Reject sanctions and the mullahs

Open letter to the anti-war movement from Workers Left Unity Iran

As the anti-war movement contemplates the possibility of sanctions against Iran, it is essential to remember a number of points:

l The attempts by the United States and the European Union to stop Iran obtaining nuclear technology are hypocritical. The International Atomic Energy Agency protocols to prevent nuclear proliferation are unacceptable from the point of view of either principle or legality. Countries which themselves possess sufficient nuclear weaponry to destroy the world several times over - and are continuing to add to their arsenal - are laying down the law to others - or some of them. The US and its EU allies have for decades refused to even admit that Israel has nuclear weapons. To most Iranians it looks like some people have sovereignty while others do not.

l Iran is still a long way from the development and deployment of nuclear weapons - nuclear power plants and enriching uranium are not the fastest way of obtaining nuclear weapons.

l Iran's current strength in the region is a direct consequence of the US-UK invasion of Iraq and the coming to power of a shia, pro-Iran government in Baghdad. The recent pronouncements by the governments of the USA and UK regarding Iran's nuclear programme are more to do with Iran's close relations with factions of the occupation government in Iraq and the long-term consequences of such influence.

l Any support by the anti-war movement for Iran's current rulers will lead to indirect support for the occupation government in Iraq and in confrontation with ordinary Iranians and Iraqis, who are victims of the privatisation policies of super rich, corrupt clerics or civilians in power in both countries.

l Two wrongs do not make a right and, just because the United States is opposed to Iran's nuclear policy, the left inside and outside Iran cannot take an opportunist position of defending nuclear proliferation in Iran, while opposing it in the rest of the world. In embarking on an unprecedented programme of privatisation, accompanied by systematic non-payment of workers' wages, including in the state sector, Iran's rulers have constantly blamed financial difficulties. Many in Iran are questioning the wisdom of spending astronomic sums on the purchase of nuclear technology on the 'black market' by a regime that claims to be short of funds to pay wages to public-sector employees.

l Over the last few years every day - and at times more than once a day - workers in Iranian cities and towns have protested against non-payment of wages, unemployment, job insecurity, and low wages. For most Iranians, shia islam in power has become synonymous with corruption, greed and clerics gathering huge fortunes. In Iran they call them 'Mercedes-driven mullahs', accumulating astronomic wealth, at the expense of the poverty of the masses.

l The main victim of any sanctions will be ordinary people in Iran, most of whom are opposed to the current regime and many of whom have been involved in social and political movements against this regime. The anti-war movement should oppose sanctions against Iran, emphasising that it will make the rich clerics richer and the poor poorer.

l The solidarity of the anti-war movement should be directed primarily towards the Iranian people and in support of the daily struggles of Iranian workers for the right to survive.

Show your solidarity with Iran by supporting the majority of its population - Iran's workers and toilers - against international capital, against the warmongers, but also against the pro-capitalist islamists in power in Iran.

Join us in building a genuine solidarity campaign with the Iranian people.