By JEFF MACKLER
The U.S. credo with regard to Iran today might well read, “Only civilized nations and their leaders should have nuclear weapons!”
Included in this U.S.-allied circle of civilized nuclear-weapons nations is India. But we hear no U.S. complaints regarding India’s racist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who essentially praised the communal murders of 1000 Muslims and suggested that all non-Hindus leave his country.
Nor is nuclear Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who routinely orders the slaughter of Palestinian Gazans and whose government illegally occupies 90 percent of historic Palestinian land, placed beyond the “civilized nation” pale.
Or perhaps the Pakistani nuclear dictatorship, or the French, whose troops slaughter tens of thousands of Africans as France reasserts its grip over its African neo-colonies? They too are civilized. In the case of France, the country is simply following the imperial mantra of Rudyard Kipling’s “white man’s burden” in bringing “peace” to “terrorist-ridden” Africa—and plunder too.
We might add the other imperialist nations among the ranks of “civilized” countries, including the United States itself, whose surrogate African dictator-led armies slaughtered some six million Congolese over the past decade to steal that nation’s rich mineral resources.
Yes, the U.S. is the properly named Great Satan—the racist, imperialist, warmongering U.S. government, “under God,” of course, that today presides over the illegal embargo of Iran and imposes all pervasive sanctions that have qualitatively reduced the quality of life of nearly all Iranians, sequestered Iranian government bank accounts, stolen billions of dollars in Iranian funds, and cut off Iran from world oil markets—again, in the name of “civilization!”
According to the Arms Control Association, which monitors the number and type of all nations with nuclear arsenals, “the United States has 1,597 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 785 ICBMs, SLBMs, and strategic bombers. The Federation of American Scientists estimates that the United States’s non-deployed strategic arsenal is approximately 2,800 warheads and the U.S. tactical nuclear arsenal numbers 500 warheads. According to the U.S. State Department, the United States possessed 4,717 active nuclear warheads as of September 30, 2014, including tactical, strategic, and non-deployed weapons.”
Further, the Obama administration has announced plans to upgrade its nuclear arsenal over the next three decades at a cost of $1 trillion. This is the deed of a “civilized” nation that holds in its blood-stained hands the immediate capacity to wipe out all life on earth!
Iran, by contrast, has zero nuclear weapons. Neither has any source—the imperialist-created International Atomic Energy Commission included—ever verified Iranian plans to develop nuclear weapons.
No credible evidence has been presented that Iran’s intentions have been otherwise. Iran has not violated any international or other treaty obligations regarding nuclear weapons. Its development and deployment of the technology to purify uranium for nuclear power generation, medical purposes, and scientific research is totally within the parameters of all international treaties.
Yet the recent Iran-U.S. “negotiated agreement” was conducted under the threat of even deeper sanctions and the strongly implied, if not explicit, warning that the U.S. and its Israel puppet are prepared to bomb Iran’s enrichment facilities should they deem Iran in violation of the imperialist-imposed “agreement” and “having exhausted all peaceful means” of persuasion.
In our view, the world’s imperialist bully has no moral, political, legal, or any other standing to demand that Iran or any poor and oppressed nation accede to its demands. Need we remind our readers that the U.S. is the only nation on earth to explode nuclear weapons on civilian populations, having instantly obliterated over 100,000 people (with an equal number dying from injuries and radiation sickness in subsequent months) when it bombed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945?
Need we recall the 1953 military coup orchestrated by the Central Intelligence Agency that removed Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and replaced him with dictator Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlavi, who promptly signed over Iran’s nationalized oil reserves, the second or third largest in the Middle East, to U.S. corporations?
This U.S.-imposed dictator/king, with direct CIA assistance, established the most murderous secret police in the world, the SAVAK, which imprisoned, and often tortured, 70,000 Iranian dissidents. With U.S. aid and instruction, the Shah built the world’s sixth largest army.
After the Iranian people in 1979, in the world’s largest peaceful demonstration of seven million in Teheran, forced the Shah to flee, where he took refuge in the U.S., the Iranians had the audacity to return control of its oil reserves to the Iranian nation.
