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These images probably fulfil all of the comfortable stereotypes you have of Iran – unreasonably hostile/American-hating extremists. These shots were taken outside the former American embassy in Tehran, now dubbed the US Den of Espionage. Its walls are filled with anti-American murals. ‘Why are they so anti American?!’ you angrily cry. Well, a quick flick through Wikipedia tells us how the US has been waging war against Iran for over 50 years. In 1953, Iran’s democratically elected leader, Mohammad Mossadegh, paid the price for having the nerve (and mandate) to seek a better deal for the Iranian people when it came to profits from their own oil. Obviously, this type of defiance to a western master is completely unacceptable. Foreign countries should never have a say in how their own resources are distributed!! So, Churchill promptly persuaded Eisenhower to have the CIA oust Iran’s democratically elected leader, resulting in the US installing one of its first ever, anti democratic, puppet regimes (the first of many). And, receiving a 40% stake of Iranian oil in the process. This is how you create an Empire. And this is how you create ‘Anti-American’ sentiment, making a target out of yourself in the process. Whats wrong with that? Reverse the roles: The Iranian Quds plotted to, and successfully ousted, a popular American President, so it could install an Islamist sympathiser in the White House and finagle a greater stake of Wall Street profits for Iran. Imagine. No thanks. If that happened, the species would be extinct by now.

But wait, theres more. There’s Iran’s humiliating loss of sovereignty over the next 30 years under the boot of US foreign policy extremists, which eventually led to the revolution. The future Supreme Leader being tortured by the CIA backed regime (and we wonder why he’s distrustful of the west). There’s the US pouring billions and billions of dollars to support Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war. There’s W Bush thanking Iran for its intelligence and tactical support in the US war against the Taliban, by unexpectedly naming Iran as part of the ‘Axis of Evil’, a comment which officially ended the developing relations between the 2 countries. There’s the barrage of propaganda flowing about the supposed ‘threat’ of Iran, in defiance of the facts. Propaganda so effective that everyone actually believes it. Oh, and there’s the repeated bomb threats and crippling economic sanctions, which are more about appeasing the strategic interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia than preventing any nuclear proliferation (FYI, the US and Israel are 2 of the most lethally armed nuclear weapons states in the world, both have used chemical weapons during invasions in the past decade *Google Fallujah or Israel’s Unlawful Use of White Phosphorus in Gaza*, no inspections or sanctions for them though).

That’s only a snippet. You don’t need to listen to any Anti-American Clerics to learn more, just go to Wikipedia for a summary of the history, it’s depressing. And Its not ‘Anti-American’, it’s ‘Knowledge of recent history’. The difference between your average westerner, versus your average other, is the others generally know exactly what the US and its allies have done in their region over the years, because they live and die with the consequences. The New York Times calls it ‘Protecting American interests’ in the region. Locals call it ‘resource grabbing Imperialism’. So the question is not, ‘Why is the Iranian government distrustful of the USA?’, the question is, ‘What exactly did the governments of the USA expect?’ Not every nation can be bought like the Israelis and Saudis.

For the record, over the past month, your average Iranian had absolutely no issue with your average American, or westerner. Quite the opposite. Western foreign policy on the other hand, well, join the club.

A Stuff & Shit Editorial
None of this is to excuse the current Iranian regime and its repressive and backward DNA. They take ultimate responsibility for their actions and their warped interpretation of Islam. But, it’s difficult to deny that US foreign policy is part of their backward DNA. A history of coups, bomb threats, funding enemies and gross double standards makes the regime more inward, more extreme and more anti-American. The regime may be a threat to sections of its own society, but it’s not a threat to the world. For these reasons, the sanctions should end and dialogue should be encouraged. There should be a regional commitment for nuclear disarmament, with all states adhering to the same code. The aspirations of Saudi Arabia for regional hegemony, and the warmongering of Israel, should not factor in attempts to lift sanctions or encourage dialogue. Governments should avoid meddling in regime change because ultimately, change must come from within. This is the Stuff & Shit road map to sustainable peace in the region.