Our August issue featured the story “Iran: The Anti-Imperialist Case Against Nuclear Power” by Reza Fiyouzat, a reprint from the online journal Dissident Voice, arguing that nuclear development under an undemocratic regime such as Tehran’s merely plays into Washington’s interventionist designs. “Imperialism feeds on oppressed, un-represented people,” Fiyouzat writes. “To the extent that the Iranian regime stifles its own people and their potentials, to the extent that Iranian people’s well-being is undermined by their government, they as a whole are more likely to be swallowed up by the plans and designs of the imperialists. Empowered people are the best defense against imperialist aggression.” Our August Exit Poll was: “Is it incumbent on anti-imperialists in the West to support Iran’s right to develop nuclear power, as some on the left argue? Or is it possible to oppose imperialist designs on Iran while still maintaining a consistent position against nuclear development anywhere in the world?” We received the following responses:
From Tim Slater in Bavaria, Germany:
Iran’s legal right to do so is clear and explicit, and anyone who thinks that the minimal international rule of law that still exists is worth preserving must indeed support that right, as long as any other state has that right.
But because they have the legal right to do so does not mean that it is therefore a good idea, in Iran or anywhere else. I worked in the nuclear-power industry years ago, and I don’t think it is, for several reasons.
WW4 REPORT replies: We are talking about a moral right, not a legal right. Under international law (as broadly interpreted), the United States has a “legal right” to both nuclear power and weapons. Yet we oppose both, don’t we? What about the “right” of people in either the US or Iran to be free from the risk of nuclear contamination, from either a new Chernobyl or “routine emissions”? When an idea is as bad as nuclear power, it ceases to be a right. As we recently wrote: “Nuclear development should appropriately be viewed not as a ‘right’, but as a bad idea.”
From Grace Nichols in Albany, NY:
To stop imperialism it is important to dismantle all weapons of mass destruction everywhere. The problem is how to do it fairly and evenhandedly. We need a United Nations with teeth more than ever before, to exert pressure to disarm the US, China, [North] Korea and Iran. (and their nuclear brothers and sisters).
We need a UN with sharp teeth to impose CO2 budgets and plan international flood emergency plans. To build levees. To exert pressure to stop deforestation of species-rich areas. To improve the efforts of WHO in eliminating infectious disease.
Utopian? Unrealistic? No more so than allowing Iran, Korea, the US and China continue with their weapons programs and allowing the United States to have the least fuel efficient vehicles in the world and (by twice the nearest competitor) the largest CO2 output in the world.
Multilateral environmental regulation looks like nature. Cells don’t exist without detailed regulations and restrictions. Neither do ecosystems.
Nukes are threats to collective survival. You can’t tell me that the international majority DOESN’T want to survive. That would be ahistorical.
Nuclear weapons in Iran are colonial forces. They reflect the Iranian government’s desire to colonize in retaliation. Independence from Nuclear weapons, their drain on the economy, and from other threats to the peacefulness and the sovereignty of Iran is a means of anti-imperialist struggle.
It ain’t sovereignty if externally introduced techno-military culture wins.
WW4 REPORT replies: We applaud your single-standard rejection of nuclear power. But we are skeptical that the UN (whose permanent Security Council members are the five major nuclear powers) could ever have either the will or the means to take meaningful steps against nuclear power or weapons. Looking to an upsurge from below—from global civil society—may also be utopian and unrealistic, but it is at least (we hope) possible. And how do we counter the hard-left argument that US imperialism cannot be defeated unless potential target states such as Iran and North Korea adopt the “techno-military culture” of the Enemy?