Jul 22, 2019
Tensions between the western powers and Iran continue to escalate. On July 18, the U.S. claimed it had shot down an Iranian drone that was flying “too close” to one of its warships – though that ship was just a few miles off the coast of Iran. One day later, Iran appeared to have seized at least one British oil tanker operating near Iran in the Persian Gulf. This happened after the British navy captured an Iranian oil tanker a few weeks ago. And these are just the latest escalations.
In the U.S., all of this is portrayed as Iranian aggression. But the situation is being produced by U.S. imperialism’s attempts to impose itself on the Middle East and to secure even more profits for its oil companies.
In 2015, the U.S. and other powers made a deal with Iran regarding its sale of oil on the world market. The U.S. was dealing while the U.S. and Iran had a common interest against the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. But today, with ISIS essentially defeated and the Syrian dictator Assad more or less back in control, the U.S. is looking to check Iran’s influence in the region.
Last year, Trump abandoned the 2015 deal with Iran, imposing trade sanctions on the country. In May, he ramped up the economic attacks on Iran, thereby forcing European and Asian countries to turn increasingly to U.S. controlled sources of oil – all to the benefit of U.S. oil companies. The European powers have been looking for a way to find a “negotiated” return to the terms of the 2015 deal, which would allow them access to Iranian oil and markets. But at least so far they have not been willing to openly go against U.S. imperialism in order to get it.
It is clear the Iranian state does not want war. In fact, the Iranian government has indicated all along that it would be willing to submit to even more comprehensive nuclear inspections in return for sanction relief.
But Iran’s rulers are caught in a bind. While they don’t want war, they cannot openly back down too much in front of the challenge thrown in their face by the U.S. The top U.S. military intelligence officer explained this when he told journalists: “They (the Iranians) aren’t looking to go to war but at the same time they are looking to project strength ... they look for things that are proportionate in nature.”
While Trump appears not to be ready for war either right now, the U.S. appears, nonetheless, ready to risk it. U.S. aircraft carriers and land-based bombers threaten death and destruction. Six thousand miles from the North American continent, U.S. troops are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, on Iran’s borders.
Anti-Iran propaganda is aimed at getting the U.S. population to accept one more war in the Middle East, if it comes to that, in order to advance the interests of U.S. corporations.