Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hands Off Iran!: Demonstrations to Take Place in 65 Cities in the United States, August 1-2

PANW Editor's Note: The demonstration in Detroit against the US threats on Iran will take place on Friday, Aug. 1, 4:30-6:00pm at Hart Plaza. Hart Plaza is located at the corner of Woodward and Jefferson near the Detroit River. Participants are encouraged to bring signs, placards and banners.

Abayomi Azikiwe


Published Jul 30, 2008 11:25 PM

Another moment of truth approaches. While Washington finally joined talks with Tehran, Congress is still considering a resolution calling for an air, sea and land blockade of Iran, opening one path to war.

What is the relationship between U.S. imperialism and the Islamic Republic of Iran? Will the talks lead to an agreement or will the U.S. warships in the Gulf— or the Israeli military—unleash a massive air attack against the Iranian people? What is the stake for workers and the oppressed in the U.S.?

The U.S. is the wealthiest, most militarized imperialist state. The Pentagon’s role is to impose U.S. diplomatic and economic policy on the world, to control raw materials, to police worldwide ocean trading lanes, and to impose the power of the U.S.-based multinational corporations to super-exploit workers worldwide, including workers inside the U.S. Washington is the home office of world repression and exploitation. Israel is its branch office.

The Iranian state is the result of a popular revolution in 1979 that overthrew the shah, a monarchic dictator. A CIA-directed conspiracy had re-installed this shah in 1953, deposing an elected government. The shah, armed and backed by U.S. imperialism, had his military and police murder tens of thousands of people in his failed attempt to stop the 1979 revolution. This revolution stopped short of overturning capitalist social relations in Iran, but it broke the grip of the imperialist corporations and opened the door to social development in Iran.

There is no doubt a sovereign and independent Iran has the right to trade with whatever countries it chooses, to explore possible energy supplies, including nuclear energy, and even to prepare for self-defense with nuclear weapons. The U.S. possesses almost limitless nuclear weapons and Israel is suspected of possessing 200; these states are both declared enemies of Iran. Nearby India and Pakistan also possess at least some of these weapons, without U.S. hostility.

Washington has just signed a pact helping nuclear-armed India develop its civilian nuclear power, even though the U.S. excuse for threatening Iran is Tehran’s program for developing civilian nuclear power. Last December, 16 U.S. spy agencies reported that there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Prevention of nuclear proliferation is the U.S. cover story. Iran’s independence from imperialism, its sovereignty and its oil reserves are the real reasons why Washington has targeted the Islamic Republic.

The next question is—despite Bush’s weakened position as the most unpopular president since Richard Nixon in his final days in office, despite Bush’s isolation from not only the U.S. population but sectors of the Pentagon brass who fear the stress and strain on their ground troops after the setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the potential for a disastrous explosion in the Middle East and the entire Muslim world, despite the possibility of a massive increase in the price of oil, despite all these dangers—will the Bush gang use what it believes is overwhelming U.S. air power to attack Iran, perhaps following an initial strike by Israel?

A look at the history of imperialist adventures in World Wars I and II, up to the assault on Iraq in 2003, shows that it would be foolish to rule out the possibility of a new adventure simply because that aggression might become another enormous setback for U.S. imperialism itself—not to mention a horror for 70 million Iranian people. The Bush gang, the oil monopolies and the military-industrial complex might be all too ready to back such a risky move. We cannot rule out that the deepening, unsolvable economic crisis might drive imperialism to another war.

For U.S. workers of all nationalities facing unemployment, foreclosures and evictions, not only would such a war be a distraction from their necessary struggle for economic justice, it would be an additional disaster, no matter the outcome. They must mobilize to stop this new war. It is the responsibility of the anti-war movement and the entire workers’ movement to take this danger seriously and organize the kind of independent struggle that can stop it.
Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011

Momentum grows for Aug. 2 protests to ‘Stop War on Iran’

Published Jul 27, 2008 7:59 PM
Special to Workers World

Workers World spoke with representatives of Stop War on Iran, a coalition of groups mobilizing for nationwide demonstrations on Aug. 2 against the Bush administration’s increasing war threats against Iran.

WW: How is the mobilization for Aug. 2 progressing?

SWOI: Momentum is growing for actions in now (July 22) 65 U.S. cities in response to the Emergency Call for Action by StopWarOnIran ( The slogan of “No War on Iran” is being raised by hundreds of groups that do weekly anti-war/peace vigils. In the heat of the summer and in the midst of a national election campaign, when in-the-street activism is hardest, the response shows that the Bush administration will not be able to launch another war without the voice of the people being heard.

WW: Can you give some examples of where organizing is going on?

