Evidence has come to light (NBC news) that President Trump first authorized the assassination of Iranian military leader Qassim Soleimani last June. This effectively undercuts Trump’s story that he ordered the Jan. 3 strike that killed Soleimani to foil an impending Iranian attack on U.S. embassies.
In fact, U.S. aggression against Iran can be traced back to 1953, when President Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a U.S.-abetted coup. That brought in the Shah, the major U.S. policeman in the region. In the 1980s, the U.S. fanned the flames of the Iran-Iraq war, which killed over one million people. In 1988, the U.S. shot down an Iranian airliner, killing 290 Iranian civilians. Beginning in 1984, the U.S. has imposed sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy and impoverished its people.
Since the Trump White House re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran in 2018, the threat of outright warfare has been bubbling under the surface. Following its unilateral exit from the “Iran Deal,” the U.S. attempted to force a wedge between the Iranian and world economies in an effort to drive Iranian capitalism into a crisis it hoped to exploit to gain back influence lost after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. At least 14,000 U.S. troops have been moved into countries bordering Iran. However, despite spending over $5 trillion on military activity in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan since 2001, the ability of U.S. companies to decide how the region’s resources are used has declined.
During the scramble for influence between imperialist and regional powers, working people have rebelled throughout the Middle East. In Iraq, working people built mass demonstrations that called for an overturn of the corruption-plagued regime and an end to the sectarian-based governmental system. Demands were raised that both the U.S. and Iran withdraw their military forces from the country. Protests in Iran were ignited by plans to raise fuel prices against the background of falling living standards that have been exacerbated by U.S. sanctions. Over 1500 protesters were reported killed by government repression.
It is likely that the U.S. saw Iran’s weakness in confronting the protests as a factor in its decision to escalate tensions at this time. The U.S. hopes that carrying out demoralizing military actions in addition to its program of sanctions will force Iran to acquiesce to its economic and political terms. And now the major European powers, with a nod to Trump, have voted to strengthen their sanctions against Iran.
U.S. military intervention makes it more difficult for people in Iran to struggle against their government in order to gain a more just and equitable society. And indeed, for some days, it appeared that the Jan. 3 assassination would have the effect of insulating the Iranian regime against the anger of working people. But following Iran’s blatant cover-up of its Jan. 9 missile attack on a civilian airliner, which killed 176, Iranian protesters quickly returned to the streets in fury.
In the United States, some Democratic Party politicians have tried to use the Soleimani assassination as a ploy to embarrass Trump. And yet, the Democrats are complicit in approving funds for U.S. wars and bases in the Middle East. A more effective deterrent to U.S. warmaking appeared immediately after the assassination, when emergency antiwar protests were organized in dozens of cities throughout the United States. The antiwar movement will take another significant step on Saturday, Jan. 25, when coordinated nationwide demonstrations are planned. What is needed next is the construction of broad inclusionary coalitions oriented to working people and their organizations, especially anchored by unions, community organizations, organizations of oppressed nationalities, and student groups who wish to build united mass-action antiwar demonstrations that are independent of the Democratic Party.
No U.S. attacks on Iran!
End the sanctions!
U.S. out of the Middle East!