Written by IWL-FI
Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:48
A pact against the revolution in North Africa and the Middle East
On Sunday, November 24th an agreement regarding Iranian nuclear problem was signed between Iran and the 5+1 Group, constituted by the five permanent members of Security Council of the UN (China, USA, France, UK and Russia) plus Germany. It was signed with six months’ validity.
According to this agreement, Iran accepts not to enrich uranium more than 5%, a level sufficing only for use in nuclear power plants for energy production – while the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees up to 20% uranium enrichment, whose current stock will be diluted or converted into rust and Iran will not be allowed to build new centrifugals (devices used for enrichment of uranium) or new nuclear facilities. Furthermore, Iranian agrees to accept daily inspections of technicians from International Atomic Energy Agency, organ of the UN, in their premises and to freeze the construction of a reactor for heavy water production used for the extraction of plutonium in the vicinity of Arak.
In return, the USA agree to release $6000 to 7000 million, nearly $4 000 million of which come from the funds spawned by the sale of oil and are held captive in banks due to economic sanctions adopted by the UN against Iran. It is all about a small portion of money held captive in international banks, assessed at $100 000 million apart from the sanctions that are still valid.
The reactions to this agreement varied. Presidents Obama of the USA and Hassan Rouhani of Iran shook hands. The former declared that this was the most significant diplomatic progress of his administration to guarantee that Iran “will not build nuclear armaments” while Rouhani said that now “acknowledges the nuclear rights” of his country by allowing the continuity of enrichment of uranium, ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of the nation, blesses the agreement highlighting that it is the base for future progress and that the prayers of the people had contributed to its success.
On the other hand, Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, described the agreement as “an error of historic proportions” and “extremely dangerous”. Right from the first moment, Arabia Saudi and the countries of the Persian Gulf as well as the defeated French President, François Hollande, who said that he had “always been a friend of Israel” together with sectors of Republicans and democrats from the American Congress belonging to the Israeli “lobby” lined up at his side.
For the IWL-FI, the background that conditioned this movement is the revolutionary process that shakes the regions since early 2011. That is to say, the target of this agreement is counterrevolutionary: it pretends to stabilise the region by means of the defeat of the revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa, and it is a step taken by the Iranian regime tending towards the capitulation and the loss of their national sovereignty by abandoning another element of their relative economic independence achieved with the 1979 revolution that defeated the pro-imperialist regime of the pro-imperialist Shah Reza Pahlevi.
American imperialism has managed to prevent Iran from develop in their own nuclear technology – a democratic right of any country on earth – and so concentrate the monopoly of the nuclear menace in their own and in those of their servile servants such as Israel: precisely the most belligerent countries in the world The USA is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons, destroying the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the II World War. It is, by far, the owner of the greatest military and nuclear devices in the world and what they want is to ensure their dominion using the nuclear menace as well against all those who may dare to challenge their domination.
We wish to ponder on this item together with all the activists who, due to the favourable repercussion in most of the media and the governments, hailed the agreement believing that it was a step towards peace and a solution of the conflicts in the Middle East.
Behind this agreement on the nuclear policy there is another direct consequence: that the USA have managed to make a new ally for their policy of defeating the revolutionary process in the region – the epicentre of which today is Syria – by means of diplomatic negotiations. Ever since the episode of the threat to intervene later on suspended via Russian proposal, the USA have been trying to achieve a forum that would make the different parties negotiate and put an end to the civil war. As a “reward” for having yielded in the nuclear issue and for their willingness to cooperate, Iran will have a seat – next to Russia – in the January negotiations, organised by the USA, the target of which is to reach an agreement that will maintain the dictatorial regime in Syria even if changes would have to be introduced, with or without Assad.
Sanctions and support for Assad drove Iran to a grievous economic situation
One of the crucial points of the agreement was the alleviation of the economic sanctions imposed by the UN on Iran. These include the freezing of the funds deposited in foreign banks and obtained from the sale of oil – this product stands for 80% of the exports of Iran -, limitation and gradual reduction of the limits of exports, prohibition of opening of Iranian banks abroad, purchase of exclusively humanitarian goods and of products not sanctioned in the countries where the money is deposited. Among the sanctioned products we can see equipment for nuclear, petrochemical and oil industries and even spare parts for airplanes.
The outcome of three years of application of these measures, combined with the world economic crisis is the quasi economic paralysis of Iran. The country had negative growth rates (GDP),, according to IMF, in 2012 (-1.9%) – after a fall of 5.9% in 2010 and of 3% in 2011 – and a forecast of further downslide in 2013 (-1.5%).
