Salaam, (Morning Daily)
Tuesday, July 18, 1995
Page: 9
Word Count: 1269


The U.S. foreign policy vis-a-vis the Iran-Iraq war consisted of four stages: 1- Early phase of the war and the U.S.'s relative neutrality. 2- Technological support for and establishment of relations with Iraq; 3- The period of support for Iraq and its military operations against Iran, 4- The U.S.'s stance and its attacks against Iran's military and non-military installations in the Persian Gulf.


Speaking about the U.S. stance vis-a-vis the Iran-Iraq war, it can be said that the U.S. foreign policy vis-a-vis this crisis has gone through four consecutive stages:

1. The outset of the war and the relative neutrality of the United States,

2. The period of technological support for and establishment of relations with Iraq,

3. The period of military support for Iraq and its military operations against Iran, and

4. The U.S. position-taking and attacks on Iran's military and non-military installations in the Persian Gulf.

As Iraq was in a militarily superior position at the beginning of the imposed war and as the U.S.-Iraq diplomatic relations were not at a high level, so much so that Washington did not have an ambassador in Baghdad, so the White House did not have any reason to support Iraq openly and actively, and considered that the danger of Islamic Republic of Iran for the region was over and that the IRI government was on the point of extermination. That is why although the Americans followed their anti-Iran policies severely, they did not show any need for their support of Iraq.

The second stage of the American foreign policy in the Persian Gulf war dates back to 1983 and 1984, when Iran, by conquering Khorramshahr and taking the war to international frontiers and within Iraqi territories, disturbed the previous situation of the war fronts and proved that the Americans and the Iraqis were wrong about Iran's military defeat. Under those conditions the U.S. raised the level of its diplomatic relations with Iraq, sent its ambassador there, put its covert help at disposal of Iraq and encouraged its regional allies, such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to follow suit. At first the U.S. and its allies justified their military presence in the region by saying that they were accompanying oil tankers, and clearing navigation routes from mines and giving assistance to commercial ships.

As regards American designs for taking such actions, many analyses were put forward. Some people argued that free oil flow and consequently the West's industrialization growth was in danger, so operations of American fleet were necessary; but according to many other experts of Iran-Iraq war, passage of excessive American forces around the Strait of Hormuz, their bellicose attitude and repeated violations of Iranian territorial waters proved that American military forces did not have merely deterrent aim but wanted to put up a show of force against the Islamic government of Iran.

For example while in many cases the U.S. warships were deployed in Iranian territorial waters, warnings were sounded to Iranian planes to change their flight routes and not to approach the U.S. vessels.

In return Iran, resorting to the United Nations, protested against repeated and daily interference of the U.S. military forces in free passenger flights as well as in its air force, which took different forms, ranging from warnings to interceptions and flagrant violation of Iran's air space.

After the capture of Faw by Iran, the third stage of Americans' approach to the question of the imposed war started, which was military interference in the war and helping Iraqi military operations. Since 1987 the U.S. planned extensive clandestine operations against Iran in the Persian Gulf, including operations consisting of flights by CIA espionage planes and helicopters over Iran. Then special forces with patrol boats and helicopters stationed on the deck of two aircraft carriers were charged with carrying out secret missions.

Intercepting of Iran Air passenger plane No. 635 going to Doha in May 1987, Nos. 1251 and 1253 going to Mecca in July 1987 and No 7019 with destination of Dubai are among such cases.

In this connection, Iran in 1988 openly accused the U.S. of helping Iraqi forces in their heavy air attacks in the Persian Gulf. For instance in one case Iran claimed that the Iraqi aerial attack of May 14, 1988 against several oil tankers near Larak oil terminal was carried out with full cooperation of the U.S. forces in the region. It was said that in such operations the U.S. showed its hostility against Iran in a more practical way by causing disturbance in electronic network of Iranian navy and preparing a safe flight corridor for Iraqi bombers flying over American warships.

The fourth stage: In the end when these acts did not bring Iran to its knees, the Americans added independent military actions against Iran to their previous acts. In autumn of 1987 and spring of 1988 they, in a totally aggressive and pre-planned act, attacked several oil platforms of Iran and sank some Iranian gunboats. Attacks launched by four U.S. ships against Resalat and Reshadat platforms in the Persian Gulf and sinking of Jowshan and Sabalan ships clearly showed the nature of such open attacks. American attacks were contrary to the principles of U.N. charter and the principle of neutrality in the war, so much so that they were admitted by many U.S. officials.

Some American military commanders later confessed that, notwithstanding the White House's allegations that Iranian oil platforms were military installations, the persons stationed in the platforms were not military men nor were they in a position to defend themselves.

Apart from violating the principle of sovereignty, territorial integrity and air space of an independent country, such acts cast doubt on another American claim, namely neutrality in the Iraq-Iran war. As to whether these attacks could be investigated with due regard to the "principle of neutrality", Louis Hengen, an American scholar, says: "It is years that no one has addressed this question that neutrality means refusal to take sides. Is Kuwait neutral or cooperates with one of the belligerents? If it is so, then not only have we helped aggression, but have ignored war laws as well."

Senator Sam Nunn, an eminent member of American Congress says in this regard: "It is very difficult to justify the American action when it supports Iraqi interests which started the war of tankers and which launches more than 70% of the attacks against vessels." As American authorities later confessed, if the U.S. forces were neutral and merely intended to protect commercial ships in the Persian Gulf, then why they did not feel any commitment vis a vis Iraqi attacks against ships and why did they not intercept any Iraqi plane, which seemed to be much easier than tracing small Iranian boats?

In the end the question should be raised that if American attacks against military and non-military installations of Iran and killing of 290 passengers of the airbus plane was self-defense, on what basis did such a self-defense take place? Is the presence in territorial waters of Iran and violations of the Convention of the Law of Seas about harmless passage of territorial waters of countries, respect of international laws? On the basis of which rights Americans not only are present in territorial waters of a country but threaten people and sites of these countries? Without any doubt, the only excuse of these acts is bullying, and the world will never forgive Americans for having committed such acts. Resolution 598

Back to top

Front Page