Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Back Story on Iran's Clashes

The Back Story on Iran's Clashes
Iranian parliamentarians presented an ugly scene on Tuesday with raucous chants calling for the executions of two opposition leaders – and the U.S. news media was quick to denounce the Iranian government – but there is a complex history that Americans aren’t getting....
There is also the question of whether Mousavi and Karrubi are true reformers or simply represent a split in Iran’s power structure.

While prime minister in the 1980s, Mousavi presided over some of the Islamic Republic’s most brutal purges. In 1990, when I interviewed Karrubi in Tehran, he was considered a conservative cleric connected – along with his brother Hassan – to arms-trafficking and other corruption.

Mousavi and the Karrubis – along with their billionaire ally, ex-President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – were part of the group that favored secret contacts with the United States and Israel to get military supplies for fighting the eight-year war with Iraq. Even as hundreds of thousands of Iranian soldiers died, the war was a lucrative business opportunity for the well-connected....

Extensive evidence now exists that Begin’s preference for a Reagan victory led Israelis to join in a covert operation with Republicans to contact Iranian leaders behind Carter’s back and delay release of the 52 American hostages until after Reagan defeated Carter in November 1980.

That controversy, known as the “October Surprise” case, and its sequel, the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-1980s, involved clandestine ties between some leading figures in today’s Iranian disputes and U.S. and Israeli officials who supplied Iran with missiles and other weaponry for its war with Iraq....

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