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, discussing reasons behind his push for war
"To begin, Iran has not sought a nuclear weapon, and the country's leader declares such weapons contrary to Islam. ... Iran nevertheless wants to reassure the world so that crushing economic sanctions will be lifted. Hence, the current negotiations. (Iran made similar overtures before.) Iran's government is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), subjecting it to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which can account for every atom of uranium. ... In fact, Israel and the United States have been waging war — economic, covert, proxy, and cyber — against Iran for decades."
Related Topic: Israel
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 in framing U.S. policy towards Iran
"Was there a case against Iran to justify the policy? The administration charged Iran with abetting international terrorism, beefing up its armed forces, and seeking nuclear weapons. But was there evidence? Porter’s book is a heavily documented brief showing that Iran never had a policy or took steps to acquire nuclear weapons. It sought a uranium-enrichment capability in order to produce fuel for its civilian nuclear program, but it did not seek weapons. Moreover, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa condemning nuclear weapons as a sin against Islam."
Related Topics: Bill Clinton, Israel, Terrorism
Bush Is About To Attack Iran, by Paul Craig Roberts, 27 Jan 2007
Expresses dismay at the American lack of awareness of the Bush administration's intent of starting a war with Iran on the pretext that Iran, rather than al-Qaeda, is responsible for the Iraqi insurgency
"The entire world ... is discussing Bush's planned attack on Iran ... postings on the Internet demonstrate world wide awareness that Iran is in the Bush Regime's cross hairs. ... Two aircraft carrier attack forces are deployed to the Persian Gulf, US attack aircraft have been moved to Turkey and other countries on Iran's borders, Patriot anti-missile defense systems are being moved ... to protect oil facilities and US bases from retaliation from Iranian missiles, and growing reams of disinformation alleging Iran's responsibility for the insurgency in Iraq are being fed to the gullible US Media."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Middle East
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 on the nuclear issue
"Moreover, Iran is an old and large country that inevitably will play an influential role in the region. Any sign that President Hassan Rouhani would accept demands perceived to subordinate Iran to the United States and Israel would only strengthen the hardest of Iranian hardliners ... 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."
Related Topic: Israel
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."
GOP, R.I.P?, by Sheldon Richman, 11 Feb 2008
Reviews conservatives' criticisms of John McCain and his positions in his presidential campaign as well as what the criticism may mean for the Republican Party
"In my mind, one incident with McCain is enough to rule out supporting him, regardless of who his opponent is. When he stood in front of an audience and laughingly sang the old Beach Boys hit as 'Bomb, bomb bomb/bomb, bomb Iran,' McCain should have been regarded as disqualified from holding any office in the land. If the United States attacks Iran, many innocent men, women, and children will be killed or maimed, just as they were in Iraq. Is that a laughing matter, Mr. McCain? But the conservatives who otherwise can't stand McCain must have loved that moment."
Related Topics: Conservatism, Republican Party
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
"It is the culmination of a years-long campaign to isolate and attack Iran ... 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 ... In what is either a fit of megalomania or justified optimism fueled by U.S. support, Rajavi has already proclaimed herself president of Iran. No doubt "President" Rajavi expects to be installed in office by U.S. force of arms. "
Related Topics: George W. Bush, 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, by Justin Raimondo, 9 Feb 2007
Discusses the possible aftermath of the 7 Feb 2007 border incident between Lebanon and Israel and the likelyhood of the 2007 Iraq War "surge" leading to a confrontation between the United States and Iran
"Those who fear war with Iran had best look to Lebanon, where the first shots are being fired. It is, so far, a proxy war, with the Israelis as our stand-ins and Hezbollah allied with the Iranians. It is only a matter of time, however, before the proxies are dispensed with, and the Americans meet the Iranians on the battlefield ... Washington knows full well that, in answer to U.S. airstrikes, Tehran will target U.S. troops caught in the middle of Iraq's civil war ... Crippled by their unwillingness to criticize Israel, antiwar Democrats will be sucked into supporting the opening shots of the coming U.S. attack on Iran."
Related Topics: George W. Bush, Lebanon
Mr. Bush, Meet Walter Jones, by Patrick J. Buchanan, 16 Jan 2007
Discusses the Iraq War, the announcement of a potential strikes against Iran, and the Joint Resolution introduced by Rep. Walter Jones (R, NC) to prevent such action
"The day after Bush's threat to Iran, Jones introduced a Joint Resolution, 'Concerning the Use of Military Force by the United States Against Iran.' Under HJR 14, 'Absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran, upon the United States, its territories, possessions, or its armed forces, the president shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating any use of force on Iran.'"
