“The push by the UK, France and Germany to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, while rooted in the language of diplomacy, is really nothing less than an act of war.” – Scott Ritter; former Chief UN Weapons-inspector in Iraq.
Iran is the new Iraq. The reaction of the US and UK leaders to a comment made by the Iranian President couldn’t have shown that more clearly. OK, so President Ahmadinejad’s comments about wiping Israel off the map were never going to help them get a win-new-Western-friends award but they weren’t supposed to be taken as a statement outlining foreign policy intentions. They were part of a speech to a student conference in Tehran where he went on to say that the Palestine issue would continue until “a democratic government elected by the people comes to power”. And comments like this have been standard rhetoric for Iranian Presidents ever since the Islamic revolution of 1979. So why all the big fuss now?
Jackboot Straw has already shifted from saying that military action against Iran is inconceivable” to saying that it is “inconceivable in relation to the nuclear issue”. So is the ‘War
on Terror’ about to spread democracy to Iran?
For some time UK plc and US Inc have been moaning about Iran’s support for the Iraqi insurgency. Prime Sinister Blair recently declared, without any sense of irony, “There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq.” Come again?! Hello Mr Kettle, meet Mr Pot.
And this isn’t the first time that the UK and US have clubbed together to mould political events in Iran to their strategic needs. Back in 1933, the government of the Iranian King (Shah)
guaranteed British control over Iranian oil for 60 years. Leading a movement against this, Mohammed Mossadegh was elected Prime Minister in 1951 and quickly started to enforce an Oil
Nationalisation Act. Not best pleased at potentially losing their grip on the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, the CIA and MI6 agreed to support the Shah and help him dismiss the Prime Minster and his nationalist cabinet. Shortly after, massive rioting erupted in support of the Prime Minister and the Shah legged it to Italy. But three days later the spooks weighed in and a tank attack on Mossadegh’s home was organised. Within a few hours Mossadegh and his top cabinet leaders surrendered. The Shah promptly flew back to Iran and ruled the country with an iron fist for another 29 years, toeing the Western line and leaving the oil multinationals in charge of Iran’s black gold.
Not that getting into bed with the West bought much loyalty of course – during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, the West covertly supported and armed the aggressor, our old friend Saddam Hussein. Well, shucks, we never meant anything by it…
And the current posturing is about more than just making sure the oil flows in the right direction. Ensuring that the dollar remains the basis for transactions in the world economy guarantees US dominance over the process of economic globalisation. Now a mob of disrespectful countries, including Iran, is seriously threatening the US economy by moving to trade petrol in euros rather than dollars. Such a move has the potential to cause an economic crisis in the US and helps to explain why the Bush mob is so determined to wipe out the leaders of countries like Iran, Iraq and Venezuela (‘Axis of Evil’ anyone?).
PA$$ THE BUCK
Iraq started to trade oil in euros in 1999. Four years later Iran did the same and may soon be joined by others. Such a move would mean consuming nations having to swap some of their dollars for euros to be able to buy or sell oil, leading to a freefall in the value of the dollar. The US economy is already knackered and is only propped up by rabid consumption. The US is the most debt-ridden nation on earth – owing $3,500,000,000,000 to various creditors (and we thought our bar tab was bad!). China, meanwhile, holds the second largest reserves of dollars in the world which means they could wreak havoc on the US economy by selling greenbacks. Similair tactics against currencies have been well used as an economic weapon by the US, not just against upstart third world countries but also against the UK during the Suez Crisis in 1956.
The comments about Israel by the conservative Ahmadinejad were part of local political shoring up manoeuvres in the face of the impending UN Security Council’s condemnation of Iran’s supposed intentions to build a nuclear bomb. In response, Ahmadinejad sacked his ambassador to London and announced a trade embargo of British goods, busily adopting the tactics of Saddam: when under threat, pose as the defender of Palestine and lambast the Israeli state. Ahmadinejad was a student of Khomeini and hopes to revitalise the decaying Islamic revolution. Despite the continued grip on power by Khomeini supporters, a large part of Iran’s youthful population is far more hostile to fundamentalism than before. If the UK and US wait a while longer, there could be an Islamic democracy in the region. But that’s the problem: any alternative to Westernised corporate democracy must be avoided and an excuse for war quickly found.
As the war drums grow louder, UK Defence Secretary John Reid recently commented that “some countries, for instance, Iran, have been trying to develop nuclear weapons by deceiving the world, not complying with their obligations under the non-proliferation treaty”. But it’s Reid who’s deceiving: under Article IV of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory, the country not only has the right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but nuclear powers have an obligation to help it in furthering this aim.