Mar 13, 2006
The Bush administration has stepped up its rhetoric against Iran in recent days. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Iran the “central banker” of terrorism and the greatest challenge facing the U.S. “... You can imagine Iran with a nuclear weapon and the threat they would then pose to that region,” she said.
Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran “continues to defy the world with its nuclear ambitions” and that “the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime.”
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld jumped on the bandwagon, accusing Iran of sending its Revolutionary Guard into Iraq to stir up trouble. He went on to make his own threat, saying that this is something the Iranian government “will look back on as having been an error in judgment.”
Where have we heard such bellicose statements before? From the same Bush administration before it sent troops to invade Iraq three years ago. And, as if on cue, the U.S.’s main ally and fellow-accuser of Iraq, Britain, stepped in also. A British “senior Foreign Office official,” quoted in the Guardian newspaper, said that Iran could acquire the technological capability to build a bomb by the end of the year.
Does this mean the U.S. and Britain are preparing to attack Iran, a country about three times larger than Iraq in both population and land area? It remains to be seen. Given the record of the Bush administration, however, some kind of military attack against Iran can certainly not be ruled out.
But why is the U.S. attacking Iran like this? Is it really worried about Iran becoming a nuclear power and threatening the Middle East – and the U.S.?
Iranian government officials say they want to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes – to generate electricity – and that they also have the right to develop nuclear weapons if they choose to do so. That should be hard to object to, given that Iran is surrounded by countries that already have nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan and Israel. The U.S. has given its blessing to these countries’ nuclear weapons programs. In the case of Israel, the U.S. has even actively helped it build its nuclear arsenal.
So, when it comes to nuclear weapons, it’s not really Iran, but the U.S. that takes an inconsistent position. Here is the world’s biggest nuclear power, the only country that has ever used nuclear bombs on a population, wagging its finger at Iran. And this when Bush has just announced U.S. approval of the nuclear program of India – a country that has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while Iran has signed it.
This is blatant hypocrisy, but is it a surprise? This is the same Bush administration that, three years ago, used the blatant lie of “weapons of mass destruction” to attack and invade Iraq.
No, if the U.S. decides to launch a military attack on Iran, it will not be because of Iran’s nuclear program. It will be to serve the U.S.’s own imperialist purposes.
One purpose of the invasion of Iraq – to establish a large, solid U.S. military foothold in the region – has apparently not succeeded. So the U.S. needs more cooperation from other countries in the Middle East, especially large ones like Iran, in policing the area. This pressure on Iran may be geared toward pushing the Iranian regime in that direction.
The Iranian regime, like other governments, may be a bully. Like other governments, it may act without any concern for the peoples of the Middle East, including those in Iran itself. But the biggest threat to people’s security in the Middle East – and the rest of the world – is the never-ending aggression of the big bully on the block, the U.S.
Working people in this country pay for this aggression, in blood and money. And like working people in other parts of the world, we are less safe as a result of it. We have every reason to raise our voices in opposition to a possible U.S. attack on Iran.