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The nature of the nuclear agreement between the U.S. and Iran
16 December 2013. A World to Win News Service. Following are edited excerpts from a statement by the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) dated 26 November 2013
Finally, after a year of secret negotiations between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the U.S., a nuclear agreement between Iran and the world’s six most powerful countries has been signed. The agreement recognises Iran’s rights to enrich uranium in the future within “a framework to be agreed by all sides.” The IRI committed itself to never seeking to make or achieve a nuclear bomb under any circumstances. The most important details of this agreement are those that force Iran to reverse the process of developing nuclear technology that brought it close to being able to produce a nuclear bomb.
This agreement is of course a “new start” in relations between the Islamic Republic and the U.S., but it is not a “new start” for the masses of people of Iran. As we said earlier, “with the recent trip of Hassan Rouhani to New York and his telephone contact with Barak Obama, a new process between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran and the US has started that both sides are hoping will lead to the normalization of relations between their two governments. No one, not even the two actors in this project, can predict the final results, because the normalisation of relations between them is closely linked with larger strategic issues that will affect both the regional position of the Islamic Republic and other reactionary states in the Middle East, and also the balance of power among the imperialists powers and the power alignment between the rival factions in the Islamic Republic of Iran.” (Haghighat no. 65, October 2013)
The reason for the strong opposition to this agreement by Israel and Saudi Arabia is not because the agreement does not adequately pressurise the Islamic Republic to destroy its nuclear technology. As some bourgeois observers and analysts have stated, for example William Cohen in The New York Times on 26 November, their concern is the speed with which Iran-U.S. relations are changing and the possible re-drawing of the strategic map of the Middle East. Or as Vali Nasr, the head of international studies at John Hopkins University said, “This is a historic deal… a major seismic shift in the region. It rearranges the entire chess board.” (NYT, 24 November 2013)
Some supporters of the Iranian regime (along with some of leftist and right-wing forces outside the regime) have made a big noise about the agreement similar to their reaction to the presidential election. They describe the Geneva agreement as a “new start” representing “hope” for the people. But this kind of “start” will only benefit the Islamic Republic and help its leaders in their efforts to confuse the people once again and channel the people’s demands for change in ways that consolidate its own position. These illusions and false beliefs are being spread by the Islamic Republic media, with the help, as has been the case for the last 34 years, of religious nationalists and the Tudeh Party and the Fadeyen-Majority [two parties that formerly supported Soviet social-imperialism before the collapse of the USSR and are now doing their best to spread the seeds of compromise with the regime] and the regime’s own “reformists”.
Despite the false propaganda by the heads of the Islamic regime and the inflated posturing of people like [Foreign Minister] Javad Zarif, who said, “We are not puppets and we don’t accept orders from anyone”, “We negotiated from a position of equality” and “Our wise leader was the initiator of the whole plan,” the Geneva agreement and the whole ripening process shows that all of the world’s reactionary regimes must subordinate themselves to the global capitalist-imperialist system, including the IRI that claims to represent a rebellion against that system.
Zarif’s inflated posturing, such as declaring “We made them understand that they had to talk to us as equals” was only the false advertising of a reactionary technocrat in a dominated country. Anyone who has access to the world media knows that the principles of the agreement had already been worked out in secret negotiations between Iran and the U.S. The real point of contention was the language of the agreement. Because IRI trampled upon and openly compromised one of its core values and ideological principles, its so-called opposition to “the Great Satan”, the U.S., Zarif and his team wanted the text to be written in a way that would minimize its impact and that of the regime’s U-turn inside Iran (on the social bases of the IRI and different factions of the regime) and save face for the IRI inside and outside Iran. In the world imperialist hierarchy, “positions of equality” are reserved for the six main powers who took part in the Geneva talks [the “5+1”, the five nuclear-armed permanent members of the UN Security Council – the U.S., UK, France, Russia and China – plus Germany], in addition to Japan, which was not among them.
