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For 30 years now, it has been the chant at every political gathering, every Friday prayer, and every demonstration staged by the state. Even the Majles (parliament) deputies have not always been able to help themselves. On many an occasion, members of Majlis would shout “Marg bar America” during a session discussing foreign policy. Even when high officials of the country meet with the Supreme Leader, his speech is repeatedly interrupted by chants of Marg bar America.
Much has been said over the past several weeks about the possible role of the CIA and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, in the demonstrations that erupted in Iran after the election. The speculations have been made mostly by the extreme left, and some Iranian supporters of Ahmadinejad in the United States who admire his stance regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The author has no doubts that the CIA (and Mossad) would try to stir things up in Iran if they could, regardless of what President Obama may say in public about the U.S. keeping its hands off Iran. After all, the Obama administration has not cut off the funding for the so-called democracy project in Iran that was put in place by its predecessor. But, the CIA and Mossad have extremely limited resources, if any, within Iran. Their influence and power to stir up trouble in Iran is minimal, if at all.
But, regardless of the extent to which the CIA or Mossad’s meddles or tries to meddle in Iran, there is little doubt that Russia provided intelligence to Iran regarding such activities. In return, Ahmadinejad and his cohorts blew them way out of proportion to advance their agenda. So, perhaps Ahmadinejad went to Moscow to express his gratitude to the Russians, and that angered Iranians, particularly because it was in the midst of their huge demonstrations against the rigged election.
Russia has also exploited the fact that the hardliners in Iran need its protection and assistance. For several years now, it has virtually become a ritual to announce at the beginning of each year that the Bushehr light water nuclear reactor that Russia is constructing will be starting operations by mid-year, and to then postpone that to the end of the year, or early in the following year. Even so, the reactor has not yet become operational.
China, on the other hand, has a long history of supporting despots around the world, so long as doing so protects and expands its interests. Iran is no different in that respect for it. In Africa, for example, China supports Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe and the Omar Al-Bashir’s in Sudan, despite all the calamities there. In East Asia, China supported the bloody Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia who murdered 2 million Cambodians; and it supports North Korea.
Iran’s natural resources, large population, and strategic position are all important to China. China imports about 700,000 barrels of oil a day from Iran. Chinese companies are partners of Iran’s National Iranian Oil Company in the first and second phases of the development of Yadavaran, the giant Iranian oil field, which contains 17 billion barrels of oil. China is supposed to invest up to $70 billion in the project. China has also signed another agreement to develop a medium-size oil field, the North Azadegan, which is north of the giant Azadegan oil field with $34 billion barrels of oil.