The BBC doing what it does best: “In Iran’s iconography of villainy, Britain holds a special place. The UK is seen as the mastermind behind the overthrow of previous Iranian governments. Conservative hardliners believe Britain has in its blood the desire to decide who rules Iran.” Textbook stuff from James Reynolds “BBC Iran correspondent”.
Make it all a matter of opinion: “is seen as”. Put it down to someone at the so-called ‘extreme’: “hardliners”. Pathologise the unacceptable view, make it sound like childish paranoia, sneer at it under your hand: “Iran’s iconography of villainy”.
Fact is, if people in Iran feel that way about us, they are justified. The British government, lead by Winston Churchill, were the original movers in the plot to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh, because he wanted to nationalise the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which funnelled oil profits out of Iran to Britain (in other words, he had the temerity to think that Iranians should benefit from Iranian resources). Churchill put up the money. The CIA took over the plot. They hired mobsters and Nazi collaborators in Iran. CIA agents started riots. They started a coup which lead to the ascension of the Shah’s dictatorship and the reign of the SAVAK secret police, described by Amnesty as the worst human rights violators in the world. Murder, terror, torture, tyranny. But Western oil companies kept their revenue, so that’s okay (though the Americans elbowed Anglo-Persian – now BP – out somewhat in favour of an international consortium in which they had hegemony).
Now we and the Americans are once again gearing up to attack this country that we have already harmed so badly. For the hegemony of the American empire and the desperate, clawing need of the tottering neoliberal system. I don’t know what shenanigans have lead to our closure of the British Embassy in Tehran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from the UK… but you can be sure it’s got less to do with outrage at Iranian protestors and more to do with imperialist scheming.
And why? Because Iran has a nuke program? Well, maybe. But why, precisely, are we allowed to have nukes, the Americans are allowed to have nukes (they’re the only people who’ve ever used them on another nation, remember) and Israel (a brutal, racist, apartheid state) is allowed to have nukes… but we mustn’t let barbarians like Iran have them… because they’d impinge on Western imperial domination. Why are we the ones who can be trusted? Because we’re the good guys. We – the ones who nuked Hiroshima, organised that coup I was just talking about and have bankrolled the horrific treatment of the Palestinians – we are the civilised people. This is the objective and balanced assumption underlying the BBC’s coverage.
Well, truth is not balanced or objective.