran never launched a full-scale air and land invasion against another state in an act of aggression. Why Cole prefers this language is understandable: it allows Cole to gloss over Iran’s long-running covert and proxy warfare against the West, Israel, and non-Shia Muslims. Some examples: Iran was found guilty in a US District Court for assisting al-Qaeda with the attacks on 9/11; it stands accused of masterminding the 1994 bombing of a building housing Jewish charities in Argentina that killed 85 people, and wounded 300 more; and it supported the Bosnian mujahidin (“holy warriors”) with direct training from its Pasdaran (or Revolutionary Guard Corps) and provided $200 million worth of war material in all towards this effort, despite a UN arms embargo.
Under international law, moreover, a state may be held responsible for the acts of a non-state actor (NSA) if the state exercises “effective control” over the NSA or issued “specific instructions or directives aimed at the commission of specific acts, or have required public approval of those acts following their commission.”
In the Tehran Hostage Case, the International Court of Justice found that Ayatollah Khomeini’s approval of an Iranian student group’s attack on the US Embassy in Tehran (1979) was sufficient to transform the militant’s actions into Iranian state actions.
Additionally, Iran exercises ‘effective control’ over Hezbollah, an FTO, which launched a war against Israel in 2006. In the words of Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem: “the wali al-faqih [i.e. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei] alone possesses the authority to decide war and peace.” Hezbollah’s former secretary general, Sheik Sobhi Tufayli, remarked similarly: “This decision [to wage war] is neither in the hands of Hezbollah nor the Lebanese people. Iran will play the Lebanese card according to its own interests.”
As for Yousaf Butt’s claim, it fails to account for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports in2003 (“[I]t is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement . . . .”), 2005 (“Finds that Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement . . . constitute non compliance.”), 2011(David Albright, a physicist and former UN weapons inspector: “[I]t’s actually a quite serious violation of a Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that the IAEA laid the case out for [in the 2011 report]”), and the US Report in 2005 (“The United States found in the 2005 Report that Iran violated Article II of the NPT”). That the Pasdaran, which controls the Iranian nuclear program, aspires to violate the NPT should also be overlooked, I suppose.
The Daily Telegraph reports on US officials’ belief of Iranian involvement in the brutal repression of anti-regime protestors in Syria:
Iran is secretly aiding Syria’s repression of anti-government protests by providing anti-riot gear and assistance in blocking protesters’ use of internet, US officials have warned.
As part of an attempt its mission to spread its influence across the Middle East, Tehran is also examining ways of helping Shia populations in Bahrain and Yemen rising up against their rulers.
“We believe that Iran is materially assisting the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress their own people,” an Obama administration official told the Wall Street Journal.
Assistance has included equipment and technical advice on blocking and monitoring communication between dissidents, and drew on the Iranian authorities’ own experience of putting down an uprising that followed the June 2009 disputed election.
On Monday, opposition groups inside Iran claimed that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had deployed 10,000 troops inside Syria to protect the Assad regime:
The Reform Party of Syria said Iran has deployed its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria to bolster Syria’s defense, Middle East Newsline reported. The Washington-based opposition group said the IRGC contingent in Syria contains 10,000 troops, with headquarters in the northern province of Homs.
“In essence, the IRGC now occupies Syria and has become its de facto ruler,” RPS spokesman Farid Ghadry said. “Syria has become the 32nd province of Iran.”
The Iranian funded terrorist organisation Hezbollah released a statement on Saturday stating that Hariri’s policies are part of a ‘US scheme aimed at sowing the seeds of discord’ among regional countries:
“Such stances are in line with apparent efforts aimed at diverting public attention from US meddling in the internal affairs of regional countries, diminishing the people’s desire for freedom and liberation from US hegemony, and diverting [attention] from Israeli crimes committed against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.”
Tehran is desperate to paint the Arab people’s desire for self-determination as the product of imperialist US-Israeli meddling. The Iranian-funded Press TV, regarded as the mouth-piece of the regime, attempted to create a story today by highlighting Obama’s apparent ‘denial’ of US involvement with protests in the region:
“President Barack Obama on Monday expressed support for the protesters in Iran and denied that the United States or other foreign countries had anything to do with the unrest.”
The Iranian government itself has stated that the West is working to undermine Assad’s “resistance”-supporting government, the Daily Star reported earlier this week:
At his weekly news conference, the Iranian regime’s spokesperson said that the Syrian protests are a result of foreign interference.
