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From 9/11 to 11/13…Who Is the Axis of Evil?

APTOPIX France Paris Shootings

In the 1997 Presidential election, Mohammad Khatami, a reformist candidate, managed to dismiss all prior predictions and won a landslide of a 13-million-vote majority (nearly winning 70% of all votes cast).

His rising to power penned an important chapter in the Iranian political history. Tailoring a concept out of the name “Medina” (City of the Prophet), Khatami came up with the “civil society” as a derivative in the interior politics and later in the foreign policies, he took up a détente approach and embarked on the “dialog among civilizations” as means of enhancing Iran’s interaction with the world.

Khatami was the only post-1979 Iranian President who visited Germany, Italy and Austria at their governments’ invitation. What might come off as an achievement of his approach was the fact that it set the US Senate back from passing new sanctions against Iran, and it further removed the oil giants of Total, PETRONAS, and Gazprom from the DFAT list.

While the ties between Iran and the US headed toward détente destination, the morning of 9/11, four passenger airliners—which all departed from airports on the U.S. East Coast bound for California—were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists to be flown into buildings. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. The attacks left all passengers and a number of citizens inside the buildings dead.

Shortly hours after the tragedy, Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s then President, condemned the terrorist act and offered his sympathies with the people of the US. Iranian in crowds gathered in front of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, lit candles and voiced their grief for the lives lost. In some parts of the Middle East, however, people were elated by the attack and even celebrated it.

Within the first few hours after the horror, Muslims and Arab countries were first to accuse. The US mindset went extremely hostile against Islam and esp. Arabs. George W. Bush accused Islam and Muslims and called 9/11 a revival of the Crusades. Therefore 8 countries and 20 organizations were listed as the nest and destination of terrorism, most of which being Muslim.

Six months after the 9/11 incident, on January 29, 2002 while the US had managed to launch a war in Afghanistan and topple the Taliban government within the body of an international alliance, in his annual speech at the US Congress, George W. Bush named Iran, along with North Korea and Iraq, as the “Axis of Evil”. In fact, his response to Khatami’s condolence and Iran’s readiness for fighting Taliban in Afghanistan was a refusal of cooperation.

The chief speechwriter of President Bush, David Frum who invented the term “Axis of Evil” would never imagine there might come a day when a group named the “Islamic State” rises to power and rules instead of Taliban in the Middle East, and Iran, which was called the “Axis of Evil”, be the country that prevented this group from setting foot on its soil.

Turning a blind eye on Khatami’s peaceful offer and turning back at his détente approach practically stifled the chance for cooperation between Iran and the US. It further gave life to a notion in the Iranian society that had the people believe no matter how genuinely they try to assist the US, the US shall still remain hostile.

Mohammad Khatami eventually left the office and his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accomplished presidency. He used whatever in his power to challenge the US policies within his 8 years and trod as far as calling the 9/11 disaster a “tremendous lie”.

Now, it is 8 years after all the chaos, hostility and unfriendliness in Iran’s foreign policy, and Hassan Rouhani is trying once again to make the most of Khatami’s experience in order to promote a brand new landscape in the international community. He well knows that after bringing the nuclear project to fruition, he should improve Iran’s chances in the international arena and urge and convince European trade giants to head to his country so that its economy can finally be recession-free.

Yet, unfortunately, just as Rouhani’s visit to Europe and arriving in France and Italy is viewed to be vastly effective in enhancing the political and economic ties, the 11/13 evening of Paris is hit hard with numerous terrorist attacks that spread waves of horror throughout the city, and later, the ISIS takes responsibility of the biggest atrocity at the heart of Europe with honor.

Rouhani stepped off the plane and in addition to sympathizing with the victims and their families, dispatches his Foreign Minister to join the Syria Talks. Syria is nearly in the hands of the ISIS and many European countries are now hosting waves of refugees after bearing witness to the loss of lives and tragedies in it.

The truth is that once the matter of Assad’s “stay or leave” as well as the divide among the countries that seek influence in Syria went in session over the past few years, the fact that Syria had become a nest for snakes and terrorists to mooch off of it was ignored and somehow neglected. The ISIS, on the other hand, could become the biggest global security threat by selling oil and gaining support from a number of countries.