SWOI: In addition to major cities from coast to coast, organizing work is going on in smaller towns and cities like Westbrook, Maine; Melbourne and Ocala, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Bozeman, Mont.; Salt Lake City; and Tucson, Ariz. Organizers as far away as Hawaii are mobilizing to protest as an attack against Iran is threatened daily. In Washington, D.C., our organizers report that they have gotten a very positive response as they handed out the leaflet and asked people to sign the petition. The people do not want another war.

One of the most gratifying things about this mobilization is the fact that new, young folks are getting involved. For example, high school students from Hicksville, Long Island, N.Y., have organized a 9:30 a.m. protest at the local train station. Then they plan to take a “Peace Train” to the larger regional demonstration at Times Square in New York City. An “Art-in for Peace” is also planned for Aug. 2 in Long Beach, Calif., coinciding with and supporting the regional protest at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles.

On July 10, the World Can’t Wait organization held a “freeze-in” of about 175 people at Grand Central Station and another July 21 at Penn Station, both in New York. Groups also responded to a call by United for Peace and Justice for actions July 19-21 in various locations.

WW: Are people making the connections between the war abroad and the deepening economic crisis at home?

SWOI: Yes, in fact we got an “open letter” from activists in Highland, Ind., which read in part: “An attack on Iran will be devastating to our economy and the world economy. One-third of the world’s oil is shipped through the Straits of Hormuz and an attack on Iran will surely disrupt that, in addition to setting the entire Mideast aflame. Economists estimate the price of oil will double and a worldwide depression will follow.” In cities like Detroit, “Foreclose the war, not our homes” will be made real as people from the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures and Evictions will be speaking at their StopWarOnIran emergency demonstration.

On July 19 in New York we held an organizing meeting of 90 people at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, where some of the speakers connected the need to defend workers’ standard of living with the struggle to prevent a new war and to end the occupations.

WW: Has there been any international response to the call for the Aug. 2 protests?

SWOI: Definitely. We are hearing from activists around the world who are taking up the cry to “Stop War on Iran.” Anti-globalization forces in Moscow raised that slogan as they picketed the park where U.S. citizens were celebrating July 4th. On July 11, protesters organized by the Anti-Imperialist Camp and other groups demonstrated in Vienna. Their statement read in part: “The U.S. policy of aggression serves only to reinforce the strength of the imperialist world power which now wants to make Iran the next victim.”

We have heard from activists in Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and a number of countries in the Middle East, who are mobilizing to support the Emergency Call. In fact, we got word that there will be a procession in the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, demanding no war on Iran, organized by We the People United. There will also be actions in cities across Canada.

The Aug. 2 Emergency Call to Action has a growing list of Organizing Centers across the U.S. and Canada, and other organizing tools are available from As an activist from Cleveland told us, “Don’t Iraq Iran.”
Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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Sanctions, diplomacy, missiles: U.S. takes aim at Iran’s sovereignty

By Sara Flounders
Published Jul 24, 2008 5:29 AM

What is the significance of the widely publicized announcement that the Bush administration has finally agreed to talk to Iran?

Have U.S. aircraft carriers, nuclear-armed and powered submarines, destroyers or missiles been pulled back from Iran’s coast? Has Washington renounced its years of sabotage, assassinations and other covert actions inside Iran? Will any of the many sanctions imposed to constrict Iran’s development be lifted or even eased?

On July 19 Undersecretary of State William Burns sat in on a six-nation gathering in Geneva and “observed” nuclear negotiations between Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili and Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. The talks are scheduled to resume in August, but Burns will not return for them. The one-time presence of this third-ranking diplomat is supposedly enough to show that Washington has made an effort at a diplomatic solution.

U.S. participation in the meeting came after increasingly frantic appeals from European powers and from the feudal and military regimes in the Persian Gulf region for diplomacy rather than war. They fear the destabilizing consequences of another U.S. attack. Even in top circles of the U.S. ruling class and military command, concern has been expressed about the risks and dangers of a new war.

Following his appearance at the Geneva meeting, Burns and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met in Abu Dhabi with foreign ministers and senior officials of the six Gulf states, along with Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. At the meeting Rice warned that Iran had two weeks to halt its development of nuclear energy or face further “punitive measures.” Iran will also be the main topic at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers the following day.

Washington says its possible next step is to push for an intense level of international sanctions in the U.N. Security Council. If council members don’t go along with its demands, the U.S. is threatening military action.

To reinforce the threat, Rice’s statement was immediately followed by an announcement from Israeli military adviser Amos Gilad that Israel was preparing to attack Iran if diplomacy failed—and that the U.S. would not veto such action.

