The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Who’s the Real Threat—Iran or the U.S.?

Sep 28, 2009

President Barack Obama, at a press conference at the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, accused Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons. Obama said that “Iran is on notice,” and that Iran should not “continue down a path that is going to lead to confrontation”–an open threat.

Iran says it has no nuclear weapons, and no one has shown that it does. But Obama, like George Bush before him, says that Iran can’t be trusted.

That’s putting the issue upside down and backward. Iran has every reason to distrust–seriously distrust–the United States.

A brief look at history shows why. In 1953, Iran’s military, backed by the U.S. and British secret services, overthrew the country’s democratically elected government headed by Mohammad Mossadegh. It was obvious that the two imperialist powers had organized the military coup in order to stop Mossadegh’s efforts to gain more control of the oil extracted from Iranian soil.

The Shah, brought to power by this coup, was backed by the U.S. from day one. The Shah’s military dictatorship enjoyed generous U.S. aid, while Iran’s U.S.-trained secret police jailed, tortured and assassinated thousands of oppositionists, including almost all the local leaders of the trade unions.

Iranian people rightfully resented this brutal regime, and the U.S. government for supporting it. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 overthrew the Shah–only to be replaced by another dictatorship, this time controlled by Iran’s top religious clerics. When Iranian students occupied the U.S. embassy, the relationship between the U.S. and Iran soured.

In 1980, Iran was invaded by Saddam Hussein’s regime in neighboring Iraq. In this war, the U.S. initially backed and encouraged Iraq. But then the U.S. secretly started to support Iran also–a fact brought into daylight in the late 1980s by the “Iran-Contra Affair.” It’s obvious that the U.S., while supplying weapons to both regimes, didn’t want either one to be strengthened by being the clear winner. The price of this cynical U.S. policy–paid by the populations of both Iraq and Iran–was eight years of war and one million deaths.

Now the U.S. military has invaded Afghanistan to the east of Iran, Iraq to the west of Iran, and has a big naval presence near Iran’s southern shores. That is, the U.S. has Iran practically under siege.

The Iranian people have every reason to distrust, and feel threatened by, the U.S. government. And American workers have every reason to distrust this war-making U.S. government, because it is American workers who are expected to fight the wars this country’s rulers start all over the world.