The Ettinger Report, Jan. 20, 2022
Ten days before the toppling of the Shah of Iran, president Jimmy Carter told a conference of world leaders on the Island of Guadeloupe that a Khomeini-led Iran “would not export revolution … and would be interested in buying tractors, not tanks.” On Jan. 11, six days before the toppling of the Shah, “the CIA assessed that Khomeini would sit back and let his moderate, Western-educated followers run the government.”
On the eve of the toppling of the Shah, US Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan argued that Khomeini and the armed forces were anti-communist, that “Khomeini would play a Gandhi-like role and that elections would be likely to produce a pro-Western Islamic republic.”
Five months before the toppling of the Shah, an August 1978 CIA study concluded that “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation.”
According to Winston Churchill, “All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.” Making mistakes can be a productive experience — if one avoids repeating them.
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A US-Israel Initiative.
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