News analysis

The cycle of threats and bullying led by the U.S. in conjunction with the foolish political game played by reactionary rulers in Iran is entering a new and dangerous stage.

Reckless, provocative diplomacy pursued by Iran’s theocratic regime suffered a serious blow Jan. 30 when Russia and China joined U.S. and European efforts to report Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear activities. On Feb. 4 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreed to refer Iran to the Security Council. In response Iran’s government has threatened to resume enrichment of uranium.

Leaders of Iran’s Tudeh Party warned recently that the U.S. and its allies in NATO and the European Union are “using the current situation to advance their colonial policies in the Middle East and especially Iran.”

“We condemn any adventurous military activities in the region and against our country Iran, under any pretext, and warn of disastrous ramifications of such activities for the people of the region and world peace in general,” the Tudeh Party said.

The majority of progressive forces in Iran rightly consider that under international law the nation has the right to peaceful application of nuclear energy. Technically Iran’s nuclear industry is fully compliant with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and IAEA requirements, and there is no tangible evidence pointing to activities consistent with production of nuclear weapons. The Bush administration is artificially creating the conditions for international isolation of Iran via the Security Council. This will provide the White House with an array of options including military offensive to shape events according to its strategic plans.

However, while U.S. warhawks would benefit from exaggerating Iran’s nuclear danger, the Iranian regime is playing a dangerous game in providing the Bush administration with the necessary ammunition. The regime’s stand in the nuclear negotiations isn’t based on protecting Iran’s national interests. It seems that the purpose is to use the crises and the “danger of foreign interference” to silence its internal critics and ensure its own survival at any cost.

Since his rigged election, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration has done nothing to tackle Iran’s massive socio-economic problems. The majority of Iranians continue to endure growing hardship because Iran’s economy is hostage to the combined interests of deeply corrupt high-ranking politicians and parasitic mercantile capitalists. Ahmadinejad’s administration and its backers are part of this power structure. Brutal suppression of the demands of the working people is the usual response of this regime. An example is the vicious attack by security forces against the striking bus drivers and their families in Tehran on Jan. 28 resulting in hundreds of people being jailed.

The vast majority of the Iranian people hold the regime responsible for the socio-economic problems. The regime sees this as a threat. Its response is more oppression and a provocative foreign policy to divert public opinion around bogus nationalism and religious fervor.

The ultraconservative faction within the ruling regime that brought Ahmadinejad to power seeks an enemy and a conflict that can be used as a smokescreen to implement their reactionary objectives. They are trying to militarize the nation and establish a medieval style state to fully consolidate their power. Any escalation of hostilities with the U.S. or Israel will directly play into the hands of the ruling dictatorship.

George Bush in his recent State of the Union speech declared, “Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny — and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom”. This claim can’t be taken seriously, when in the same speech Bush stated that the “U.S. is addicted to oil.”

U.S. foreign politics will continue to be specifically attuned to securing ever-growing cheap and plentiful energy imports. Despite Bush’s talk of ethanol, easy access to and control of Middle East oil remains a long-term U.S. objective. However a democratic Middle East is not conducive to the ruling U.S. economic interests. This is because the people of a democratic state would be empowered to take control of their national wealth.

Enrichment of uranium is Iran’s legitimate right. However, given the aggressive presence of the U.S. in the region, Iran’s representatives should return to the negotiation table with a constructive approach, with the objective of conflict resolution in order to ensure Iran’s immediate security.

Referral of Iran to the UN Security Council is a slippery slop towards unpredictable confrontation. The international community must not allow the Bush administration to dictate the terms of negotiations with Iran.

Nima Kamran is a correspondent for the Tudeh Party of Iran.