”Why is America allied with Iraq? Any blind man can see who started this war. Why is America shooting down our civilian plane? I am a diplomatic man and a religious man. I think we should be friendly with everybody, but not if they hate us so.” Abdallah Nafeiri, Tehran restaurant owner
The endless war between Iran and Iraq is taking a heavy toll on the population. Meat has become too expensive for most families. The price of poultry is up 1000% since the 1979 revolution.
”We are suffering. Sometimes there is no sugar, no milk, no meat. But you get used to it. We eat more vegetables and things like that, until God brings relief,” said Nafeiri. ”Life is too expensive. The war has been too long. We live in Iran from day to day now.”
Yet, like most Iranians, Nafeiri does not want to end the war with Iraq, at least not without a settlement. ”I have lost two cousins in a war that was forced on us by Iraq,” he said. ”We should pool all our resources to win. There is no other way.”
Yehia Zaheri, a wealthy pistachio exporter, agrees with Nafeiri. ”As long as the policy of the big powers allied with Iraq is to humiliate Iran, we cannot stop the war. We are Shiites. Our religion teaches us to bear with the pain until we get our rights. This is how we are.”
So far, the war has cost an estimated half million lives. The relatives are now organized into ”a war lobby” that will not accept a cease-fire that does not include some measure of compensation for their suffering.
”They include families of the martyrs, the refugees from all the towns and cities the Iraqis destroyed, the Revolutionary Guards who have borne the burden of the war, and their families. None of them want the war, but they will readily tell any Iranian leader you cannot stop it before we get our rights,” the wealthy businessman argues.
Despite his considerable political base, even Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Speaker of Parliament, would fast lose his supporters if he were perceived as advocating shortchanging Iran in peace talks.
Still no convincing explanation
Meanwhile, one week after the downing of the Iranian civilian airliner by the USS Vincennes, there is still no credible explanation as to why the ship radar confused an Airbus for an F-14.
Speaking to a crowd of thousands of worshipers at Teheran University today, Rafsanjani said that ”the difference between the Airbus and an F-14 is like that between an eagle and a sparrow.”
Increased danger for airliners over the Gulf
According to pilots and air traffic controllers, civilian flights over the Persian Gulf face increased danger because of the US military buildup. A dozen of airline companies no longer fly over this area.
King Hussein in Cairo
Today, King Hussein of Jordan has arrived in Cairo, Egypt. King Hussein will talk with President Hosni Mubarak about the Arab-Israeli peace process. The two leaders will also discuss the Iran-Iraq war.
Oliver North trial
As a result of Judge Gerhard A. Gesell ruling that Oliver North had demonstrated that highly sensitive documents were relevant to his defense, and therefore should be provided by the US Government, many observers suspect that North will not be prosecuted on the main charges.
The Classified Information Procedures Act empowers a trial judge to dismiss criminal charges if the Government is unwilling to disclose secrets needed by the defense.
North is charged with conspiring to defraud the Government by illegally diverting to the rebels profits from the sale of United States arms to Iran. North argues that top US officials had condoned the operation.
Similar charges are facing John M. Poindexter, a former national security adviser, as well as Richard V. Secord, a retired Air Force major general, and Albert A. Hakim, both of whom acted as arms dealers.
Back to the Present
Yesterday, July 8 2008, a man, who says he was an officer in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, claims that he was an informant for the CIA, under the codename Wali. Reza Khalil, an alias, alleges that he provided the CIA with information linking the bombing of Pan Am 103 to Tehran officials. Khalil claims that the Bush Administration decided not to tell of the truth about this tragedy because of political convenience. Following the death of Ayatollah Khomeini and the rise to power of Hashemi Rafsanjani, Khalil alleges that the Bush administration decided to begin a new relation with Tehran. Thus, the intelligence pointing to Iran and the PFLP-GC was ignored and Libya became the sole culprit.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
- Katz, Samuel M. Israel versus Jibril: The Thirty-year War against a Master Terrorist. New York: Paragon House, 1993. P45