Finian Cunningham, an Irish journalist and media commentator who made a name for himself in writing about the international affairs, was expelled from Bahrain in June 2011 for his critical journalism in which he highlighted human rights violations by the Western-backed regime.
He believes that the western powers and their regional allies’ animosity towards Iran is according to the “an eye for an eye” principle. That is Iranian people toppled the western-backed Pahlavi regime and that is why they have been subject to continuous covert war since 1979.
What follows is our interview with Finian Cunningham in which such issues as western-backed covert war against Iran over the past four decades, the dearth of concern among Western human rights groups with regard to 17,000 victims of Western state-sponsored terrorism in Iran, and the Western powers and their despotic client regimes’ struggles to destroy a possible democratic Yemen in the region have been discussed.
1. During the past four decades Iranian streets witnessed many gruesome acts of killings committed by western-backed terrorist groups, resulting in the martyrdom of over 17000 Iranian civilians. What's your take on this?
The terrorism that Iran and its people have been harried by for the past nearly four decades has to be seen in the context of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the overthrow of the Western-backed regime of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Since that tumultuous defeat for Western strategic interests in the Middle East, the Western powers and their regional allies have tried to exact revenge against the Iranian people and to reverse the Iranian Revolution in order to return the country to a form of Western vassalage. US President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 that Washington was not seeking "regime change" in Iran. Obama's apparently guileless assertion of benevolent intentions must be weighed against nearly 36 years of the Americans and their Western and regional allies earnestly attempting to do the diametric opposite: that is, to subvert the government of Iran. Iran has been subjected to continuous covert war since 1979 - a war that has been orchestrated by the United States and supported in various ways by its European allies, the Israeli regime and the Persian Gulf Arab dictatorships. A term that has become fashionable lately is "hybrid war". In particular, the American government and its European NATO allies together with the Western corporate news media routinely accuse Russia of using "hybrid war" in allegedly annexing Ukrainian territory. By the way, the evidence for such Western claims of Russian involvement in Ukraine is negligible and unconvincing. Nevertheless, somewhat ironically, we can substantiate easily and cogently the case that the US-led powers have been using "hybrid war" against Iran over four decades. The composite of offensive techniques include draconian diplomatic and economic sanctions imposed on Iran aimed at inflicting social hardship and privation on the entire Iranian nation; hostility also includes a relentless Western disinformation campaign peddled by governments and mainstream news media that tries to defame, distort and criminalise the Iranian Revolution and the government in Tehran by alleging with negligible or politicised "evidence" that Iran is a "state sponsor of terrorism"; a third offensive aspect of the US-orchestrated hybrid war on Iran is its support for terrorist groups that operate inside Iranian territory. These groups include the MKO (or MEK) and Jundullah, which have killed at least 17,000 Iranians since 1979. It is no secret that the US and its allies sponsor these terror groups who have no inhibition about targeting innocent Iranian civilians in random shootings and bombings. Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani and former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton are among a litany of senior American politicians who openly advocate for the MKO. During the US military occupation of Iraq between 2003-2012, the MKO were given free rein by the American military to operate training bases in that country from which to launch attacks on Iranian territory. These bases have now been shut down by the Iraqi government in the wake of American military withdrawal from Iraq. There is also reliable evidence that the American CIA and Israeli military collude with the Iranian terror groups to carry out assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.
The terrorism that Iran has been afflicted with over the past four decades is part of a concerted campaign by Western governments, the US government in particular, to destabilise the Islamic Republic. It is a concerted campaign to incite "regime change" with a view to installing a puppet government in Tehran that would comply with Western economic and geopolitical objectives. Those Western objectives are not only in regard to exploiting resource-rich Iran but additionally with regard to exerting Western hegemonic interests over the entire oil-rich Middle East region. Iran's political and economic independence, its defiantly critical opposition to Western imperialist predations and its righteous indignation toward Western client regimes in Saudi Arabia and Israel are all sources of intense discomfort for Washington. Western-sponsored terrorism against the Iranian nation is just one of the nefarious devices in the West's arsenal of trying to turn the historical clock back in order to regress Iran to a subservient country and nation.
2. What do you think of the international organisations and their role in the protection of terror victims?
Western-based human rights groups, such as the New York-based Human Rights Watch and London-based Amnesty International, have given scant reportage to the issue of Western state-sponsored terrorism in Iran.
Proportionate to its population, the figure of 17,000 terror victims in Iran over the past four decades would be equivalent to more than 65,000 if a similar terror campaign had been waged on American citizens. We can be sure, in that case, Western-based human rights groups would devote copious research, documentation, publicity and condemnation of whatever foreign power was sponsoring such a hypothetical terror campaign on American soil. That dichotomy and dearth of concern among Western human rights groups with regard to 17,000 victims of Western state-sponsored terrorism in Iran illustrates how these groups are not objective and are indeed merely political instruments that often serve to propagate the geopolitical and propaganda interests of their governments. The same shameful admonition applies to Western mainstream news media who completely ignore the issue. One can imagine the saturation coverage and impassioned headlines if the same was occurring in the US or a European country. The United Nations has also shown a disgraceful lack of regard or censure on the subject of Western state-sponsored terrorism against Iran.