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
After a brief look at Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea, 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 ... is a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and is thus subject to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency. ... Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, is trying to reassure the West and Israel about its civilian nuclear program. ... His foreign minister is meeting with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany (the P5+1) in order to strike an agreement that would include lifting the economic sanctions ... which deprive innocent Iranians of food and medicine."
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, prompted by the Obama administration visa denial to the Iran ambassador to the United Nations
"After the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, a group of Iranians held 52 Americans hostage in the former U.S. embassy for more than a year. ... One can condemn the hostage-taking and still recognize that the American government did terrible things to the Iranian people from 1953 to 1979. And it has kept on doing them. ... 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, by Justin Raimondo, 26 Mar 2007
Discusses the 23 March 2007 incident when 15 Royal Navy sailors were detained by Iranian boats claiming the British were in Iran's territorial waters and speculates on further developments on a potential conflict with Iran
"It happened on the eve of a vote in the UN Security Council to impose stricter sanctions on Iran and in the wake of escalating rhetoric from U.S. government officials blaming Iran for anti-occupation activity in Iraq. On top of that, recent events include the kidnapping of Iranian consular officials in Irbil, Kurdistan, by U.S. forces, reports of covert U.S. support for terrorist attacks inside Iran, the "disappearance" of a major Iranian military figure in the elite Revolutionary Guards unit, and suspicions that the Mossad may have had a hand in killing a renowned Iranian nuclear scientist."
The Iranian Threat That Never Was, by Sheldon Richman, 26 Mar 2014
Introductory review of Gareth Porter's Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, covering the period from the 1950's to the 1979 revolution and early interference from the Reagan administration
"... 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. During his reign, the shah, a close ally of the United States and Israel, started building a nuclear-power industry — with America's blessing. Iran's Bushehr reactor was 80 percent complete when the shah was overthrown."
Related Topic: Ronald Reagan
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 with respect to war and foreign intervention from the Republican-controlled Senate in 2015
"Obama has pursued negotiations with Iran over its never-was and still-is-not nuclear-weapons program. The Iranian regime would like to [free] itself from harsh U.S.-led sanctions, so it is bending over backward to assure the world that it wants no nuclear weapons. (The Supreme Leader years ago issued a fatwa against them.) ... 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', 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. Why else would they parade the 15 captives in front of the cameras, and release two letters of one of them ..."
Related Topics: Democratic Party, Israel, 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 dismantling of the Office of Strategic Services after World War II to the 1991 death of Danny Casolaro, which Oglesby said are reason to be worried about "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. Did this coup set the clock ticking on the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80?"
The State: Judge in its Own Cause, by Kevin Carson, 22 Aug 2013
Explores, with several historical examples, the United States government's role in judging itself or disregarding its laws
"In 1953 the CIA helped overthrow Iran's elected government — an act which eventually led to the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and thirty subsequent years of war and tension in the Gulf. It led indirectly to a bloody war between Iran and Iraq in which millions died, creating a regional political climate that at times threatened superpower war. It was only in the past month — sixty years after the fact — the CIA officially admitted it had written a check to be cashed with the a**es of the American people."
U.S. Hypocrisy on Iran, by Sheldon Richman, 14 Feb 2007
Discusses the hypocrisy of Bush administration pronouncements about Iran "meddling in Iraq", considering the U.S. intervention in Iran in 1953
"In 1953 the CIA executed the ultimate interference in Iranian affairs by engineering a regime change and restoring to power the brutal and hated shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. ... Surely [Dinesh D'Souza] 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."
Related Topic: George W. Bush
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."
Whoa, Walter!, by Charley Reese, 4 Sep 2006
Criticizes Williams for his column "Will the West defend itself?" dated 23 Aug 2006, in which he defends going to the extreme of using nuclear weapons on "our Middle East enemies" just as "when we firebombed cities in Germany and Japan"
"It is relevant to note that Iran has never threatened Israel with physical destruction, American misreporting notwithstanding. It has said repeatedly that it is not a threat to any country in the region, including Israel. It has said repeatedly that it does not desire to build a nuclear weapon. Before you dismiss that statement, be honest enough to recognize that for 12 years Iraq said truthfully that it had no weapons of mass destruction, and the same crowd now clamoring to go to war with Iran claimed that it did. Do you want to let the same crowd con you twice?"
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.