As the crisis of overproduction continues to put fire under the feet of imperialism, the most brazen threats of criminal aggression against sovereign Iran are multiplying, with Washington and its subalterns struggling to maintain a stranglehold on the Middle East. Whilst harder imperialist heads may waver, conscious of the disasters to which such aggression must lead, the implacable crisis of monopoly capitalism keeps driving them on, even as those behind cry “forward” and those before cry “back”.
With the US nerving itself up for an open attack upon both Syria and Iran, tensions between imperialists are boiling up to the surface. Senior White House officials squabble over how ‘tough’ a line to take against Iran with the presidential election just round the corner. Now that Republican contender Mitt Romney is chasing electoral advantage by portraying Obama as being soft on Iran, the administration is keen to brief journalists on the president’s plans to clamp down further on Iran’s oil revenue, plant new anti-missile systems in the Persian Gulf and conduct provocative new war games in the region.
Also jogging Obama’s arm are the zionists, with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu darkly hinting at an imminent unilateral airstrike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Obama rattling the sabre harder, supposedly to dissuade Tel Aviv from going it alone.
The common portrayal of Israeli hotheads versus White House caution always needs a big pinch of salt: zionism is a tool of US imperialist aggression, not the other way around. All the same, the air of panic and mutual recrimination afflicting the ruling circles cannot be ignored when Netanyahu blurts out: “The world tells Israel: ‘Wait. There’s still time.’ And I say: ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”
The dogs of war are straining at the leash.
The latest ‘dodgy dossier’
The UN body tasked with snooping on Iran’s nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), issued a new report in September. This latest ‘dodgy dossier’ to be served up as a pretext for further sanctions and threats of war yet again contains zero evidence of the supposed Iranian nuclear weapons programme that Washington and Tel Aviv pretend to fear.
The report is unremarkable in its data, reporting merely that Iran’s stocks of uranium enriched to 20 percent and centrifuge tally have both grown. Tehran has long since explained that enriched uranium is essential in the production of the medical isotopes upon which as many as 900,000 people depend, many of whom suffer from cancer. However, having added not a shred of evidence of a purported Iranian nuclear weapons programme, the report concludes with the glorious non sequitur that the IAEA is “unable to provide credible assurance” that Iran is not engaged in illicit nuclear-related activities!
But how can such a negative ever be conclusively proved? This is the same dirty game imperialism played with Iraq as a prelude to its genocidal assault on that sovereign country in 2003, and will fool only those who want to be fooled.
The timing of the IAEA report was possibly aimed at distracting attention from Iran’s high-profile role at the sixteenth summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which took place in Tehran in the last week of August. If so, it fell flat, especially as the summit’s proceedings were opened by the Iranian foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, reaffirming NAM’s commitment to the goal of decommissioning all the world’s nuclear arsenals by 2025! Let Israel take note.
The summit marked the beginning of a three-year period during which Tehran will hold the rotating presidency. Iran is also seeking to raise the profile of NAM between summits by pushing for the establishment of a temporary secretariat. It is a grave embarrassment for Washington to see Iran’s international leadership role so significantly enhanced at the very moment when the sanctions were supposed to have isolated the country for good.
The NAM as presently constituted is a remarkably broad international forum, representing almost two thirds of the world’s countries. It comprises 120 member states and 17 observer countries, making it the biggest such forum outside of the UN itself. And, unlike the UN, an organisation which habitually acts as a simple rubber stamp for imperialist interests (except where China and Russia are able to jam on the brakes at the Security Council), the NAM does not exclude views which are not to the West’s liking.
As Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei noted, “The views that were expressed by some heads of state and delegations present in the Tehran Summit, especially criticism of the United Nations and the Security Council structures, as well as the international dictatorship ruling the world, lacked precedence in similar international meetings.”
Worse still for imperialism, the secretary general of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, was in Tehran to hear these home truths in person. Whilst the imperialist media denounced his trip, the prestige of the occasion obliged this Washington flunkey to attend. After all, over half of the UN’s membership belong to the NAM, and 29 heads of state or government were present, including those of India, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Zimbabwe and north Korea.
Whilst Iran may be seen from Washington’s warped viewpoint as a pariah state, this is clearly not a view shared by most of the world, where the country’s efforts to carve a path for itself without doffing the cap to Uncle Sam excite a good deal of sympathy. Iran’s presidency of the NAM underlines the country’s growing influence.
The summit gave unanimous support for Iran’s nuclear energy programme, criticising the US-led attempt to cripple the country by means of economic sanctions. Any wavering delegates may perhaps have been helped to make up their minds by the sight at the entrance to the conference hall of a pile of burnt-out cars, which had belonged to nuclear scientists assassinated (reputedly by Israeli agents) with car bombs.
