Sanctions on Iran

Against the Current, No. 127, March/April 2007

Ali Javadi

THE UN SECURITY Council last year unanimously voted on a resolution to impose a series of political and economical sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran. According to this resolution, the export of commodities and materials with dual use in Uranium enrichment, production of heavy water and also missile production will be prohibited. In addition, the resolution gives a 60-day notice to the Iranian regime to comply with the resolution to halt Uranium enrichment, otherwise heavier economic sanctions will be imposed.

The United States government demands unilateral sanctions against Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in response announced that the Islamic regime will continue its nuclear enrichment program and will soon have 3000 centrifuges for production. Real and serious dangers threaten the society and people!

The UN resolution, as it formally stands now, has not targeted Iranian society, the economy or its people’s basic needs. This sanctions policy, however, opens a window for more crippling economic sanctions, which will constitute an anti-human policy. The main victims of economic sanctions are ordinary people. The policy will exasperate poverty and destitution.

This policy must not be allowed to be implemented. The bloody results of the economic sanctions against Iraq are still visible: Three thousand killed every month! The sanctions themselves were a weapon of mass destruction. To stop the Iranian Islamic regime from obtaining weapons of mass destruction by resorting to yet another method of mass destruction is nauseating.

Yet for this Iranian Islamic regime, or the totality of the political Islamic movement, to be equipped with nuclear power is also a human disaster. Contrary to the propaganda of some sections of the nationalist-Islamists or the “anti-imperialist” left, there is nothing progressive, anti-imperialist or in the people’s interest for the Islamic Republic to possess nuclear power or weapons. The only “right” this regime has is its “right” to be overthrown, by its people. Any “excuse” for the regime to have the “right” to obtain nuclear energy is an attempt to “legitimize” this murderous regime.

It is ironic that the governments approving the UN resolution are themselves the biggest nuclear countries and possess weapons of mass destruction. The United States has turned hundreds of thousands of people into ashes in a few seconds. This double standard is not acceptable. The governments trying to disarm other countries are themselves in possession of arsenals of nuclear weapons. The truth about their aims lies beyond the propaganda of the two sides.

Two Camps of Terror

What the U.S. administration calls the “war on terror” is in fact the world’s entry into a new and destructive phase. At opposing poles of this bloody conflict stand the two main international camps of terrorism, which have left their bloody mark on the lives of two generations.

At one pole stands the most enormous machinery of state terrorism, international intimidation and blackmail. This camp includes the U.S. government and elite, the only force that has used nuclear bombs against people, a state that slaughtered millions in Vietnam and ruined that country for years with chemical weapons.

It includes NATO and the coalition of western governments which, from Iraq to the former Yugoslavia, have destroyed people’s homes, schools and hospitals, and taken hostage the bread and medicine of millions of children. It includes the Israeli state and rulers who occupy, seize, slaughter and deprive, bomb and shell refugee camps, shot children seeking refuge in their parents’ arms and at school gates.

The track record of this international pole of state terror and imperialism is irrefutable for the whole world to see. At the opposing pole stands Islamic terrorism and the reactionary and vile political Islam. Forces once created and nurtured by America and the West during the Cold War as a means of organizing against the Left have now become an active pole and a contender among bourgeois forces for power in Middle Eastern societies.

The murderous history of political Islam — from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Algeria and Palestine — includes a long list of appalling crimes, from the bloody suppression of political and intellectual opponents to imposing reactionary and anti-human religious laws, particularly on women, from beheadings and mutilations to planting bombs and mass murder in buses, cafes and discotheques. These are the highlights in the track record of these reactionaries.

[The five preceding paragraphs are adapted from an essay by Mansour Hekmat, “The World After September 11, 2001.” Hekmat is a founder of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran, which arose from a split in the Communist Party in 1991 — ed.]

The expansion of this conflict, economic sanctions and the probable military invasion of Iran will jeopardize the lives of people in the region and the world.

We must stand against this trend. We must organize people to confront economic sanctions and the two sides of the international terrorism. The revolutionary overthrow of the Islamic Republic and the defeat of the U.S./allies policy of bullying and imposing the New World Order are the two inseparable pillars of an independent, radical and humane policy. Any compromise or alliance with the two poles of the conflict must be critically exposed.  

ATC 127, March-April 2007