The United States is continuing its policy of hostility towards Iran, and all self-described socialists and those who believe should be raising their voices to condemn American warmongering. Iran is a bulwark against Western and imperial interests in the region, and their struggle is a righteous one. Their fight is one for God (SWT) and the dispossessed. American aggression towards the Islamic Republic of Iran should make the blood boil of all those who believe in God (SWT), His messenger (PBUH), and the Last Day.
American hostility takes many forms, and sanctions have been predominantly the tool used against Iran. Sanctions constitute an act of war, like a blockade. Despite what the Democratic hawks might say, sanctions kill. Sanctions take food out of children’s mouths by denying its import and causing its price to rapidly rise. Sanctions denying fuel harm agricultural production as industrialized agriculture depends on it. The same can be said for fertilizer. Politicians know this, and yet they continue regardless.
The US has been sanctioning Iran since 1979, sparked by the seizing of American hostages by Iranian revolutionary forces, in an attempt to destabilize, weaken, and depose the revolutionary Islamic government.[i] When the Western imperial powers, in 2002, learned that Iran was enriching uranium at an undeclared facility in Natanz, it became a rallying cry for international anti-Iranian forces.[ii][iii] Led by the US and Israel, and propagated by Western media, Iran was accused of developing a nuclear program with the deliberate intent to create nuclear weapons.
An undeclared enrichment facility is not suspicious considering the potential of sabotage by anti-Iranian forces. Such a claim is not baseless as Israel has a history of bombing opposing countries’ nuclear facilities. Israel bombed an Iraqi facility in 1981 (Operation Opera), and a suspected Syrian facility in 2007 (Operation Outside the Box).[iv][v] In fact, Israel did end up attacking Iranian facilities with the joint US-Israeli Stuxnet virus, discovered in 2010, and, in 2011, with a covert strike using Israeli and Kurdish agents.[vi][vii]
These accusations provided the justification to escalate sanctions into a full-scale embargo that included the European Union.[viii][ix] The sanctions against Iran have had a serious effect on the economy, banning all trade with Iran, and penalizing companies that do.[x]
At no point has Iran proclaimed intentions to make a nuclear weapon. The program has been to develop an efficient and cheap source of power for the nation. Considering the extensive sanctions against Iran, and the finite amount of fossil fuels, striving for self-sufficient nuclear power makes good sense. Former Iranian President, from 2005 to 2013, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called nuclear energy a “divine gift” as affordability and accessibility to the people is a founding principle of the Islamic Republic.[xi] President Ahmadinejad has been one of the world’s most outspoken opponents of nuclear weapons, calling them a “waste of money,” and “disgusting and shameful.”[xii][xiii] He even held his own international nuclear disarmament summit under the slogan, “Nuclear Power for All, Nuclear Weapons for None.”[xiv]
Ironically, the Iranian nuclear program has its origins in the 1950s, under the CIA-backed Shah government, when the US approved, and even supplied Iran with its first reactor in 1967.[xv] In 1973, the Shah announced a national initiative to have Iran fueled by nuclear energy.[xvi] It is this program that Iran is continuing, and the hostility towards Iran over this program is, as President Ahmadinejad said, “an oppressive sham.”[xvii] He continues, saying it lets “those who possess these weapons [to] try to keep others from getting them in order to maintain their own supremacy,” and prevent other nations from obtaining “the cleanest and cheapest” source of energy, nuclear.[xviii]
Last May, President Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal), that was adopted in October of 2015, and would re-impose sanctions on Iran.[xix] The Iran Nuclear Deal is an agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, the US, and Germany) over Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement was the result of decades of, what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls, “economic war.”[xx] In the agreement, Iran agreed to reduce the number of centrifuges (used to enrich uranium) by two-thirds, reduce its enriched uranium stockpile by 98%, limit uranium enrichment to 3.67%, limit uranium research, and allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to its nuclear facilities.[xxi] In return, Iran was to have the sanctions imposed, due to its nuclear program, worth billions of dollars, lifted.[xxii]
American hostility towards Iran does not end with sanctions. In multiple instances, the US has attacked, or coordinated attacks, against Iranian civilian and military targets.
The 1980s saw several incidents, coinciding with the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). In addition to the American support for Iraq, led by President Saddam Hussein, the US attacked Iranian oil platforms in the gulf (1987 Operation Nimble Archer).[xxiii] In 1988, American naval forces started a skirmish with the Iranian navy in the Persian Gulf (Operation Praying Mantis).[xxiv] If such aggression was not enough, an American cruiser shot down a civilian airliner, Iran Air Flight 655, killing 290 civilians (including 66 children and 38 non-Iranians). Despite the tragedy and the fact that the airliner had a working transponder, identifying it as a civilian aircraft, the US has not admitted any fault. The men aboard the missile cruiser, the Vincennes, still have the combat ribbons and medals that they were awarded for the action.[xxv][xxvi]
Iran is surrounded by American military bases, and there are too many to name them all. There are bases to its west in Turkey, Cyprus, Iraq, Israel, and, active troops, in Syria. There are bases to its south in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia (Iran’s regional rival), Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A base in Turkmenistan to its north, and Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east.[xxvii] This is not a coincidence. The US holds naval drills off Iran’s coast.
