Back to Front - No threat to us
WORKERS, MAY 2007 ISSUE
Iran is no threat, it is not about to attack anybody. And so any attack on Iran would be illegal and a breach of the UN Charter, which prohibits the use of force. But there are threats to attack Iran, coming from both sides of the Atlantic.
Not content with having lost the war in Iraq – as leading senators and representatives are now saying – Bush refuses to rule out attacking Iran. It's the imperialist motto down the ages: when in a hole, keep digging.
The US's Iran Democracy Act funds opposition and terrorist groups in Iran, breaking its 1981 pledge not to interfere in Iran's affairs. Its National Security Strategy singled out Iran as the USA's greatest 'challenge' and threatens a first strike. Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon called on the US and British governments "to attack Iran once they are finished with Iraq".
US forces – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Azerbaijan – surround Iran. The US Navy has been conducting a series of exercises in the Gulf, the biggest war games in the area since the invasion of Iraq four years ago. In January, the US military kidnapped five junior Iranian diplomats in Iraq. No charges have been brought against them; nobody knows where they are being kept and under what conditions.
It now appears that that kidnapping was a botched attempt to net two senior Iranian generals on an official visit to the Kurdish part of Iraq – an attempt that might not be unconnected to the recent incident involving the Royal Navy.
The Blair government is trying to draw us into supporting, or joining, an attack on Iran. It is trying to secure a UN resolution allowing punitive sanctions and the use of force if Iran refuses to halt its nuclear programme. Have we learnt nothing from the way Blair drew us into the war on Iraq?
The British presence in Iraq is no more than an illegal belligerent occupation; British forces have no right to operate in Iraqi, never mind in Iranian, waters. Even if one accepts the British coordinates for the position of both HMS Cornwall and the incident, both were closer to Iran's coast than to Iraq's, and the Royal Navy has no UN mandate to search ships entering Iran's ports. Iraq and Iran have not yet agreed their maritime boundary. The boundary shown on the map reproduced in all the newspapers was drawn up, unilaterally, by the Blair government. It is a fake with no legal force, just another imperial attempt to draw other countries' national boundaries for them.
If, when we had nationalised our basic energy industry in 1947, the Iranian government had intervened and overthrown our democratically elected government, imposing a dictator for 26 years, would we be happy for their armed forces to invade and occupy France and for their warships to search our merchant ships in the English Channel? We should not treat other nations in ways we would not like to be treated.
Blair and Bush are desperate to win support for an attack on Iran, by Israel or the USA or Britain, or any combination of the three. That's the reason why the Ministry of Defence decided to allow naval personnel to sell their stories – to whip up hate against Iran. The belated, bungled reversal of this decision proves yet again how incompetent this government is.