The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Iran:
A Test of Strength Paid for by the Population

Jul 22, 2019

This article is translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the French revolutionary workers group of that name.

Under the trade embargo imposed by the Trump administration, the leaders of the Islamic Republic announced that they were no longer going to respect the nuclear agreement they signed in 2015 with the big powers. The embargo has been strangling the Iranian population for more than a year.

Concretely, the Iranian leaders announced that they would increase the proportion of uranium-235, which is present in naturally occurring uranium, beyond the 3.67% authorized by the 2015 agreement.

Uranium-235 is the type that permits nuclear fission reactions. For the type of reactor used to produce electricity, the level of uranium-235 needed is 20%, or a little more. But to produce bombs, it must be more than 80%, quite a bit higher than the 4.5% announced by the Iranian leaders.

In signing the accord back in 2015, Iran accepted the most intrusive control in the world. They made this enormous concession of their sovereignty in order to be allowed to reintegrate into the world market, to sell their oil in exchange for multiple products. By brutally denouncing this accord in 2018 and then insisting on a severe embargo, to be respected by every country in the world under penalty of U.S. sanctions, Trump has put the Iranian leaders in an impasse.

Denouncing the accord in their turn is one way for Iran to show that they will not step back from this test of force. They adopt this stance in the hope that it will permit the reopening of negotiations. In particular, they are trying to pressure the European leaders who seemed to want to have relations with Iran, but who have given in to all the U.S. demands.

Whatever comes out of this dangerous poker game that could tomorrow lead to more military confrontations in the Persian Gulf, it is the Iranian population that pays the heavy price.

Every month that passes aggravates the poverty of the population. The embargo has produced record inflation. As well, the Iranian people suffer from the effects of a series of environmental catastrophes: pollution, recurrent shortages of water, massive rainstorms, major flooding that displaced 500,000 people.

The dictatorship of the mullahs and permanent corruption have been imposed on the population for 40 years. In aggravating the suffering of the Iranian population, the imperialist leaders only reinforce this dictatorship.