Imperialists move to attack Iran

Britain, the US and Israel have continued to intensify their pressure on Iran. Not content with trying to install a puppet regime in Iraq and undermine and isolate the democratically-elected government in Palestine, the imperialists are also planning an attack on Iran.

In an obvious mockery of their insistence that they want a diplomatic rather than a military solution to the so-called Iranian nuclear crisis, Britain and the US have taken part in a war game that simulates an invasion of Iran. The war game, codenamed Hotspur 2004, took place at the US base of Fort Belvoir in Virginia in July 2004. The disclosure of Britain’s participation coincided with a US report that the White House was contemplating a tactical nuclear strike and Tehran defying the United Nations Security Council.

The website of the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which helped run the war game, described it as the main analytical event of the year for the UK-US Future Land Operations Interoperability Study, whose purpose is to ensure that both armies work well together. The study was extremely well received on both sides of the Atlantic. Plans are being carried out by US Central Command which is responsible for the Middle East and central Asia area of operations, and by Strategic Command, which carries out long-range bombing and nuclear operations.

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Iran: Ruling class divided

Over one million people gathered in Tehran on 15 June to protest against the results of the 12 June presidential election. This was the largest rally in the city since the 1978-79 Iranian revolution which overthrew the Shah. The crowds were drawn from all social classes and they presented the Islamic Republic with its most serious internal challenge in 30 years. However, the majority of the protestors supported the defeated candidate, former Prime Minister Mousavi, who has no intention of threatening the state, but rather seeks to adjust its policies away from those of President Ahmadinejad. A combination of state repression, the intervention of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in support of Ahmadinejad, and lack of leadership, resulted in the protests subsiding – for now.

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Iran: The revolution is coming

FRFI 150 August / September 1999

The overthrow of the Shah in 1979 was one of the most popular revolutions of the 20th century, with millions of people taking part. Its tone was anti-imperialist and its content democratic. The left made its mark through anti-imperialist slogans against the USA and capitalism in general, but lacked any specific programme for transformation of social and political structures. The left at the time was influenced by guerilla movements in Latin America and experiences of China and the Soviet Union, but had little contact with the workers who were the social base of the revolution.

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Imperialists try to intensify pressure on Iran

FRFI 174 August / September 2003

During a recent trip to Tehran, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw continued to ratchet up imperialist pressure on the Iranian regime, calling on it to agree by September to sign the ‘additional protocol’ demanded by the June meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This would give inspectors from the IAEA greater rights to conduct snap inspections of so-called suspect sites. Failure to meet this deadline would, according to Straw, jeopardise a European Union trade and co-operation agreement currently being negotiated. His visit came shortly after widespread student protests had taken place against the regime in Iran.

The student demonstrations had begun on 10 June at Tehran University in opposition to the privatisation of the university system but had quickly taken on an anti-regime character. The protests were militant, violently confronting the forces of the state, the police and Hezbollah (religious militia of the government) and spreading to at least eight other major cities. Slogans on the demonstrations included ‘Down with the Islamic Republic of Iran’, ‘Death to Khamenei’ (the main religious leader within Iran), ‘Death to Khatami’ (the reformist President) and ‘Death to Rafsanjani’ (the hard-line ex-president of Iran). All accounts of the protests point to the fact that many others joined the students on the streets. The Tehran Chief of Police told the media that of the 520 protesters arrested by 22 June, ‘only ten of them are students, the rest are ruffians’! Student leaders said though that more than half of those in custody were students, and 18 of them were women.

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Iran: Defying Imperialism

Over the last few months, Britain, the US and Israel have been intensifying the pressure on Iran. In scenes very similar to the build-up to the invasion of Iraq, they have made much of Iran’s supposed quest for nuclear weapons and the alleged threat it poses to world peace and security. Although Iran is clearly working for a peaceful resolution, the US has already stigmatised it as part of its ‘axis of evil’ and is threatening to use ‘every tool at its disposal’ to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear capabilities. Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said recently that Iran was probably the number one challenge for the US:

‘We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran, whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different than the Middle East we would like to see developed.’

Iran, which is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has said that it has no plans to build nuclear weapons and that it requires nuclear energy for civilian purposes to meet the energy demands of its increasing population and expanding economy. These claims were substantiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency which after three years of investigation has found ‘no evidence of diversion’.

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