[Marxism] The coming war with Iran

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 22 07:03:09 MDT 2006


http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/binh220406.html
The Coming War with Iran
by Pham Binh

On April 18, Bush said that "all options are on the table" in trying to 
curb Iran's nuclear program.  The U.N. Security Council voted a few weeks 
ago that Iran must stop enriching uranium by April 28.  Currently, the U.S. 
is gearing up for a diplomatic offensive to get U.N. sanctions on Iran in 
an attempt to pressure the Iranian regime and create a diplomatic crisis 
that will serve as a pre-text for war.  Essentially, the Bush 
administration is using the same script they used for Iraq in late 
2002-early 2003, although the war would be one of major air strikes, not 
regime change through ground invasion.

Behind Bush's talk of diplomacy is a smokescreen for an impending war with 
Iran.  On April 8, journalist Seymour Hersh published an article in New 
Yorker magazine that exposed that the U.S. military has already put 
commandos on the ground in Iran to help target sites for bombing and that 
the Pentagon is drawing up plans to attack Iran, some of which include the 
use of bunker-buster nuclear weapons.1

The ruling classes of Iranian and the U.S. are on a direct collision course 
with each other over Iran's nuclear power program.  The logic of the 
situation has made a U.S. (or U.S./Israeli) attack on Iran a question of 
when and how, not if.
Why Iran Isn't Backing Down

Iran's President Ahmadinejad has dug in his heels and insisted that nuclear 
power is Iran's right.  His stance, portrayed in the U.S. as being 
"hard-line," is based on a number of factors.  First of all, he won their 
presidential election on a populist program of fighting government 
corruption and stopping cuts to social services carried out by his 
reformist-neoliberal predecessor, Khatami.  Yet even after his election, 
40% of Iran's population still lives below the poverty line.  The 
confrontation with the U.S. over nuclear power helps him maintain popular 
support through nationalism.

But short-term political calculations are only a small factor in Iran's 
stance.  If present consumption trends continue, Iran -- today the world's 
third largest oil exporter -- will become an oil importer in the next 15 
years.2  Nuclear power would cut down on domestic oil consumption and allow 
Iran to sell more oil and to increase its revenue by billions.  Increasing 
government revenue is extremely important because in 1998 fuel and food 
subsidies for Iran's growing population used up virtually all of the 
country's $16 billion of oil income for that year.  That is why developing 
nuclear power is imperative for Iran's ruling class and why backing down in 
the face of U.S. intransigence is not a viable option.

While the U.S. media is trying to whip up racist fears about "crazy" 
anti-U.S. Muslims armed with A-bombs, the fact of the matter is that having 
a nuclear weapons program makes strategic sense for Iran's ruling 
class.  The country's neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, are being occupied 
by U.S. troops, and Israel, Russia, Pakistan, and India all have nuclear 
weapons.  In fact, it would be insane for them not to have nuclear 
ambitions in this situation.

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