The Bushes and the Truth About Iran
By Robert Parry
Thursday 21 September 2006
Having gone through the diplomatic motions with Iran, George W. Bush is shifting toward a military option that carries severe risks for American soldiers in Iraq as well as for long-term U.S. interests around the world. Yet, despite this looming crisis, the Bush Family continues to withhold key historical facts about U.S.-Iranian relations.
Those historical facts - relating to Republican contacts with Iran's Islamic regime more than a quarter century ago - are relevant today because an underlying theme in Bush's rationale for war is that direct negotiations with Iran are pointless. But Bush's own father may know otherwise.
The evidence is now persuasive that George H.W. Bush participated in negotiations with Iran's radical regime in 1980, behind President Jimmy Carter's back, with the goal of arranging for 52 American hostages to be released after Bush and Ronald Reagan were sworn in as Vice President and President, respectively.
In exchange, the Republicans agreed to let Iran obtain U.S.-manufactured military supplies through Israel. The Iranians kept their word, releasing the hostages immediately upon Reagan's swearing-in on Jan. 20, 1981.
Over the next few years, the Republican-Israel-Iran weapons pipeline operated mostly in secret, only exploding into public view with the Iran-Contra scandal in late 1986. Even then, the Reagan-Bush team was able to limit congressional and other investigations, keeping the full history - and the 1980 chapter - hidden from the American people.
Upon taking office on Jan. 20, 2001, George W. Bush walled up the history even more by issuing an executive order blocking the scheduled declassification of records from the Reagan-Bush years. After 9/11, the younger George Bush added more bricks to the wall by giving Presidents, Vice Presidents and their heirs power over releasing documents.