[Marxism] Reporter Pepe Escobar indicates Iran-Russia cooperation to block US attack

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sat Oct 27 22:15:18 MDT 2007

This is a valuable article that indicates the growing pressure building
against Washington's much-desired attack on Iran. I do not support the
imposition of concessions on Iran or even nuclear weapons (the main
motivation for the latter being the gross and brutal debate over whether
"Iran must [or can sufficiently] be destroyed."  

But Iran has the sovereign right to make concessions on this under
imperialist pressure (including that transmitted from Washington by the
Russian government).  The fact is that if Washington cannot carry out the
orientation that "Iran must be destroyed," this will be an important victory
in the world social struggle for our side, and will be registered in various
ways including in Iraq. 

Whether Iran makes some concessions, bound to be temporary, is not decisive.
We should not forget that even though Iran is really developing nuclear
power capacity which necessarily includes nuclear weapons capacity (unlike
the Iraqi government that had no weapons of mass destruction or nuclear
programs}, the real threat that Washington is responding to is the rise of a
nation that seems to feel capable of defending itself and its regional
interests against Washington REGARDLESS OF ITS NUCLEAR CAPACITY.
For the enemies of actually existing imperialism, rather than the
speculative variety, this is an unalloyed progressive development, despite
the reactionary characteristics of the Iranian government.
Fred Feldman

Attack Iran & You Attack Russia 
by Pepe Escobar 
Asia Times
October 26, 2007

The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to
Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting
with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 

A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that
essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify
the George W Bush administration's relentless drive towards launching a
preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear
strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as
an attack on Russia. 

But then, as if this were not enough of a political bombshell, came the
abrupt resignation of Ali Larijani as top Iranian nuclear negotiator. Early
this week in Rome, Larijani told the IRNA news agency that "Iran's nuclear
policies are stable and will not change with the replacement of the
secretary of the Supreme National Security Council [SNSC]." Larijani will
keep attending SNSC meetings, now as a representative of the Supreme Leader.
He even took time to remind the West that in the Islamic Republic all key
decisions regarding the civilian nuclear program are made by the Supreme
Leader. Larijani actually went to Rome to meet with the European Union's
Javier Solana alongside Iran's new negotiator, Saeed Jalili, a former member
of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), just like President Mahmud

In itself, the Putin-Khamenei meeting was extraordinary, because the Supreme
Leader rarely receives foreign statesmen for closed talks, even one as
crucial as Putin. The Russian president, according to the diplomatic source,
told the Supreme Leader he may hold the ultimate solution regarding the
endlessly controversial Iranian nuclear dossier. According to IRNA, the
Supreme Leader, after stressing that the Iranian civilian nuclear program
will continue unabated, said. "We will ponder your words and proposal." 

Larijani himself had told the Iranian media that Putin had a "special plan"
and the Supreme Leader observed that the plan was "ponderable". The problem
is that Ahmadinejad publicly denied the Russians had volunteered a new plan.

Iranian hawks close to Ahmadinejad are spinning that Putin's proposal
involves Iran temporarily suspending uranium enrichment in exchange for no
more United Nations sanctions. That's essentially what International Atomic
Energy Agency chief Mohammad ElBaradei has been working on all along. The
key issue is what - in practical terms - will Iran get in return. Obviously
it's not the EU's Solana who will have the answer. But as far as Russia is
concerned, strategically nothing will appease it except a
political/diplomatic solution for the Iranian nuclear dossier. 

US Vice President Dick Cheney - who even Senator Hillary Clinton now refers
to as Darth Vader - must be foaming at the mouth; but the fact is that after
the Caspian summit, Iran and Russia are officially entangled in a strategic
partnership. World War III, for them, is definitely not on the cards. 

Let's read from the same script 
The apparent internal controversy on how exactly Putin and the Supreme
Leader are on the same wavelength belies a serious rift in the higher
spheres of the Islamic Republic. The replacement of Larijani, a realist
hawk, by Jalili, an unknown quantity with an even more hawkish background,
might spell an Ahmadinejad victory. It's not that simple. 

The powerful Ali Akbar Velayati, the diplomatic adviser to the Supreme
Leader, said he didn't like the replacement one bit. Even worse: regarding
the appalling record of the Ahmadinejad presidency when it comes to the
economy, all-out criticism is now the norm. Another former nuclear
negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, told the Etemad-e Melli newspaper, "The effects
of the [UN] sanctions are visible. Our situation gets worse day by day." 

Ahmadinejad for the past two months has been placing his former IRGC
brothers-in-arms in key posts, like the presidency of the central bank and
the Oil, Industry and Interior ministries. Internal repression is rife. On
Sunday, hundreds of students protested at the Amir-Kabir University in
Tehran, calling for "Death to the dictator". 

The wily, ultimate pragmatist Hashemi Rafsanjani, now leader of the Council
of Experts and in practice a much more powerful figure than Ahmadinejad,
took no time to publicly reflect that "we can't bend people's thoughts with
dictatorial regimes". 

This week, the Supreme Leader himself intervened, saying, "I approve of this
government, but this does not mean that I approve of everything they do."
Under the currently explosive circumstances, this also amounts to a
political bombshell. 

As if anyone needed to be reminded, the buck - or rial - stops with the
Supreme Leader, whose last wish on earth is to furnish a pretext for the
Bush administration to launch World War III. If Ahmadinejad now deviates
from a carefully crafted strategic script, the Supreme Leader may simply get
rid of him. 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is
Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007). He may be reached at
pepeasia at yahoo.com. 


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