Donald Trump managed to induce a worldwide state of high anxiety in early January with his assassination of Iran’s high-ranking General Qasem Soleimani, which people feared could lead to outright war between the U.S. and Iran. But measured Iranian retaliation allowed Trump essentially to claim victory and move on — although 176 civilian airline passengers were not so lucky, as a wayward Iranian missile ended their lives.
But what does Trump want relative to Iran? Why all the “maximum pressure”? Erratic as he is, what Trump seeks is simply business as usual: a world, and definitely a Middle East, subject to the economic and military might of the United States. Like his predecessors in the White House, Trump is in charge of keeping “America” on top.
The U.S. is not as dependent on oil from the Middle East as it once was. But it still has massive economic and strategic interests in the region, and the hostile regime in Iran is a thorn in its side. For one thing, Uncle Sam needs trading partners. Trump is trying to force Iran to open its markets to U.S. goods, using economic sanctions, stepped-up confrontations in the Strait of Hormuz, and the pullout from Barack Obama’s nuclear pact.
Of course, he has his own special motivations, too. War or its threat can be a marvelous distraction at a time of inconvenient domestic troubles — like, say, impeachment.
The rationale for the saber-rattling and economic pressure campaign against Iran is its supposed position as the ultimate “evil empire” in the Middle East: sponsor of terrorism, potential nuclear power, and so on. Hand in hand goes the Great Myth that Washington is the preeminent force for peace, justice, and democracy in the area — and the world.
But which government is it that has invaded and laid waste to Afghanistan and Iraq, destabilizing the whole region? Has supported merciless dictators and put down revolutions in the Middle East? Betrayed allies like the Kurds over and over? And, for that matter, been the only government to use nuclear weapons against an enemy?
In fact, Iran would likely be a bourgeois democracy today if U.S. imperialism had not helped to crush every effort of the Iranian people to achieve one and keep it — starting in 1953 with the joint U.S.-British overthrow of elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
Instead, Iran today is an undemocratic theocracy which uses police-state methods to control dissent and keep workers, women, queers, and ethnic and religious minorities under mullahs’ heels.
The Freedom Socialist Party absolutely opposes U.S. sanctions and saber-rattling and imperialist assaults of any kind against Iran. At the same time we support the protesting feminists, youth, and workers of Iran, and we call for the overthrow of the theocracy and its replacement by a socialist government run by the working class.