By John Wojcik
While President Donald Trump has pulled out of Iran nuke deal, a leader of the secular left in Iran says Trump is stepping up plans for an attack on that country which could trigger a devastating regional war with horrific implications for world peace.
In an exclusive interview with People’s World, Navid Shomali, international secretary of Iran’s Tudeh Party, charged that John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, is assessing military options for an attack on Iran. The administration has already laid groundwork for a potential attack with false claims that Iran has violated terms of the nuclear arms reduction deal it struck with the U.S. and European countries. Israel has also said it has “proof” that Iran is violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Bolton, Shomali noted, “was one of the chief architects of the invasion of Iraq during the presidency of George W. Bush.” During the past 20 years, he said, “Bolton has continually advocated military action against Iran with the aim of regime change.”
In his many appearances on national television, Bolton has called for an attack on Iran—up to and including a full-scale invasion—and for the installation of a new government there. More than once he has said that after toppling the Iranian government, the U.S. should invite surviving members of the American families held hostage in Iran during the Carter administration to the country so they could be part of a triumphal victory “celebration” at the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
Shomali had no kind words for new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been showered with accolades in the media. Even reporters on the liberal MSNBC network have been thanking Pompeo for, unlike Rex Tillerson, inviting them onto his plane as he travels around the world and for restoring what they call “protocol” to the State Department.
“Mike Pompeo also belongs to the reactionary, right-wing tea party faction and subscribes to the notion that military confrontation can be the preferred option in the advancing of U.S. interests,” Shomali said.
He charged that Pompeo’s trip to the Middle East, almost immediately after he was selected to head up the State Department, had the purpose of firming up an alliance involving Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Trump administration. That alliance has as its purpose, Shomali said, the scuttling of the nuclear arms reduction deal with Iran.
Shomali warned in the interview that the threat to peace involves more than just an attack on Iran. “It is no accident,” he said, “that the provocative missile attack on Syria happened right after Pompeo’s talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” The Tudeh Party leader warned that the Trump administration poses a graver threat to peace than any prior U.S. administration, “even more than during the darkest days of the Bush administration.”
When it comes to the fight for peace and the struggle for democracy and justice in his own country, Shomali said that the Iranian government too is pursuing dangerous policies with its interventions in other countries and that it is taking an economic path at home that not only thwarts human rights but hurts the wellbeing of the Iranian working class and its allies. He says that an attack on Iran by the West, however, would give the government an excuse to levy even more repression against its own people.
According to Shomali, the fact that Pompeo traveled to the Middle East on his first international assignment following his confirmation shows the clout and significance that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel enjoy as the U.S. partners in the region. The new secretary of state is hostile to Iran and his views on the Middle East are very similar to those of Trump. Following Netanyahu’s claims regarding Israel’s access to several documents indicating Iran’s violation of its international obligations with regards to nuclear activities, Pompeo stated: “I think the files make very clear that, at the very least, the Iranian regime has continued to lie to their own people.” Regarding the reaction of the U.S. administration to Israel’s claims, Pompeo said that the administration would “leave that to lawyers” and added that, “Ultimately it would be the president who has to verify this and make a decision about the matter.”
It seems that Pompeo’s movements and the comments he made were at least somewhat coordinated with the missile attack on targets in Hama and Aleppo, Syria on the evening of April 29 and the subsequent theatrical press conference at which the Israeli prime minister claimed to have new information about Iran’s violation of its obligations under the terms of JCPOA. In Saudi Arabia, Pompeo claimed that the U.S. and their reactionary Arab kingdom allies in the Persian Gulf “have got a common challenge in Iran” and that “Iran destabilises this entire region,” the Iranian leader said.
The issue is that the new secretary of state, rather than being an expert and careful evaluator of all aspects of the situation in the Middle East so as to be able to give advice to the president about the best course of action, is parroting the same line as the president—thus proving that he has not been appointed to ensure an effective and helpful foreign policy that is tailored to and cognitive of, the volatile international situation.
The fact that only hours after Pompeo left Israel the provocative missile attacks on Syria took place speaks volumes. The U.S. administration is now completely controlled by warmongers and advocates of “regime change.” By the standards of so many other countries and observers, it bears resemblance to a war cabinet—a hawkish administration at the very least.
As Shomali sees it, Germany, France, Britain, and much of the EU are against any tearing up of the JCPOA and will certainly oppose the Trump-Israel-Saudi axis in imposing more sanctions, as they are aware that Iran has fully complied with the terms of the deal. Besides this, these main economic players within Europe are keen to exploit lucrative Iranian markets and hence won’t be inclined to blindly follow the whims of Donald Trump. However, these countries are tied to U.S. policy in certain respects through NATO. In order to keep Germany, France, and Britain onside, the Islamic Republic of Iran has two options available.
The Islamic Republic’s “open-door” economic policy has so far been very attractive to the EU—therefore, the regime will try its utmost to further placate the EU countries with even more economic inducements to major businesses and corporations from the EU. This is aligned with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s neoliberal economic plan to grow Iran’s economy on the basis of further exploitation of Iran’s cheap and non-unionized labor and its natural resources by means of incentivizing EU capital investment with lucrative profit margins.
The government may also opt to eliminate its offensive military capabilities in the region by quickly and fully withdrawing the Revolutionary Guards Corps units it has in neighboring countries and all of its military hardware from across the region.
This costly policy of deploying Iranian fighters in other countries has always been against the national interests of Iran and against the interests of the Iranian people. The policy has now become a major factor increasing the possibility of a direct military conflict with Israel, especially in relation to Syria and Lebanon. (IPA Service)
The writer is editor in chief at Peoplesworld.org