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For a Middle East Free of Nuclear Weapons and other WMDs
Moshe Machover, London
The US imperialists, flanked by their hatchet man, Israel, and by their European camp followers — masquerading as ‘the international community’ – are accusing Iran of planning to manufacture nuclear weapons.
Under this pretext, they have mounted a vicious campaign of sanctions, whose real victims are the ordinary Iranian workers and impoverished masses; and they threaten Iran with massive military action.
We have no reason to believe in the imperialists’ accusation, for which no solid evidence has been produced so far. Nor do we have any reason to trust the Iranian theocrats’ protestations that their nuclear programme is for purely civilian use and that nuclear weapons are ‘un-Islamic’.
Irrespective of these accusations and counter-protestations, it is indisputable that the existence and potential spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East constitute a horrendous danger to the people of this volatile and conflict-ridden region, and an appalling global threat to humanity.
The imperialists’ campaign in fact adds to this danger, as one of its clear, albeit unstated, aims is to preserve Israel’s regional monopoly of nuclear weapons.
Israel, the most aggressive and expansionist state in the Middle East, launched the regional nuclear arms race in the late 1950s; in this it was secretly aided by France — as payment for Israel’s service to French imperialism in the Suez aggression of 1956. Subsequently, the US and its satellites, including Britain, have lent their tacit support to Israel’s nuclear status by joining the silent charade and studiously avoiding any official mention of it. They have tolerated Israel refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (1968) and to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1996).
Israel’s massive arsenal of nuclear weapons – as well as other weapons of mass destruction – constitutes a constant grave provocation and a temptation to other states in the region to join the nuclear arms race. The suspected (albeit as yet unproven) nuclear-weapon ambition of the Iranian theocracy is just one illustration of this grave risk.
Attempts to preserve Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly by use or threat of armed force will backfire, by reinforcing the incentive of the targeted state to produce nuclear weapons, or to develop and stockpile an alternative arsenal of other weapons of mass destruction (chemical and bioligical), which have in fact been used in some Middle-East conflicts.
The only long-term means of preventing the peril of regional proliferation of nuclear weapons is the nuclear demilitarization of the entire Middle East.
We therefore call for a mass grass-root campaign for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, with the following aims:
• Prevention of development and manufacture of nuclear weapons and other
• De-commissioning of all existing nuclear weapons and other WMDs.
These must be underpinned by a treaty binding all states in the region, and verified by effective democratic international supervision.
We call upon all progressive organizations and individuals in this country, in the Middle East and throughout the world to join this campaign. In particular, we call upon the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the UK, and similar organizations elsewhere, to actively promote the above aims.
The campaign for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons is not a substitute for a campaign for global nuclear disarmament; on the contrary, the former is an integral part and a vital step towards the latter.
Sanctions are no alternative to war
Yassamine Mather, Glasgow
We are not privy to the discussion and divisions over Iran in the upper echelons of the US military and political establishment. We cannot therefore gauge the precise impact the election of Obama has made to the balance of forces in that ongoing debate. However, we do observe that:
a) Broadly, the aggressive thrust of US policy towards Iran remains in place, despite the placatory noises Obama has occasionally made. This includes a military option, possibly of quite devastating force, as the hawkish Clinton has warned;
b) This continuity provides a green light to Israel to continue its stand-off with the Tehran regime. A ‘unilateral’ Israeli strike cannot be excluded;
c) Existing sanctions – correctly identified by Hopi as an existing form of ‘soft war’ on the country – have been revamped and added to by the new administration.
The imposition of new sanctions under Barack Obamas presidency has compounded an already dire economic situation:
- The Iran Sanctions Enabling Act (IRSA) of 2009 allows local and state governments and their pension funds to divest from foreign companies or US subsidiaries with investments of more than $20 million in Iran’s energy sector.
- The Iran Petroleum Sanctions Act (IRPSA) of 2009 imposes sanctions on companies who are involved in exporting refined petroleum products to Iran or who are expanding Iran’s capacity to produce its own refined products. Similar sanctions are likely to be imposed by France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
- In the South Pars oilfields, almost 6,000 contract workers are threatened with job losses, as whole fields are abandoned following news that Total, Repsol and Shell are pulling out.
- In Iran, oil workers are concerned about taking industrial action, because it might coincide with the imposition of new US sanctions, which will cause further hardship for ordinary Iranians during the winter.