Although Burns sat in on the Geneva meeting, the U.S. did not give its agreement to a European proposal that, in exchange for an Iranian “freeze” on its enrichment of uranium, a six-week “freeze” be put on more restrictive sanctions against Iran. Lifting the existing sanctions was not even proposed.

U.S. sanctions have been imposed on Iran since the 1978 Iranian Revolution. Soon after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the U.N. Security Council imposed three new rounds of sanctions on Iran. Now Washington is demanding new and far harsher sanctions—despite International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) reports that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program and a similar conclusion in the National Intelligence Estimate report of December 2007, endorsed by the 17 top U.S. spy agencies.

Iran has every right under international law and treaties to develop nuclear energy for civilian purposes. Its nuclear power plants are all under the inspection and safeguards of the IAEA. The IAEA has continually said that there has been no illicit diversion of declared nuclear material.

It is now clear that the State Department’s one-day venture into talks with Iran was merely positioning by Washington to get its allies to agree on far harsher economic sanctions and other efforts to sabotage Iran’s national development.

Iran’s real crime

Iran has a severe energy shortage. Although it is the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, its ability to refine crude oil into gasoline and diesel fuel is limited. As a country with a history of underdevelopment, Iran must import more than half its refined petroleum products to fuel its new industries and a modern transportation system. Iran is now the second-largest importer of gasoline and diesel fuel in the world. (Toronto Globe and Mail, July 22)

A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products and imposing “stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran.” This would amount to a blockade—an act of war—and a threat to Iran’s sovereignty. It is also an example of how U.S. policy is aimed at keeping resource-rich countries underdeveloped and under its control.

At the same time that the U.S. is trying to cripple Iran’s economy, supposedly over its nuclear program, it is pursuing a deal with India to provide it nuclear fuel and technology. India is not yet a signer of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or a member of the IAEA. Iran is both.

Iran’s real crime, in the eyes of the Pentagon and the corporate oil giants who determine U.S. policy, is that it is determined to use its resources for the further development of its own economy. The other oil-producing states in the region are corrupt semi-feudal regimes, each with a compliant and dependent ruling class. These regimes are under the total control of U.S. corporations and banks. The largest portion of their vast revenue from oil sales is wasted in purchases of U.S. weapons systems or invested in U.S. banks.

Millions of Iranian people participated in the 1978 revolution that overthrew the corrupt U.S.-backed shah. Since then, great social advances have transformed Iran. Once the people liberated their oil resources from the control of giant U.S. and British corporations, billions of dollars were available to develop Iranian industries and social services.

In less than two decades, Iran moved from 90 percent illiteracy for rural women to full literacy; more than half the university graduates are now women. Stunning improvements in totally free as well as subsidized health care meant record-breaking improvements in life expectancy, birth control and infant mortality. Even according to World Bank figures, Iran has exceeded the social gains of any other country in the region.

This is what U.S. policy makers are determined to reverse. They want control of the vast wealth that comes from every aspect of exploration, pumping, transport and refining of the planet’s most valuable and needed resource. They are willing to destroy millions of lives and spend hundreds of billions of dollars on war in this struggle.

Past history of U.S. talks

It is important to recall the many rounds of talks between U.S. and Iraqi delegations before the war. The U.S. repeatedly demanded the authority to carry out inspections in Iraq any time, any place, to search for non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” Just before the Pentagon attack, there was the heaviest round of diplomatic talks involving Iraq, members of the U.N. Security Council and Washington’s European allies. The talks were aimed at imposing still stricter sanctions, supposedly to gain Iraq’s total disarmament. This was years after U.N. inspectors had declared Iraq fully disarmed.

It is also important to remember the U.S./NATO “peace talks” with the Yugoslav government in Rambouillet, France. U.S. negotiators gave Yugoslavia an ultimatum: accept total U.S./NATO military occupation and dismemberment or face massive bombardment. When the Parliament of the Yugoslav Federation voted overwhelmingly to refuse the NATO “peace” demand of occupation of their sovereign territory, the Pentagon began 72 days of massive bombardment followed by the NATO seizure of Kosovo.

The U.S. conducted five years of “peace negotiations” with theVietnamese while escalating its bombardment, including carpet bombing.

Secretary of State Rice has announced the U.S. is considering the establishment of an “interests section” in Tehran and compared it to the interests section that the U.S. has maintained for decades in Cuba. “We have an interests section in Cuba, so I wouldn’t read thawing of relations into anything,” she said. Throughout the decades that Washington has maintained an interests section in Havana, the blockade of Cuba, sabotage and attempted assassinations of Cuban leaders have continued.

U.S. “talks” are too often preparation for the next stage of war. It is important for the movement on a global scale to remain on the alert and to understand that U.S. imperialism’s aims and plans have not changed.
Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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