Territory in southwest Asia, ruled since 1979 by the Jomhuri ye Eslāmi ye Irān

Iran (Persian: ایران‎ Irān), also known as Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran (Persian: جمهوری اسلامی ایران‎ Jomhuri-ye Eslāmi-ye Irān), is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th-most-populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km², it is the second-largest country in the Middle East and the 17th-largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.

Measures of Freedom

Human Freedom Index [PDF], The Human Freedom Index 2016
2014: 4.63, Rank: 157, Personal Freedom: 3.99, Economic Freedom: 5.27, Democracy Index: 2.04
Iran | Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2016
2016: Status: Not Free, Aggregate Score: 17, Political Rights: 6, Civil Liberties: 6
"In July 2015, Iran reached an agreement with the United States and other world powers to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, raising hopes that the pact would ultimately strengthen President Hassan Rouhani and allow him to fulfill promises to decrease state intervention in Iranians' lives."
Level of Economic Freedom, Economic Freedom of the World
2014: 5.27, Rank: 150


America Must Reject Netanyahu's War Cry on Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 4 Mar 2015
Counters Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the U.S. Congress about Iran's nuclear weapons intentions
"To begin, Iran has not sought a nuclear weapon, and the country's leader declares such weapons contrary to Islam. ... Iran's government is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), subjecting it to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency ... Israel and the United States have been waging war — economic, covert, proxy, and cyber — against Iran for decades."
An Anti-Democracy Foreign Policy: Iran, by Jacob Hornberger, 31 Jan 2005
"The 1953 CIA coup in Iran was named 'Operation Ajax' ... For years, the U.S. government, including the CIA, kept what it had done in Iran secret from the American people and the world ... in March 2000 ... the U.S. government finally acknowledged what it had done to the Iranian people ..."
Bill Clinton and the Bogus Iranian Threat, by Sheldon Richman, 8 May 2014
Another chapter in the Iran "manufactured crisis" saga: how the Clinton administration was influenced by Israelis
"Clinton's advisers saw the threat of nuclear proliferation as the path to beefing up the national-security apparatus. ... The Clinton administration implemented the 'dual containment' policy against Iraq and Iran. ... The administration charged Iran with abetting international terrorism, beefing up its armed forces, and seeking nuclear weapons. But was there evidence?"
Bush Is About To Attack Iran: Why Can't Americans See It?, by Paul Craig Roberts, 27 Jan 2007
"Everything is in place for an attack on Iran. Two aircraft carrier attack forces are deployed to the Persian Gulf, US attack aircraft have been moved to Turkey ... and growing reams of disinformation alleging Iran's responsibility for the insurgency in Iraq are being fed to the gullible US Media."
Related Topic: George W. Bush
Can Iran Trust the United States?, by Sheldon Richman, 2 Oct 2013
Turns around the question on whether the United States can trust Iran by examining the covert and proxy war led by former against the latter
"As one can see, the Iranians are the aggrieved party in the conflict with the United States. ... But, some will say, Iran is building a nuclear bomb. The problem is that this is not true. Twice the American intelligence complex (more than a dozen agencies) has concluded that Iran abandoned whatever weapons program it had in 2003, the year the U.S. government eliminated its archenemy, Saddam Hussein."
Clichés, by Charley Reese, 24 Oct 2007
Discusses how politicians' clichés are usually the opposite of what they say, in particular with the current situation in Iran
"Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent and successful visit to Iran seems to have so rattled Mr. Bush that he is prattling on about World War III. If he would read the joint statement issued at the end of the meeting, he would see that the meeting was mostly about doing business. ... Putin, who also doesn't want Iran to develop nuclear weapons, said making threats is counterproductive."
Does Obama Have the Courage to Pursue Peace with Iran?, by Sheldon Richman, 23 Oct 2013
Examines how the warmongers in the U.S. Congress as well Netanyahu's government put pressure on President Obama not to reach a peaceful agreement with Iran
"All this comes against an incongruous background: U.S. and Israeli intelligence says Iran has no plans to build nuclear weapons. (Its leadership has issued a fatwa against weapons of mass destruction.) Moreover, even if it did build one, Iran would be deterred from offensive action by America's and Israel's overwhelming nuclear arsenals."
Does Obama Want an Agreement with Iran or Not?, by Sheldon Richman, 18 Dec 2013
Ponders the sincerity of the Obama administration's actions after negotiating an interim agreement with Iran
"Do Obama and Kerry want peace with Iran or not? If so, they have a funny way of showing it. The danger of Obama's policy should be obvious. If Iranian officials come to believe that no matter what they do, U.S.-led economic warfare against the Iranian people — for sanctions are nothing less than this — will continue, the hope of a thaw in the absurd cold war will be dashed, and war could follow."
Hell-Bent on War, by Justin Raimondo, 14 Feb 2007
Discusses propaganda and other efforts by the George W. Bush administration and neoconservatives to launch military action against Iran, and relevant commentary from a professor of international relations as well as Russian President Putin
"... we are being subjected to an intense propaganda campaign based on phony 'intelligence' – with, once again, the main 'evidence' provided by a dubious exile group, in this case the kooky-cult known as the National Council of Resistance. The NCR is a front for an Iranian Marxist group led by Maryam Rajavi, the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, which has carried out armed attacks on American interests and facilities and initially supported the Khomeini 'revolution.'"