This time, the people of Europe are no longer watching the Hollywood-like ISIS decapitations in on their TVs, but they are terrified to their bones, feeling the horror with every cell of their flesh. Once must ask now “who the Axis of Evil really is”. Do the US and European states intend to continue their previous scenario, overlook the roots of terrorism, and make the same mistake as George W. Bush did?


از ۱۱ سپتامبر تا ۱۳ نوامبر، محور شرارت کیست؟

APTOPIX France Paris Shootingsمحمدرضا نظری / در انتخابات ریاست جمهوری سال ۱۳۷۶، محمد خاتمی به عنوان نماینده اصلاح طلبان توانست بر خلاف بسیاری از پیش‌بینی‌ها، با اختلاف بیش از ۱۳ میلیون رأی با نفر قبل پیروز انتخابات ریاست جمهوری شود و حدود هفتاد درصد آراء را از آن خود نمود.

با به قدرت رسیدن خاتمی برهه‌ مهمی در تاریخ سیاسی ایران آغاز شد. در حوزه سیاست داخلی وی با شعار “جامعه مدنی” به‌عنوان برداشتی از “مدینه النبی” فضای جدید را در عرصه ایران رقم زد. در عرصه روابط خارجی نیز سیاست تنش زدایی و ایده گفتگوی تمدن‌ها از مهمترین اقدامات دولت خاتمی برای افزایش تعامل با جهان بود.

او تنها رییس جمهور ایران بعد از انقلاب بود که به دعوت دولت‌های اروپایی به آلمان، ایتالیا و اتریش سفر کرد. بازتاب رویکرد خاتمی این بود که دولت آمریکا از تصویب تحریم‌های تازه تر علیه ایران در سنا جلوگیری کرد و شرکت‌های نفتی توتال، پتروناس و گازپروم را از شمول قانون تحریم‌های داماتا معاف ساخت.

در شرایطی که مناسبات ایران و آمریکا در مسیر تنش زدایی گام بر می داشت صبح ۱۱ سپتامبر ۲۰۰۱، ۱۹ تن از اعضای القاعده، چهار هواپیمای تجاری – مسافربری را ربودند.هواپیماربایان، دو هواپیما را در فاصله‌های زمانی گوناگون تعمداً به برج‌های دوقلوی مرکز تجارت جهانی در شهر نیویورک زدند. در نتیجه این دو برخورد، همه مسافران به همراه عده بسیاری که در ساختمان‌ها حضور داشتند، کشته شدند.

تنها ساعاتی پس از این رویداد محمد خاتمی رییس جمهور وقت ایران این اقدام تروریستی را محکوم و با مردم آمریکا همدردی کرد. عده‌ای از مردم ایران نیز با حضور در محل سفارت سوئیس در تهران ( حافظ منافع آمریکا در ایران) با روشن کردن شمع با مردم آمریکا ابراز همدردی کردند. این درحالی بود که در برخی مناطق خاورمیانه مردم از حملات روی داده به جشن و پایکوبی می‌پرداختند.

در همان ساعت‌های اولیه تیرهای اتهام به سوی مسلمانان و اعراب نشانه رفت. فضای آمریکا به شدت ضد اسلامی و به خصوص ضد عربی شد. جورج بوش، اسلام و مسلمانان را متهم ساخت و حادثه‌ ۱۱ سپتامبر را «آغاز مجدد جنگ‌های صلیبی» نامید، هشت کشور جهان و ۲۰ سازمان مأمن تروریست‌ها و مقصد مقابله معرفی شدند، که غالب آنها مسلمان بودند.

جورج دبلیو بوش رئیس جمهور ایالات متحده آمریکا در ۲۹ ژانویه ۲۰۰۲ تنها ۶ ماه بعد از حوادث یازده سپتامبر و در حالیکه آمریکا موفق شده بود در ائتلافی بین المللی به افغانستان حمله و دولت طالبان را در این کشور سرنگون کند در سخنرانی سالیانه خود در کنگره ایالات متحده آمریکا، از ایران در کنار کشورهای کره شمالی و عراق به عنوان محور شرارت (Axis of Evil) نام برد.

در واقع پاسخ رئیس جمهور وقت آمریکا به پیام همدردی رئیس جمهور ایران و آمادگی ایران برای مقابله با طالبان در افغانستان این بود که نیازی به همراهی ایران نیست.

