Iran’s Khamenei: GOP Letter Disgusting, shows Decline of American System

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –

Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei spoke Thursday about the letter signed by 47 Republican senators that had been sent to him warning that any nuclear deal he concluded with President Barack Obama would have no staying power.

Khamenei called the letter “stupid” and “disgusting and said he was negotiating with backstabbers.

He blamed the letter on the fact that they had been recently addressed “by a Zionist clown,” referring to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

He complained that the Senators had accused Iran of supporting terrorism, which, he said, “is laughable.” (Iran sees Hizbullah and Hamas as legitimate resistance movements). He countered that it was the United States that created ISIL (Daesh), the world’s worst terrorist organization by its invasion of Iraq. He also accused Israel, which he said that the US backs to the hilt, of being a terrorist state.

He said that when an administration concludes an agreement with someone, the next administration is bound to honor it, but that in the US this principle has been discarded. The GOP senators had pledged, he said, to make any agreement with the Obama administration “as though it never existed.” “This is the utmost in the decline of political ethics … that is, this system is a system on the verge of oblivion, such that a person sees these things in it… They actually said they want to give Iranians a lesson so that we would understand their laws. We don’t need the lessons of those people!”

The BBC translates: “The Supreme Leader added that “the official of the Islamic Republic know their job well and know that if an agreement is reached how they should behave so that the American government can not renege on their promises.”

BBC Monitoring translated some further phrases of the speech. He called for a “rational” resolution to the problems between the West and Iran. Referring to nuclear energy, he said “By avoiding superficial outlooks, we need to understand where the challenges and issues stem from, and we should look for a rational solution in this way.”

Khamenei used the GOP letter to push for less dependence on petroleum exports and less state control of the economy– i.e. he pushed in the second point something of a Republican agenda of cutting down on state dominance of the economy in favor of wide participation in it by private individuals. BBC quotes him:

“If we look carefully, it becomes clear that the reason behind the damage we have incurred because of the sanctions is the country’s dependence on oil, government-controlled economy and the lack of public participation in the economy.”

“If we had not made the country’s economy and the life of the nation dependent on oil, and if we had avoided the mistake of the beginning of the revolution, which was making everything government-run, and if we had really involved people in economic activities, could the enemy have inflicted this damage upon us by imposing sanctions on oil and on the public sector?”

Source: Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader website in Persian 0948 gmt 12 Mar 15

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Related video:

wochit General News: “Khamenei Slams Republican Letter on Iran, U.S. Known for ‘deceit'”

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40 Responses

    • The precedent is not in the specific incident, but in the ability of the Republicans to act with incomprehensible arrogance and get away with it. They paid no penalty, and in fact made major electoral gains, by threatening to default on the national debt, shut down Homeland security, fraternizing with and encouraging global warming doubters, relentlessly attempting to replace the ACA (Obama-care) with a vacuum, the birth certificate frenzy, the Benghazi calamity, doubting, evolution, .
      embracing church influence on the state, deliberate hindering of voter participation,etc.

      • It would appear from the University of Oklahoma SAE racism scandal that a significant faction of young white men are embracing the deeper message of these GOP efforts: we are the master race and will not share power with inferiors or allow them to govern, ever.

    • This is the wrong question, IMHO. The 47 republican senators attempted to poison the well. The legalities should not matter. If the Democrats had any sense, they would continuously point out that these Republicans yearn to return to the Bush era (and JEB is in their bullpen, ready to continue the republican dream). What is the dream? Remember the attack of 9-11? Remember the costly unsuccessful invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan? Remember the worst depression since the 30s? Remember the disrespect for the climate, for health care reform, and so much more? These points, and more, should be drummed into the American psyche.

  1. Look who is behind Tom Cotton and has been in charge of grooming his political career. Yep, Bloody Bill Kristol. Surprised? Not really but it does reveal how AIPAC and it’s backers keep a constant vigil on indoctrinating incoming congressmen and senators.

    link to crooksandliars.com

    • Scary stuff. Not only does Tom Cotton have a Harvard Law degree, he also has a VERY impressive combat record in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cotton is well educated and had to know EXACTLY what he was doing when he sent that letter.