The spokesperson went on to blame “Americans and Zionists” for partaking in the “mischievous act” of inciting anti-government sentiment among Syrians, the Daily Starreported, adding “no one should be fooled by this trick that Americans are playing.
An alarming number of figures in the West have putatively supported the protests in North Africa, but have noticeably failed to show any support for the Syrian and Iranian people’s quest for freedom. George Galloway, the infamous defender of the Iranian regime, has shown a similarly callous admiration for Assad’s despotic rule:
“For me he is the last Arab ruler, and Syria is the last Arab country. It is the fortress of the remaining dignity of the Arabs, and that’s why I’m proud to be here.”
Iran is one of the most dangerous obstacles to stability, peace and prosperity in the Middle East. The regime is working hard to destroy the very aspirations for freedom that the Syrian and other Arab people demonstrate for so vividly. This fact must be recognised by all, and acted upon with greater vehemence.
Here in Europe, we cannot just consume liberty; we must defend it as well. Otherwise Iran, Syria and their proxy group Hezbollah will reap even greater havoc in a region already plagued with despotism.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assured his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday that their ties were solid — a view unlikely to please Washington which is working to isolate the Islamic state.
“We have stood beside Iran in a brotherly way from the very beginning of the (Iranian Islamic) revolution,” Assad said during a one-day visit to Tehran.
Ahmadinejad awarded Assad Iran’s highest medal of honor in recognition of his support for Palestinians and Lebanon and his resistance to “global arrogance” — a term which usually refers to the United States and its allies.
“We are two governments and nations which are brothers,” Ahmadinejad said at the televised ceremony where the two presidents smiled and held their hands aloft for the cameras.
Assad said the medal was in appreciation of “the continuing and eternal stance of Syria to be on the side of Iran … The two countries’ close and continuing contacts are in the interest of the region.”
The United States has tried to improve its relations with Damascus, something analysts say is in part aimed at distancing the country from Iran which Washington sees as a threat to Israel and other countries in the region.
Secular Syria and the Islamic Republic of Iran are both supporters of Lebanon’s militant Shi’ite group Hezbollah.
Source: The Daily Star Lebanon
BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called Tuesday on the Lebanese Cabinet to ask Arab states and Iran to provide equipment to the Lebanese Army.
Nasrallah also urged the Cabinet to consider the establishment of a nuclear reactor to meet the country’s future demand for electricity.
“All Arab states express love for Lebanon along with other friendly states and thus I suggest that the Cabinet determines the quality of weapons needed to equip the army and then submit its proposal to Arab states,” Nasrallah said.
He added that Lebanon’s regional position, “neighboring the Israeli enemy” called on the Cabinet to act swiftly to acquire weapons rather than discuss a long-term plan to equip the army.
“We do not want money but weapons because it will rust in your storage houses,” Nasrallah said with regard to the Cabinet proposal that should be submitted to Arab states.
He also called on the government to ask Iran for military aid, stressing that “Hizbullah will work hard through his friendship with Iran to equip the Lebanese Army.”
This legitimisation of military aid from Iran is yet another attempt to unite Arab states against the West. Iran has de facto provided weapons to Hezbollah, a vicious terrorist organisation with thousands of dead to its name, since Iran helped found Hezbollah in 1982.
The division that Hezbollah and its beliefs have caused, has decreased since Syria become one of its largest patrons alongside Iran, after Bashar Al-Assad inherited power.
While it is no surprise that Iran supplies Hezbollah, in effect an arm of the Iranian regime, Stop the Bomb finds Turkey’s move away from the West and into the camaraderie of Iran deeply alarming.
Report: Turkey will also “send weapons, rockets, guns” to Lebanon
Turkey and Iran are rumored to be helping Hizbullah obtain new weapons, Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported on Wednesday evening.
Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan reportedly met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Taeb to discuss relations between the two countries.
Sources told Corriere Della Sera that Turkey will “send sophisticated weapons, rockets and guns to Syria, that will end up in Lebanon,” where the Iranian Army will ensure the weapons are transferred to Hizbullah.
Read more via Middle East War and Peace…
A cartoon recently drawn for Stop the Bomb sums up this state of affairs concisely:
“These horrible crooks,
so different in looks,
are nonetheless equally mean...”© 2010 M Westrop