Iran-U.S. relations: Know the history

Editor of the Reformer:

In a recent Associated Press article ("World Powers Reach Deal Opening Nuke Program," Jan. 13), the author stated that "Suspicions remain high in both Tehran and Washington after decades of hostility dating back to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that ousted the U.S.-backed shah dynasty."

This little rhetorical slight of hand is offensive to anyone who knows the history of the region. The article stopped its historical frame at the insult Iran perpetrated on the U.S. and neglected to include the military coup the U.S. perpetrated on the people of Iran. This is shameful and misleading journalism.

The decades of hostility between Iran and the United States date specifically to the 1953 CIA-driven coup to oust the constitutionally elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh; subverting the democratic process in Iran, and replacing it with a military dictatorship that was friendly to U.S. oil interests. This was done under the guise of "fighting Communism," but even in 1953, President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson admitted that the anti-Communism ruse "was a smokescreen." Freedom of Information Act petitions revealed documents establishing U.S. involvement in the coup, which has since been publicly acknowledged. Re-installing the Shah of Iran, arming and propping up his military and the dreaded SAVAK, Iran’s secret police, was the source of the mistrust between our nations. The hostage taking at the embassy in 1979 was a direct response to U.S. actions against Iranians.

As with the 9/11 attacks that followed the U.S. arming of and support for the Taliban and the Madrassas in Afghanistan in a proxy war to give the Russians their own "Vietnam," the U.S.government laid the groundwork for the 1979 Islamic Revolution by frustrating the legitimate attempts of a young democratic nation to retain some of its oil wealth for its own development, rather than shipping all the profits to the U.S. and Britain.

The diplomats and staff in Iran who were taken hostage in 1979, were victimized by people who had grown up with the suffering and abuse that the U.S.government had sponsored and caused them over the previous 25 years.

For the Reformer to let half-truths go to print panders to the short retention span of American media and cripples the historical understanding of the citizenry it is supposed to serve.

Today, suddenly, the interests of the Shiite government of Iran seem to be coinciding with interests of the U.S. in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, where Sunni insurgents threaten the stability of a large swath of the Middle East. Accordingly, we see some movement on the nuclear issues between Iran and the world community concerned about nuclear proliferation in another Islamic state.

I urge the editors of the Reformer to strive to print accurate stories that inform, rather than obfuscate the important issues that are driving current events. This is history we should not continue to repeat.

Scott Ainslie,

Brattleboro, Jan. 13

Ask the right questions

Editor of the Reformer:

The closing of access lanes to the George Washington Bridge creating lengthy traffic tie-ups to Fort Lee, N.J., is petty politics at its very lowest. The ramifications are anything but petty, however. Politics (rather than a natural or environmental disaster) was behind the lane closures, putting peoples’ lives and safety of property in jeopardy. People have resigned or been fired -- rightly so. There are questions whether Gov. Chris Christie knew about it, whether he was behind it or just set up an atmosphere in his administration to make it seem acceptable; whether it was retribution against Mayor Mark Sokolich who did not endorse him, or Barbara Buono, his Democratic opponent in the election, or something or someone else.

The question should not be whether this has affected Christie’s chances as presidential candidate in 2016 (answer to that should be "No") The people who put this plan into action violated public trust (as well as misusing public funds and services) and had a total lack of judgment. What they did was unethical and immoral. The question should be: How did society and culture betray them by ignoring that aspect in their upbringing and development? It is astounding that anyone would even consider this to be acceptable behavior. If there are laws that have been violated, charges should be brought against all the people involved, whatever their level of involvement. For their future, none of the people involved should be employed in any position of trust, or where they could use power or information for their own gain or that of their "group." It is obvious they believe ordinary people have no value.

Sue Miller,

Brattleboro, Jan. 14