Iran: dancing towards war

Author: 
Chris Reynolds

On Tuesday 6 March, the European Union announced a move to restart talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.

“The time and venue of these talks will now be agreed”, said EU foreign-affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

The same day the Iran government said it would allow UN investigators to visit the Parchin military complex, to which it had previously refused access.

The day before, 5 March, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, declared that his agency “continues to have serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program” and “is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities”.

On 4 March, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu aggressively asserted that Israel would “do what it takes to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge — because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself...”

US president Barack Obama warned against “loose talk of war”, and the next day Netanyahu told Obama that Israel had made no decision yet to bomb Iran in an attempt pre-emptively to block Iranian development of nuclear weapons.

In Iran, results were announced from the parliamentary election on 2 March, boycotted as a farce even by the moderate opposition. Supporters of “supreme leader” Ayatollah Khamenei won out against supporters of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has come into increasing but obscure conflict with Khamenei.

Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak has said that only a small timeslot remains until so much of Iran’s nuclear program is buried deep underground that it is invulnerable to bombing. That assessment also, of course, indicates that bombing would at best delay Iran if it wants to develop nuclear weapons, and possibly even speed up nuclear-weapon development by giving a political boost to its bellicose advocates. Khamenei has responded to Israeli threats bullishly, declaring that Iranian retaliation, aided by Iranian-allied groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, would hurt Israel more than the bombing hurt Iran.

US officials say that there is no clear evidence of Iran going for nuclear weapons and that sanctions and diplomacy can work.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran’s clerical-fascist regime would be a real threat. The complex dance of threat, counter-threat, and diplomacy is only strengthening the Iranian right at present, and carries a large risk of tipping into war. That war is as likely to bring a nuclear-armed Iran closer as to block it, and certain to bring death and devastation to working people across a large stretch of the Middle East.

No to war, no to the Islamic Republic! Our solidarity should be with the working-class, democratic, and secular opposition in Iran, and with the internationalist opposition within Israel.

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article dancing twisted

USA &israel are preparing 4 a war against iran, and, once again, only WL claims it the-other-way-around. the same old story, here we go again.
however worse the iranian regime- supporting a war against it, is playin´with the possibility of the 3rd worldwar.

supporting a war against Iran?

that's a very strange reading of an article that says "war is as likely to bring a nuclear-armed Iran closer as to block it, and certain to bring death and devastation to working people across a large stretch of the Middle East.
No to war, no to the Islamic Republic!"

its the tune of the whole article, not 1 sentence

mathew,
u may know that my english is not perfect and that sometimes i understand things wrong, but parts of the article, as this:

US officials say that there is no clear evidence of Iran going for nuclear weapons and that sanctions and diplomacy can work.

Nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran’s clerical-fascist regime would be a real threat.

...do sound to me as describing the iran as the agressor &denying, that usa 6israel are preparing 4 a war against iran, by quoting us-officials who do of course deny what they are preparing for.

Nukes

(To be clear - this is a general comment, not a reply to guenter).

There are two arguments, I think, usually put forward regarding Iran's putative possession of nuclear arms on the left. One is that it isn't true - that this is a re-run of the WMD argument over Iraq.

But the other is that even if it is true, Iran is - in effect - entitled to have nukes if imperialist countries, and of course Israel, has them. One version of this is that it's hypocritical to worry about Iran having them but make less of a fuss about, especially, Israel; but I think the stronger version is as I put it before: if Israel has nukes, Iran is entitled to them.

Either way - isn't there an implicit acceptance of the old Cold War argument that nukes act as a deterrent? That is, somewhere in there, there's the suggestion that all Iran could possibly want nukes for is to maintain the balance of power - to be able to threaten, say, Israel, if Israel was threatening it?

If we're against nuclear weapons, surely we're against *new* countries getting them. To say 'other people have them so why is this a problem?' - even leaving aside the specific character of the Iranian regime - seems to me just perverse.

But also, Guenter, we are

But also, Guenter, we are absolutely clear that Israel seems to be preparing to attack Iran, and that we need to oppose this.

Sacha Ismail