People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 11, 2007
Iran: Oppose US Provocations
THE United States is moving towards a confrontation with Iran. More than 50 US naval ships, including two aircraft carriers, have been sent to the Persian Gulf. The US has also sent fighter planes to Turkey and other countries near Iran. Increasingly, President Bush and representatives of his administration like Condoleeza Rice and Nicolas Burns are speaking in threatening tones.
After the UN Security Council adopted the resolution imposing sanctions on Iran in December 2006, Bush and his cohorts are ratcheting up the pressure. The opening up of a new front against Iran comes at a time when Bush is despatching 20,000 more troops to Iraq. The violence in Iraq has reached uncontrollable proportions. Despite the quagmire in Iraq, Bush and his cohorts are working methodically to open up a new front against Iran.
While the nuclear issue was the primary pretext for the US hostility, it is now being supplemented by the charge that Iran is helping the Shia and Sunni militias in Iran. US soldiers had entered an Iranian consulate and captured six Iranian nationals a few weeks ago. Bush has ordered elimination of any Iranian operatives who are found to be helping the militants. The cynical use of the nuclear issue and then adding on other reasons for attacking Iran follows the set pattern which the Bush administration adopted towards the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq.
It is at this juncture that the Indian foreign minister has visited Tehran. Prior to his visit, the US ambassador in India, David Mulford, who still believes he can act as the viceroy, announced that the US is following with “interest” the foreign minister’s visit and will be looking for any violations of its Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. Such an open threat against India proceeding with the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline and a long-term agreement to buy liquefied gas did not meet with any response from the government. The UPA government should have told the US ambassador not to issue threats of sanctions and that he has no business to interfere in India’s relations with Iran.
On his arrival in Tehran, the Indian foreign minister announced that India is opposed to military action and wants that the nuclear issue be resolved through dialogue. While this is a correct stand, India should also pursue the gas pipeline project, as it is vital for our energy security. The petroleum minister has announced that the pipeline project has made progress regarding the price of gas to be supplied by the Iranians. If there is a satisfactory conclusion of the gas sales and purchase agreement, the pipeline deal should be signed by June this year.
The UPA government has to strongly come out against the Bush administration’s military mobilisation to intimidate Iran. After the destruction of Iraq, a military attack by the US or Israel on Iran will ignite a wider conflict in West Asia, with incalculable consequences. Iran has to comply with all its obligations as an NPT member and engage with the IAEA, so that its development of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is verified and seen to be legitimate. Both Russia and China who, as permanent members of the Security Council, were party to the resolution imposing sanctions on Iran have to play an important role in halting the latest adventurism of the United States.