Oil exports fell 45% in October, 715 000 barrels a day and the production is the smallest since 1989 when the country was razed to the ground after the war with Iraq. Local currency, the rial, lost 60% of its value since 2010 and the inflation soared from 12.4% in 2010 to 30.4% in 2912 and over 40% in the first semester in 2013. Inflation together with increasing unemployment (12.2% in 2012 and 13.2% in 2013 according to IMF) spawns great discontent among the population.
Furthermore material support to Assad aggravates the economic situation. Iranian financing for the intervention of Hezbollah and of Iraqi Shiite militia AsaibAhl al-Haq in Syria had already produced about $ 9 000 million apart from providing weapons and military experts that used up other thousands of millions and loans granted to the government as aid of $3 000 million promised to Assad in June. That is why the political and economic costs of the support for Assad led some analysts to cal Syria the Vietnam of Iran.
Revolutions in the Middle East and in North Africa jeopardise Iranian regime
When the revolution started in North Africa, Iranian population had already starred in great mobilisations in 2009, when the victory in the first round of elections of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, presidential candidate for re-election, contested by the candidates Mir-Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, in the midst of accusations of electoral fraud.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators walked out into the streets, defying government’s orders and were brutally repressed by the police and by the bands of the paramilitaries of the regime, the Basii. Thousands were jailed and tortured and 72 were killed, in accordance with the reports from the opposition. Protests continued even after Ahmadinejad took over and that was a first signal of warning for the government.
On 14th February 2011 new demonstrations began directly influenced by the fall of Ben Ali on 14th January and Hosni Mubarak on 11 February. They continued in smaller degree up to mid April and were equally brutally repressed as two years before with jail for opponents related to the regime itself – as Mousavi and Karraubi. Other were dismissed from office and replaced: press suffered censorship; there were further imprisonments and deaths of demonstrators.
Even if the beginning of a new revolution was curtailed, the regime suffered a process of crisis and, in order to save it, the Ayatollah Khamenei withdrew his support for president Ahmadinejad and accused him of corruption because sustaining the policy of repression against mass movement in combination with the anti-USA and anti-Israel rhetoric was turning increasingly difficult, Actually, ever since 2005, Ahmadinejad has been trying to reach an agreement with imperialism on the nuclear issue, but he continued with his “in defence of sovereignty” discourse.
The change of policy was to come in July, with the victory of Hassan Rouhani in the first round of elections. A man of the regime, Rouhani managed to capitalise the feeling for a change when he defended economic recovery and approximation to the “western powers”. One of the most emblematic phrases for all this policy was, “It is good to have the centrifuges operating, but it is also important that the country should work and that the wheels of industry move.” After his victory he asserted that the government was going to “re-launch constructive understanding with the world, insure national interest and end unfair sanctions”.
Faced with economic crisis and the pressure from the mass movement demanding a change in the policy, the regime opted for seeking salvation along the path of rapprochement and submission to the main enemy of the masses, American imperialism. It is preventive policy meant to prevent Iranian people from rising against the dictatorial regime following the example of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
A Bonapartist regime, produce of an interrupted revolution
This statement may sound contradictory with the anti-imperialist fame achieved by the ayatollahs of Iran boosted by their verbal aggressions against the USA and broadcast by the Castro-Chavist trends.
This fame is rooted in a much deeper process: the 1979 Iranian revolution. It was a revolution of the toiling masses with a great proletarian participation and it even reached the level of dual power organisms (the shoras) and a general strike of the oil workers.
The murderous regime of the puppet of imperialism, Shah Reza Pahlevi, was toppled; nonetheless, the leadership of this revolution was the high hierarchy of the Shiite Muslim church because there was no revolutionary leadership that would lead the working class to overcome the religious leadership of that moment. The immense prestige gained by the ayatollahs made the task of interrupting this revolution much easier through a violent attack on workers and their political and union organisations while using anti-imperialist rhetoric to justify their misdoings. The “regime of the ayatollahs” was consolidated by Khomeini (the first “supreme leader” in that country) who took advantage of the invasion of Iran by Sadam Hussein of Iraq. The war lasted eight years and served the purpose of establishing a permanent stage of siege and, in the name of the defence of the country, to arrest and execute thousands of opponents of the regime; many of them were of the left.
But we must not mix up the Iranian revolution, objectively anti-imperialist and socialist, with their counterrevolutionary leadership that built an Islamic theocratic State with a dictatorial regime and ever ready to negotiate with imperialism.
This happened, for example, in 1979, during the so-called “Hostage crisis”, when activists held 66 American officials imprisoned in their embassy. The government capitulated shamelessly accepting to set them free in consideration of $11 000 million (in those days) held in financial institutions and with a $5 000 million to pay for fraudulent loans accomplished by Pahlevi.
