July 02, 2018


New Students for a Democratic Society says no to war with Iran and no to National Security Advisor to Trump John Bolton’s statements about pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015. SDS also sees the signs of heightening aggression against Iran in further statements by the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Trump himself, where they threaten war with Iran if Iran were to continue their nuclear program. We want to take a firm stance against this position.

The US and its cronies (namely the UK, Saudi Arabia, and Israel) have continued to pressure Iran for over three decades with some of the most restrictive sanctions in the world. The US’ initial plans for Iran included regime change, but they have been smashed by the strength of the Iranian Revolution. George W. Bush’s claim in January 2002 that Iran was one of three nations that make up a so-called “Axis of Evil” (together with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and Iraq), opened up a new chapter of escalating tensions between the two sides. Iran’s support for anti-imperialist and counter-hegemonic movements in the Middle East could no longer be tolerated, particularly their ardent defense of Palestine against the apartheid regime of Israel.

The most recent upsurge in regime change rhetoric in respect to the Islamic Republic of Iran is not a particularly new development in US foreign policy. Iran has been a target of US and European imperialism for the better part of the last 70 years. In 1953, the democratically elected government of Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown in a US and UK sponsored coup. This illegal action ushered in a 27-year period of dictatorship under the Shah. The popular uprising in 1979 led to the ouster of the US-backed puppet government and the creation of the Islamic Republic as we know it today. This declaration of the self-determination of the Iranian peoples was met from the West by a wave of harsh sanctions aimed at crippling the revolution in its cradle. In addition, the incoming Reagan State Department did everything it could to aid and assist the Iraqi side in the near decade-long Iran-Iraq War from 1980-1988. Despite the odds being stacked against it, Iran prevailed in the conflict and remained steadfast in its independent vision for national and regional development. This was and has remained their cardinal sin.

Unfortunately for the US imperialists (monopoly billionaires), direct confrontation with Iran was off the table after a simulation predicted a defeat for the US military in the case of war. Another, possibly more important factor strengthening the case against direct intervention is the fact that Iran controls as much as 35% of the global oil supply transported by sea through the Strait of Hormuz. Much of US foreign oil imports from the other Gulf Coast countries travel through this area. With the ability to shut this down at a moment’s notice, Iran had a powerful strategic deterrent.

As such, the US began devising a way to circumvent the Strait of Hormuz. Later in 2002, a British think tank called the Chatham House released a document detailing how the US and its partners could shift its oil reliance away from the Middle East and toward West Africa. (Coincidentally, this was the same year that the terrorist group known as Boko Haram was founded.) A second approach has been adopted along the way involving the small country of Yemen and, more specifically, its control of the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandab Strait--an alternative to the path taken by Gulf Coast oil through the Strait of Hormuz. Taking advantage of internal strife, a coalition led by the US and Saudi Arabia began an assault on Yemen in March of 2015. Thanks to the valiant resistance forces in Yemen as well as the utter incompetence of the Saudi military, this plan has yet to bear fruit for the imperialists.

New SDS supports the US staying in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and the G5+1 countries (US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany) in 2015 - otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal - due to the lifting of the sanctions on Iran. That said, we recognize that this did not truly signal a cessation of hostilities on the part of the US. Instead, it represented a tactical shift from open hostility to an approach that was more covert and less easily targeted by the anti-war movement. By fomenting public discontent with their government, the US government hoped to push reactionary sections of the people of Iran to topple the revolution, allowing for the establishment of a puppet regime. This is evident in the recent media response to the relatively minor protests that took place in Iran early this year where the coverage largely misrepresented the issues and the response of the Iranian government. In fact, Bolton has recently stated to the press that he wishes for the success of the Mujahedeen Khalq in toppling the Iranian government.

President Trump, true to his campaign promise, has blown apart this sham deal and returned to a more brazenly pro-interventionist bent in relation to Iran. Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and Trump’s current attorney, recently let slip that the president is totally committed to regime change in Iran. The reimplementation of strict sanctions against the Iranian economy represent unacceptable steps in an escalation toward war with the Islamic Republic.

SDS stands in total opposition to these and all other attempts made on the part of US and Western imperialists and their political lackies to initiate war with Iran! No new sanctions! No US aggression toward Iran!