War is a real danger

An open letter to all supporters of Hands Off the People of Iran

Binyamin Netanyahu: itching for an attack

The election of Donald Trump signals the beginning of an ominous and unpredictable period in world politics.

In the Middle East specifically, the new US administration is targeting Iran. It looks eager to rip up the painfully negotiated nuclear deal Tehran agreed with the P5+1 group of world powers - the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany.

In exchange for major Iranian concessions on the reduction of its uranium stockpile by 98% and what Washington dubbed “extraordinary and robust monitoring, verification and inspection” of the country’s declared nuclear sites, the crippling economic sanctions were eased and the prospect of military action receded temporarily.

However, with a toxic narcissist now ensconced in White House, all bets are off:

lThroughout his presidential campaign, Trump had denounced the Iran nuclear agreement as “stupid”, the “worst deal ever negotiated”, a “lopsided disgrace” and - in a December 2016 tweet (significantly, in a “stay strong” message to Israel) - he again disparaged the “horrible Iran deal”.

lDuring the presidential election campaign, he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee that his “number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran”. He views it as “catastrophic for America, for Israel and for the whole of the Middle East”.

lIn March 2017, the United States started a process that will lead to the setting up of a Nato-like alliance against Iran. At a time when under a new president, less antagonistic to Russia, the US is considering its position vis-à-vis Nato, we could be witnessing the start of a new cold (or maybe not so cold) war against Iran.

lIsrael has taken the change in the White House as a green light to ratchet up its threats. In January, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the Iranian people directly in an open letter that was widely interpreted as an ‘apology’ in advance for a military strike. His estimation is that the nuclear deal with Iran “threatens Europe; it threatens the west; it threatens the world”.

Even the gentle restraints imposed by the Obama administration on the bellicose inclinations of the Zionist regime have been removed. Iran’s regional adversaries, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, are encouraged by the new US administration’s relaxation of arms sales. Saudi Arabia, Israel, the US and Canada are doing what they can to finance, organise and mobilise the disparate forces of the Iranian opposition outside the country. Farcically some sections of the exiled left have actually been stupid enough to be lured by these assurances of financial support.

Inside Iran, the government’s promises to the people that economic prosperity would be an inevitable consequence of the climbdown on pursuing a nuclear programme have been shown to be hollow. The removal of sanctions and the increase in the price of oil have only benefited corrupt officials within the factions of the Islamic state or the higher ranks of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. Factory workers, teachers and pensioners are protesting daily, demanding payment of their wages and pensions. Working people are having to rally to defend their conditions and job security. Unlike their rulers, they saw no concrete benefit from the nuclear deal.

The more conservative factions of the Islamic republic never supported this deal and considered it a humiliation. These elements are keen to launch a provocation that would be serious enough to bait the west into a new raft of sanctions - a return to the ‘good old days’ when this part of the theocracy amassed huge profits, thanks to the black market.

These groups, together with those degenerate sections of the Iranian opposition that have been bought by imperialism, hope the bellicose threats of the Trump administration - coupled with new sanctions - will provoke an Iranian military retaliation. This could come in the Persian Gulf, Syria or Lebanon. The essential point is that it might pave the way for an all-out Israeli military intervention, dressed up for the ‘international community’ as a justifiable defensive measure by the Zionist state.

The truth is that the confrontation could take the form of a military strike, the re-imposition of severe sanctions on Iran to slowly strangle the country - or perhaps a combination of both, with the new sanctions significantly ratcheted up in terms of scope and brutality compared to those recently lifted.

Either way, the situation is menacing and demands an immediate response from principled anti-war activists.

That is why we are contacting comrades and friends who answered the call of Hopi when it was founded in 2007 and those who subsequently rallied to its support as we campaigned hard over the following years on our founding principles:

lNo imperialist intervention, no war and no sanctions on Iran!

lNo to the theocratic regime! Victory to the people of Iran!

lOpposition to Israeli expansion and aggression!

lFor practical support and solidarity to all working class and progressive struggles in Iran against poverty and repression!

lFor a nuclear-free Middle East as a step towards a nuclear-free world!

These challenging times demand that we reinvigorate and refocus our campaign.

What we wrote in 2007 in Hopi’s founding statement remains valid and compelling:

The contradictions between the interests of the neo-conservatives in power in the USA and the defenders of the rule of capital in the Islamic republic has entered a dangerous new phase.

US imperialism and its allies are intent on regime change from above and are seriously considering options to impose this - sanctions, diplomatic pressure, limited strikes or perhaps bombing the country back to the Stone Age.

We recognise that effective resistance to this war can only mean the militant defence of the struggles of the working class in Iran and of the rising social movements in that country. We want regime change - both in Iran and in the imperialist countries. But we know that change must come from below - from the struggles of the working class and social movements - if it is to lead to genuine liberation.

The main enemy is imperialism. The Iranian regime does not represent a progressive or consistent anti-imperialist force.

Supporters of Hands off the People of Iran need to rally again. Sign up to help the campaign to fight the new drive to a disastrous war in the Middle East!

Join by visiting our website: http://hopoi.org/join-donate/#supporter.