U.S. Supports Worthless Dictators
January 22, 1980 — The Daily Iowan (letter)
“How can we deny the guilt of our government which was solely responsible for the hated Shah’s continued reign, his secret police and the continued suppression of the Iranian people?”
“Iowa City’s Morning Newspaper”, The Daily Iowan, published this anti-Shah letter in the thick of the hostage crisis, 26 years ago today. Soon afterward, the University of Iowa student who wrote it ran for student Senate with the “New Wave” party, which received the endorsement of the paper. She and four other members were elected in February.
Note: Though widely circulated at the time, the extremely high casualty figures Ms. Levenhagen cited in reference to the Shah’s victims are not reliable.
Tuesday, January 22, 1980
To the editor:
Many people believe in the adage: “My country right or wrong”, and if ever anyone should question the rightness of our system they would be labled [sic—labeled] as rebels or worse, traitors. But the events of the last two months has made me ashamed and embarrassed of my government for causing the crisis. The "Crisis in Iran" stems from a crisis in our government’s judgement that goes back a long way. It goes back to the time when our government reinstalled the Shah to power against the wishes of the Iranian people and our CIA created the SAVAK secret police of Iran to aid the Shah in the suppression of the Iranian people. Then our government permitted the Shah, murderer of some 400,000 people, into our country even after they had been warned that there would be trouble at our embassy in Iran.
But of course the mighty United States cannot permit any other country to boss us around; we must uphold her honor and fight for what we believe in. I’m talking about people like President Carter and Senator Baker. [Howard Baker (1925-2014)] Jimmy, who is forever talking about upholding our country’s honor, in reality is asking us to cover up his own negligence for letting the Shah into the country in the first place (the United States is not the only country where cancer treatments are available). Baker, while speaking at the UI, [University of Iowa speech, Dec. 4, 1979] completely evaded an Iranian student’s [Mohamad Tavakoli] question which questioned Baker’s concern about U.S. involvement in Iran and the killing of 60,000 people in the last year of the Shah’s reign. Asking why Baker wasn’t concerned about that, Baker emphatically replied: “Because I’m concerned about 50 Americans” — a reply that had nothing whatsoever to do with the question asked. This example illustrates the thinking behind the people now in government who are more interested in the good old USA, her honor and their own economic gains made through dealings with foreign countries than they are concerned for the people they are directly affecting, namely the people who must live in the dictatorship that the U.S. government created.
I think it is necessary to examine the supposed honor of the country whose principles we are to uphold and what it is that we believe in. How can we deny the guilt of our government which was solely responsible for the hated Shah’s continued reign, his secret police and the continued suppression of the Iranian people? Let us not forget the long standing alliances our government has had with dictators of third world countries. Our government has kept ruthless dictators in power despite the wishes of the people living in these countries. Our government has exploited their connections with foreign countries to further the interests of our own country and its conglomerate corporations such as Nestle who make huge profits off of third world countries by killing babies. Our leadership has not been sympathetic to the wishes of the people living in these countries. Quite the contrary, we have used our connections to further our own capitalistic gains. Is it any wonder that in the present crisis the U.S. has little backing from third-world nations? We can talk of international law, but let us not forget that the U.S. is also very quick to dispense with the law when the law interferes with its own profiteering activities.
Carter has succeeded in uniting Americans in a fervor of anti-Iranian sentiment in much the same way that Khomeini united his troubled country around the cause of getting the Shah back. But there is a big difference. Iran is united around avenging the wrongs done to their people by the Shah and the U.S. government. Our country is united around hating Iranians — and boosting Carter’s position in the polls and protecting our honor which has been severely lacking for some time now. We had a chance to help right the wrongs done to the Iranian people by our government and also to insure the safe release of the hostages by returning the Shah. I can now only wish our government luck in procurring [procuring] the release of the hostages. But judging from their past actions I don’t really have too much faith.
It upsets and embarrasses me to be associated as an American who supports worthless dictators such as the Shah [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi], Samoza, [Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle] Marcos, [Filipino President Ferdinand Marcos] etc. who would sooner support violence and death than admit themselves wrong. If the American people are so set on uniting why don't they unite against our government’s practice of interferring [sic] in the lives and governments of our foreign neighbors and demand a more sympathetic attitude toward the people of these countries?
717 E. Fairchild
ORIGINAL SIN: The 1953 Coup in Iran Clarified | by Arash Norouzi
Physicist Criticizes Rule of Shah of Iran — Letter to The Bridgeport Post, March 16, 1977
SJSU letters Liken the Shah and Khomeini to Hitler — Spartan Daily, November 20, 1979
U.S. cooperates in Iranian oppression — Letter to The Daily Iowan, July 6, 1976
MOSSADEGH t-shirts — “If I sit silently, I have sinned”