Oppose sanctions and military threats on Iran!


Sanctions hurt the working masses not the regime
Sanctions hurt the working masses not the regime

The United States and its allies are racketing up the pressure on Iran as they have recently forced the heavyweights of the petrochemical industry Vitol, Glencore, Trafigura, BP and Royal Dutch Shell to end petrol sales to the fifth largest oil exporter. The building, construction and manufacturing £13 billion conglomerate Ingersol-Rand has also ceased business with Iran after threats to its operations by the Obama regime. These ending of contracts or refusing to enter into new terms with companies and the regime in Iran is down to massive U.S. pressure which is now culminating in new legislation that would penalise those companies that supply fuel to Iran. The legislation is an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 which would include severe and damaging monitoring and interference in trade with Iranian companies and Western businesses. This legislation also includes forced divestment from Iranian operations and interests by companies based or have interests in the United States.

Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and other Arab states have been receiving visits from US and Israeli officials threatening them about the risks they face by doing business with Iran. Brazil’s President Lula defied warnings from U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton on business with Iran as she lashed out at the Brazilian government on her recent trip. Brazilian based companies will no doubt be put under massive pressure by the U.S. Government over the coming months.

Moves in the U.S. are being backed up in Europe and on the U.N. Security Council with only China as the stumbling block in the UN. The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was reported as being hopeful that new sanctions will be agreed that will target the Revolutionary Guards, Shipping, Banking and Insurance Sectors.  This will no doubt lead to massive job losses and the further impoverishment of the working class.
Iran finds itself in a situation like other natural resource rich former semi-colonies, whilst sitting on one of the biggest known oil reserves in the world, its oil industry is dilapidated and has a fraction of the needed refining capabilities to ensure it can serve its internal market and industry. These sanctions will hold back any expansion in petrochemical industry as well as starving the population of petrol for daily use, further pushing down the living standards of population.

It is essential that the worker’s movement take the strengthening of the sanctions regime seriously. It is a mistake to see sanctions as an alternative to military action. Sanctions are a form of soft war and just like Iraq pave the way to some military action, either through targeted bombings or full scale invasions. The sanctions regime should be seen as a siege tactic to impose hunger, demoralisation an and desperation. Iraq was a perfect example of how sanctions impact on the population, the sanctions regime throughout the 1990’s killed over a million Iraqis and disproportionately children. The U.S. and its allies were hoping for a revolt out of desperation, which never came just like Zimbabwe. Such sanctions strengthen such regimes support base and demobilise the masses as they attempt to live a decent life and feed their families.

Sanctions like a military strike are a disaster to the cause of freedom and democracy. The only force capable of bring about genuine and progressive social change in Iran is the working class. We should also not look to the Iranian regime as a consistent anti-imperialist force not only does it support the puppet governments in Iraq and Afghanistan the theocratic regime supported and welcomed the invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. The only real anti-imperialist force is the working class of the Iran and the region. Our line in the UK is clear, our primary target is the British state and it’s allies who are strangling Iran in the run up to military action. We must continue and redouble our efforts to build organic support and solidarity links between the broad labour movement here and workers, youth and women in struggle in Iran.

by Chris Strafford (HOPI Steering Committee)




Statement from Socialist Students of the Universities in Iran on the anniversary of the revolution

Statement from Socialist Students of the Universities in Iran
In support of “European Students Union” and “Iranian Youth Network” for Europe-wide protests

Dear Comrades outside the borders of Iran!

At the anniversary of the Revolution of Bahman 1357 (February 1981), we are now witnessing the most unprecedented and inhumane violence against the Iranian people’s protests and movements, the people who after 31 years of poverty, murder, suppression and oppression have openly criticized and protested against the government which for all these years has violently denied their basic human and civil rights. This government not only has oppressed social movements such as movement of workers, students and women and political and social activists at various levels and stages, but has also invaded the private lives of ordinary people with devastating pressure and attacks.

We have witnessed in the past few months how this Islamic Capitalist Dictator government has attacked our people, whether they are men or women, young or old, in the streets, in horrific secret / underground prisons and have tortured them and kept them in detention under unthinkable conditions and situations.

We have witnessed how in recent months the chain of executions has increased and how numerous rings have been added to this chain. We have witnessed the unrealistic, theatrical-courts where arrested youth and students are forced to give confessions which are far from the truth and where they have been charged and sentenced to long-term prisons.

We believe these protests and campaigns will continue on its true path since it is based on a set of democratic and social demands which represent a vast majority of society i.e. the workers; students have always been an ally for the workers on this path to achieve their victory.

As it has been witnessed, in the past few months the student movement has experienced one of the most brilliant periods of its lifetime. It has been present through campaigns and protest and has not separated its demands from the people’s even for a moment.
The Iranian student movement has now been divided in two: half of it is in Iran and the other half is active outside the borders of Iran. In the past few months, the cohesion, cooperation and solidarity of the students outside the country has brought encouragement and hope for all student activists inside the country.

The call of “The European Union Students” and the “Iranian Youth Network” for Europe-wide protest to occur simultaneously with popular protests in Iranian cities on the 22nd of Bahman in order to oppose oppression, execution, torture, indiscriminate arrests, is another important step towards Alliance and Solidarity between our student movements inside and outside.
Therefore the Socialist Students of Universities in Iran while appreciating your efforts for this movement and other measures you take, announce their support.

Long live solidarity!
Long live the united struggle against the dictatorship!
Long live socialism!

Socialist Students of the Universities in Iran
February 2010 – Bahman 1388