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In crisis, Washington manufactures new tensions
by Fred Goldstein
Email: ww (nospam) workers.org
24 Jan 2006
Washington is moving towards a confrontation that is very dangerous. The anti-war movement must take heed of this new threatening development coming out of Washington, put it high on the agenda, and tell Washington: “Hands off Iran!”
In crisis, Washington manufactures new tensions
By Fred Goldstein
Published Jan 23, 2006 9:09 PM
The Bush administration, besieged by crises at home and abroad, is manufacturing new international tensions.
It is pushing the government of Iran up against the wall, demanding that it cede its sovereign right to develop peaceful nuclear technology.
In Iraq in the last week, three U.S. helicopters have been shot down. The Iraqi resistance has escalated since the Dec. 15 election as U.S. and Iraqi puppet casualties mount. Washington has announced it is sending 2,000 military police to Iraq to “supervise” the Iraqi police. This is an open admission that the Pentagon cannot trust the Iraqi police force.
It has been over a month since the much-heralded Iraqi elections and the result has still not been announced, indicating behind-the-scenes antagonisms among Washington’s collaborators that cannot be resolved.
In Pakistan, the CIA and the Pentagon on Jan. 13 launched four missiles from a Predator drone that struck dwellings in the village of Damadora, near the Afghan border. U.S. authorities claimed they were trying to kill Ayman al-Zawahiri, an alleged al-Qaeda leader. But instead they killed 18 villagers, including children. The strikes were in complete violation of Pakistani sovereignty and provoked mass outpourings throughout the country. The strikes weakened Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, a close collaborator of the Pentagon.
In Afghanistan, a Canadian envoy and his aides were killed by the resistance on the eve of an announcement by the Canadian government that it was going to increase its troop strength in the country from 500 to 2,000. The puppet Afghan forces of the government of Ahmad Karzai have suffered heavy casualties and the resistance continues, despite 20,000 U.S. troops and thousands of German troops.
At home, the Bush administration has been rocked by the Abramoff scandal, which is aimed at numerous Bush allies in the Republican Party. Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, has been indicted and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove is under investigation. Bush is facing congressional hearings, lawsuits and growing cries for impeachment because of the illegal wiretapping of thousands of people in the U.S. without a court order.
When in trouble, create a wider crisis
Bush’s antidote to all this is to create a new international crisis by declaring Iran to be a threat to “stability,” to the Middle East, to the U.S. and the world, because it wants to have nuclear technology to generate electric power and for a multitude of scientific purposes generally available to all the imperialist countries and many less developed capitalist countries.
Washington is going through the Iraq scenario—raising the specter of weapons of mass destruction and demanding sanctions on Iran. To this end it has bulldozed the European imperialists, the Russian capitalist government and the People’s Republic of China into calling on Iran to cease research on its program for the enrichment of uranium.
Washington claims that this program is really a cover for developing nuclear weapons and is therefore a threat. It could not, however, get China and Russia to agree to UN sanctions.
It is now universally understood and well documented that all the U.S. government claims about weapons of mass destruction that served as the basis for the invasion of Iraq were fraudulently concocted by the White House, the Pentagon and the CIA, and underwritten by the State Department.
The Iranian government has submitted to numerous intrusive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which concedes that it has never found any evidence of Iranian intentions to carry out a weapons program. The “suspicion” that such a program exists is entirely based upon unfounded assertions by the Bush administration and its imperialist allies in Britain, France and Germany.
The pretext for Washington creating the crisis was the announcement by the Iranian government that it was going to break the IAEA seals on its nuclear installation at Isfahan and resume its research on uranium enrichment. Washington went into high gear, whipping up fear and hysteria about the danger of Iran developing a nuclear bomb and so-called “violations of confidence.”
The facts in the case are as follows: After Sept. 11, Bush declared Iran to be part of the “axis of evil” along with Iraq and North Korea—three countries that had won their independence from imperialism by revolution and armed struggle.
Iran has a long history of nuclear research and development, which began under U.S. auspices when the Shah was still in power in the late 1960s. But in late 2003 Washington declared, without a single bit of evidence, that Iran was seeking to build nuclear arms in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
With the U.S. government in the background, the so-called E3—Britain, France and Germany—began negotiations with Iran over the issue. On Nov. 14, 2004, the Iranians agreed to cease their research but only on the ground that the E3 recognize the cessation as “ a voluntary confidence-building measure and not a legal obligation.”
The E3 agreed—because it was well known that the development of peaceful nuclear technology is not only permitted under Article IV of the NPT, but encouraged. Therefore, the Iranians were acting completely within their treaty obligations in pursuing their research program and were not required to stop. They did so to make a goodwill gesture—under pressure.
