Hands off Iran

By Freedom Road Socialist Organization

The Bush administration is still threatening Iran, and a wider war in the Middle East. The U.S. government has made much of Iran’s nuclear energy program. Iran says it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and now U.S. intelligence agencies agree with that characterization. But this makes little difference to Bush and Cheney. They are still talking about turning up the heat on Iran and looking to impose more sanctions – which are in and of themselves a form of war, and as we saw with Yugoslavia and Iraq, a buildup to open military action.

For her part, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton backed a resolution in Congress that labeled a part of Iran’s military a ‘terrorist’ outfit. We have seen where this kind of talk has led us in past.

A lot of people in this country wonder what’s going on in Iran. Why is it that tens of thousands of people frequently take to the streets burning effigies of Bush and American flags, and that the Iranian people vote for politicians that promise to take a hard line against the U.S. government? The answer is simple. The people of Iran have had the experience of living under U.S. domination. And that experience was bitter and brutal.

In 1953, the CIA organized the overthrow of the progressive and national democratic government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. His ‘crime’ was nationalizing Iran’s oil and using it for the betterment of the Iranian people. The U.S., acting in concert with the British, proceeded to install a puppet – the Shah, the ‘king of kings’ who ruled by torture and terror. His hated secret police, known as the Savak, were trained by the CIA. They used thumbscrews that were made in the U.S. Some of them trained at a base in Texas. The Bush administration is not the first to practice the systematic use of torture.

In 1979 the Shah was brought down. Many gave their lives facing troops that had every kind of weapon the Pentagon could send. One could say a lot about the weaknesses and strengths of Iran’s domestic and foreign polices since then, but the main thing is this: Iran emerged as independent country standing in the way of U.S. domination of the Middle East.

Big oil companies hate Iran and so do U.S. politicians who see the region as a key strategic portion of a global empire. The fact that Iran is firm in opposing the occupation of Palestine is just another reason for modern day crusaders like Senator John McCain to sing Bomb Iran out on the campaign trial. An aside here is that if a politician in another country started sings songs about bombing Washington to some old Beach Boys tune, the U.S. corporate press would speculate endlessly about that politicians mental health.

When Bush and Chaney talk about Iran and the nuclear issue they do so from the standpoint of hypocrites. Who is the biggest threat to world peace right now? They are. The U.S. occupies Iraq and as consequence hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead and millions more are refuges. We live in the only country whose government has actually used nuclear weapons. On top of this, only one country in the Middle East has nuclear weapons – the White House-nominated and Congress-approved ‘strategic ally’ Israel.

Nuclear weapons are a terrible thing. In the closing days of World War II, the U.S. dropped two of them on civilian targets in Japan. The goal was to intimidate the Soviet Union. Anyone looking at photos of the devastation wrought on the men, women and little children of Hiroshima and Nagasaki should be able to grasp the fact that a world without such weapons would be a better place. And what better place to begin to begin that process than here – in the country that has the most nuclear weapons and that is working on new ones for future wars.

It is not surprising that some countries of the developing world want to break the existing monopoly on nuclear weapons as a means to strengthen their national independence. Countries facing imperial powers armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons want to defend themselves and have the right to do so. In the Middle East the problem is not Iran’s nuclear power program. The problem is that Washington threatens to use nuclear weapons and via its client state Israel has introduced them into the region.

The White House and Pentagon are waging wars across the globe. Right now, Washington wages brutal wars on the peoples of Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan and Colombia. The list could go on for pages, from Palestine to the Philippines, but the essential point is this: U.S threats against any country, nation or people that wants to be free from the dictates of Washington need to be taken seriously.

In the period ahead, the anti-war movement and other progressive should keep a sharp eye on U.S. moves towards Iran. It’s true that the Bush admisntation is bogged down in Iraq and isolated internationally and this limits what they can do. The other side of the coin is that desperate people do desperate things and U.S. imperialism desperately wants to dominate the Middle East. The American people will gain nothing from another war for empire. We have every reason to oppose it.

Hands of Iran

U.S. out of the Persian Gulf and Middle East