      • So being an ivy grad and pro-military is the litmus test for membership in the political elite. What’s new?

      • Alternatively, a Harvard Law degree isn’t what it used to be either. Broader patterns of decline?

        • American decline is only in eyes that are covered with ones own blocking materials. Participatory democracy is not a decline.

        • Rather than show decline, Tom Cotton’s letter indicates how far the Republicans will go to block a nuclear deal with Iran and start war instead. That’ why I said it was “scary stuff.”

  2. “If we had not made the country’s economy and the life of the nation dependent on oil, and if we had avoided the mistake of the beginning of the revolution, which was making everything government-run, and if we had really involved people in economic activities, could the enemy have inflicted this damage upon us by imposing sanctions on oil and on the public sector?”

    Khamenei’s 35-year struggle with Mousavi continues. Of course, what is left out here is that the oil economy and nationalizations made possible the creation of client networks in support of the Islamic Republic.

    And I’m not sure how privatization would impede sanctions on Iran. The sanctions will just target the oligarchs who hoovered up the former state assets. We’ve already had some of that happen.

    • Like his Republican counterparts here, Khamenei uses every event as an excuse to push the agenda of wealth inequality and a monopoly of power by the rich. Like Putin, like the German banks, like the Beijing regime. They all appeal to patriotic nostalgia for a past when, it just so happens, the government was merely a weak servant of the landlords. The global rich are using what they learned from Reagan and Thatcher. That is why inequality is exploding everywhere on Earth.

      • I think this shows a huge level of ignorance. Anti government stances in a pseudo communist (in terms of state-dependent portion of the economy) is not the same as the same stance in a country where nothing is really run by the state.

        I think Juan knows this, and rightfully doesn’t mention it except in passing. But to really think that a country whose tv and radio and publication houses and airlines and steel industries and banks (I can continue) are owned by the state does not need to start privatizing because it is a republican message is laughable, ignorant, and parochial.

  3. Belial

    It is true. This sort of thing unprecedented in ALL IS history. Sign of decline of a totally corrupted system.

  4. The GOP letter, ostensibly to “educate” the Iranians, is a joke. Iran understands Washington pretty damned well.

  5. I was only 11 at the time, but I thought the hard liners in Iran spent part of 1979 and 1980 campaigning for Reagan? Thus, indeed the Iranian hard liners have always been Republicans. Ron was their kind of guy.

    • I still don’t know all the details. But in ’79 Washington’s main fear was that “Marxists” in Khomeini’s coalition would turn Iran into a Soviet satellite. So even Carter tried to make nice with the mullahs before the hostage crisis. However, conspiracy theories have always existed that Reagan, while still a private citizen, sent George H. W. Bush to secretly negotiate with Iran to hold the hostages until past the election – with certain favors to be done in return. Thus, Iran-Contra.

  6. Since I haven’t seen anyone talking about the Persian “translation” of the “traitors'” letter, let me share my observations on it, as I’m a student of the language: the first thing that strikes one, is the awkwardness of the style. It appears to be a job done by Google translation. It’s also inaccurate on several points, clearly indicating that the translator has no familiarity with proper meanings of words in Persian.
    Returning to the style–if we can even call it a style–it is redolent of a work by a student with an elementary school education. I bet the amusing letter had the folks in Tehran in stitches marveling at the inanity of the authors and translator.
    Next time, may I suggest that such asinine endeavors be done with, at least, a modicum of intelligence?

  7. Dr. Cole:
    Over the past several years I have come to trust the literal accuracy of your translations of various public statements made by Persian leaders; many of which expose, intentional and unintentional, flaws and misconceptions fostered by less credible interpretations. So, regarding this article’s ostensible reliance on “BBC translations…quotes”, I find myself wondering if your translation of the speech comports with that of the BBC; and, rather or not it does, how is such a reference to be regarded as credibly informed, in light of the BBC’s consistent misreporting of past statements?
    I, for one, would very much enjoy reading your translation of the entire document before venturing to offer any “informed comment”.
    “Work is love made visible.” KG
    As Usual,
    EA

  8. It would seem that America’s self-proclaimed exceptionalism is most notably marked by a decreasing ability to even govern itself. I give you the 47 as a prime example.