President Trump’s recent actions show that American anti-Iranian policy is about more than its nuclear program. American hostility is about Iran’s Islamic revolution, and its anti-imperialist character from the very beginning. The 1979 Iranian Revolution, which resulted in the founding of the contemporary Islamic Republic of Iran, started as a protest movement against the autocratic monarchy of the Imperial State of Iran.
The Imperial State of Iran, founded in 1925, was a constitutional monarchy, led by the Shahs of the Pahlavi dynasty, and the Majlis (the parliament). The UK controlled the majority of Iran’s oil through the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), now called the British Petroleum Company (BP). UK oil interests where responsible for the formation of the Imperial State, as the British desired a more centralized state, from the previous tribal Sublime State of Persia, of the Turkic Qajar dynasty, to increase the efficiency of the oil industry. Oil was quickly becoming more and more essential to the process of conducting empire.
Iran already had a strong history of imperialism when the Majlis, in 1951, named Mohammad Mossadegh, of the progressive pan-nationalist National Front, Prime Minister. The National Front was the result of a growing desire among Iranians to have a fair democratic system and to end existing Western imperialist control (as a semi-colonial state, similar to Imperial China). That same year, Prime Minister Mossadegh successfully nationalized Iran’s oil industry, barring the AIOC. Iran at the time had the world’s largest oil refinery.
In response to this, in 1953, the CIA, working with the UK, organized a coup to strengthen the monarchy of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The first coup attempt, on August 15th, failed. However, the second attempt, on August 19th, succeeded in ousting the democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister. The CIA has admitted to orchestrating the coup, code named Operation Ajax, through the declassification of documents in 2013.[xxviii][xxix] The newly CIA-installed puppet monarchy was eager to serve Western imperial interests. The AIOC was given back its control over Iranian oil.
The Islamic Revolution arose out of the resistance to the Western imperialists that had been pillaging the country for years, and had overthrown its government when it threatened their economic interests. After the revolutionary victory, and the founding of the Islamic Republic, the new government did not abandon its roots. Lead by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, Iran continued its fight against colonial domination.
The new Islamic Republic extended its support to the Palestinians in occupied Palestine, giving aid to those fighting for their right of self-determination.
During the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), Iran gave financial and military support to the Shia minority fighting to preserve their freedom against a powerful Christian majority. When in 1978, and again in 1982, Israel invaded southern Lebanon to destroy the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Iran continued to aid the organization of Shia militias to fight back against the Zionists. Several of these militias would eventually join together, in 1985, to became Hezbollah. Hezbollah has repulsed Zionist aggression three other times (1993, 1996, and 2006) since then.[xxx] To this day, they continue to fight against Israel for a free Palestine.
As an Islamic Republic, it could not be any other way. In the Holy Qur’an, God (SWT) makes it clear that, as Muslims, we are required to engage in anti-Imperialist struggle.
“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah [oppression] is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al-Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.” Surah 2:191 (Saheeh International)
“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah [oppression] and until worship is [acknowledged to be] for Allah. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.” Surah 2:193 (Saheeh International)
God (SWT) tells us not to aggress, but to defend. There is no righteousness in a war of aggression or attack against the innocent. Imperialism is haram.
“Allah does not forbid you from [befriending] those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes – from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly.” Surah 60:8 (Saheeh International)
When you are expelled from your home, you have a right to return to your home.
The contemporary government of Iran, currently lead by President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is continuing this fight. They have sent troops, alongside Hezbollah, into Syria to defend the country against the Islamic State and Israel. In Yemen, they are giving support to the marginalized Shia Houthi who are facing a brutal Saudi-led, and US-backed, invasion. The Saudis are fighting a war of extermination, and they are causing famine, and even resorting to using tactical nuclear weapons, like neutron bombs.[xxxi]
Imperialists have taken note, if the extent of demonization in Western media is any indicator. The Islamic Republic of Iran is frequently a target of US media warmongering, and senators like John McCain and Lindsay Graham have historically advocated for immediate military action against Iran. Practically every time Iran gets into the news, a bill is proposed in Congress to authorize offensive military operations. Going back to President George W. Bush’s 2002 State of the Union Address, Iran was included in his self-described international “Axis of Evil” along with Iraq and North Korea (the DPRK).[xxxii] Knowing the fate of Iraq a few years later, and the ongoing threat of invasion against North Korea, the inclusion of Iran really indicates the extent of American hostility. Iran is painted as such a huge threat to the safety of the United States because it is the champion of resistance against American imperialism in the Middle East.
