Iran: Sanctions stunt backfires on imperialism

Efforts by Washington to retard Iran’s economic development, undermine her sovereignty and isolate her from the community of nations are backfiring badly.  The passage on 9th June of a watered-down sanctions resolution at the UN, hailed by Iran’s enemies as an international endorsement of Washington’s illegitimate challenge to the right of small nations to choose their own energy policies, has only served to highlight the failure in reality of US imperialism to whip the rest of the world into line.

The UN resolution, curbing certain financial transactions and arms deals, is only of decisive value for Washington if it can serve as cover for a series of additional sanctions invented by Washington itself.  The plan is to use the borrowed authority of the UN to serve as a phony pretext for the US to declare economic war on any country that buys Iran’s oil and gas or sells her back refined petroleum. The signs are, however, that US imperialism can no longer count upon the ready compliance of other countries with its arrogant unilateral diktats.  Both Turkey and Brazil, whose proposals for a nuclear fuel swap deal to break the diplomatic jam were contemptuously dismissed by the US, voted against the sanctions resolution.  And whilst both then gave wary formal assent to the diluted resolution, a comment from Turkey’s finance minister revealed the true state of play: “We will fully implement UN resolutions, but when it comes to individual countries’ demands for extra sanctions, we do not have to,”

The fact is that fear of US bullying is increasingly being countered by fear of the economic consequences of allowing this piratical interference to foul up normal trading relations with the Persian Gulf. As the global overproduction crisis grows sharper, such considerations acquire greater urgency.  Total, for example, along with other European refiners confronted with the loss of their lucrative export market in the Persian Gulf, are now facing their lowest returns on processing crude since December.

Similarly the decision of India’s Reliance Industries to buckle to US pressure and stop supplying petrol to Iran means that company must now suffer crippling shipping costs to switch its export to the USA instead. Meanwhile Iran has been spurred into developing her own refining capacity, assisted by her neighbours, most notably China. 

Where not so long ago the imperialist media were triumphantly pointing at the acquiescence of Russia and China with the sanctions resolution as a great diplomatic coup, the mood has grown a lot gloomier of late, best summed up by the Bloomberg 9th August headline wailing “Iran Sanctions Leave China, Russia as Winners in Trade”. Whilst cracks run through the anti-Iran lobby, it seems that neighbourly economic relations appear to be flourishing across the region as never before. The Bloomberg report anguishes that “Sanctions punishing Iran for its nuclear program are deepening the country’s ties with China and handing Russia opportunities to sell more gasoline while hurting suppliers in Europe and India”.  China’s Vice Premier, speaking after talks with Iranian officials in Beijing concerning Chinese help in developing Iran’s own refining capacity, confirmed that China is Iran’s main economic partner.  Meanwhile, Bloomberg quotes a representative of Moscow’s Chamber of Commerce announcing on 29th July that Russian companies are discussing “serious deliveries” to Iran in late August or September.  Just to complete this tale of woe for Obama, Aljazeera reported on 13th August that Russia is now set to start loading fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant.  The plant, constructed by Russia in Bushehr, had been the subject of lengthy diplomatic wrangling, with Washington piling on the pressure to stop the commissioning.  This represents a major step on the road to energy independence for the Iranian nation.

There was a striking indication of the degree to which US control over affairs in Iran’s immediate neighbourhood is slipping on 5th August when Tehran hosted a meeting of Persian-speaking countries, attended by representatives from Iran Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Given that Afghanistan remains under illegal occupation by American and British troops and its “president” is a puppet installed by NATO, it was somewhat remarkable that Karzai not only attended the Tehran meeting but even joined with Ahmadinejad and the Tajik president in announcing their support for peaceful nuclear energy! Whatever double game Karzai was playing, Ahmadinejad spoke the unvarnished truth when he said that cooperation among the three countries was essential, adding that “Those who came to this region from Europe, NATO forces or others who are in our proximity, do not like to see Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan… develop and that is why these three countries are under such pressure.”

In Afghanistan, it will be the anti-imperialist resistance that opens the path to development.  Meanwhile the Iranian revolution has its own development agenda clear: develop nuclear power so as to (a) free up more of Iran’s oil and gas for export in the medium term and (b) secure her energy needs in the longer term in the event of fossil fuel depletion.  At the same time Iran’s refining capacity is to be developed with Chinese help, and exploitation of existing resources of crude oil will be extended with the assistance of Turkish and other companies. Unfazed by all the aggressive rhetoric from the US, Iran plans to construct a third uranium enrichment plant by next spring, in addition to the sites at Natanz and Qom.

Iran continues to face down all of imperialism’s provocations with a calm refusal to accept any infringement on her independence and sovereignty.  Iran, unlike nuclear-armed Israel a willing signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has made it plain that she will not accept any restrictions upon nuclear development over and above those stipulated in the NPT. Indeed, a recent law explicitly forbids the government to go beyond the NPT provisions, and also instructs it “to reciprocate, one way or another, in dealing with countries which inspect Iranian vessels”.

Let the USA and Israel take note.

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