No to ‘nuclear and scientific apartheid’
After two years of negotiations with the European imperialists, the Iranians were getting nothing but inspections, harassment and demands from the IAEA, Washington, Paris, Berlin and London. Their nuclear program was in a complete stall with no end in sight.
Frustrated by the stalling tactics of the imperialists, Iran in August 2005 began the conversion of yellow-cake uranium to gas, whereupon the IAEA issued an order for Iran to stop its conversion. The speaker of the Iranian parliament, the Majlis, then declared the IAEA order illegal under the NPT.
On Dec. 26, 2005, Iranian Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki declared: “We do not accept nuclear apartheid and scientific apartheid.” (Aljazeera.com, Dec. 26) Later he said that Iran was ready to discuss its nuclear program “but that does not mean that we are waiting for any country’s permission for the right of Iranian nation and the Islamic republic to enjoy nuclear technology.” (Aljazeera.com, Jan. 5)
On Jan. 5, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted that Iran would resume its nuclear research. Speaking to thousands of people in the holy city of Qom and referring to the Western powers, he said: “Recently, some of them have said the Iranian nation has no right to nuclear research. But they should know that the Iranian nation and government will defend the right to nuclear research and technology and will go forward prudently.
“By relying on its young scientists, Iran will use this technology for medicine, industry, energy in the near future,” he said to cries of support.
Washington’s nuclear policy for the Shah
Can the Iranian people regard the U.S. government as anything but a potential aggressor? It was the CIA that overthrew the popularly elected nationalist government of Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953, after he nationalized Iranian oil. It was the U.S. government that put in place the repressive regime of the Shah. The Shah then gave the oil to a consortium of U.S. oil companies.
It was the CIA that set up the Savak police torturers who tried to destroy all left and progressive forces in the country. And it is the U.S. government that has had an attitude of implacable hostility to Iran ever since the puppet Shah was overthrown by the revolution of 1979.
As for nuclear development and the needs of Iran, it is important to note that when the Shah came to power, he and his U.S. overseers set up a plan to have 23 nuclear power stations in the country. Both Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, under President Richard M. Nixon, and President Gerald Ford signed orders authorizing U.S. government and industry support for Iran’s nuclear development.
It was not out of concern for Iranian national development that Washington promoted nuclear technology. It was for the profit of the U.S. nuclear industry and also because U.S. oil companies felt that the more Iran was able to use nuclear energy instead of oil to generate electricity, the more oil it would make available to the oil companies to market at a profit.
So nuclear technology was good for Iran, as far as Washington was concerned, as long as the counter-revolutionary Shah of Iran was watching over the Persian Gulf, with weapons supplied by the U.S., to enforce the rule of the Pentagon and big oil. But once a revolutionary regime was set up that took the oil back and declared its independence from U.S. imperialism, then nuclear development became “a threat to stability” - that is, the stability of imperialist rule.
The U.S. nuclear threat
The U.S. government still possesses 10,600 nuclear weapons—more than the rest of the world combined. It is the only government in the world to ever have used nuclear weapons, having bombed the civilian populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing an estimated 200,000 with two bombs. The Pentagon is now working to develop new nuclear weapons for use on the battlefield and is incorporating the use of tactical nuclear weapons into its battle plans, to be used in conjunction with conventional weapons.
In a blunt act of international terrorism, the Bush administration recently declared openly that it reserved the right to carry out a nuclear first strike and, furthermore, that these strikes could be carried out against non-nuclear nations as well as nuclear ones. Washington has supported the development of an estimated 200 nuclear weapons by the Zionist settler regime of Israel.
These nuclear military doctrines and developments must be placed in the context of threats by Washington against Iran, North Korea, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela, and also accusations by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld about China’s military development
Denying self-defense to intended targets
The Bush administration’s nuclear policy is that of an imperialist power that presumes to dictate to its intended victims that they have no right of self-defense. When Washington was aiming to attack Iraq, it used the UN as a cover to disarm the country. It has aimed at “regime change” in Iran with the goal of recolonizing it, even while its colonial adventure in Iraq is going down in flames. Wash ington’s objective is not only to keep Iran from developing nuclear technology but also to cut off any possibility of it developing weapons of self-defense against the Pentagon or its Israeli cat’s-paw.
U.S. imperialism has long sought to overthrow the socialist government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It is trying to remove the possibility that the DPRK could have a nuclear self-defense in the event of an attack by the U.S., which has never abandoned its global ambitions to conquer Asia.
This new crisis manufactured by the Bush administration is meant to terrorize the Iranian people and their government into submission. But there is every sign that it is having exactly the opposite effect. Washington is moving towards a confrontation that is very dangerous. The anti-war movement must take heed of this new threatening development coming out of Washington, put it high on the agenda, and tell Washington: “Hands off Iran!”
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