My Country: Right—Or Wrong?

March 16, 1980 — The Los Angeles Times (letters)

Arash Norouzi

The Mossadegh Project | February 13, 2021                     


From “We started it all” to “I regret nothing!”, the juxtaposition of the following letters to the editor aptly demonstrate the polarities around U.S. foreign policy in Iran.

The letters responsed to a piece by journalist, author and well known columnist Joseph Kraft (1924-1986), who had interviewed the Shah in Tehran several times.

The Los Angeles Times

Letters to The Times — March 16, 1980

America’s Role in Iran

Joseph Kraft’s column (March 5), “America Should Be Detailing Its Constructive Role in Iran,” is a good example of the self-righteous misreading of the world situation that continually gets the United States into trouble overseas.

By downplaying the atrocities of the Shah of Iran, minimizing the role the United States played in establishing and supporting his regime, and presenting our interventions as a response to the old saw of Soviet expansionism, Kraft crudely attempts to rewrite history to prove the United States right.

Unfortunately for Kraft and other purveyors of America-the-always-right, there is no moral justification for our actions in Iran. The sole reason we have even bothered with Iran is to bolster oil company profits. In 1953, when a threat to those profits arose in the form of a popular (i.e. people-oriented) government, we put the shah back on the throne.

We tolerated enormous repression of the Iranian people in order to promote stability for those profits. Only when we as a people admit the existence of past and present mistakes and treat other countries and nations as people like ourselves, will it be possible to establish fair and mutually beneficial relations with the rest of the peoples of the world.

Del Mar [San Diego]

Congratulations are in order for Kraft for being one of the first to point out the constructive role the United States has played in post-World War II Iran. It was the intervention of President Truman that prevented the annexation of Azerbaijan by Russia in 1946. [Harry Truman] Likewise the Point Four program was of the greatest help in raising the living standards of the Iranians.

Naturally these actions, which were helpful to Iran, are ignored by the religious fanatics who are determined to extirpate all evidences of Western liberal thought. This drive to eliminate all democratic ideology, not our alleged “crimes” is behind the hatred for the United States.

As for Mohammed Mossadegh, whom the CIA admittedly helped to overthrow, he would have been no more democratic than any other Marxist government, which is none at all.

It is unfortunate that these positive acts by the United States are never mentioned by either President Carter or the State Department. [Jimmy Carter] But then, what can be expected from a President who “changed” his mind about Russia a few weeks ago?

Marina del Rey

With Iran, ‘Everything Old Is New Again’ (Nov. 1979 letters)


Related links:

War For Oil: An American Fixture (1975 letters to The Bridgeport Post)

Crisis In Iran Boost For Carter | The Post-Star, Dec. 12, 1979

U.S. Must Make Amends With Iran | Letter to Editor (Jan. 7, 1980)

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

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