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Vol. 75/No. 43      November 28, 2011

Washington, allies mount
‘unprecedented pressure’ on Iran
(feature article)
On November 8 the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency released a report presenting evidence of Iranian research designed to further knowledge of nuclear weapons technology. Washington and its imperialists allies have seized on this as an opportunity to deepen their two-decade campaign of aggression to force Tehran to abandon its nuclear program altogether.

Washington, London and Paris are pressing for stiffer trade sanctions on Iran. Beginning with what is reported as a press leak earlier this month, sections of the Israeli government have maintained threats to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities.

Iranian officials say the U.N. report is a fabrication dictated by Washington and vow to retaliate against any military action. “If the thought of invasion against the Islamic republic of Iran crosses anybody’s mind he must ready himself to receive a strong slap and an iron fist,” said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei,

The U.N. report attests that Tehran has not used any of its enriched uranium for military purposes since the Iranian government’s nuclear program was officially halted under imperialist pressure in 2003. The IAEA also offered no evidence that Tehran was actively trying to build a weapon at this time.

What is new in the U.N. report is its statement that, among other things, Tehran has built a steel container at its Parchin military facility that can be used for testing explosions capable of triggering a nuclear reaction; is creating computer models for a nuclear warhead; and has stocked enriched uranium.

Tehran has maintained for years that its nuclear program is not military, aimed above all at increasing the country’s power production. It did not directly respond to claims contained in the IAEA report.

Even before the release of the IAEA report, Washington had made clear it intended to impose “unprecedented pressure,” as President Barack Obama put it, on the Iranian government. In a joint statement, Paris and London “made clear their determination to seek new powerful sanctions if Iran refuses” to submit to imperialists’ demands.

In the weeks leading up to the U.N. report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pressed his cabinet to launch a military airstrike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. A section of Israel’s rulers sees as a threat the mass popular movements for democracy and social justice sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, including Israel. And they anticipate that Washington’s recently announced withdrawal of its troops from Iraq by the end of the year will strengthen Iran’s influence in the region.

While supporting a new round of harsh sanctions against Iran, Tel Aviv has not publicly ruled out the possibility of a military attack. In 1981 and 2007 Israeli airplanes destroyed nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria.  
Campaign of sabotage, assassination
Through the U.N. or individually, Washington and its imperialist allies have already imposed four rounds of sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy by significantly reducing its access to international financial institutions, making trade more expensive. They have also targeted its nuclear program with sabotage and assassinations, particularly of scientists involved in the development of nuclear technology.

On November 12 one of the top commanders in Iran’s ballistic missile program, Brig. Gen. Hasan Moghaddam, was killed along with 16 other Revolutionary Guards members in an explosion that Tehran said was accidental at the Bidganeh military center for missile development and storage. Speculation has since spread that this was an Israeli intelligence operation.

In recent days, the Iranian government also said its computer systems have been attacked by a new virus called Duqu. Its nuclear facilities had already been damaged by another cyberweapon called Stuxnet, setting back its program.

Imperialism’s deep hostility toward Iran began with the 1979 revolution when workers and peasants overthrew the monarchy, a key ally of Washington. Shortly afterwards, a counterrevolutionary bourgeois regime was established through repression of workers and peasants. At the same time the Iranian government has consistently refused to simply bow to imperialism’s diktats.

The Wall Street Journal reported November 11 that, in the context of withdrawing its troops from Iraq, Washington is selling thousands of advanced “bunker-buster” bombs and other munitions to the United Arab Emirates as part of a stepped-up effort to pull together a regional coalition against Iran involving other monarchial regional allies in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta November 10 warned that military actions against Iran could have “unintended consequences” in the region.

Stratfor, a U.S.-based private intelligence and news analysis service, said that after U.S. troops depart form Iraq U.S. State Department personnel and “contractors” will be more vulnerable. It also pointed out that “Iran’s ballistic missiles arsenal can target both American and Israeli targets across the region.” Adding, “Iran has for decades cultivated the ability to essentially conduct guerrilla warfare in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz… . No one can manage the markets’ reaction to even the hint of disruption to 40 percent of the world’s sea-borne crude.”  
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