EDITORIAL: No war on Iran!

As marchers call this weekend for an end to the Iraq war, signs are growing that the U.S. will attack Iran. Some of the Bush administration’s charges sound eerily familiar: a covert nuclear weapons program, support for al-Qaeda, a menace to peace. An underlying motive is also familiar — oil.

Last week John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the UN, ratcheted up the rhetoric still further, claiming that Iran is pursuing not only nuclear weapons, but “the capability through increasingly longer-range and more accurate ballistic missiles … that is obviously very dangerous.”

But the International Atomic Energy Agency has said there is no evidence that Iran has or is developing nuclear weapons. And under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it has signed, Iran has every right to develop nuclear power to generate electricity.

The administration’s war drumbeat has long roots. Long before George W. Bush became president, the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party was trumpeting the need for pre-emptive action to assure continuing unchallenged U.S. world dominance. Under Bush, foreign policy has been militarized and the budget stripped of funds for human needs.

In January 2005 investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reported that U.S. commandos had already conducted raids inside Iran. Hersh said top military officials told him “the next strategic target [after Iraq] was Iran.”

As in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, the U.S. corporate media is participating in the drumbeat, uncritically reporting the administration’s claims. Provocative statements by Iran’s right-wing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have played into this effort.

Some will argue that an administration mired in Iraq, sinking to new lows in the polls and beset by multiple domestic crises, is not likely to start a new war. But others warn that might be seen as a way to silence the opposition.

An attack on Iran would likely be through massive air strikes – a threat made more menacing by Pentagon documents citing likely use of massive “bunker buster” bombs and tactical nukes.

Now is the time to raise the cry, “No war for oil — No war on Iran!”