Iranian journalist and expert Abbas Salimi Namin has disproved the claims and opinions of Israeli analyst Ronen Bergman in the book ‘The Secret War with Iran’. ‘The Secret War with Iran’, written by renowned Zionist journalist Ronen Bergman, was published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster publishing company in the United States.
Born in 1972, Bergman is a graduate of Tel Aviv University in the Middle East political relations. He is a famous Zionist journalist and analyst in the military and security fields who has worked with Israeli newspapers ‘Haaretz’ and ‘Yedioth Ahronoth’, American dailies and weeklies such as ‘The New York Times’, ‘Newsweek’, ‘The Wall street Journal’, and British media groups including ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Times’.
Bergman has been interested in topics relating to the enemies of the Zionist regime (particularly Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance groups), as well as subjects on the history of the Israeli regime’s assassination operations, which are cited in his recent book ‘Rise and Kill First’.
In an interview with Persian TV channel ‘Iran International’, Bergman has pointed to the Iranian nuclear program and the issues surrounding it -particularly the Zionist regime’s secret attempts to halt the process of nuclear activities in Iran and assassinate Iranian scientists. He has also cited ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden as saying that the assassination of nuclear scientists is the best way to impede Iran’s growing process in that field, and has implicitly held Israel responsible for it.
In the book ‘The Secret War with Iran’, Bergman has written a history of encounters between Iran and the Zionist regime, while the bulk of the book relates to the Lebanese Hezbollah –Iran’s main ally in the battle against the Zionist regime since its formation until the 33-day War- focusing on the role of Martyr Imad Mughniyeh.
His book also includes sections about the final years of the Pahlavi regime and victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, short periods of the war imposed by the Ba’thist party of Iraq on Iran (focusing on the McFarlane affair), Iran’s role in supporting the Palestinian groups, and the Iranian nuclear program.
Bergman’s multiple undocumented and untrue comments as well as personal and purposeful analyses (with the main purpose of displaying Israel’s power, especially in a competition with the US) that have repeatedly come in his book make a critical review of the book necessary for Iranian readers.
Director of the Iran History Studies and Compilation Bureau, Abbas Salimi Namin, has written an extensive criticism in a book about ‘The Secret War with Iran’. Born in 1954, Salimi Namin is an experienced journalist and a renowned Iranian researcher in history and political sciences who has published many articles and books.
About ‘The Secret War with Iran’
“The company sent its representative to Iran. He came to my office with Mousa Kermanian. They said the French company is influential and it has managed to overtake Word (sic) company…I started work and shared details with my Iranian friends… An ad hoc committee in the prime minister’s office (five prominent experts) started the study. A long report was handed over to the prime minister and finally Word emerged as successful bidder…Finally, Word’s hopes were dashed for operating the systems that had been brought to Iran to build the Great Darius Dam. The Iranian government demanded $250,000 in damages from the company because of delayed program, income text and labor insurance. The dispute between Word and the Iranian government did not remain limited to discrepancy and it was referred to court…This company finally left in 1971 because of troubles that emerged in its way.” (Festschrift, Meir Ezri, translated by Abraham Hakhami, printed in Beit ul-Moqaddas, 2000, vol. 2, pp. 128-130)
As the ambassador has implicitly said, this company could not fulfil its obligations in return for the money it had received because in reality such dam building company did not exist and it was supposed to be built with the money supplied from Iran. After they failed to set up the company they filed for bankruptcy and they disappeared without paying any taxes. The Zionists were so happy with plundering the Iranian nation that any Israeli bandit, lacking any economic and technical capacity, would volunteer to operate projects. Contracts were signed and big sums were paid, and the ability to operate projects was not prioritized at all. Bergman has referred to Israeli acts of plundering in arms deals. “Israel and Iran planned to build a tremendous military co-production line, the biggest Israel had partnered in until then. There were a total of six projects. Israel was to supply the know-how and Iran the money and test sites. At the end of the process, the Iranians were supposed to be able to produce the weapons systems themselves. The largest project concerned Israeli-made ballistic surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 700 kilometers. A very senior source in the Israeli Ministry of Defense reveals that the weapons deal with Iran was fraudulent. With each of the six joint projects, the Israelis planned to deceive the Iranians by providing them only an outdated version of the weapon in question, while using Iranian money to build a new generation for Israel’s exclusive use…. Yaakov Shapiro, the Defense Ministry official in charge of coordinating the negotiations with Iran from 1975 to 1978, recalls: “In Iran they treated us like kings. We did business with them on a stunning scale. Without the ties with Iran, we would not have had the money to develop weaponry that is today in the front line of the defense of the State of Israel.” (pp. 5-7)
But the writer makes a conflicting allegation in a bid to reduce the impact of the fact that Israel’s ties with Iran were entirely based on deception and pillage. “Indeed, if Khomeini had not taken power as early as he did, he might have taken over a country armed with long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”
First, Mr Bergman speaks as such he has presented information about this big deception for the first time. That is while before him, a lot of information had leaked on this issue, which we will discuss later.