3. What is your opinion of the US-Saudi war on Yemen? What goals are they pursuing in this country?
Saudi Arabia and its main Western patrons, the United States and Britain, have a long history of interfering in the internal affairs of Yemen. This goes back to the 1930s following the formation of Saudi Arabia with the help of the British Empire. As with the entire oil-rich Middle East, the Western hegemonic powers and their client regimes are implacably opposed to the formation of any democratic state in the strategically vital region where Western interests are of paramount importance. The West doesn't want to lose financial control of global oil and gas supplies; the West doesn't want to lose lucrative military export markets that it has assiduously groomed over decades; and the despotic Western-backed regimes do not want to see democracy taking root in the region that would undermine their tyrannical dynasties. Saudi rulers and their Western patrons would find a democratic Yemen anathema to their despotism and hegemony in the region. The popular uprising in Yemen calling for a democratic government in that country is thus a very dangerous development for the hegemonic powers. The same dynamic can be seen in Bahrain where the Western-backed Persian Gulf Arab dictatorships have sought to destroy the democratic movement that arose during 2011. The same dynamic of hostile reaction can be seen in the way the Western powers and their client regimes have mounted a relentless campaign of aggression toward Iran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Any democratic development or opening in the Western-coveted Middle East must, by definition, be crushed or at least contained. The Western powers and their despotic client regimes are currently pursuing a campaign to destroy a possible democratic Yemen. These powers are giving themselves a veneer of legal and moral justification in conducting what is otherwise a criminal aggression on Yemen by invoking calumnious claims of Iranian-backed subversion in Yemen. This is but another extension of the systematic Western hostility toward the Islamic Republic that we have seen over the past four decades, a hostility that includes sanctions, smears and a surreptitious, sustained campaign of terrorism against the Iranian nation, which has resulted in 17,000 victims over the past four decades.
4. As you know the Iranian civilian ship carrying humanitarian aid for Yemenis will not reach the port of Hodeida in Yemen to deliver humanitarian supplies although it was offloaded in Djibouti and contained nothing but 2,500 tons of aid including flour, rice, etc. What do you make of this?
The blocking of Iranian humanitarian aid to the Yemeni nation is an outrageous violation of international law by the US-Saudi military coalition that has illegally attacked that country. The blocking of aid is just another criminal act in a whole catalogue of criminality that Washington, Riyadh and the other Arab client regimes have committed over Yemen. The Americans and the Saudis are a warring party, indeed an aggressor, in the Yemeni conflict and therefore have absolutely no right to interfere with Iranian or any other humanitarian aid to Yemen. Such interference is an audacious violation of the Geneva Convention which forbids the targeting of civilians whether by military means or by collective punishment through depriving basic human needs. But we have to see the military onslaught on Yemen by the US-backed Saudi coalition in the wider context of Western-orchestrated covert war against Iran that has been going on for nearly four decades. The baseless slander being mounted against Iran alleging that Tehran is trying to destabilise Yemen, and the provocative assault on Iranian aid ships and cargo planes are consistent with the decades-old Western campaign of hostility toward Iran that we see elsewhere in the form of diplomatic, trade and financial sanctions imposed on the Iranian nation on the back of spurious claims about alleged nuclear weapons programs. The vicarious hostility toward Iran over the Yemen conflict is also consonant with the decades-old terrorism campaign that Western powers have been sponsoring against Iran.
5. As you know, we're going to hold the Second International Congress of 17000 Iranian Terror Victims to commemorate the Iranian civilians who were killed in terrorist acts since 1979 and paying tribute to their families left behind. What's your take on this confab?
It is vitally important that the forthcoming Congress in Iran brings the issue of Western state-sponsored terrorism in Iran to worldwide attention. This is also an important tribute to the families of the 17,000 victims whose suffering must be acknowledged with a view to prosecuting the perpetrators and their orchestrators in an international court of law. The world should be told of the magnitude of suffering and the systematic violation of international law that has been inflicted on Iran by Western governments and their regional client regimes through the instrument of Iran-based terror networks.
There seems to be a void in awareness and understanding among the Western public in particular as to the horrific scale of Western state-sponsored terrorism against the Iranian people over the past four decades. Indeed many Western citizens are oblivious to the crimes of mass murder being carried out in Iran by their elected governments and their covert military assets. Greater public awareness of the despicable Western interference in Iran would help to make such criminal actions politically and morally unacceptable.