BRITAIN and the rest of the European Union have imposed more sanctions against Iran and an imperialist armada, led by a US aircraft carrier, has entered the Persian Gulf.
The Iranians say the EU oil embargo over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme is “unfair” and “doomed to fail”. More pointedly they threaten to retaliate by mining the entrance to the Gulf at the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 per cent of the world’s oil exports pass. The recipe for another war in the Middle East is brewing.
For years Iran has been the target of imperialist propaganda about the alleged threat posed by Iran’s nuclear research programme, even though the Islamic Republic has signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and opened up its nuclear plants for international inspection. The nuclear research programme has been used to sanction the imperialists’ economic blockade, designed to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees and justify an ongoing dirty war of terror bombings and assassinations waged by imperialist special forces and their willing tools from neighbouring countries.
The International Atomic Energy Agency is sending another team to Iran this week “to resolve all outstanding substantive issues”. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, by no means an impartial observer, has suggested that the Iranians have carried out tests “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device”. Nevertheless no incriminating evidence has come out of these inspections and Iran insists its nuclear programme is solely for energy purposes.
But the Islamic Republic has been a thorn in imperialism’s flesh long before the nuclear programme became an issue. After the Second World War the Shah’s regime in Iran was encouraged by the Americans to play the part of a regional power through CENTO, an imperialist pact that allied the country with Turkey, Pakistan and Anglo-American imperialism. When the Shia Islamic clerical movement overthrew the hated Pahlavi dynasty in 1979 they undermined one of the major props of imperialist control over the Middle East.
Iran’s alliance with Syria and its support for the Palestinians and radical Shia movements throughout the Middle East are seen as obstacles to the American dream of a region run by puppets of the big oil corporations. Regime change in Iran has therefore always been on the imperialist agenda.
Their strategy is two-pronged. The imperialists clearly hope that the threat of war, together with the economic blockade and the hardship it has imposed on the Iranian people, will encourage pro-western elements within the ruling circles of the Islamic republic to make another move to unseat the current leadership in Tehran. Failing that there is the option of the mailed fist in the form of overwhelming imperialist air superiority that could be unleashed from their Gulf fleets and bases in the Middle East.
An airborne Nato attack, or one by the Israelis doing their bidding, could take out all Iran’s nuclear installations. But it would take several days — certainly enough time for the Iranians to carry out their threat to mine the Gulf and call on the support of the entire Shia community to attack Imperialist interests across the Middle East and throughout the world.
The armchair generals and the paid pundits of the imperialist media can talk about “surgical strikes” and “shock and awe” for as long as they like. But we only need to look at Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya to predict the likely outcome of such an attack on Iran. International oil production will be crippled. Tens of thousands will die and the entire region will be plunged into chaos.
The Stop the War movement has launched a new campaign to oppose Nato intervention in Syria and Iran. But much more needs to be done to mobilise opinion throughout the labour movement to oppose the criminal aggression being planned against Iran and Syria by the imperialists and their lackeys.
This war can and must be stopped before it even starts.