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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

NATO continues Gulf build-up

by our Arab Affairs correspondent

NATO is continuing the build-up of naval forces in the Persian Gulf following the targeted killing of a senior Iranian commander in Baghdad and a devastating Iranian reprisal raid of US bases in Iraq. Britain, France and Germany are now threatening to unravel the international nuclear deal that the Americans walked out in May 2018, and the Iranians say that if that happens they will leave the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty altogether.

Boris Johnson’s government says it’s in favour of replacing the historic agreement with Iran with a ‘Trump deal’ to end the crisis. But the Iranians say they cannot negotiate with the US leader who repudiated the deal reached by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Britain, France and Germany say Iran’s decision to no longer adhere to certain limitations on nuclear enrichment is a breach of the nuclear agreement that they all signed up to in 2015. Last week they formally triggered the dispute mechanism that could bring the issue before the UN Security Council. But Russia has warned the European powers of the “devastating consequences” that would follow a move clearly done at the bidding of the USA.

The US imperialists tore up the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and imposed harsh sanctions on Iran as part of a “maximum pressure” strategy to bring down the Iranian government or, at the very least, force the Islamic leadership to accept humiliating terms in exchange for an end to sanctions.

Meanwhile, imperialist claims that Syria used poison gas against NATO-supported terror gangs are unravelling following testimony by a former chemical weapons expert at the UN in New York this week.

alleged attack

There the UN Security Council met on Monday to discuss the investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into an alleged chemical attack in April 2018 in Douma, a town in southern Syria that was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army later that year. The alleged attack, backed up by ‘evidence’ supplied by the ‘White Helmets’ — a NATO front — was used to justify British, US and French air-strikes against Syrian government targets, and continuing NATO support for the sectarian Muslim militias that serve US imperialism.

Ian Henderson, a South African member of OPCW team on Douma, told the Security Council via video link that no chemical attack occurred and called the final OPCW report a "complete turnaround in the situation from what was understood by the majority of the team and the entire Douma team”.

Most of the information in Henderson’s statement had already been revealed in the documents released by WikiLeaks over the last few months, WikiLeaks has released OPCW documents and internal emails that not only support Henderson’s claims but also deal with discrepancies in levels of chlorine found in the area of the alleged attack.

Another OPCW employee expressed his own doubts to Guardian journalist Jonathan Steele, who told Fox News: “The main point is that chlorine gas degrades rapidly in the air. So coming in two weeks later, you wouldn't find anything. What you would find is that the gas contaminates or affects other chemicals in the natural environment. So-called ‘Chlorinated organic chemicals’. The difficulty is they exist anyway in the natural environment and water. So the crucial thing is the levels, were there higher levels of chlorinated organic chemicals found after the alleged gas attack than there would have been in the normal environment?

“When they got back to the Netherlands, to The Hague where the OPCW has its headquarters, samples were sent off to designated laboratories, then there was a weird silence developed. Nobody told the inspectors what the results of the analysis was. It was only by chance that the inspector found out through accident earlier the results would come in and there were no differences at all. There were no higher levels of chlorinated organic chemicals in the areas where the alleged attack had happened where there is some suspicious cylinders had been found by opposition activists. So it didn't seem possible that there could have been a gas attack because the levels were just the same as in the natural environment.”