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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Iran, the US and EIKO

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Now that US President Donald Trump has violated the internationally-recognized JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), to the dismay of most of the world, and even most of the US's military experts, Iran can once again expect sanctions. This, of course, puts the US's European allies in an awkward position, since those that are signatories of the agreement plan to remain in it, since Iran is in complete compliance with the terms of the agreement.

One Iranian organization that is sure to feel the displaced wrath of the unstable US president is the 'Execution of Imam Khomeini's Order' (EIKO). This organization is controlled by the Ayatollah Khomeini, and that is sufficient for the US to want to damage it.

But what is the EIKO? Is it a terrorist organization, like the US's Central American Agency (CIA), or Israel's Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)? Let's look at the purpose, as proclaimed by the Ayatollah:

 "I'm concerned about solving problems of the deprived classes of the society. For instance, solve problems of 1000 villages completely. How good would be if 1000 points of the country are solved or 1000 schools are built in the country; prepare this organization for this purpose."

The US government, of course, is completely unconcerned about 'solving problems of the deprived classes' within the US, since at least 45 million US citizens live below the government-established poverty line, which is a joke in and of itself; for a family of four, a total household income of below $25,100 is considered living in poverty.

 Food, housing, utilities, clothing, medical and other expenses for a family of four cannot be met on that income. But while the government continues to cut spending on social programs, hurting the already poor and forcing more people into poverty, it spends billions of dollars on weapons to kill people around the world.

It is unlikely that 1,000 new schools will be built any time soon, especially since US Education Secretary Besty DeVos recently announced that she has visited no underperforming schools during her tenure. Why solve a problem that you choose not to see?

But what is any of that?  The fact that EIKO seeks to help struggling people in Iran is of no importance to the US government; all that matters is that it is under the control of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

A subsidiary of EIKO, the Barakat Foundation, lists this prominently on its website: "A blessed effort to uproot deprivation and to realize social and economic empowerment". Again, a very controversial statement in the eyes of the US government.

Such disdain for helping people in need is typical of the US government, which, in 2017, stopped funding UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

 On its website, in answer to the question, 'What is UNESCO', we read this:  UNESCO "…seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture." And yet last year, the US, which provided 22% of funding to the organization, cut it all off. The US, obviously, has little or no interest in building peace.

With the US's shocking violation of the JCPOA, sanctions that impact the Iranian people are likely to be imposed once again, and the US may target EIKO, which seeks to help the very people the sanctions will hit the hardest.This writer reviewed some right-wing websites full of criticism of EIKO. These are some of the charges made against it:

One foundation within the EIKO umbrella is the Mostazafan Foundation. "A few months ago it published annual financial statements that declared its assets to be around $16 billion-likely a deliberate understatement." The article offered no evidence that this amount was understated.

Let us remember that Trump claims to be a billionaire, but has never disclosed his finances, or his tax returns. So while his wealth is said to be overstated, his hiding of his financial records certainly seems to indicate that that is true, and provides more proof than the unfounded accusation against the Mostazafan Foundation.

"…it remains in the national security interest of the US to prevent the worst of the worst actors (EIKO) in Iran from getting their hands on additional capital with which to finance their foreign aggression and domestic repression." This phrase followed a list of the fields in which EIKO has investments, such as finance, oil and telecommunications. Nothing objectionable here. But let's pay close attention to the idea of EIKO financing 'foreign aggression and domestic repression'.

Iran has not invaded another nation since 1798. It has needed to defend itself and its people since that time, and has assisted allies in their struggles, as it is doing in Syria now. The terrorists in Syria that Iran is helping to fight are heavily financed by the US Additionally, the US is currently bombing seven countries. Are these not examples of 'foreign aggression'?

And what about 'domestic repression' in the US? Unarmed men, women and children of color are routinely gunned down by the racist US police force with almost complete impunity. The US has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. These seem to be examples of 'domestic repression' to this writer.

Another article references US "…legislation honoring a Russian whistleblower…." That's all well and good, but US whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning are sentenced to long prison terms in solitary confinement. She was only released after being pardoned by President Barack Obama shortly before he left office.

Edward Snowden, who also revealed US government crimes, fled the country and remains in Russia on temporary asylum. Praising a Russian whistleblower while condemning those who expose US crimes is the height of hypocrisy.

It remains to be seen if Trump will target EIKO; the effects of his decision to violate the JCPOA  are still reverberating around the world, and with his unsound decision-making process, whatever on earth that even is, it's anyone's guess what he'll do next. It's possible that EIKO will be targeted.

But with England, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia and China, the other signatories to the JCPOA, vowing to continue to abide by it, as they should, the US may be put in the uncomfortable position of needing to sanction some of its oldest and most trusted allies.

This is the new world order as envisioned by Trump. This is increasing global isolation of the US, the continuing downward spiral of the US's reputation, and a frightening march toward war.

One would hope that more sensible minds in Washington, D.C. would halt this headlong rush to disaster, but there don't seem to be any there. The greatest hope now for peace is the combination of Iran, Russia and China, working together to counter the US- Israeli threat. And with that, it is hoped that EIKO will be able to continue its all-important work.


The writer is an activist, journalist and author. His latest book is 'Empire, Racism and Genocide: a History of US Foreign Policy'
Source: Counterpunch

-Robert Fantina

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