رئیس گروه سخنرانی نویسان رئیس جمهور آمریکا، دیوید فروم، مبدع عبارت محور شرارت، هیچ موقع فکر نمی کرد که روزی به جای “طالبان” گروهی به نام “داعش” در خاورمیانه به قدرت برسد و ایرانی که به عنوان “محور شرارت” نامیده شده است بتواند جلوی نفوذ این گروه تروریستی را در داخل خاک خود بگیرد.

عدم استفاده از رویکرد صلح جویانه خاتمی و پشت کردن به سیاست تنش زدایی وی برای مبارزه با تروریسم این فرصت همکاری مابین ایران و آمریکا را از بین برد و این تئوری را در جامعه ایران مطرح کرد که در صورتی که حتی با آمریکا نیز همراهی داشته باشیم ولی آنها با رویکرد خصمانه پاسخ ما را می دهند.

پس از محمد خاتمی نیز محمود احمدی نژاد به قدرت رسید و با تمام توان طی هشت سال ریاست جمهوری خود در ایران سیاست های آمریکا را به چالش کشید و تا حدی در این روند پیش رفت که رخداد ۱۱ سپتامبر را «یک دروغ بزرگ» نامید.

حال پس از گذشت هشت سال طوفانی و پر التهاب در عرصه سیاست خارجی ایران، حسن روحانی بار دیگر تلاش می کند با بهره گرفتن از تجربیات دوران خاتمی، فضای جدیدی را در عرصه بین الملل بگشاید. او به خوبی می داند که پس از به سرانجام رساندن پرونده هسته ایی، باید غول های اقتصادی اروپا را برای خروج رکود اقتصادی ایران راهی تهران کند و در همین راستا با افزایش تعاملات اقتصادی بتواند فضای جدیدی در عرصه سیاست خارجی مهیا کند.

ولی در آستانه سفر وی به اروپا و سرآغاز شکوفایی مناسبات سیاسی و اقتصادی ایران با فرانسه و ایتالیا، شامگاه ۱۳ نوامبر پاریس با حملات پی در پی ترویستی با موجی از وحشت مواجه می شود و داعش با افتخار مسئولیت بزرگترین حملات خونین خود را در قلب اروپا برعهده می گیرد.

روحانی از پله های هواپیمای عازم به اروپا پیاده می شود و ضمن هم دردی با بازماندگان این حادثه، وزیر امورخارجه خود را راهی مذاکرات سوریه می کند. سوریه که در دستان داعش است و بسیاری از کشورهای اروپایی بعد از نظاره گر بودن فجایع انسانی در سوریه حالا با موج پناهندگان این کشور دست و پنجه نرم می کنند.

در واقع موضوع ماندن و یا رفتن بشار اسد و نیز تقسیم نفوذ کشورهای ذینفع در بحران سوریه طی سالهای اخیر باعث شده است که به دالان تروریست پروری که در داخل سوریه شکل گرفته است بی توجه باشند. داعش نیز با فروش نفت و حمایت برخی از کشورها توانست به بزرگترین خطر امنیت جهانی تبدیل شود.

این بار مردم اروپا در مقابل تلویزیون های خود شاهد نمایش های هالیوودی سربریدن های داعش نیستند بلکه با گوشت و پوست خود این فجایع را درک می کنند.  در چنین شراطی باید این سئوال را مطرح کرد که محور شرارت کیست؟ آیا آمریکا و کشورهای اروپایی باز با ادامه سناریوی قبلی خود می خواهند ریشه های تروریست را نادیده بگیرند و اشتباه جورج بوش را تکرار کنند؟ آیا تاریخ دوباره تکرار می شود؟


A Review on the Capturing of the US Embassy in Tehran

It was November 4, 1979 and Iran was amidst the boiling of a revolution to slash through the then monarchy. On that very day, a group of students who called themselves “Muslim Students, Followers of Imam’s Path” captured the US embassy in Tehran holding its diplomats hostages; an action conducted at the same time that Iran’s ousted Shah resided in the US after months of wandering state, which had raised anger among the students wanting to try the Shah shortly after the Revolution came to existence. That is how, in the upcoming years until now, November 4 is called the Student’s Day in Iran; a day which witnessed tidal waves of protests and a series of massacre by the Shah army and so, as an outlet of anger, the people who had suffered open fire for months took to capture the US embassy.

