By Jeffrey Rudolph
24 April, 2010
What can possibly justify the relentless U.S. diplomatic (and mainstream media) assault on Iran?
It cannot be argued that Iran is an aggressive state that is dangerous to its neighbors, as facts do not support this claim. It cannot be relevant that Iran adheres to Islamic fundamentalism, has a flawed democracy and denies women full western-style civil rights, as Saudi Arabia is more fundamentalist, far less democratic and more oppressive of women, yet it is a U.S. ally. It cannot be relevant that Iran has, over the years, had a nuclear research program, and is most likely pursuing the capacity to develop nuclear weapons, as Pakistan, India, Israel and other states are nuclear powers yet remain U.S. allies—indeed, Israel deceived the U.S. while developing its nuclear program.
The answer to the above-posed question is fairly obvious: Iran must be punished for leaving the orbit of U.S. control. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Shah was removed, Iran, unlike, say, Saudi Arabia, acts independently and thus compromises U.S. power in two ways: i) Defiance of U.S. dictates affects the U.S.'s attainment of goals linked to Iran; and, ii) Defiance of U.S. dictates establishes a “bad” example for other countries that may wish to pursue an independent course. The Shah could commit any number of abuses—widespread torture, for example—yet his loyalty to the U.S. exempted him from American condemnation—yet not from the condemnation of the bulk of Iranians who brought him down.
The following quiz is an attempt to introduce more balance into the mainstream discussion of Iran.
Iran Quiz Questions :
1. Is Iran an Arab country?
2. Has Iran launched an aggressive war of conquest against another country since 1900?
3. How many known cases of an Iranian suicide-bomber have there been from 1989 to 2007?
4. What was Iran 's defense spending in 2008?
5. What was the U.S. 's defense spending in 2008?
6. What is the Jewish population of Iran ?
7. Which Iranian leader said the following? “This [ Israel 's] Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”
8. True or False: Iranian television presented a serial sympathetic to Jews during the Holocaust that coincided with President Ahmadinejad's first term.
9. What percentage of students entering university in Iran is female?
10. What percentage of the Iranian population attends Friday prayers?
11. True or False: Iran has formally consented to the Arab League's 2002 peace initiative with Israel.
12. Which two countries were responsible for orchestrating the 1953 overthrow of Iran's populist government of democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, primarily because he introduced legislation that led to the nationalization of Iranian oil?
13. Who made the following address on March 17, 2000? “In 1953 the United States played a significant role in orchestrating the overthrow of Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh. The Eisenhower administration believed its actions were justified for strategic reasons. But the coup was clearly a setback for Iran's political development. And it is easy to see now why many Iranians continue to resent this intervention by America in their internal affairs.”
14. Which countries trained the Shah's brutal internal security service, SAVAK?
15. Does Iran have nuclear weapons?
16. Is Iran a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?
17. Is Israel a signatory of the NPT?
18. Does the NPT permit a signatory to pursue a nuclear program?
19. Who wrote the following in 2004? "Wherever U.S forces go, nuclear weapons go with them or can be made to follow in short order. The world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy. Though Iran is ruled by Islamic fundamentalists, most commentators who are familiar with the country do not regard its government as irrational. ... [I]t was Saddam Hussein who attacked Iran, not the other way around; since then Iran has been no more aggressive than most countries are. For all their talk of opposition to Israel , Iran 's rulers are very unlikely to mount a nuclear attack on a country that is widely believed to have what it takes to wipe them off the map. Chemical or other attacks are also unlikely, given the meager results that may be expected and the retaliation that would almost certainly follow.”
20. What percentage of Iranians in 2008 said they had an unfavorable view of the American people?
21. What percentage of Iranians in 2008 expressed negative sentiments toward the Bush administration?
22. What were the main elements of Iran's 2003 Proposal to the U.S., communicated during the build-up to the Iraq invasion, and how did the U.S. respond to Iran's Proposal?
23. True or False: Iran and the U.S. both considered the Taleban to be an enemy after the 9/11 attacks.
24. Did the U.S. work with the Tehran-based Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq both before and after the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq?
25. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, who said the following? "The Iranians had real contacts with important players in Afghanistan and were prepared to use their influence in constructive ways in coordination with the United States ."
26. Who wrote the following in 2004? “It is in the interests of the United States to engage selectively with Iran to promote regional stability, dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons, preserve reliable energy supplies, reduce the threat of terror, and address the ‘democracy deficit' that pervades the Middle East …”
Click here to read the answers to the Iran quiz.
Jeffrey Rudolph, a college professor in Montreal, was the Quebec representative of the East Timor Alert Network, and presented a paper on its behalf at the United Nations. He prepared the widely-distributed, “Can You Pass the Israel-Palestine Quiz,” which can be found at,
http://www.countercurrents.org/rudolph180608.htm (Comments or questions concerning these quizzes should be emailed to: Israel-Palestine-Quiz@live.com.)