"Crimes of America"
June 12, 1980 — The Cedar Rapids Gazette

The Mossadegh Project | February 11, 2014     

This editorial in Iowa’s Cedar Rapids Gazette recommended that the White House not dismiss the grievances of Iranians during the hostage crisis. In the 1950’s, however, the newspaper was less understanding.

Worth listening to

If the Carter administration spent less time heaping obloquy on Ramsey Clark and more time listening to what the former attorney general has to say, it might come out ahead. Clark, who violated the president’s Iranian travel ban to attend a "Crimes of America" conference in Tehran, has said some ill-considered things that don’t bear repeating – but has also raised some points that do:

Why does the White House resist the notion of an international commission to investigate American interference in Iranian affairs?

For one thing, officially supporting such a panel would go far toward satisfying Iranian grievances against the U.S. – and it might contribute to the release of some or all of our 53 hostages.

For another, President Carter has little to lose politically. It is common knowledge that the 1953 coup that overthrew Premier Mohammed Mossadegh was engineered by the CIA. And if the commission finds fresher proof of unwarranted or criminal intrusion, apart from what it might say about the aborted April 25 rescue mission, who would lose? Three previous Republican and two Democratic administrations perhaps, but not necessarily the current one.

Why not support creation of an international court of justice to try allegedly criminal ex-rulers? The World Court in The Hague has little or no credibility among developing countries that see the wheels of international law turn slowly or not at all while pariahs like the shah or Idi Amin or Anastasio Somoza get away with multiple murder. Can Iran be blamed for craving justice?

Why not offer substitute hostages? The idea is not so farfetched that other Americans besides Ramsey Clark have never proposed it before. While gaining release of some of the 53 unconscionably held for seven months, the offer might let Iran’s government save face enough to defuse the hostage situation altogether.

The thrust of Clark’s ideas is that the U.S. must begin taking Iran’s complaints seriously. Short of another rescue effort that has even less chance of success than the first, it may be the sole alternative.

Related links:

America Held Hostage — George McGovern Column on U.S. Foreign Policy (1985)

“Selective Outrage” Over Iran Hostage Crisis — 1979 Letter To The New York Times

January 1979: Police Drive Back Iranians From Home of Shah’s Mother in Beverly Hills

MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”

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