About the capturing, the Keyhan Newspaper wrote, “This Morning, a demonstrating group took part in a riot in universities protesting from Taleghani St. to the US embassy chanting anti-imperialistic slogans breaching into the building with the purpose of occupying the place. The incident took place at 11 A.M. and the number of capturers is rumored to be 25-30. The local police’s efforts are underway to work out the dispute.” The story led to a 3rd printing of the paper in less than 24 hours.

Keyhan further wrote, “At 12:15 A.M, a top-ranking authority from the Foreign Ministry informed the newspaper about the capturing of the US embassy by an anonymous group saying, ‘We were informed about the movement in the morning, and the PM, Army and Police have taken necessary measures through the embassy. Thus far, a number of protesters entered the basement of the building and some other have been scattered by tear gas shot from inside the embassy.’”

Later that day, at 4 P.M, releasing the Iranian visitors or embassy staff who were stuck inside the building at the time of the capturing began and the US diplomats were transferred to a different location with their eyes covered. In the meantime, one of the protesters left the embassy and told the press, “We occupied the US embassy to voice our agitation toward its policies. A group of students has staged a sitting here and it shall proceed until further notice.”

The agents responsible for such a move later claimed their reasons for capture to be the admission of the Shah by the US government, objection to the interim government, detection of the US spies and undercover agents, abrogation of conspiracies and domination of the US in Iran, displaying a psych-out to the US, avenging the plots of the 1953 coup, rejection of the US exclusive propagandistic approach toward and support of anti-revolutionary figures.

Shortly one day after the capturing, Mehdi Bazargan, Iran’s then interim PM, who had opposed the plan of the capturing earlier, tendered his resignation to Ayatollah Khomeini which was warmly welcomed by the capturers.

On the following days, the students accentuated at times to the press that the US embassy is a nest of snakes, conspiracies, espionage and anti-revolutionary plots, but underscored that the move is expected to take a limited period.

Two days later, while admiring the students’ measure, Ayatollah Khomeini stated, “The place our students have occupied is a master chamber for conspiracies and spying. The US expects to embrace the Shah there and establish a spying center here and our students sit and watch that?” After Imam Khomeini supported the move in his speech, the people ran large-scale demonstrations in support of the capturing, and later, Imam Khomeini announced that the women and black people of the embassy are free to go, but the key figures are yet to be decided upon.

The upcoming morning, the capturers provided the Imam with a list of 13 female and black hostages, and asked Imam’s son, the late Seyed Ahmad Khomeini, to visit the embassy for heightened security provisions and accompany the released hostages to the Foreign Ministry and later to Mehrabad Airport.

The US government did not give in to requests to return the ousted Shah of Iran, and in the following months, tried to free the hostages bringing many top officials at the table, including the Pope, but was turned down by Iran every time. The US was frustrated to work out the case through political solutions and so, decided to choose a military option and on April 25, 1980, sent 8 choppers and one aircraft to Iran; an attempt which went belly up due to a sand storm in Tabas Sahara, and the US suffered 9 lives for no good cause.

One year after the capturing, the case of releasing or holding the hostages went under the supervision of the parliament, and on November 2, 1980, the Emergency Committee put forward 4 conditions to solve the hostage case:

  • freeing Iran’s capital to the very last cent;
  • calling off the US claims in Iran;
  • guaranteeing the full stop of US political and military interference in Iran;
  • and returning the properties of the Shah.

Eventually, the four abovementioned conditions were passed and voiced to the government in addition to the executive stages of the plan. What the parliament really wanted was to have its conditions met, and were the US to accept them, the necessary measures would be taken and if not, the Judiciary was required to try the hostages as American spies.

The parliament passed the bill, and the students met with Ayatollah Khomeini. Coupled with confirming the bill, Imam Khomeini left the responsibility of keeping the hostages to the government. The government, too, appointed Behzad Nabavi, the then Executive Adviser to the PM, to pursue the case. Now, with harsh bans imposed on direct talks with the US, there needed to be a mediator between Iran and the US, and that was when Algeria assumed the role, and talks started off in a few days.

