This is from infoshop.org The whole article is much longer and deals with other issues such as Lebanon. As usual Chomsky is quite interesting and provocative
Going back to Iran, it's not only that it has substantial resources and that it's part of the world's major energy system but it also defied the United States. The United States, as we know, overthrew the parliamentary government, installed a brutal tyrant, was helping him develop nuclear power, in fact the very same programs that are now considered a threat were being sponsored by the U.S. government, by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Kissinger, and others, in the 1970s, as long as the Shah was in power. But then the Iranians overthrew him, and they kept U.S. hostages for several hundred days. And the United States immediately turned to supporting Saddam Hussein and his war against Iran as a way of punishing Iran. The United States is going to continue to punish Iran because of its defiance. So that's a separate factor.
And again, the will of the U.S. population and even US business is considered mostly irrelevant. Seventy five percent of the population here favors improving relations with Iran, instead of threats. But this is disregarded. We don't have polls from the business world, but it's pretty clear that the energy corporations would be quite happy to be given authorization to go back into Iran instead of leaving all that to their rivals. But the state won't allow it. And it is setting up confrontations right now, very explicitly. Part of the reason is strategic, geo-political, economic, but part of the reason is the mafia complex. They have to be punished for disobeying us.
Shank: Venezuela has been successfully defiant with Chavez making a swing towards socialism. Where are they on our list?
Chomsky: They're very high. The United States sponsored and supported a military coup to overthrow the government. In fact, that's its last, most recent effort in what used to be a conventional resort to such measures.
Shank: But why haven't we turned our sights more toward Venezuela?
Chomsky: Oh they're there. There's a constant stream of abuse and attack by the government and therefore the media, who are almost reflexively against Venezuela. For several reasons. Venezuela is independent. It's diversifying its exports to a limited extent, instead of just being dependent on exports to the United States. And it's initiating moves toward Latin American integration and independence. It's what they call a Bolivarian alternative and the United States doesn't like any of that.
This again is defiance of U.S. policies going back to the Monroe Doctrine. There's now a standard interpretation of this trend in Latin America, another kind of party line. Latin America is all moving to the left, from Venezuela to Argentina with rare exceptions, but there's a good left and a bad left. The good left is Garcia and Lula, and then there's the bad left which is Chavez, Morales, maybe Correa. And that's the split.
In order to maintain that position, it's necessary to resort to some fancy footwork. For example, it's necessary not to report the fact that when Lula was re-elected in October, his foreign trip and one of his first acts was to visit Caracas to support Chavez and his electoral campaign and to dedicate a joint Venezuelan-Brazilian project on the Orinoco River, to talk about new projects and so on. It's necessary not to report the fact that a couple of weeks later in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which is the heart of the bad guys, there was a meeting of all South American leaders. There had been bad blood between Chavez and Garcia, but it was apparently patched up. They laid plans for pretty constructive South American integration, but that just doesn't fit the U.S. agenda. So it wasn't reported.