Thursday, June 20, 2024

Raisi’s death: Has Iran accepted it as a plain accident? 

The death of president Raisi, his foreign minister, and other notables of Iran’s hierarchy is smouldering. For the time being we accept it to be a plain accident; that it was extremely dense fog which took out visibility;  that it was sheer coincidence that the two other helicopters in the convoy made it safely. 

But I bet the initial reaction of most was of conspiracy, of Israeli or CIA hand for we have so been conditioned by past experiences: John Perkins, a US “Hitman” of economic kind, mentioned in his book the “asteroids”, the experts in plane crashes, which took out many including the president of Ecuador (Jaime Roldós); and Omar Torrijos of Panama. 

After Fidel Castro once famously said if there was an Olympic gold on how many assassination attempts he survived, he would’ve been a clear winner, the “top secret” documents of US National Security Archives revealed the pilot of Raul Castro was offered “10,000 dollars” to arrange an accident in return for his two sons given a college education, as per the CIA handler in Havana, William J. Murray. 

Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Kwame Nkrumah (Ghana), Thomas Sankara (Burkina Faso) are other names which instantly leap in memory though strictly speaking the last named was said to be out of France’s machinations. There are many other contested deaths of men of political gravitas but it doesn’t concern us here. We are also not smirking at claims on Nijjar which has the West concerned on individual rights with all the gravity it could command.

We are focussing here if Iran too believes it was a mere accident. The investigations won’t end in a hurry, at least not until well into July when the next Presidential elections would’ve been held for replacing Raisi. A hardliner or a pragmatic choice too could have a say on the report. For the time being though we must accept that Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei believes it to be an accident. 

Adding twist to the tale though is a statement from Hadi Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, who said if Tehran “finds evidence” of an Israeli hand in Raisi’s death, it “will lead to a dramatic geopolitical shift that will set the entire region on fire”, concluding his tweet with “Israel is leading the world towards World War III.”

We could’ve ignored Nasrallah’s statement but for a fact the Shiite Crescent, and from Hezbollahs to Hamas to Houthis, they all look up to Iran. Thus it had an ominous ring about it and, for all we know, asymmetrical, proxy attacks could happen. 

Now of course Israel would love if there is an all-out war against Iran with the United States on its back. For long, from the time of the Bush Jr administration, we know of US goals to take out seven regimes in the region, one of which is Iran. It did take out most but Iran not only stands tall, it’s far more formidable now despite the crippling sanctions. 

A war against Iran would be a lifeline to Benjamin Netanyahu and his flock who don’t ever look-like getting Hamas; and but for them and the US, the entire world believes it’s only aim is ethnic cleansing of over a million Palestinians. It’s in Netanyahu’s interests if the war expands.

The Israeli attack on Iran’s consulate in Damascus was in the hope that Iran would hit back which would spiral into a war, forcing US hands. Iran chose its own method and moment to strike inside Iran, to lay in tatters the so-called fool-proof Jewish security architecture. Now if this tragedy of Iran’s top leaders could prompt a blowback from Tehran, it would be a godsend for Tel Aviv.

Iran sure doesn’t want a war. Yet they haven’t stopped talking of Raisi as a martyr. Victims in a air-crash aren’t called martyrs. But declaring them as victims would force Iran’s hands for a prompt blowback which would be music to Israel. Tehran would rather choose its moment.

Meanwhile I was aghast to read a report in India Today which swallowed the Western rubbish of it being a celebratory moment for Iranians. It’s as crass as it gets. It’s also not dissimilar to how the West has chosen to react to attempted assassination of Slovakian prime minister Robert Fico. 

Like Raisi, albeit for different reasons, Fico too is being demonized for opposing to send arms to Ukraine or threatening Russia. He also didn’t buy the mainstream view on Covid vaccinations. So such tragedies are kind of “good riddance” but god forbids if it was to happen to any Western leader, a pro-Ukrainian, anti-Russian leader: Then all kind of accusations and threats would tear asunder our ear drums. 

Raisi, the truth is, wasn’t from the most radical wing of the Islamic revolution. That’s why he was Khamenei’s choice. He was excellent in foreign relations—from Russia to China to India to even Saudi Arabia—not to mention the BRICS. He left Shiite Crescent stronger than ever, He crushed those at home who were suspected as foreign moles. He did as much as he could to break Iran free of the sanctions and yet compromised little. India on the same page on Chabahar Port was one of his legacy. 

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