Over the last few days US websites have been full of debates about an article first published on the US News and World Report website. This was sparked off by the sudden resignation of the top US military commander for the Middle East, William Fallon.
The six reasons can be summarized as follows:
- Fallon’s resignation: he had recently been quoted ruling out any military attacks against Iran.
- Cheney’s peace trip: his trip to a number of Middle East capitals is seen as possible preparation before military action, it is thought Cheney will ask Saudi Arabia to increase oil supplies if Iran’s oil is cut off.
- Israeli air strike on Syria – it is now reported that
the real purpose of the strike was to force Syria to switch on the targeting electronics for newly received Russian anti-aircraft defences. The location of the strike is seen as on a likely flight path to Iran (also crossing the friendly Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq), and knowing the electronic signatures of the defensive systems is necessary to reduce the risks for warplanes heading to targets in Iran.
- Warships off Lebanon: Two US warships have taken up positions off Lebanon since early March.
- Israeli comments: Israeli President Shimon Peres said earlier this month that Israel will not consider unilateral action to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.
- Israel’s continued war with Hezbollah.
One would have thought given the seriousness of the current threats, Iran’s Islamic regime would seek less controversy at home and concentrate on the external enemy, yet the reactionary clerical rulers are adamant to continue their attacks on the most basic rights of Iranian workers, women and students.
As workers in many factories and plants continued their protests against the government’s neo liberal economic policies, Iranian Hezbollah and the religious police were used to attack the demonstration. Workers in Gavehsan dam, Minoo sweet factory in Tehran, textile workers in Poushine Baf factory in Ghazvin, railway workers in Tabss and cement workers in Nahvand were amongst the thousands of workers who protested against the job losses, privatisation and non payment of wages in the last week alone.
At the same time Iranians went to the polls on the 14th March. Even by the standards of the Iranian regime these elections were considered a sham by the majority of the population and the very low turnout reflected dissatisfaction with the government and the fact that no one has any illusions with ‘reformist’ factions of the Islamic Republic party.
Before the election, the unelected Guardian Council used its powers to disqualify 1,700 candidates on grounds of insufficient loyalty to Islam (even though most of them were candidates of the Islamic Republic party!). In the working class areas of south Tehran, most people were proud that they boycotted the elections and mocked the regime’s claims of high participation in the elections. Hundreds of ‘reformist’ candidates were banned from participation, however given the abysmal failure of this faction when it was in power for 8 years, many inside Iran doubt the effect of the ban on the outcome of these elections.
The reality is 29 years after the Islamic regime came to power, very few Iranians, except the devoted paid supporters of the Shia regime, have any illusions about the various factions of Shia Islam in power. The young who constitute 70% of the population are getting increasingly impatient with middle age and older Iranians who according to the young ‘are more willing to make compromises with the current regime’.
All of these prove once more the correctness of HOPI’s positions against imperialist war , against Iran’s Islamic regime and in solidarity with social movement inside Iran. It is time the antiwar movement took up positive action in supporting the struggles of Iranian workers against war , against neo liberal capitalism.
Join HOPI at the HOPI website
(Agreed at Oct. 2007 Conference)
The SSP supports the Hands Off the People of Iran (HOPI) campaign which aims to build and organise practical solidarity with the growing movement against war and oppression in Iran. We encourage SSP members to participate in the campaign’s activities.