- Created: Monday, 19 December 2011 14:24
- Written by Trevor Rayne
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 224 December 2011/January 2012
With the Middle East and North Africa in revolt, imperialism must target Iran, the main state in the region not beholden to its power. The US and Israel view Iran as a geo-political rival, and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states consider it a threat. Since the removal of Iraq’s Ba’athist state Iran’s influence has increased there and Iran supports Syria, Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine. Threats are intended to curb Iran’s influence.
• On 11 October the US government said that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards had plotted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US, using a Texan car dealer and a Mexican drug gang. Regardless of the claim’s implausibility, President Obama gave it credence saying that Iran must ‘pay the price’.
• On 11 November the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) produced a more sophisticated story about Iran developing a nuclear weapon. It presented old information as new and identified a Russian scientist as the brains behind the project, although he has no knowledge of nuclear physics. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said: ‘The IAEA report corroborates the position of the international community, and of Israel, that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.’ British Foreign Secretary Hague chimed in with ‘no option is off the table’. Meanwhile Israel has nuclear weapons but denies it.
• On 21 November the British government said it was cutting off Iran’s banking sector from the City of London. The UK Treasury said this was the first time Britain had used the powers of the 2008 Counter-terrorism Act to end banking relations with another state.
A covert war has been launched against Iran: three Iranian scientists have been killed in two years and on 12 November a blast killed 17 members of the Revolutionary Guard, including the architect of Iran’s missile programme, General Hassan Moghaddam. To really hurt Iran the imperialists could impose an embargo on Iranian oil exports from which the Iranian government gets 65% of its revenue, but this would be tantamount to a declaration of war on Iran, would wreak havoc on global markets and drive oil prices sky high – as well as pit the US and EU against China and Russia – it could be counter-productive.
Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear facility in 1981 and a Syrian reactor in 2007. It encourages an attack on Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities, and threatens to do so itself. Israel has not undertaken any serious military action since Suez in 1956 without first consulting the US. It would be problematic for it to attack Iran. The Strait of Hormuz between Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Oman is 20 miles wide. Through it passes a third of the world’s seaborne oil supplies from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Iran and Iraq. Iran could close it and the world would plunge into a desperate economic crisis.
Israel and its supporters play up the Iranian threat to garner support for Israel from the US, EU and their regional allies and to galvanise them for mobilisation against the anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist character of the region’s uprisings.