Conference believes that:
1. Sanctions hurt ordinary people, not the rich and powerful.
2. They increase the power of the reactionary regime. The sanctions – and the ongoing threat of a military attack – have actually helped the theocratic regime whip the people into line.
3. Sanctions are often used in conjunction with a campaign for ‘regime change from above’ against the interests of the majority of the population. They are a disaster for the cause of democracy. Sanctions disorganise the working class as people squander their fighting energies on day-to-day struggles to simply survive. Sanctions dramatically degrade the ability of the working people to struggle collectively on their own account, to radically refashion society in their own image, to organise and fight.
4. The case of Iraq shows that democracy cannot be delivered from above. The horror in Iraq is not just a result of the 2003 invasion and the attempts to deliver US-style democracy with bombs. Prior to it, the 1990 UN-imposed sanctions on the Saddam regime caused the death of up to a million Iraqis. The once strong democratic movements in Iraq were crippled by two enemies: the dictator Saddam and the sanctions imposed on their country.
Conference instructs the next steering committee to:
- oppose existing and new sanctions against Iran and to continue direct international working class solidarity with the aim of building the fighting capacity of the movement in Iran.
- campaign against those in the movement who do view sanctions as a ‘peaceful’ method to deal with the clerical regime. In truth, sanctions are an integral part of a covert war on Iran being pursued particularly by Israel and the US.
Day of solidarity with Iranian workers
Ben Lewis, London
1. The sanctions programme on Iran that continues to hit the Iranian working class materially, reduces their fighting energies and hinders their struggles to become the hegemonic force for genuine change in Iran.
2. The militancy of Iranian workers that has been at the core of the protests against the Iranian regime following the election crisis. The actions of Pars Wagon hunger strikers, Vahed bus workers and oil workers who have taken political strike action.
3. The billions of dollars spent by US ‘regime change from above’ plans – including cynical attempts to win over the workers’ movement, making the need for a proletarian internationalist solidarity even more urgent.
4. That protest actions against the Iranian regime organised by bodies like the International Transport Federation and the International Trade Union Confederation fail to mention imperialism, sanctions and the threat of war. This is no accident. In reality, these organisations consciously dovetail the US’s plans for ‘regime change from above’. But real change can only come from below – in Iran as well as the imperialist countries.
Conference further notes that:
1. A necessary aspect of campaigning against sanctions is to provide positive material and ideological solidarity for our brothers and sisters in Iran – solidarity that is implacably opposed to any imperialist intervention and that sows no illusions in this or that faction of the ruling theocracy
To this end, conference resolves to:
1. Organise a ‘Day of Action for Iranian Workers’ in February 2010, following on from the success of the solidarity day jointly organised by Hopi and the Labour Representation Committee on August 1, which raised over £1000
2. Draft an appeal to all our supporters nationally and internationally to be drawn into organising this event, raising the banner of principled international solidarity and aiming to raise at least £2000 for strike funds, organising materials and other necessities for workers taking brave action in extremely precarious circumstances
No to state murder and repression
Charlie Pottins, London
HOPI notes reports that since Iran’s post-election crisis the regime has cracked down with particular harshness on national minorities, as instanced by the use of the death penalty against Kurdish militants.
We demand an end to this state murder and repression, which is the rulers’ way of holding power by force. We affirm that the best way to counter foreign exploitation of conflicts, win the confidence of minorities, and unite the working people, and unite the working people, is to support the principles of equality and self-determination for all.
HOPI rejects the absurd attempt by Zionists and Western propagandists to compare the Islamicist regime with Hitler fascism. In rejecting offers of “rescue” by Israel, Iran’s Jewish community, the biggest in the Middle East outside the Zionist State, has undermined the propaganda and to some extent obstructed the drive to all-out war.
At the same time, we condemn the regime’s hosting of a Holocaust revisionist conference, by which Ahmadinejad has given succour to antisemites and neo-Nazis who aim to attack Jews and, incidentally, Muslims, in many lands. In this and other ways the Islamicist regime has discredited itself and any claims it had to be progressive in its international alignments and policies, including its use of Lebanese and Palestinian groups, and its intervention in Iraq. While not condemning those who, in desperate need, have accepted Iranian help and solidarity to which they are entitled, we will scrutinise the Islamicist regime’s international operations, and warn against those here who, whether from misguided idealism or material motives, seek to prettify the regime and uncritically endorse its “anti-imperialist” credentials.