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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Iran warns the US

by our Middle East Affairs correspondent

IRAN WILL respond decisively to any further provocations by US imperialism. That was a stark warning to the Americans given when the Iranian president spoke to the French leader Emmanuel Macron on the phone this week.

The Americans lost $110 million-worth of electronic equipment when one of their Global Hawk spy-drones was blown out of the sky at 22,000 feet by Iran’s air defences last week. The Islamic Republic of Iran says the drone had entered their air-space but the Americans claim it was flying over neutral waters when it was hit. The Iranians have now published maps with radar data to back up their claim, which has been confirmed by the Russians.

“If the Americans again want to violate Iran’s airspace or enter [our] waters, Iran’s Armed Forces will oppose them and give a decisive response,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, commenting on the crisis in the Persian Gulf that came close to all-out war last week. The Americans were on the brink of launching reprisal strikes against three Iranian targets in response to the downing but President Trump got cold feet when “an adviser told him it would result in an estimated 150 deaths”.

That’s, at least, what they say now. In fact no one outside Trump’s circle of close advisers really knows why the American president backed off at the last minute from a raid that could have turned the Persian Gulf into a sea of blood.

There’s no doubt that the most aggressive sections of the American ruling class, whose interests are openly headed by Trump’s security adviser John Bolton, want war with Iran whatever the cost in lives and money. Some say that the war faction that is deeply entrenched in the corridors of power in Washington and the Pentagon ordered the revenge attacks on their own initiative, and Trump stopped it when he found out they had gone over his head.

Others believe Trump responded to pragmatic advice from more level-headed advisers urging caution given the less than enthusiastic response from America’s NATO allies for another major war in the Middle East.

The Islamic Republic can count on the support of Syria and the Shia Muslim community throughout the Arab world including Iraq, which has said it will not allow the USA to use its bases on Iraqi territory for an attack on neighbouring Iran.

The USA can count on support from Israel and some, but not all, of the feudal Arab oil princes. But that doesn’t mean much these days. Israel is in the throes of another general election campaign, the second this year, with its leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, playing a caretaker role until the polls that will decide his fate are held in September. The Saudis loathe and fear Iran, but they’re bogged down in a war they can’t win in Yemen and they’re more of a liability than an asset to US imperialism.

Trump tells his followers he’s opposed to foreign wars. What he doesn’t say is that his chosen weapons of economic blockades and sanctions can easily escalate into all-out war. President Trump was responsible for the breakdown in relations with Iran when he unilaterally tore up the nuclear deal last year that lifted sanctions in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear research programme.

Trump wants a new bilateral nuclear deal and he’s apparently made 11 offers of talks with the Iranians. But these have all been rejected by the Islamic Republic as a pointless exercise.

Iran will not renegotiate the nuclear deal on any conditions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told Macron. “There is no chance of re-negotiating an agreement that was made after two years of negotiation,” Rouhani said.