Iran and the Threat of Imperialism

by Simin Royanian

This is a draft pre-print for a speech to be delivered by Simin at the International Anti-Imperialist Conference jointly convened by the Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB) and International Anti-imperialist and People's Solidarity Coordinating Committee (IAPSCC) to be held at Dhaka, Bangladesh, November 27-29, 2011.

Iran, its people, independence and territorial integrity are under constant threat by the Imperialist forces of the world led by the US government.  The most recent attack is the public statement of the Israeli Government in November, reaffirming its intention to attack Iran militarily.  This statement preceded the release of the November report of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) on Iran’s atomic energy program. This newest report alleges some “irregularities” in Iran’s program, repeating unsubstantiated old allegations and some “new allegations” referring to old activities in 2003.  The Israeli statement coincided with military exercises by the Israeli government pertaining to preparation for such attack. At the same time, the US congress has begun acting on expanded and more severe sanctions against Iran.

There is nothing new about the IAEA making shaky allegations that irregularities happened eight or nine years ago. The most recent allegations are “discovered” through some unnamed opposition group regarding a Russian scientist. Previously the IAEA had claimed irregularities reported to them by an opposition group, which turned out to be the Mujāhedin-e Khalq (MEK), which at the time was in a military camp in Iraq. It is difficult to believe that all the powers of CIA intelligence and all the IAEA visits to Iran’s nuclear facilities and the review of documents cannot find these irregularities and a few Iranians in exile can provide important information. It is important to remember that even the US “intelligence” on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was a lie.

Such threats of military action against Iran are not new. Ever since the victory of the 1979 anti-Imperialist revolution in Iran and the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), imperialist forces, especially the US and Israel, have been plotting to weaken and overthrow the IRI.

Their plan for overthrowing the IRI began with the Iraq war against Iran and has continued with sanctions and attempts at isolating Iran.  Meanwhile, since the victory of the Iranian revolution there have been numerous terrorist attacks against the members of IRI (estimated to number 1840 occurrences), including 84 members of the government in the first year of the revolution (the attack claimed by the MEK) and more recently, Iranian nuclear-energy scientists.

There has been relentless negative propaganda in the spheres of human rights and democracy, most of which has been false or exaggerated and presented inaccurately to create a public opinion against IRI in preparation for possible interference toward an overthrow of IRI and establishment of a pro-imperialist government. In addition, the US government and various pro-imperialist and Zionist foundations have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to the “civil society” forces to weaken the IRI from within and without and create the possibility of a soft or velvet overthrow of the government. In other words, as the US government has continuously stated, all options are on the table.

While US forces have encircled Iran from Iraq, Afghanistan and bases in the ex-soviet states in the Caspian area, Iran has developed its regional and international political and trade relations with anti-imperialist, nonaligned and other countries of the Global South, and liberation forces such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and Hamas of Palestine. These relationships have been strengthened since the election of Ahmadinejad’s government in 2005. Since then, Iran has become a strong ally of Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia. In response to economic sanctions from the West, it has developed its trade with China and other non-Western countries.

Since expansion of these relations defeats the plan of isolating Iran, the imperialist countries and anti-IRI Iranians criticize such relationships in various ways. The imperialists condemn Iran’s support for liberation movements in the region as support for terrorism, and Iran’s friendly diplomatic relations with Iraq as interference in the affairs of Iraq or cooperation with anti-US forces there. The anti-IRI Iranian factions and the neo-liberal forces within the IRI criticize the government for its relationships with countries such as Cuba and Venezuela, and for its support for liberation forces. They argue that such relationships are the cause of the “international community”’s animosity towards Iran. Some of these Iranian factions even oppose economic relations with China and Russia, knowing well that Russia is the country providing nuclear energy technology to Iran, and both China and Russia have reduced the sanctions and harshness of resolutions against Iran in the Security Council.

Internally, Ahmadinejad’s government has expanded social welfare programs and has tried to slow the speed of privatization and neo-liberal policies in the face of strong opposition from the Iranian parliament and various factions within the IRI power structure. (For example, it has introduced the policy of offering some of the stocks at subsidized prices to the workers.)  Ahmadinejad’s government has also promoted a less fundamentalist approach to culture, arts and social issues and his government is under attack internally from the more traditional Islamic forces (the Principalists).

The US and Israel also express concerns with the influence of Iran in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. The governments of Iraq and Afghanistan have friendly relations with Iran in opposition to the expressed desires of the US government. This has created a dilemma for the Imperialist forces in the region. In response, the US has been using divide-and-conquer tactics in the minority areas of Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan to create separatist movements in Kurdistan, Baluchistan and among the small minority of Arab and Sunni Iranians.

Imperialists have been opposed to the IRI not as they claim because of lack of democracy and human rights in Iran or because Iran supports “terrorism”. The reason for their enmity towards Iran is that as long as the Iranian revolution’s goal of independence has not been defeated, the Iranian revolution stands as a beacon to the liberation forces in the region, and as long as the IRI acts independently of the interest of the Washington Consensus (submission to the power of global monopoly capital), Iran impedes the US plan for a "Greater Middle East", which is to say a Middle East under military and economic control by the US, and serving global capital instead of the people of the region.

Of course, the total control of the Middle East is one step in the process of achieving the long-term goal of US imperialism to control all the resources of the world. The US considers China its main competition, and is focused on preventing China from becoming another superpower challenging the total domination of the world by the Global North. It is in this respect that Obama has shifted a lot of his efforts towards the South Pacific and Southeast Asian countries, trying to build alliances against China. India is one of the countries that are very important to the US plans in Asia, and the alliance between the US and the Indian Government is serving the economic and military interest of the US in detriment of the Indian masses.

As stated by Samir Amin, “In this situation, the collapse of the military project of [Imperialist globalization] becomes the first priority and the preliminary condition for the success of the wave of liberation being undertaken through the struggles of the peoples, nations, and states of the [Global South].”

Today, the Iranian people, nation and government are among this anti-Imperialist camp of the global struggle between, on one side, the Imperialists and the international capitalist class; and on the other side, peoples and non-aligned governments.

At this historical moment when the people of the Imperialist counties have risen in opposition to neo-liberal policies and Imperialist wars, it is important to strengthen the international solidarity of the anti-imperialist forces and be vigilant against the interlopers and so called defenders of “democracy”, who can weaken our unity.

In the spirit of this anti-imperialist solidarity we are asking our friends and comrades to support the Iranian people against any form of Imperialist intervention in their internal affairs, be it through the UN, non-governmental agencies, sanctions or war.

In the end we are asking you to support the SI petition in support of this cause, which ends with the following three demands:

  1. Lift economic sanctions against Iran.
  2. Recognize the right of Iran to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
  3. Stop military threats against Iran.

Long Live the Solidarity of the people of the world against Imperialism and Global Capital.

November 2011