After months of non-stop talks and consultations, the negotiations reached a satisfactory phase and by offering two drafts about the legal and fiscal arguments with the US to the parliament, including returning the Shah’s properties, the government managed to hasten the talks which led to signing 3 documents better known as the Statement of Algeria. The statement stressed the full stop of US political and military interference in Iran, freeing Iran’s capital to the very last penny, lifting baselessly unreasonable US embargoes and returning the properties of the Shah.

After a while, and after days of unrelenting exhaustion, the two sides signed the Statement of Algeria and the US practically gave in to the terms, and more than 50 American hostages were freed after 444 days of captivity and were allowed to leave Iran on January 19, 1981.

The US version of the story, however, tells that in a backdoor deal, Iran consents to a delayed release of the hostages to pave the way for Regan’s victory against Carter in the 1980 election, and the US, in return, makes a commitment to facilitate Iran with military hardware. The latter part is of a much broader nature and takes a single paper all for its own.


بازخوانی روایت تسخیر سفارت آمریکا در تهران

محمدرضا نظری / در روز ۱۳ آبان ۱۳۵۸ در شرایطی که ایران در بحبوحه عبور از یک انقلاب قرار داشت. گروهی از دانشجویان که خود را «دانشجویان مسلمان پیرو خط امام» می‌نامیدند، سفارت ایالات متحده آمریکا در تهران را اشغال کردند و دیپلمات‌های حاضر در ساختمان را به گروگان گرفتند.


What Is Iran’s Role in Solving the Syrian Crisis?

While Ahmadinejad was still holding the office and Iran’s nuclear case was intensified, the international wisdom had voted for overlooking Iran’s role in
international developments and even in the Syrian crisis, for the US and some of the European states believed in case Iran became involved in the negotiations about Syria, then not only would it jump out of isolation, but it would also dwell on it as a winning card in nuclear talks with the west.

But once the nuclear talks came to fruition and the JCPOA was agreed to be implemented, for the first time, Iran was invited to take part in the talks that could resolve the Syrian crisis. With Iran at the table, the Syrian talks had the first encounter of all the proponents and opponents of the topic around one table.

Before the initiation of the Vienna conference and even shortly after, every player in the talks strived to dominate the discussion ruling their own viewpoint as the “one”. Yet Saudi Arabia insists that during the transition period of the power and political discipline in Syria, Bashar Assad should not be given any part which is agreed by most of the participants, whereas Iran tends to keep him still during the transition.

On the other hand, Turkey who invested hugely on defeating Bashar Assad in Syria is now hearing the knock-knocks of terrorism right behind its borders as the ISIS is gaining increasing power in Syria. It also has to host torrents of immigrants on its soil and to take care of them has become an issue.

A constant supporter of Syria’s current government, Russia has boosted its military attacks in Syria to make Assad’s opponents understand that they need to forget the use of military force to depose him. Russia’s attacks in a way provided constant backup for Assad’s forces and prevented them from taking heavy hits, hence providing them with enough space to advance and conquer their cause.

The other side of the story shows that those European countries who, within the past 5 years, failed to bring peace back to Syria are now receiving Syrian refugees; a trend which can lay the toxic foundation for the ISIS members to penetrate Europe in disguise if the crisis continues.

The US, however, has penned a third scenario which could be implied from the words of the US Secretary of State, John Kerry. At the end of the Vienna conference, Kerry stated many are on the belief that in Syria, there are only 2 options, Assad and terrorism; so between these two, they simply choose Assad. But if there is a better alternative which is trusted by them, they would surely go for it. This scenario is exactly where Russia and Iran, known as Assad’s main advocators, play their roles, but hey own an entirely different view toward the American plot.

In Russia’s point of view, even if Syria becomes a scorched land, it can still be another Afghanistan which drags the US policies on the Middle East into fierce challenge, and therefore become a winning card in the Russia-US game. But as Iran sees it, Syria is a frontline against Israel, and in fact, a government that is in line with Iran in Syria can connect Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Syria and Iran against Israel; an approach which completely contradicts Saudi Arabia’s strategy and becomes fathoms to its efforts to weaken Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran more than before in the Middle East, and that makes Syria’s future of serious importance to them. Future talks are whistling ahead and we should wait and see what gives and takes are to be spared between the effective players in the Syrian crisis to resolve the existing issue.