There is the very obvious fact that Iran’s economy is regulated by the economic institutions of capitalist-imperialist system such as the World Bank and IMF, which decide its position and functioning in the world economic system. But the IRI is also politically managed and controlled by political institutions such as the UN and its resolutions and specifically the 5+1, including China and Russia, the powers that claim to be “protectors” of dominated countries such as Iran.
In fact, the dependence of the dominated countries on one or another big power is also part of the imperialist global management structure. For example, at the Geneva meeting some big powers (China and Russia) took the position of supporting or “guarding” the IRI, and others took the opposite position. There is a rivalry among these powers over who will control the dominated countries. This contradiction between the political and economic interests of the big powers allows the countries such as Iran under the IRI to play an “independent” role and use that against the Iranian people.
What is and what should be
Some people incorrectly think that “U.S.-style democracy and economic growth would come to Iran if relations with the U.S. are normalised.” This is as incorrect as the idea that the Islamic Republic can be reformed. Such illusions within some sections of the masses are a big obstacle to organising a movement for revolution. To confront such ideas and make the masses conscious is one of the important tasks of revolutionary communists.
As we have previously mentioned, “to eliminate these kinds of false hopes it should be enough to look at countries similar to Iran that have not been subject to the international system’s sanctions. Egypt and Tunisia experienced far greater economic growth than some similar countries, but the poverty and the misery of the working class and peasants in these countries and other toilers increased in parallel to this ‘growth’. Egypt’s annual rate of economic growth from 1980 until 2011 was 5 percent. This is a growth rate that would meet the wishes of the IRI and many regimes in dominated countries, but Egypt had an unemployment rate of about 50 percent and a rate of inflation of about 20 percent. Its poverty provided a situation in which Islamic fundamentalists forces such as the Moslem Brotherhood, the Salafists and Islamic tribal forces in the Sinai Peninsula flourished. There is no doubt that with the lifting of sanctions some sectors of Iran’s economy such as the auto assembly and spare parts industries will recover, but these industries employ only a small percentage of workers. Future economic development will not reduce the massive number of youth seeking jobs, poverty and misery in the slums… The country’s millions of working people, old and young, constitute the biggest force for the development of the economy, but the functioning of IRI’s economic system, with or without sanctions, is destroying that potential.
“The lifting of the sanctions will not change the logic of the IRI’s economic system, and further, that system will function with increasing brutality. There is only one way to confront this vicious, man-eating machine: by launching a movement for revolution among the country’s massive force of workers and jobless, including the Afghanistanis, Kurds, Turks, Persians, Balochi, Arabs and Turkemen, to fight united under the flag of the international proletariat, not only for the liberation of the people of Iran but also for the liberation of the proletariat and peoples of the Middle East and the emancipation of the whole humanity from the grips of the oppression and exploitation of the capitalist system.” (Haghighat no. 65, October 2013)
Anyone who thinks that the “normalisation” of relations between the IRI and the U.S. will remove the danger of another war in the Middle East should open their eyes. Rouhani, in his UN speech on 24 September 2013, stated that the U.S. and IRI have a common interest in confronting “terrorists” such as Al-Qaeda. In this way the IRI is committing itself to join the U.S. wars on “terrorism” in the Middle East. The entrance of the IRI in these dirty wars will not lift the shadows of war darkening Iran’s sky but rather worsen the situation of the peoples in the Middle East in various ways.
There is only one way to change the reactionary and horrific balance of forces in Iran and the region: to launch a movement for the revolutionary overthrow of the IRI under the leadership of a communist program. The only way to respond to the present dangerous situation is to expand the revolutionary alternative in all parts of the country and within all different sections of the people…
In the present situation we should make all efforts to form a solid core of professional revolutionaries, women and men equipped with the scientific theory of communism and committed to a conscious struggle for that goal. Without meeting these necessities we will not be able to prepare millions of oppressed and exploited masses for that kind of revolution and lead them in carrying it out.