By Mike Talavera
On June 21, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced a new round of economic sanctions against Iran, claiming the move was unrelated to Iran shooting down a Global Hawk spy drone the day before. The Trump administration has doubled down on its policy of economic intimidation to avoid military action in the region, but the influence of the rising imperialist countries, namely Russia and China, will likely undermine this strategy, making imperialist war the only alternative. This eventuality will allow the US to enforce its global domination in the short-term, but will add to the enormous debt of blood that the imperialists will one day be forced to repay.
Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers were damaged in the Gulf of Oman on June 13, incidentally when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Shortly after the incident, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being behind it, presenting questionable evidence to support the allegation. The act of imperialist theater was reminiscent of the presentation previous Secretary of State Colin Powell gave to the UN in 2003, “proving” that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
This was not the only time oil tankers were damaged in the region recently. In May, two Saudi oil tankers and two other ships near the coast of the United Arab Emirates also experienced unexplained accidents.
Today, Iran ranks among the world’s top oil-producing countries. The US performed its first regime change operation since WWII in 1953, when it worked with British intelligence to overthrow Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and reinforce the feudal rule of Mohammad Reza Shah. The spoils of this coup d’etat included a new agreement that compelled Iran to split the profits of its oil industry with the Western imperialists. When the Islamic government deposed the Shah in 1979 following a mass anti-US movement, these international agreements were cancelled.
Since then, Iran has been a target of US imperialists who are eager to reclaim their stake of the country’s profitable natural resources.
The recent series of sanctions against Iran began after the Trump administration pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, in May of last year. The plan had been negotiated by the former Obama administration along with the European Union, Russia, China, and other countries, reaching a conclusion in 2015. It mainly set terms whereby Iran’s elimination and reduction of its various uranium stockpiles would result in sanctions relief.
Starting in August of last year, the US has imposed numerous new sanctions against several key Iranian industries, including its oil industry. The Iranian rial has gone through rapid inflation in the meantime, and the Iranian people have suffered as a result.
Despite the US facing little resistance in imposing this crackdown, the imperialist superpower does not have Iran completely under its thumb. This week Russia announced that it would be taking steps to help Iran export oil, circumventing US sanctions.
Not only would Russia benefit from exporting finance capital to Iran to help its banking sector, but it will increase its own oil exports through the offshore Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Likewise, this will service the economies of European countries. The bourgeois European leaders have struggled to maintain the Iran nuclear deal on account of what they stand to gain from the trade relationship, and have also gone against US dictates in setting up a non-dollar trade channel with Iran known as The Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).
Social-imperialist China has also disobeyed US sanctions, most notably when tech giant Huawei was found to have financial accounts in Iran last year. Canadian authorities detained the company’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou last December at the Vancouver International Airport and quickly extradited her to the US to face multiple fraud charges for breaking the sanctions.
More recently, Chinese social imperialists have risked retribution from the US by purchasing liquefied petroleum gas from Iran, which they had previously bought from the US before a 25% tariff was placed on the commodity last August as part of the trade dispute between the two imperialist countries.
The US is more than aware of its imperialist challengers, who are ready and willing to exploit the oppressed nation of Iran. On May 5, the US military deployed an aircraft carrier strike group to the region and has sent thousands of additional troops there since then.
After the US drone was shot down this week, President Donald Trump claimed that an airstrike had been ordered to retaliate but that he had called it off at the last minute. In a tweet, he claimed the mission was aborted to save lives, but the far more probable reason is that the Trump administration is aware of the risk to US interests a military intervention would pose at this time.
The imperialist oppression of Iran will not be resolved through diplomacy, nor will it be resolved by other imperialist nations superseding US imperialism.
Like other oppressed nations, Iran will be a site of growing rage against imperialism as its resources are plundered and its people terrorized. Most of the people on earth live in the oppressed nations of the world and face the forces of reaction backed by imperialism daily.
These are the masses that history has dubbed the undoers of imperialism, and will render reaction a distant memory. As the US and other imperialist countries are compelled to stretch the reach of their militaries in order to subdue the rebellious masses of Iran and other oppressed nations, the more quickly people’s wars from within and without will tear them apart.