West turns up heat on Iran
West turns up heat on Iran
The European Union last week imposed a new round of sanctions against Iran. E.U. foreign policy chief Lady Catherine Ashton stated that the measures “sent a powerful message” that Iran’s “nuclear program is a cause of serious and growing concern.” The sanctions target a wide range of banks, individuals, shipping, insurance, and especially, oil sector. The E.U. sanctions go farther than the sanctions approved by the United Nations on June 9th. These sanctions are seen as the toughest and most comprehensive that the E.U. has even imposed on a single state.
Even though Iran is a top exporter of crude oil, ranked 2nd in OPEC, Iran must import its refined gasoline — much of it from Europe. This makes Iran particularly vunerable to the new sanctions. In oder to counter this, Iran is seeking to increase its self-sufficiency in refining. Iran announced that it will be investing 46 billion dollars to increase its refining ability. Iran will be creating seven new refineries and improving nine others.
Canada has also joined the imperialist campaign and imposed new unilateral sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, said that the new measures will include a ban on any new Canadian investment in Iran’s oil and gas sector. The sanctions will also ban Canadian exports that could be used in Iran’s alleged nuclear program. In addition, Iranian banks will not be allowed to open branches in Canada and Canadian banks will not be allowed in Iran.
Moves by the E.U. and Canada follow the recent sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in July. The bill, passed nearly uniamously by the House and Senate, was described by Obama as “toughest sanctions ever” against the Islamic Republic. The United States praised the moves by the E.U. and Canada. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said:
“The United States welcomes the strong steps taken by our European and Canadian partners to implement UNSC (UN Security Council) resolution 1929.”
“We’ve already begun to see the impact of the sanctions as companies around the world refuse to do business with Iran.”
It is in this context that top officials from the United States will travel throughout the world in an attempt to bring more countries on board with the sanctions. U.S. officials are planning to visit Asia, the Middle East, and South America to advocate for “strong sanctions” against Iran, according to a senior U.S. Treasury official. Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser, appearing before a key House committee, said that the effort would begin “in weeks to come.” He stated that the Obama administration has “put in the hard work required to expand the scope” of the sanctions against Iran “by urging those governments in Asia, the Middle East, and South America that have not yet promulgated or implemented a strong set of sanctions authorities to do so.”
Both Russia and China offered weak opposition to new sanctions. In fact, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized Russia for supporting earlier sanctions. Russia responded by condemning Ahmadinejad’s “irresponsible rhetoric.” However, Russia’s and China’s verbal opposition to the new sanctions amounts to very little. In reality, Russia and China basically seem to have acquiesced to the course set by the West. Neither country is willing to go to bat for Iran. Such rivalry simply does not exist between the imperialist and capitalist powers.
Iran responded by stating that it “deeply regrets and condemns” the new round of sanctions. Ramin Mehmanparast, an Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, stated:
“These sanctions will not help in resuming talks and will not affect Iran’s determination to defend its legitimate right to pursue a peaceful nuclear programme.”
It is in this context, that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Iranian media that he expected the United States to launch military strikes “on at least two countries” in the Middle East soon:
“They have decided to attack at least two countries in the region in the next three months.”
“[Iran has] very precise information that the Americans have hatched a plot, according to which they to wage a psychological war against Iran.”
“The logic that they can persuade us to negotiate through sanctions is just a failure.”
Both the United States and Israel have repeatedly refused to rule out military action against Iran. In fact, The United states has gone a step further and declared its intentions to use military force. A high ranking U.S. military officer has stated that the Pentagon has a plan to militarily attack Iran to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons. In response to a question about whether or not a plan exists. Admiral Mike Mullen responded ‘we do’, without elaborating” on Meet The Press. Recent polls have shown that a large majority of the Israeli population, 71 percent, favor military action against Iran. Also, 61 percent of Amerikans favor using force against Iran. Such numbers underscore how the vast majority of First World populations align, for the most part, with their own ruling class against the Third World. The Amerikan population as a whole is imperialist. With Obama’s popularity sagging, a military strike against Iran would surely give the “liberal” Obama the credibility among the majority hawks that Democrats so desperately crave. Such a move would be a repeat of Bill Clinton’s unprovoked cruise missile attacks on Sudan and Afghanistan in August of 1998 that diverted attention from sagging domestic popularity and the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
The reaction from many within the First Worldist “left” has been to enter into an implicit alliance with imperialism against the Islamic Republic. Such is the political course of many Trotskyists and so-called “Maoists” and “post-Maoists.” These fakes, for example, were cheerleaders for the Western-backed attempt at a “color revolution” last year. In addition, fake “Maoists” in North America held marches against Iran as the U.S. was poised to attack. By contrast, genuine communists absolutely reject such revisionism and reaffirm politics of global people’s war by the Third World revolutionary and anti-imperialists against the First World as a whole.
