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Squeezing the Iranian Citizenry

Iranian CitizenryThe New York Times reports today that the value of Iran’s currency has fallen 40 percent in the last week alone, another sign of the horrible economic pain that the U.S. government is inflicting on the Iranian people with its brutal regime of sanctions. It only goes to show what we have long argued: the sanctions and embargoes that the U.S. government imposes against smaller countries constitutes war against the citizenry of the targeted country, with the aim of getting the citizenry to oust their leader and install a pro-U.S. ruler in his stead.

Look at the U.S. government’s embargo against Cuba. It’s gone on for some 50 years. Its goal? To squeeze the Cuban citizenry so hard economically that they finally decide to oust Fidel Castro (and Raul Castro) from power and install another pro-U.S. dictator into power, just like Castro’s predecessor, Fulgencio Batista, was.

Needless to say, the Cuban embargo has still not succeeded in effecting regime change, just as the U.S. government’s invasion of Cuba, its assassination attempts against Castro, and its terrorist attacks within the country have failed to achieve that end.

What no one can deny is the horrific damage that the embargo has done to the Cuban citizenry. In combination with Cuba’s socialist system, the embargo has ensured that the Cuban people remain in desperate poverty, sometimes even on the verge of starvation.

Consider Iraq. The U.S. government used one of the most brutal sanctions systems in history against the Iraqi people. In fact, the economic situation in Iraq under the sanctions is quite similar to what is happening to the Iranian people. Iraqi families were losing their life’s savings owing to the ever-worsening economic conditions that the sanctions were bringing about.

Worst of all, however, was the ever-rising death toll in Iraq owing to the sanctions. Each year of the sanctions, tens of thousands of Iraqi children were dying from malnutrition, diseases, and other illnesses.

After a decade of economic misery for the Iraqi people and an ever-rising death toll among Iraqi families, it was obvious that that the sanctions had failed to achieve their goal of regime change. That was when President George W. Bush used his fake and false WMD claim, in the wake of post-9/11 fear, to invade Iraq. The aim was to achieve what the 11 years of brutal sanctions had failed to achieve — the ouster of Saddam Hussein from power and his replacement with a pro-U.S. ruler. The WMD claim was simply the cover that Bush used to justify his war crime of attacking and invading a country that had ever attacked the United States.

And that’s what the sanctions against Iran are all about — regime change, i.e. the ouster of the current regime and its replacement with a pro-U.S. regime. All the talk about WMDs is just a repeat of Iraq and, to a certain extent, Cuba. U.S. officials know that there is one great way to strike fear into the hearts and minds of the American people — to raise the prospect of mushroom clouds over American cities.

The strategy harkens back to the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States brought the two countries to the brink of nuclear war. Ever since, U.S. officials have known that the best way to get the American people to support anything they want to do is to raise the prospect of a WMD attack on the United States.

That’s what the Iraq WMD scare was all about. That’s what the Iran WMD scare is all about. The hope is accomplish precisely what the CIA accomplished in 1953 with its coup in Iran — the ouster of an independent Iranian regime and its replacement with a pro-U.S. submissive regime — and to scare Americans with a fake and false WMD claim into supporting it or at least keeping silent about it.

Meanwhile, the Iranian people suffer, just as the Iraqi people suffered, and just as the Cuban people have suffered. They are merely the means to achieve the end, which is regime change. In the minds of U.S. officials, any amount of death and suffering among the people of the targeted country is worth regime change. As former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright put it, the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children certainly were worth it. That’s the way U.S. officials feel today about the suffering their sanctions are bringing to the Iranian people.

Is there a chance that the sanctions could bring about regime change in Iran? Of course. Recall Chile. The U.S. government did its best to bring economic chaos and destruction to Chile during the Allende regime in the early 1970s, with the aim of bringing about regime change.

It worked. The pro-U.S. military dictator Augusto Pinochet ousted the Allende regime in a violent coup and proceeded to establish a pro-U.S. military dictatorship in its stead, one that proceeded to round up “terrorists” and “communists,” including two young Americans, torture them, incarcerate them indefinitely, and execute them, all without trial. Needless to say, it would be a dream come true for U.S. officials if there were able to achieve in Iran with their sanctions what they able to achieve in Chile with Pinochet.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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