STRUAN Stevenson ("Iran’s brutal and corrupt regime must be felled", Agenda, The Herald, January 8) titles himself as being president of "the European Iraqi Freedom Association" while at the same time attacking "the ruthless Shia militias rampaging across Iraq". Does this mean that his organisation only supports freedom for Sunni Iraqis? Similarly he castigates "the vicious Houthi rebels in Yemen" and "the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon".

Mr Stevenson needs to be reminded of some history in the region. In 1951 the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh was elected in Iran with a manifesto to nationalise the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (now BP). The CIA and MI6 toppled Mossadegh in 1953 and installed the Shah of Iran. They also supplied him with weapons and trained his notorious secret police force, Savak. They helped to repress all opposition in the country and this is why the mosques became politicised, since they were the only places that could not be shut down. The birth of the Islamic Republic of Iran was as a direct consequence of our interference. We inadvertently gave rise to forces we could not control.

In 1982 Israel invaded southern Lebanon without any UN mandate to do so but with tacit US and UK support. That incursion created Hezbollah and it eventually forced Israel out of Lebanon in 2000. It has become a key player in the Middle East and is supported by Iran. Here are two examples that show what western interference can deliver.

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The invasion of Iraq in 2003, also without any UN approval, gave rise to Islamic State. Speaker after speaker at Glasgow’s demonstration earlier that year said that invading Iraq would not prevent terrorism, it would simply create it. Yet another example of what western regime change can deliver.

As for Iran being brutal and corrupt, I can only agree with Mr Stevenson. It is similar to many nations around the world. In particular, some of the things he itemises in his catalogue of Iranian brutality could be equally applied to Saudi Arabia but he wishes no regime change there, despite Saudi support for the terrorists fighting in Syria and the humanitarian disaster their weapons have caused in Yemen. These weapons, it should be remembered, came from us.

Mr Stevenson writes of the "worsening economic situation" where "Iranians can no longer afford to feed their families, while they witness oil wealth being plundered to fund the export of conflict". This could so easily apply to the UK which has hundreds of food banks feeding an increasingly impoverished population where the oil wealth was used to give tax cuts to the rich and fight overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while also helping to topple Gaddafi in Libya with all the resultant chaos it has delivered.

It is Mr Stevenson’s selectivity that gives his argument such questionable status. Shia bad, Sunni good is what he seems to suggest. Shia and Sunni beheading are equally repulsive as is the electric chair or death by lethal injection in the US. The mention too that he has in mind someone to replace Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Maryam Rajavi, whom he calls "charismatic" should make us all uneasy about yet another western-backed intervention that creates more chaos, more refugees, more terrorists and more failed states. The only winner – as before – can be the arms manufacturers.

Jim Aitken,

2 Carlton Street, Edinburgh.