    • This letter was really about domestic politics. Just as the former slaveowners made the South ungovernable after the Civil War until the North gave in and abandoned blacks to their tender mercies, the right-wing strategy is to teach liberals and blacks that any attempt by them to actually win elections and exercise power will be met with sabotage and hysterical outrage by “real” Americans. We must maintain the illusion of democracy for business purposes, but only a few can be allowed to rule.
      But even this contains a scam against the mass of lower-income conservatives. They’re placated with the illusion that they alone will control the Pentagon, the police, and moral regulation. Yet these do nothing to solve their everyday problems of falling wages, outsourcing, and pollution. They’ve surrendered all the real power in our lives to their tribal leaders – who flail around in a globe whose oligarchic factions no longer care about America.

  9. It’s a totally mixed up world….you guys think the bad guys…are the good guys…and I think the oppisite…I guess it’s all about whose ox is being gored…but I ask you this ..if you were the leader of a really small nation…and a nation 10 times bigger,swore to wipe you off the map ..we’re making nukes……it sure would make me nervous …

    • The idea that Iran would commit mass suicide by using a nuke on Israel is laughable. The reason whey Israel & the US oppose an Iranian nuke is precisely why the US and Israel maintain their nuclear stockpiles – for deterrence. Iran has every right to have that weapon for deterrence, given the threats Israel has made over the last decade. Unless, of course, Israel decides to agree to a nuke-free region, then that could act as a powerful impetus for an agreement.

    • Israel is really a small nation in terms of population and geographical area, but it is a huge nation in terms of military might. Since Israel and Iran don’t share a common border, a war would not be in terms of our big horde against your little horde.

      The match up would be based on what Israel could throw through the air at Iran and vice versa. For the last few decades and for the foreseeable future, Israel has nuclear weapons at the ready, and and Iran has none.

      Without being totally specific , it sure sounds to me like there are powerful politicians in both Israel and the US who would like to wipe Iran off the face of the earth, or maybe reduce it to marginal, unstable, status like Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that Israel has a working fifth column in the Senate Office Building, Iran might just have a good reason to start a Manhattan Project.

    • Israel has hundreds of nukes. Iran has none. Israel controls half of Congress, as you have seen. We have thousands of nukes. And we just destroyed Iran’s next-door neighbor based on the GOP’s bull**** accusations of having WMDs.

      The GOP is the one threatening to wipe countries off the map. They couch this in corporate euphemisms in front of the mass media, but go to the far-right churches and “patriot” websites that form their base. They want to wipe out all Moslems.

    • “a really small nation”

      You want to see “a really small nation”? Then look at Japan. Look at Germany. Then consider how these tiny geographies brought the world to war, and held it at bay for several years.

      Geographic footprint on a map is near irrelevant in modern warfare. Israel knows this, but plays most Americans like a Stradivarius whining about “poor little Israel” against the big bad Ay-rabs. (Also Persians.) As if their empty desert wastes pose some kind of active threat.

  10. Khamenei just does not get it. You cannot hide behind international law. US can, Has and will bend and break international law whenever appropriate.

    • That’s the real meaning of the 47 letter. If American politicians decide Iran’s nuclear program needs a military solution that will be done. International law is for other countries, the little countries.

      Tom Cotton and the 47 spoke the truth.

  11. It is amazing how resistant we are in the US to the idea that we alone, or George W. Bush and his Neocons, have primary responsibility for the rise of ISIS.

  12. When will the world make Repubs pay? When can we progressives here get some help from the world who clearly despises these irrational, apocalyptic, war-loving, filthy lucre loving, theocrats?

  13. Zook, what do you think “the world” should do exactly? I think the pre-mature Nobel peace price for Obama was a pretty massive hint, don’t you think?

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