Related Topics: Imperialism, War
Improve the CIA? Better to abolish it, by Chalmers Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Feb 2004
Lists countries where the CIA conducted subversive operations and recommends abolishing the agency.
"From our first covert overthrow of a foreign government, the ouster of the prime minister of Iran in 1953 in order to install the young shah Reza Pahlavi, the path to fame and success within the agency was in secret operations, not in writing intelligence estimates. That is certainly the pecking order I observed when I served as an outside consultant to the Office of National Estimates of the CIA from 1967 to 1973."
Iran: It's Not about Nuclear Weapons, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Nov 2013
Examines the U.S.-Iran 2013 temporary agreement and the rationale of the deal's main opponents: the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel
"Thus the Iranians, who have made repeated peace overtures, are portrayed as an “existential threat,” which is absurd ... The Iranian people, which includes a large, educated middle class, would welcome friendship with America. Both they and the American people would prosper from trade, tourism, and other personal contact. As a bonus, such friendship would inevitably weaken Iran's theocracy – which is why the hardliners on all sides are determined to prevent it."
Related Topics: Israel, Saudi Arabia
Lebanon, Again: The Israelis want another go, by Justin Raimondo, 9 Feb 2007
"This is what the American 'surge' in Iraq is all about: the White House is preparing for a confrontation with the Iranians. ... The President has authorized U.S. troops to go after the Iranians supposedly infiltrating Iraq, and the storming of that Iranian consulate in Irbil was not just a random incident."
Related Topic: Lebanon
Obama and Kerry Jeopardize Peace with Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 30 Jan 2014
Discusses pronouncements by U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama that put in doubt their intentions of reaching a peace agreement with Iran
"... investigative reporter Gareth Porter points out that Kerry repeatedly says the agreement obligates Iran to 'dismantle' nuclear equipment, such as centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani protests that this is incorrect. ... Obama himself told the New Yorker's David Remnick there's less than an even chance of a permanent agreement, which is worse than the odds he gave late last year."
Preventing War with Iran Is Top Priority, by Sheldon Richman, 13 Nov 2013
Examines the 2013 situation between the Obama administration and Israel on one side and Iran on the other
"Iran is not building a bomb. U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies have said so repeatedly. The Islamic Republic, unlike Israel, is a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is thus subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Moreover, the Islamic regime long ago issued a fatwa, invoked many times since, condemning WMD as immoral. Furthermore, a nuke would be useless as an offensive weapon for Iran. (Iran has not attacked another nation in hundreds of years, but it was attacked by U.S.-backed Iraq in 1980.)"
Related Topics: Israel, War
Stop Demonizing Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 9 Oct 2013
Examines Iranian government efforts to cooperate with the Bush administration, as reported in 2006 by Gareth Porter
"... after the 9/11 attacks, the Iranian government tried to cooperate with the Bush administration on a number of fronts. The two sides actually began working together at the end of 2001 ... We rarely hear about the previous offers, perhaps because they conflict with the mainstream media's dominant narrative of Iran as an implacable threat. Apparently those who want war with Iran ... make better news copy than would-be peacemakers."
The Ayatollahs' Overlooked Anti-WMD Fatwas, by Sheldon Richman, 16 Apr 2014
Additional review of Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis, focusing on Ayatollah Khomeini's position on the use of chemical and nuclear weapons
"... did you know that Iran's two supreme leaders since the revolution, Ayatollahs Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei, each in his time issued fatwas against weapons of mass destruction? Khomeini specifically addressed chemical weapons, while Khamenei's declaration was aimed at nuclear weapons."
The Coming War With Iran: Is it inevitable?, by Justin Raimondo, 26 Mar 2007
"The timing of the recent incident in which 15 British sailors were arrested by Iran at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway for purportedly entering Iranian waters couldn't have been more provocative if it had been planned that way. ... Add it all up, and there seems little doubt as to who carried out what seems like a brazen provocation."
The Iranian Threat That Never Was, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Mar 2014
Reviews and summarizes Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare
"... before the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran was ruled by an autocratic monarch, the shah. The shah's power had been eclipsed in the early 1950s by a democratically elected parliament. Then, in 1953, America's Eisenhower administration sent the CIA in to foment civil discord in order to drive the elected prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, from office and restore the shah's power."
The Neoconservative Obsession with Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 14 May 2014
Discusses how Dubya, Cheney and their neocon advisors exacerbated the manufactured U.S.-Iran crisis
"Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton ... thought America needed an enemy, and Iran filled the bill. President George W. Bush['s] ... administration did everything in its power, including lying, to stop the more realistic British, French, and Germans from reaching agreement with an Iranian government eager to ensure the transparency of its nuclear program and, in return, have economic sanctions lifted."
The Ominous Republican Hold on Congress, by Sheldon Richman, 7 Jan 2015
Comments on what may be expected from the Republican-controlled Senate in 2015
"The Iranian regime would like to return to the world economy by freeing itself from harsh U.S.-led sanctions, so it is bending over backward to assure the world that it wants no nuclear weapons. ... If Obama blows this chance to normalize relations with Iran, which includes a large educated middle class friendly to America, it will be a tragedy of immense proportions. There is no way to justify the cruel consequences that U.S. sanctions have inflicted on the Iranian people."
The Real 'Existential Threat': War with Iran augurs a global conflict, by Justin Raimondo, 30 Mar 2007
Comments on media coverage of the Iranian seizure of British Royal Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf and subsequent political maneuvering
"The British incursion into a highly problematic area is but the latest in a series of provocations, including Western-sponsored terrorist attacks inside Iran. U.S. aid to pro-al Qaeda elements operating inside Lebanon, as a counterbalance to Hezbollah's growing influence, is inexplicable except as part of a new strategy to neutralize Iranian assets in the region. ... Iranian behavior in this matter seems predicated on the assumption that the decision to attack them has already been made."
Related Topics: Democratic Party, War
The Roots of Iran's Nuclear Secrecy, by Sheldon Richman, 2 Apr 2014
Further commentary on Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, discussing why the Iranian government wanted secrecy for its civilian nuclear program
"Porter acknowledges that Iran did not always keep the IAEA fully informed. Is this proof that Iran was preparing to make nuclear warheads? Porter provides overwhelming evidence that the answer is no. ... What possible reason could Iran have had for working in secrecy? Simply put, from the 1980s onward the U.S. government was determined to thwart Iran's efforts to build even modest a civilian nuclear program."
The Secret State, by Carl Oglesby, 19 Dec 1991
Details various events from the establishment of the Gehlen Org after World War II to the 1991 death of Danny Casolaro that Oglesby says led to the creation of "a national-security oligarchy, a secret and invisible state within the public state"
"1953: Operation Ajax. The CIA overthrew Premier Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, complaining of his neutralism in the Cold War, and installed in his place General Fazlollah Zahedi, a wartime Nazi collaborator. Zahedi showed his gratitude by giving 25-year leases on forty percent of Iran's oil to three American arms. One of these firms, Gulf Oil, was fortunate enough a few years later to hire as a vice president the CIA agent Kermit Roosevelt, who had run Operation Ajax."
U.S. Hypocrisy on Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 14 Feb 2007
Discusses the hypocrisy of Bush administration pronouncements about Iran interfering in Iraq, considering the U.S. intervention in Iran in 1953
"Surely he has read about Operation Ajax, in which the CIA's Kermit Roosevelt Jr., grandson of Theodore Roosevelt, and Norman Schwarzkopf Sr., father of the 1991 Gulf War general, conspired in 1953, along with British intelligence, to overthrow the democratically elected, though socialist, government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh and restore the despotic shah to his Peacock Throne."
We Started the Fire, by Jim Babka, WorldNetDaily, 26 Sep 2003
"In 1951, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, angered Britain by nationalizing the oil industry. Mossadegh argued that Iran deserved a better share of the profits from its vast oil reserves. ... In 1953, ... the British turned to their old friend and asked him to initiate a coup. Eisenhower ordered the CIA to undertake one of its first covert operations against another government."
Why the U.S. Blew a Chance to Reconcile with Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 1 May 2014
Another fascinating story from Gareth Porter's book about Iran: how the George H. W. Bush administration bungled the opportunity to improve the U.S. relationship with Iran
"The Bush administration took steps toward normalization, and Iran went to work on freeing the [US] hostages [being held by a militant group in Lebanon]. ... the last American was freed [in Dec 1991]. ... Then suddenly, in April 1992, the administration changed course. ... Porter also provides ample evidence that the main reason for the about-face was fear at the CIA and Pentagon that their budgets and staffs would be slashed with the end of the Cold War."


The Antiwar Republican, by Ron Paul, Scott Horton, 4 Apr 2007
Transcript and MP3 audio recording; topics include foreign policy principles, isolationism, the Bush Doctrine, the "war on terror", the British sailors captured by Iran, presidential authority over state National Guard units and Guantanamo Bay detainees
"Horton: ... The Iranians have captured 15 British sailors and marines, and apparently the United States is interfering in their negotiations with the Iranians to get these sailors back. ...
Paul: ... we [the U.S. government] are looking for an excuse to go in there and bomb them ... The Iranians ... would be a lot more reasonable in their dealings with the British, but hardly anybody is talking about the five hostages that we hold – the diplomats from Iran that we picked up. There are some who believe that this is nothing more than retaliation for us holding their diplomats, and that's compounding the problem with the British."


Pirates and Emperors - Schoolhouse Rock, 17 Sep 2006
Related Topics: Imperialism, Iraq, Nicaragua

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Iran" as of 20 Sep 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.