Sadly, the summit stumbled when the question of Syria arose, failing to support Assad against the West-backed terrorist rebellion. The recently-elected Egyptian president, Morsi, shamefully spoke in support of the rebellion, babbling that “Our solidarity with the struggle of the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty, as it is a political and strategic necessity.”
For this treachery to the Arab world, Morsi was rewarded a few days later when the US proposed to forgive $1bn in Egyptian debt repayments.
Axis of resistance
A week later, Iran hosted another important meeting, the Third International Conference of Islamic Resistance, with the liberation of Palestine as its key focus. Over 600 representatives from 11 countries came to Isfahan, including Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. The meeting included representatives from Hizbollah, Amal, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The Washington Post reported that speakers remembered that “resistance was key to the victory against Israel in Lebanon in 2006 and the 22-day siege of Gaza in 2008-09. Their Iranian hosts made clear they believe it is Syria’s turn to resist the global threat they see now facing Damascus as ‘punishment for its support for Palestine.’ … ‘Al-Qaeda, along with the US, Israel and Arab reactionaries, all intend to overthrow’ Assad’s government, Ali-Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the conference. ‘It is because Syria is the golden link of the resistance chain against Israel.’” (Iran hosts islamic resistance festival by Najmeh Bozorgmehr, 5 September 2012)
In the same spirit of solidarity, another supposedly ‘isolated’ nation, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, recently signed an agreement with Iran to collaborate in science and technology, in particular biotechnology, engineering, sustainable development and the environment. The two countries are also organising student exchanges.
Commenting on the agreement, Khamenei explained that “The Islamic Republic of Iran and north Korea have common enemies, because the arrogant powers do not accept independent states.”
Russia and China frustrate the warmongers
Fresh opposition to imperialist aggression against both Iran and Syria is also coming from Russia and China. Meeting with Iranian officials, China’s vice foreign minister, Zhang Zhijun, praised Iran’s efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis diplomatically, adding pointedly that “certain countries” were planning to prolong their presence in the region.
Meanwhile, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov denounced Washington’s unilateral imposition of sanctions way beyond anything signed up to at the UN. These punitive measures, approved by US Congress on 1 August but lacking any legal authority outside the USA, claim the right to meddle with the operations of banks, insurance companies and transporters that assist Iran in selling her oil on the world market.
And it should be added that it is not only anti-imperialist states like Iran who will fight such illegal restraints upon trade. As the competition between rival imperialist trade blocs intensifies, such economic wrecking activity will be as little welcome to imperialist ‘friends’ as it will to anti-imperialist enemies. One has only to look at the scalded reaction when British-based Standard Chartered Bank suffered a massive hit from the markets after having been denounced by a US regulator for allegedly laundering money for Iran.
Ryabkov threw down a marker, declaring “We cannot agree to the exterritorial use of US law, and this is what is actually happening in this very case. We consider such methods a gross violation of fundamental principles of international law.” He went on to warn the US and Israel about the “disastrous” consequences that would flow from an attack on Iran. (Attacking Iran would be ‘disastrous’ Russia warns, Russia Today, 6 September 2012)
Iran prepares to defend herself
Strengthened by the international support she is receiving, Iran is maintaining her national defences and standing firm. Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi, of Tehran’s Institute for North American and European Studies, recently told Russia Today: “If the Americans try to intervene on behalf of Israel, then I believe we will have a major conflict in the Persian Gulf region. Oil tankers, oil installations, gas installations, all of this would probably be destroyed. The Persian Gulf is a small gulf, and the Iranians have very long borders. So the Iranians are prepared to defend themselves, and I think the Americans know this.”
The head of Iran’s navy, Admiral Sayyari, recently announced that it will be sending ships to patrol the international waters off the US coast, in addition to those it has already sent to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. This forward posture is clearly designed as a measured response to the build-up of the USA’s naval presence in and around the Strait of Hormuz.
The US Fifth Fleet is anchored off Bahrain, on the southern shore of the strait. Two thirds of all seaborne oil passes through the strait, which Iran reserves the right to shut down should this prove necessary. Sayyari made Iran’s position plain: “We will not allow anyone to trespass our country’s waters. There is no need for anyone else to establish security in our region.”
British workers suffering under the lash of unemployment, pensions and benefits cuts and privatisation of health and education need to understand that their enemy is the same as the enemy of the Iranian and Syrian people: imperialism. We will strengthen our hand against exploitation in this country when we learn to link arms with our brothers and sisters in Iran and Syria and fight together against our common enemy.
If we refuse to cooperate with the criminal wars waged in our name by our exploiters, we have collectively the power to stop these wars. Now let us learn to use it.
Victory to Iran and Syria!
No cooperation with war crimes!
Death to imperialism!