As punishment for this anti-imperialist transgression, the U.S. armed and financed its Iraqi ally, Saddam Hussein, then touted as a Middle East democrat, to attack Iran in a 10-year war that took the lives of one million Iranians and another million Iraqis. The U.S. government preferred that both oil-producing nations destroy each other’s refining capabilities in order to improve the competitiveness of U.S. oil corporations.
And when this seemingly endless war began to tilt a bit too much to the Saddam Hussein side, members of the Reagan administration surreptitiously sold Tow missiles at $1 million each to the still demonized Iran, in order to even the battlefield score while keeping the war going. In the insane and “civilized world” touted by U.S. apologists, war is good for oil profits and for the military-industrial complex too!
The terms of the present Iran-U.S. “agreement” are heinous—but they are certainly in line with the stipulations of most treaties that victorious imperialist nations impose on their victims. In essence, Iran is to be subjected to the most intrusive inspection of its nation imaginable. Language has been included that essentially allows this inspection to continue in perpetuity.
Simultaneously, the vast proportion of the U.S. and imperialist-imposed sanctions remain in place, with virtually all of the $100 billion sequestered from Iranian overseas bank accounts remaining under U.S. control.
Iran’s oil production is to be reduced below the level of two years ago. Virtually all proceeds from its sale of oil are to administered by U.S. agencies, which will supposedly dole out Iran’s oil revenues to Iran as U.S. and allied “inspectors,” deem fit.
A single summary of but one small aspect of this agreement is sufficient to reveal its predatory nature: “In the next six months, Iran’s crude oil sales cannot increase. Oil sanctions alone will result in approximately $30 billion in lost revenues to Iran—or roughly $5 billion per month—compared to what Iran earned in a six-month period in 2011, before these sanctions took effect.
“While Iran will be allowed access to $4.2 billion of its oil sales, nearly $15 billion of its revenues during this period will go into restricted overseas accounts. In summary, we expect the balance of Iran’s money in restricted accounts overseas will actually increase, not decrease, under the terms of this deal.”
In essence, Iran, an independent nation, has been placed in a form of permanent servitude. It has been compelled to agree to horrific restrictions on its economy, including not only short and long-term oil production but gold and other valuable resources as well, thus subordinating its sovereignty to imperialist designs.
In this “civilized”—or better, Orwellian world view—when U.S. oil dominates international markets, and the glut of the very fossil fuel resources whose continued use spells doom for humankind has reduced oil and gas prices to less than half their previous levels, U.S. corporate interests are well served by keeping competitive Iranian oil off world markets.
What conclusions can serious antiwar and social justice activists draw from this monstrous state of affairs regarding the U.S.-Iran agreements? The answers seem obvious:
First and foremost, we must demand the immediate and total end to all U.S. sanctions, embargoes, and other acts of war against the people of Iran. We recognize no imperialist “right” to deny oppressed and poor nations their right to self-determination. This principle applies to all nations oppressed and exploited by imperialism, regardless of the policies of the leadership of these nations.
Second, we demand the immediate, unilateral, and total destruction of the entire U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons. The twin existential threats of nuclear war and catastrophic fossil-fuel-induced global warming are a direct and inherent product of the capitalist/imperialist system. The disarmament of the warmakers remains central to any realistic antiwar strategy.
Third, we must unreservedly support the right of self-determination of oppressed nations and peoples, including, in the case of Iran, its right to sign humiliating treaties if it deems this necessary to thwart, however modestly and temporarily, imperialist intervention and subjugation.
Finally, we cannot become advocates of this imperialist-imposed agreement, lobbying or otherwise urging one or another wing of the U.S. ruling elite to sign it. Our demands must continue to be:
- U.S. Out Now from the Middle East!
- End all Sanctions and Embargoes!
- Support Iran’s Right to Self-determination!
- U.S. Hands Off Iran!
Photo: Demonstrators outside Tehran nuclear facility in November 2014, during talks between Iran and six major powers concerning the nuclear agreement. Atta Kenare / AFP / Getty Images