From our contributor Mahmood Ketabchi:
After more that two years of haggling with the Islamic regime of Iran over its nuclear program, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), under pressure from the European powers and particularly the US government, referred Iran to the UN Security Council. In its last meeting, the Security Council issued a statement requiring Iran to stop all nuclear activities within 30 days.
In response to the US threat and mounting pressure by the UN Security Council, the Iranian Islamic regime has been flexing its muscles and threatening the US and world with dire consequences. In response to a reporter who asked what Iran would do in case of a US attack, an Iranian official declared, “Let the ball roll.” Defying the UN call to suspend uranium enriching activity, Iran boasted its “military might.” It announced that it had fired a new missile that could carry multiple warheads and evade radar systems, and a few days later said it had test-fired what it described as a sonar-evading underwater missile. Later, it declared that it has been able to enrich uranium and further announced that it is preparing to move nuclear activity to a large scale industrial level.
In its conflict with Iran, the Bush administration is increasing its war-mongering rhetoric and war preparations in a way that is disturbingly reminiscent of the US pre-invasion policies and practices towards Iraq. As the US government pushes to end Iran’s nuclear activity, the Bush administration is shamelessly threatening Iran with a nuclear attack. It is no surprise, yet it only demonstrates the kind of world that America has in store for us. Although an invasion of Iran seems implausible, the US government is working frantically to impose economic sanctions and/or launch a military assault on Iran.
The US threats toward Iran have little to do with Iran’s nuclear program. Iran’s nuclear activity is only an excuse to increase hostility with Iran and prepare the ground for possible military attacks on Iran. In fact, before Iran’s secret nuclear program was revealed, the right-wing reactionary warmongers, who direct the US government’s foreign policies, already had envisioned an attack on Iran. These are the same people who relentlessly pushed to launch a war against the people of Iraq. The war on Iraq was merely a step towards broader changes in the Middle East. Not only Iraq, but also Iran, Syria, and even to some extent the Saudi regime have been on the hit list. The US government has a strategic plan to consolidate its control over the Middle East and enforce its role as the world’s only superpower. The New World Order that the US wants to create is characterized by its indisputable domination over the world. It is a fantasy being contemplated by a cold-blooded and ruthless gang in Washington who want to bring the whole world under their thumb. (To read more about the US goals in the Middle East, please refer to my article, “Goals and Strategy Behind the War on Iraq“)
The US government’s opposition to the Islamic regime of Iran has more to do with the fact that Iran has turned into a serious headache for US interests. Political Islam, with the Islamic regime of Iran forming its backbone, wants to consolidate itself as a regional power in the Middle East vis a vis the US government’s effort to consolidate its control over the Middle East and shape and build a New World Order.
During the cold war, the Soviet Union as an international superpower struck some sort of balance with the US government in the Middle East. As a result, certain segments of the Middle Eastern bourgeoisie under the guise of nationalism, and with Soviet protection behind them, were able to limit US intrusion in their area of influence. This balance fell apart with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Islam as political movement filled that void and became a battle cry for a section of the Middle Eastern bourgeoisie that had no intention of letting the US government get a free ride.
Political Islam was nurtured by the US government and the western powers during the Cold War era in their effort to fight communism and progressive movements of all kinds. However, over the last two decades, Islamism has increasingly became a voice of opposition to the US and the west. Political Islam must not be confused with the aspirations of the masses of people for freedom, equality, and a better world. It is not a “movement of the oppressed” as pro-Islamist leftists and liberals believe. It is a brutal and reactionary movement of the bourgeoisie in Islamist-ridden countries. Political Islam has brought great misery, destruction, mass killing, sectarian wars, and gender apartheid for the masses of people.
In a world that is characterized by growing militarism and intense rivalry among international and regional powers, joining the world’s “nuclear club” has become the secret to gaining “respectability” and “acknowledgment.” The Islamic regime’s effort to develop a nuclear industry should be viewed in this context. To consolidate the Islamic regime in Iran and bolster political Islam as a regional and international power, the Islamic regime in Iran has a clear reason to gain nuclear weapons. A nuclear program to “produce electricity” is only a facade put up by Islamic regime to weaponize Political Islam with a nuclear bomb.
Although Iran has been a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, it has worked secretly for about two decades, dating back to the Shah’s regime, to revive and develop Iran’s nuclear industry. When Iran’s secret nuclear program was exposed by the Mujahedeen, an Iranian opposition force, it agreed, under international pressure, to suspend nuclear activity, allow broad and snap inspections, and negotiate with Britain, France, and Germany, for a solution. That agreement did not stop the Islamic regime from continuing its nuclear development in secret, as it was later revealed by Hassan Rowhani, former secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran. Rowhani headed talks with the European Union 3 — Britain, France, and Germany.
Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his cabinet, mainly made of military personnel and security agents, replaced Khatami’s so called ìreformistî faction, the Islamic regime has started to pursue an open confrontation policy with the US and the west. The quagmire that the US government has created in Iraq bodes well for the Islamic regime. Believing that the US is in a weak position, the Islamic regime has become more aggressive and openly defiant. They believe that while the US is in deep trouble in Iraq, it is the best time to exact maximum concessions from the US and the west.
Iran must be stopped from acquiring nuclear weapons. Yet, it is outright hypocrisy and quite ridiculous for the US government to tell other countries that they should not develop nuclear weapons while it owns enough nuclear weapons to destroy the whole world and has repeatedly threatened other countries with nuclear assault. Moreover, the US government lacks any moral authority to claim concern over nuclear weapons proliferation when it was the first and the last government to use nuclear weapons. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to the horrific death of hundreds of thousands of people and the total destruction of both cities. After more than 60 years, the US government has yet to acknowledge that it committed a brutal crime against humanity. It is quite preposterous for a government that is so cruel, thoughtless, and smug to speak of Iranís nuclear threat to the world.
Opposition to Iranís effort to gain nuclear weapons should be placed within an international framework of ridding humanity from nuclear weapons all together. The five nuclear giants (the US, Russia, France, England, and China) who occupy the five permanent seats in the UN Security Council and have the audacity to act as the arbitrators for world peace and human life have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire world several times over. They have made these weapons not just for deterrence as they want us to believe. They are made to be used. They will use them when and where they see fit.
It is a bogus argument that some nuclear powers can be “responsible” and trusted with our lives, and some others are “irresponsible” and cannot. This assertion is only an effort to maintain the dominance of the worldís largest military and destructive powers. No responsible human being and no responsible country need nuclear weapons. If the world’s largest nuclear weapon holders had any respect for human life, they would begin to get rid of their own weapons first and have everybody else do the same. But they will never do it, unless the progressive humanity comes forward in full force and compels them to.
While there is no justification for any one country to develop nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation will continue to be a great threat for humanity as long as the US government and other powerful nations hold fast to their nuclear arsenals. The US policy of warmongering, bullying, and continually threatening nuclear assault to subdue recalcitrant governments will only encourage and inflame nationalist sentiments and provide others the opportunity to justify their effort to gain and develop nuclear weapons. The US government is in no position to tell others what they have to do. This government has no credibility. No one could ever take the US government’s concern over Iran’s nuclear program as sincere and out of respect and value for human life and world peace. In fact, with its immense power across the world, a power that has been indiscriminately and repeatedly, the US government is a major source of suffering and misery for many people across the world.
It’s important to oppose US bullying and hypocrisy, but at the same time, no one should support the efforts by Iranian regime to obtain nuclear weapons. Weapons of Mass Destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, are an example of the kind of brutal “ingenuity” that only capitalism could invent. Nuclear weapons continue to be one of the most important concerns for humanity. Even the nuclear industry for civilian use has come to pose a great danger to human life. Health and safety concerns over the nuclear industry has brought about world-wide opposition. As a result of massive protest movements across the world, many countries with nuclear industries were forced to slow down their nuclear program, place it under moratorium, or scale it down.
Despite world wide concern over the nuclear industry, particularly nuclear weapons, some pro-Islamists on the American left argue that “Iranians have a right to develop any means of self-defense against their former oppressors.” Developing nuclear weapons for “self -defense” is just a shameful excuse for all reactionary bourgeoise and brutal regimes who want to consolidate their control and rule over the masses of people. Moreover, it is shallow and stupid to argue for the rights of governments to brutalize and massacre people. Supporting Iran’s right to arm itself with nuclear weapons is a regressive and reactionary position that undermines the efforts by peace-loving humanity to rid the world of nuclear weapons. A position such as this must be confronted head-on. The world does not need another country with a nuclear arsenal. The Islamic regime of Iran must be stopped from weaponizing the Islamist movement with a nuclear bomb, a movement that is determined to crush every trace of human decency and dignity.
Progressive humanity does not need killing machines that are made with the sole purpose of massacring civilians and destroying vital societal infrastructures that maintain human life. Nuclear weapons must go, period. There is no “good” nuclear bomb and no “responsible” nuclear power. As people across the world continue to fight the US occupation of Iraq and gear up to confront the US warmongering threats and economic sanctions against Iran, they must simultaneously call to rid humanity of nuclear weapons.
See our last post on Iran, Iraq and US global dominance.