In the same way, they prevent the development of the revolutionary process in the entire region and depending on specific interest; they abandon any anti-imperialist fantasy to benefit from these actions. This led them to act as accomplices in the imperialist interventions, such as the recent invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan by the USA and to uphold the puppet Al Maliki administration in Iraq and consequently the occupation by the USA: Al Maliki is firmly connected to the government of Iran. The same thing can be said about the Lebanon agreements, where Iranian and Syrian governments accepted the “peace troops” of the UN.
This phenomenon is common to all the bourgeois nationalist trends surfaced in the entire Arab world in the 1950s. Initially, in the post-war, they rebelled against imperialist domination of England and France. The president of Egypt, Nasser, nationalised the Suez Channel and formed together with the Baath party of Syria, the United Arab Republic against the pro-western regimes. They have always been inconsistent as every bourgeois nationalism is, but as from the 80s they have been yielding and abandoning their old postures and turning into agents of imperialism. The cartoonish expression of the fate of Nasser’s Pan-Arabism is Mubarak and, in the case of Baath, the dictator al-Assad.
Since 1979, Islamic fundamentalism of the ayatollahs occupied the space that Pan Arabism left vacant, but they suffer from the same “evil” of the entire national bourgeoisie. Fearing – and quite right about that – in their headway the masses may overwhelm their leadership and destroy bourgeoisie as such, every time this seems necessary, they will ally themselves to imperialism in order to repress the entire Middle East.
A step forwards for imperialism within a framework of defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan
In September 2011 we were working out a balance sheet to the 10 years after the raid on the “twin towers” and we asserted that “the defeat of Bush opened a deep crisis in the political leadership of American imperialism. Faced with a negative reality (two wars – Iraq and Afghanistan – in very unfavourable situation, deep economic crisis) most of the bourgeoisie bet on Obama to achieve a “change of faces” fitting the new tactics: advance with negotiations and “consensus” to achieve what they were losing facing massive struggles and due to economic crisis”.
This new tactic, spawned by the so-called “Iraq syndrome” that prevents imperialism from carrying out new military invasions to impose their policies – as we could recently see in Syria – he has now managed to take a first step that leaves him in a better situation to face the revolution in the region, to drown revolution – not in blood as Iran wanted – but in counterrevolutionary pacts.
That is why, the USA “stands detached” from two of the traditional allies in the region: Israel and Saudi Arabia, who insist on having the same policy as in the “days of Bush”. Israel wanted frontal war with Iran to smash their nuclear facilities and Saudi Arabia, whose king is historic vassal of imperialism, wishes to remain as the preferred ally of the USA in the Arab world and regards Iran as a dangerous adversary.
The USA also reassert their might in the imperialist world, forcing France to accept what used to seem unacceptable, and they show that they have a global policy in the Middle East and regard the revolutionary process as a whole, seeking comprehensive solutions to defeat this process.
A counterrevolutionary agreement that does not stabilise the region
As we mentioned above, this is a counterrevolutionary agreement as a whole, where Iran is just a part of the whole pack of interlocutors for the USA in the region and not an awkward “enemy”. That is so, because now both have the same strategy: defeat the revolution underway even if they still differ as to the tactics.
The loss of sovereignty by Iran may be, in turn, the beginning of a process of re-colonisation of the country that will be the target for “investments” of oil multinational eager to grab hold of the enormous Iranian reserves.
And yet it is not the same to make dome agreements and something altogether different is to impose it on the masses. We are facing one of the most important revolutionary processes in today’s world. It is a area in convulsions, in one of the regions with the greatest social unevenness, in the midst of a world crisis that leaves no room for deep concessions for the population or for the building of democratic regimes where workers are free to fight for their demands. The contrary is true, the policy if the USA is to change the faces of the rulers without changing the dictatorial essence of the regimes.
In Iran, in spite of the fact that the new government emerges stronger, the atmosphere of victory may make workers feel more confident to move for better living standards and for the right to union and party organisations apart from democratic demands such as freedom to oppose, freedom of press, freedom for women and other rights that clash in head-on collision with the dictatorial regime.
The IWL-FI is frontally opposed to this agreement. We call on the Iranian toiling mass to repudiate it; on Syrian rebels and all the people in the region to expose it as another counter-revolutionary attempt and on workers of the USA and of the whole world to take positions against this agreement and to demand the end of American interference in the world. We must put an end to this logic according to which the USA are entitled to giving orders and violating the sovereignty of countries, which is what Obama is now doing and which is nothing but the continuity of the Bush policy by other means. Only the expansion and deepening of the revolutions underway and moving towards socialism can provide thorough solutions for the peoples of the region. That is why it is necessary to build a revolutionary leadership that will expose the capitulations of these counterrevolutionary leaders and will fight effectively against the yoke of imperialism, task to which the IWL commits all our efforts.