Nov 11, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry and other world leaders met with Iran’s Foreign Minister in Geneva to discuss curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The U.S., Britain and France have made a lot of noise in recent years about the “danger” Iran poses to the Mideast and the world if – IF Iran develops a nuclear weapons program.
But who IS the threat to the world? NOT Iran! The U.S. and other imperialist powers have been the biggest threats, to both Iran and the world. A brief look at history shows it.
From the beginning of the 1900s, the imperial powers, and especially Great Britain, controlled the vast oil fields of Iran, the fourth largest producer of oil in the world. In 1951, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq and the elected parliament, facing popular movements, nationalized Iran’s oil reserves. British and American oil companies reacted badly to the loss of “their” resources, and the imperialist powers refused to buy Iran’s oil.
In 1952, Iran’s king, the Shah, tried to remove Mossadeq from office. Demonstrations broke out in the streets; Mossadeq was reinstated, and the Shah fled the country.
In 1953, Iran’s military, backed by the U.S. and British secret services, overthrew Mossadeq. The Shah was put back into power by this coup, and 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. In return, the U.S. and Britain controlled eighty percent of Iran’s oil. Iran also served as a stable proxy for U.S. interests in the whole oil-producing region.
The Iranian people rightly 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 leaders.
These leaders, the mullahs, have shown themselves over the years to be very willing to work with the U.S. in advancing oil company interests in the region. But because they came to power through the massive social movement that had overthrown the Shah, they could never completely be controlled by the U.S. – and so, the U.S. has proven hostile to the regime, time and time again.
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 when Iraq started to win the war, the U.S. secretly started to arm Iran also; it was better for U.S. interests to have the two countries destroy each other than to have a clear winner who they couldn’t control. The price of this cynical U.S. policy – paid by the populations of both Iran and Iraq – was eight years of war and one million deaths.
In the 1990s, the U.S. continued this cynical game, alternately imposing sanctions on Iran and Iraq.
After 9/11, Iran once again showed its willingness to help imperialism, working with the U.S. in its invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq. But the U.S. did not give Iran the recognition it expected. Moreover, with the U.S. military occupying Afghanistan to the east of Iran, Iraq to the west of Iran, keeping a big naval presence near Iran’s southern shores, it’s no surprise that Iran feels threatened!
During this whole long period, the U.S., Britain, France and Germany all conspired to cripple Iran’s economy with sanctions hurting much of the population.
With recent events, it appears the U.S. and other imperialist powers may be willing to negotiate a settlement with Iran. Iran’s government, hoping to get these sanctions lifted, has once again offered to state clearly what it has been stating all along: it has no interest in producing a nuclear weapon, and it has no capability to do so. But the imperialist powers are not even offering to lift sanctions – just a promise of no new sanctions in the near future.
The Iranian people have every reason to 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.