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US-Iran Relationship

Escalating US war threats and sanctions against Iran


by Anwar Khan

From day one of his presidency, one of Donald Trump's mantras has been "America First." He even invoked it during a recent rally to launch his 2020 re-election campaign in Orlando, Florida. His supporters on the isolationist right have always insisted that there is nothing sinister about this—all it means is that America should quit meddling in other countries and devote the government's resources to fixing its own problems at home and dictating other sovereign and independent nations at its own free-will.


It is a well-known fact that America is the foremost enemy of the world order and its sophisticated nuclear establishments pose the most menacing and serious threat to the stability of the world and the security of the world.

The entire world seems to agree that America should not be allowed to maintain nuclear weapons. Rather it should destroy its establishments in a mass scale to allow people to live in peace across the world. America’s military option to countries after countries are a scenario that few want or believe can work; the principal tactic should be to establish peace, peace and peace only for human habitation.

Imposition of economic sanctions unilaterally by American administration on any sovereign and independent country is a blatant violation of international rules. This has been continuing on many nations unabatedly.

Since 2006, the US and European Union have been the biggest supporters of sanctions against the Iranian regime and have passed numerous bills to impose ever harsher sanctions including the latest one. Through their scallywag leadership, many international shipping agencies, traders, bankers and global insurance companies have pulled their dealings with Iran. But in their own countries, no ethics cultivates.

For the US rulers, dominating the Middle East and Central Asia is critical to their sole superpower status and the very functioning of their system, at home and around the world. Global capitalism is fuelled and lubricated by oil. The heart of the world petroleum industry is in this region in particular the Persian Gulf, which contains some 60 percent of the world's known oil reserves. Iran with its large size, population, and oil reserves is a very important country in this region. And the US has a long history of domination and intervention in Iran.

Britain was the main power dominating Iran until World War 2. After the end of World War 2, the US moved against nationalist sentiments in Iran while maneuvering to squeeze out Britain as the main imperialist overlord. Iran was a constitutional monarchy, with an elected parliament. In 1953 Iran’s Prime Minister Mossadegh, with massive popular support, attempted to nationalise the British-owned oil company Anglo-Iranian. The CIA organised a coup that overthrew the Mossadegh government, restored the Shah Mohmmad Reza Pahlevi as a full monarch, and established the US as the dominant power over Iran. For the next 25 years, the Shah ruled Iran with a bloody iron fist making Iran's economy totally subservient to US and Western imperialism and acting as an enforcer of US interests in the Middle East. The Shah's hated secret police, the Savak, imprisoned, tortured and murdered huge numbers of Iranians who dared to oppose his regime.

In December 1977, US President Jimmy Carter called Iran under the Shah an island of stability in a sea of turmoil. But, in reality, the anger of the people at the brutal US backed ruled of the Shah was developing into a powerful mass movement. A year after Carter's statement, more than 10 million people, and a third of Iran's entire population took to the streets to demand an end to the Shah's tyrannical regime. The Shah responded with vicious repression. In a massacre known as "Bloody Friday," the Shah's troops killed thousands of protesters in September 1978. But in January 1979, the Shah was forced to go into exile under US protection. In November 1979, Islamic students seized the US embassy in Tehran, took hostages, and demanded that the Shah be returned to Iran to face trial.

However, the aspirations and the mass upsurge of the Iranian people were seized upon by Islamic fundamentalists led by Ayatollah Khomeini, who established the Islamic Republic which has ruled Iran since then. The thoroughly reactionary nature of this theocratic regime is concentrated in the feudal oppression and enslavement of women. While this regime opposes US imperialism in certain ways, the Islamic Republic has not, and cannot, break with imperialism in any fundamental way. It does not represent anything progressive or positive for the people, in Iran and throughout the region.

With the fall of the Shah's regime, the US lost control over a key country in this very strategically important region at a time when the US faced a rival imperialist superpower, the Soviet Union, in the Middle East and elsewhere. In January 1980 Carter made clear, in what came to be known as the "Carter Doctrine" that the US was ready to use force, including nuclear weapons, to protect its imperialist interests: "An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

In 1980, Iraq's Saddam Hussein with US encouragement launched a war against Iran, hoping to overwhelm the new Islamic Regime and assert Iraq's regional power. The US played a Machiavellian game of deception and double-dealing to prevent either side from winning decisively so that the war continued for years and bled each country. The U.S. supplied military equipment to Iraq, including the type of chemical weapons that the Hussein regime used against Kurds, while also running a covert arms supply operation to Iran. By the end of this war, there were over a million casualties on both sides.

Under the rubric of a war against terrorism, the US invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq are in fact strategic thrusts in a horrific US offensive. The objective: to solidify and deepen control over the Middle East and Central Asia as a crucial step in creating an unchallenged and unchallengeable worldwide empire and to attack those US sees as threats to that domination. Iran has been a central focus of the US in this offensive. In his 2002 State of the Union speech, Bush declared that Iran was part of the so-called Axis of Evil. Through the assaults on Afghanistan and Iraq, one of the aims of the Bush regime was to intimidate Iran and weaken the influence of the Islamic Regime in the region. But in fact, the US removed two of the Iranian regime's main adversaries, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein. This has actually given the Iranian rulers a freer hand to try to expand their regional influence.

Even as the US occupation of Iraq continues with new horrors for the Iraqi people every day—the Bush regime is on a trajectory toward more confrontation and possible war with Iran. Not a week goes by without some new revelation about US preparations for a military strike on Iran, or yet another belligerent threat against Iran from the mouth of a ruling class representative, Republican or Democrat. A US war on Iran, including the possible use of nuclear bombs, would cause massive death and destruction for the Iranian people.

And such a war would accelerate the very negative dynamic of McWorld/McCrusade vs Jihad—two reactionary and historically outmoded poles which are opposed but also reinforce each other. All these point to the urgent necessity for people around the world, and especially within the US to take massive political action to stop the US from launching a war and imposition of more sanctions on Iran.

Imposition of further crippling sanctions on the Iranian economy by America is unequivocally detestable. And an old adage has aptly, “Pride goeth before destruction.” So, America must oil its own machine first, otherwise it will dig its own grave sooner. At the same time, the whole world should raise their voice univocally against the US administration to stop its unjustified interfering in the internal affairs of other nations in the greater interest of peace building throughout the world.

-The End –

The writer is a senior citizen, writes on politics, political and human-centred figures, current and international affairs.

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