The E.U. has aligned with the United States against Iran even though the E.U. has more to lose economically from sanctions against the Islamic Republic. This is yet more confirmation that there is not significant inter-imperialist rivalry between the United States and Europe. Rather, the E.U. and United States are more accurately seen as part of a single imperialist bloc whose internal contradictions are non-antagonistic. In Lin Biao’s Long Live the Victory of People’s War!, this alignment of imperialist powers was referred to as “Western imperialism, headed by the United States.” There is much to recommend this analysis today.
Inter-imperialist rivalry is insignificant today. There is less and less opportunity to play imperialists against each other in the hopes of “divide and conquer.” Revolutionary and anti-imperialist movements should not rely on inter-imperialist rivalry to advance their cause. Instead, revolutionary and anti-imperialist movements need to place more emphasis on unity across exploited countries, pan-Third World unity, global people’s war. Revolutionary movements must sink deep roots among the exploited across the global countryside. This is why some have characterized the current period as a Lin Biao period, not a Zhou Enlai period. In reality, the whole post-World War 2 period has been a Lin Biao period. The rightist, Zhou Enlai turn by China was a huge error, a symptom of China’s growing revisionism in the 1970s.
Even though communists oppose a world with nuclear weapons, communists support the right of oppressed countries to self-determination, which includes the right to develop nuclear weapons in defense against imperialists. The accusations that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons capabilities must be taken within a larger factual context: the United States is actively campaigning to destabilize Iran and impose a comprador government more friendly to Western interests. Also , very similar allegations about ‘WMDs’ were made against Iraq in the run up to the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation. These allegations against Iraq turned out to be a complete fabrication. The U.S. and imperialists have a long history of meddling in the region. Currently, the US has deployed secret agents in its bid to destabilize the Iranian regime. In 2007, the US congress approved 400 million dollars in funds for broad, covert operations inside the country, and in 2010, a leaked 2009 document detailed top-level plans to support Iranian dissident and insurgency groups. The U.S.’s fingerprints were all over last year’s “color revolution” against the current regime. Today, the US is helping to create a more favorable climate for ‘regime change’ in Iran and increasing the chance of a military attack, possibly launched by Israel, against the Islamic Republic.
The attacks on Iran’s nuclear programme are hypocritical. The imperialists refuse to examine their own track record with weapons of mass destruction. The United States is the only country to have used nukes against others, twice demonstrating their effects upon the Japanese people some 65 years ago. Since then, the US has explored a range of nuclear weapons capabilities as well as other emerging and secret forms of weaponry. Likewise, Israel, the US’s mad-dog settler-state in the Middle East, has developed hundreds of secret nuclear weapons and other advanced military technologies with absolutely no international accountability. In fact, it is documented that both Israel and the United States ignored the Geneva Conventions and blatantly used chemical weapons in recent years. Under the Geneva Conventions, it is forbidden to use white phosphorous against civilian populations. Yet Israel shelled Palestinian refugee camps with white phosphorous in recent years just as the United States burned alive the population of Falluja, Iraq. Not only are imperialists the biggest liars, they are the biggest hypocrites. They demand peoples around the world remain passive while themselves embracing ever-increasing forms of militarism. Despite its rhetoric, imperialism has proven itself to be the single greatest purveyor of violence throughout human history. Iran has every right to defend itself against such violence. And, contrary to the claims and actions of the social-imperialist First Worldist “left,” revolutionaries and anti-imperialists must come to defend all oppressed countries from imperialist attack. True communists support the broad anti-imperialist united front against imperialism and the global people’s war against the First World.