Second, despite the Zionists’ allegations about strengthening the Shah against Arabs, while Iraq was armed with long-range missiles, Iran paid for research and manufacturing and even missile test. But at the end, poor Mohammad Reza did not receive even a single missile. Third, despite acknowledgment by a senior Israeli defense ministry official on the fact that “without the ties with Iran, we would not have had the money to develop weaponry that is today in the front line of … Israel”, the author keeps mum on other projects financed by Iran.
The issue of production of the Jericho missile and several other projects with Iranian money has been highlighted by Arash Sobhani in The Pragmatic Entente: Israeli-Iranian Relations, 1948-1988 and earlier by Aaron S. Klieman in Israel’s Global Reach. “And Harold Saunders, former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, in an interview with the same newspaper said that while “Israel built a lot of things for the Iranians that we did not know about,” it surprised him that “the Israelis would have brought the Iranians into the development of a missile that may have been part of their nuclear program. If that is the case, I am surprised that we did not know about it.” However, Colonel Entezami of the Imperial Iranian Air Force who was assigned to monitor the landing of the missile (a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying a warhead of 750 kilograms up to 120 miles) into the Negev Desert after its firing witnessed two US helicopters flying over the site, leaving the question of the extent of US knowledge of the joint Israeli-Iranian nuclear missile project open to interpretation. The following minutes of the July 18, 1977, meeting between General Toufanian and his Israeli counterparts not only demonstrate the significance of the Flower Project to both Iran and Israel; they also offer a rare glimpse at how the agreement on one of the Middle East’s best-kept secrets was finalized.” (The Pragmatic Entente: Israeli-Iranian Relations, 1948-1988. Sohrab Sobhani, Los Angeles, 1989, pp. 269-270)
In this passage, in addition to acknowledging the US-Israeli jointly designed game with Iran and deriding treatment by cover-up, the significance of the issue for Tehran is highlighted. But several pages later, Iran’s unwillingness to join a joint missile project with Israel is highlighted, which shows clearly Tehran was unhappy with US and Israeli schemes against it.
“Because Iran was reluctant to have direct military ties with Israel over the missile, when General Toufanian returned to Tehran an oil-for-arms deal was arranged such that the missiles would be shipped to Sirjan in central Iran through a Swiss front company for assembly and testing. At Sirjan, a runway capable of handling 747 jets was to be constructed to bring in the missiles. A testing range was to be located near Rafsanjan, from where the Israeli-Iranian missile could be fired 300 miles north into Iran‘s Lut Desert and south into the Gulf of Oman. Iran made its first contribution toward the missile project in 1978 by shipping $260 million worth of oil from Kharg Island to Israel…For Israel, the missile project offered three added advantages beyond its strategic value. Having spent millions on developing earlier missile systems, the cooperation with Iran provided desperately needed financing in order to improve the accuracy of such missiles as the Jericho.” (Ibid, p. 273)
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s lack of willingness for engagement in this project sounds suspicious given his interest in arms development. “As is apparent from these minutes, one of Israel’s primary reasons for wanting a joint naval cooperation program with the Imperial Iranian Navy was to obtain Iranian financing for some of its important strategic objectives.” (Ibid, p. 275)
Therefore, various Zionist-affiliated circles do not deny the fact that their view of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was like an opportunist’s look at a frustrated rich man who has tied the survival of his monarch fully to foreigners due to disconnection from his own people. With such assessment, the Americans charged Iran three times higher for arms and the Pahlavi II government did not object.
On oil, Israel was again plundering Iran. One of the projects which gave Israel control over part of Iran’s oil exports was the Eilat–Ashkelon Pipeline project. To make clear the very nature of this project which was imposed on Iran a decade before the nationwide uprising, it would be helpful to review the Israeli ambassador’s narrative: “On September 12, 1967, upon my proposal, Israeli Finance Minister Pinchas Sapir travelled to Iran to meet with the Shah…The talks were focused on establishment of a company by experts from the two nations on a major pipe-laying project, terminal construction and pumping station on a 50-50 basis. A pipeline – 42 inches wide and 260 kilometers long – was laid from Eilat Port to Ashkelon Port. Built under a 49-year concession, the pipeline was designed to carry 60 million tonnes of oil a year…The European buyers of Iran’s oil mainly received their oil via the Italian port of Trieste. Therefore the oil coming from Iran was stored in Eilat Port and then refined to supply Israeli needs and to be delivered to other customers… On February 25, 1969, following triumphant talks between the Israeli and Iranian oil experts, establishment of a new company known as Trans-Asiatic was agreed upon for bilateral cooperation…Pursuant to the agreement signed between Iran and Israel, three supertankers delivered Iran’s oil from Kharg Terminal to Eilat Port non-stop. That is how oil was sent to Ashkelon Port to be distributed among Mediterranean states. This trend picked up speed every day. In May 1970, Robert de Rothschild – son of Alain de Rothschild – visited Kharg Terminal in the Persian Gulf. He inspected the Patria tanker on which he returned to Eilat Port.” (Festschrift, Meir Ezri, translated by Abraham Hakhami, printed in Beit ul-Moqaddas, 2000, vol. 2, pp. 166-171)