Iran - western big business is queueing up

25 November 2013

The governments of the world's rich countries announced the nuclear deal reached with Iran in Geneva this weekend, with much fanfare - as if this was some sort of epoch-making victory. But, contrary to what these governments claim, this won't make the world a safer place.

Judging from their own admissions, Iran itself wasn't much of a nuclear threat in the first place. If there is a nuclear threat in this world, it is from the very same rich countries which claimed the moral high ground in their drive to force Iran to give up its nuclear programme. They proclaim their determination to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But they all have massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons and are all working at developing new, even more lethal weapons of mass destruction, nuclear and otherwise.

The imperialist nuclear monopoly

These countries claim the right to decide who should or shouldn't have nuclear weapons. This has nothing to do with non-proliferation, of course. The state of Israel was allowed to have a nuclear arsenal, despite its on-going aggression, because it is one of the most reliable policemen of "western order", in the region. Pakistan was allowed to have its nuclear bomb because of the close ties between the US and Pakistani military. India was allowed to have its own bomb, but only after it agreed to sign a nuclear treaty, giving the US quasi-control over its nuclear facilities. In short, the "non-proliferation" policy is just a cover for a handful of rich, imperialist countries to retain full control of the world's weapons of mass destruction.

What's more, these rich countries - especially the US, Britain and France - have been responsible, directly or indirectly, for every single war across the globe since World War II.

By contrast, over that same period, the only war in which Iran was ever involved, was when the Iranian oil-rich province of Khuzestan was invaded by Iraqi troops, in 1980. At the time, Saddam Hussein was still an American puppet who only acted with the go-ahead of his western mentors. For the US leaders, this aggression against Iran was a convenient ploy to weaken and punish a regime which had been formed in 1979, without their authorisation, after the overthrow of the hated US-backed dictatorship of the Shah of Iran. Whose regime had been, since 1953, one of the main pillars of the imperialist order in the Middle-East. Never mind that this war cost an estimated one million dead!

The West's vindictive policy against Iran did not end there. Ever since then, this country has been subjected to economic sanctions, which, ironically, far from weakening the regime's hardliners, have only helped them to justify their dictatorial rule.

The stench of oil

Today, 34 years after the overthrow of their Iranian puppet, the great powers no longer have the same reasons to maintain their blockade of Iran. In fact they have other urgent reasons to find some sort of compromise with Iran.

The situation in the Middle East, especially with the Syrian civil war, has become so unstable that the western powers have to secure the cooperation of the region's main countries - and Iran is the largest among them. The military option which was promoted by right-wingers in Washington has been exposed as a non-starter by the catastrophic invasion of Iraq. So the western powers have had to find some sort of face-saving compromise, to normalise their relationship with Iran in order to protect their grip over the Middle East. This is the real meaning of this much acclaimed "nuclear deal".

Beyond this, western multinationals - especially American companies - have long been vocal in their protests against sanctions which were depriving them of the possibility of exploiting the resources of a country holding 10% of the world's proven oil reserves and 15% of its gas reserves. Let's not forget that oil majors like Britain's BP and France's Total, began their long careers by looting Iran's oil! And, although nothing filtered through about this, one can be sure that a lot of horse-trading went on behind the scenes in Geneva, over the profitable opportunities that the Iranian regime will offer to western companies.

As to the interests of the people of the Middle East, there is no space for them in all of this. They remain under the boot of dictatorships, which are all the more repressive, as the privileged classes they represent are smaller. Their only way forward is to fight against the stranglehold of the imperialist powers and the parasitism of their homegrown capitalists - in short, to join the fight of the international working class for its emancipation.