The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 24th May 2019

No US attack on Iran!

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

THE AMERICANS have placed all their forces in Iraq and Syria on high alert and ordered all non-emergency diplomatic staff to leave Iraq, heightening fears that Washington is readying for a direct strike on the Islamic Republic of Iran. The USA has also increased its military build-up in the Gulf by deploying an aircraft carrier, bombers and anti-missile systems there, in response to an alleged threat from Iran.

But the real threat to peace comes from American imperialism. The Trump administration unilaterally tore up the 2015 international deal that lifted sanctions in return for a curb on Iran’s nuclear research. Trump then imposed even harsher sanctions on Iran’s oil exports in an attempt to bring the Islamic Republic to its knees and accept US hegemony over the entire Middle East.

This follows a mysterious attack on four oil tankers off the Emirates coast on Sunday. The four ships — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were allegedly sabotaged near the port of Fujairah. Although at least two ships suffered “significant damage” there were no casualties and no oil spills. The Americans say it was the work of the Iranians or their “proxies”. Iran says it was “Israeli mischief”.

Meanwhile the New York Times claims that a top US defence official has presented an updated military plan to the Trump administration that envisions sending up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack US forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons. Citing unnamed administration officials, the New York Times said that Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented the plan at a meeting of Trump’s top security aides last week. Trump has denied the report, dismissing it as “fake news”.

The Trump administration says its hostile stance is part of a campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Iranians, whose support for the Syrian government and the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance has constantly thwarted US plans to totally control the oil-rich Middle East.

It has included pulling out of a multilateral deal with Iran on the nuclear issue and re-imposing sanctions against the Islamic Republic. With the sanctions, Washington has been seeking, amongst other goals, to bring Iran’s oil sales down to ‘zero’. The White House has also imposed so-called secondary sanctions that target other countries doing business with Iran.

These oil exports play a vital role in the Iranian economy. Stopping them raises the global price of oil. which will benefit the American oil companies trying to increase exports of fracked oil.

Some believe that Trump really wants all-out war with Iran. Others think he is simply indulging in psychological and economic warfare to split the Iranian government and force them to cave in and do his bidding.

But the Islamic leadership have always stood firm under threat in the past. They warn that not only can they fend off any aggressor but they could also close the Gulf waters, which handle a fifth of the world’s seaborne oil traffic, at a moment’s notice.

Earlier in the month Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Arab media that the Islamic Republic will never succumb to pressures being exerted on it by the USA.

“We will find a way. We have [done that] for 40 years and will [do so] now,” he told the Qatar press on the sidelines of the 16th ministerial meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in the Qatari capital on 2nd May. Countering US pressure was not an easy task but “we will never bow under pressure,” he said.