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In a vibrant Iranian political scene, a foreign policy fixture

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

By Hossein Jelveh

(Hossein Jelveh is an independent Iranian journalist based in Tehran. He has graduated with a master’s degree from the Faculty of World Studies at the University of Tehran. You can follow him on Twitter @hossein_jelveh.)

 

As he puttered along from the car to the stairway at the White House entrance and on to the Oval Office on February 18, 2018, taking time and trouble for each step, Henry Kissinger carried with him a cane and a load of well-concealed anger that would have misshaped anybody else’s body just the same over the years. In his own years in office as secretary of state in the 1960s and 70s, he had shaped US foreign policy toward China, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, and the former North Vietnam. Now, as President Donald Trump seemed to vacillate on matters of foreign policy and disagreed with his own secretary of state, Kissinger was about to offer advice and presumably stiffen the president’s spine. Walking in the White House on that cold winter day, Kissinger, long past his own autumn at 94, could be imagined wondering why Iran wouldn’t change already, after so many American conspiracies.

That is a state of mind and body that many of Iran’s enemies experience firsthand. When they think about it, the foreign strategists, their political bedfellows, the spies, the assassins all sense the chills down their spines: they don’t get to rest, ever, versus Iran. Their work is never done, even if they have concluded an operation.

It is an Iranian trait, a central part of being Iranian, that never lets these people at ease. Call it “oppressed resistance.” Iranian people do that. They refuse to be defeated by an oppressor. And they take pains to do that. Literally.

It is a quality that is reflected naturally in the Iranian government’s political behavior. Iranian administrations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 have differed, sometimes seriously, on how to conduct foreign policy. As cases in point, former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani championed a foreign policy of engaging most closely with Iran’s neighbors. His successor, President Mohammad Khatami, engaged with the West. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a more favorable view of Latin America. And incumbent Hassan Rouhani is more focused on global engagement once again.

But no Iranian administration ever strayed from a policy of working to thwart the plans of the governments that laid an outsized claim to global management. Successive Iranian administrations also nurtured groups and governments working for the same cause.

Of course, that has not been without costs. Those governments that sought (and continue to seek) a disproportionately larger share of global resources, be it in the form of territory that they wanted under their influence or general wealth, weren’t thrilled by the reality of a seemingly smaller country working single-handedly to assert not only its own right to a just global share but also everyone else’s. That displeasure in the halls of power in Washington and elsewhere translated into all kinds of attacks on Iran, in the form of actual war, covert sabotage, assassinations, sanctions meant to suffocate the country economically, and other forms of pressure.

But Iran wouldn’t stand down. It is, again, a quality that goes back to the Iranians’ national identity. And since political affiliations do not affect the Iranians’ innate will to frustrate a bully, that form of resistance remains a fixture of Iranian foreign policy regardless of who is in political power.

And that is what reminds foreign conspirators like Kissinger that they come and go but their lucky break will never come.

 

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


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