Iran is a wonderful example of the fusion of righteous adherence and the class struggle that is class jihad. Iran is simultaneously an Islamic State, where the Qur’an and God (SWT) form the foundations of the State, and a mixed market socialist economy, where roughly 60% of the economy is centrally planned.[xxxiii] Politicians love to talk about a “third path,” be it fascism or social democracy, but what Iran has is the righteous path. This “Iranian Path” is unique among nations, and results in a society where God’s (SWT) law, or Sharia, is enjoined with the principles of equality, social justice, and sacrifice.
[i] Ashish Kumar Sen. “A Brief History of Sanctions on Iran,” Atlantic Council. May 8, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[ii] Erin Blakemore. “The Tense History of U.S.-Iran Sanctions, from the Hostage Crisis to the Nuclear Deal,” History. May 8, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[iii] Shahram Chubin. “The Politics of Iran’s Nuclear Program,” United States Institute of Peace. 2010. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[iv] Tom Demerly. “36 Years Ago Today, “Operation Opera”: The Israeli Air Strike on an Iraqi Nuclear Reactor,” The Aviationist. June 7, 2017. Accessed August 17, 2018.
[v] Michael Herzog. “Israel’s 2007 Strike on Syrian Nuclear Reactor: Lessons Learned for Iran,” Haaretz. April 25, 2018. Accessed August 17, 2018.
[vi] Kim Zetter. “An unprecedented look at Stuxnet, the world’s first digital weapon,” Wired. November 3, 2014. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[vii] Raphael Ahren. “Wikileaks: Israel destroyed Iran’s nuclear program last year,” The Times of Israel. February 27, 2012. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[viii] “EU restrictive measures against Iran,” European Council. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[ix] Ashish Kumar Sen. “A Brief History of Sanctions on Iran,” Atlantic Council. May 8, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[x] Ashish Kumar Sen. “A Brief History of Sanctions on Iran,” Atlantic Council. May 8, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xi] “Iran does not need nuclear bomb, says Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,” The Telegraph. April 15, 2013. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xii] “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: nuclear weapons ‘a waste of money,’” The Telegraph. August 14, 2011. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xiii] Barry Rubin. “Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression,” Rubin Center. May 11, 2010. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xiv] Barry Rubin. “Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression,” Rubin Center. May 11, 2010. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xv] “Iran,” Nuclear Threat Initiative. Last Updated May, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xvi] “Iran,” Nuclear Threat Initiative. Last Updated May, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xvii] Barry Rubin. “Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression,” Rubin Center. May 11, 2010. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xviii] Barry Rubin. “Ahmadinejad Unveils His Grand Strategy: A Nuclear Defensive Umbrella for Aggression,” Rubin Center. May 11, 2010. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xix] David Jackson. “Donald Trump pulls the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran, renews sanctions,” USA Today. May 8, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xx] Reuters Staff. “Iran Supreme Leader calls for action to face ‘economic war’: state TV,” Reuters. August 11, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xxi] Steve George. “Trump dumps Iran nuclear deal: What you need to know,” CNN. May 9, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xxii] F Brinley Bruton. “What is the Iran nuclear deal?,” NBC. April 25, 2018. Accessed August 16, 2018.
[xxiii] Bradley Peniston. “Operation Nimble Archer,” NavyBook. Accessed August 18, 2018.
[xxiv] Bradley Peniston. “Operation Praying Mantis,” NavyBook. Accessed August 18, 2018.
[xxv] Shapour Ghasemi. “Shooting Down Iran Air Flight 655 [IR655],” Iran Chamber Society. Accessed August 18, 2018.
[xxvi] Max Fisher. “The forgotten story of Iran Air Flight 655,” The Washington Post. October 16, 2013. Accessed August 18, 2018.
[xxvii] Ben Piven. “Map: US bases encircle Iran,” Al Jazeera. May 1, 2012. Accessed August 18, 2018.
[xxviii] “CIA admits organizing 1953 Iran coup,” Al Jazeera. August 20, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2018.
[xxix] Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Richard Norton-Taylor. “CIA admits role in 1953 Iranian coup,” The Guardian. August 19, 2013. Accessed August 13, 2018.
[xxx] Jay Sekulow. Unholy Alliance. New York: Howard Books, 2016.
[xxxi] Jane Ferguson. “Is intentional starvation the future of war?,” The New Yorker. July 11, 2018. Accessed August 18, 2018.
[xxxii] “How Iran Entered the ‘Axis,’” PBS. Accessed August 8, 2018.
[xxxiii] “A survey of Iran: Stunted and distorted,” The Economist. (2003).