Iran and the G-20 meeting
Creating a crisis to cover divisions
Published Oct 4, 2009 11:47 PM
The G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh gathered the finance ministers, top bankers and
political leaders of the world’s largest economies, ostensibly to take up
the most serious economic collapse of capitalism in three generations. Instead,
they attacked Iran.
Without proposing measures to ameliorate the suffering of the hundreds of
millions of workers who have lost their jobs, without announcing jobs programs
or infrastructure construction, U.S., British and French imperialism joined
together with bombast to threaten Iran on totally fabricated charges. They have
demanded that the United Nations Security Council and members of the G-20
collaborate on a new round of sanctions against Iran.
Emergency economic proposals were not even on the agenda.
In a theatrical press conference on Sept. 25, flanked by French President
Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel delayed but on her way, President Barack Obama declared that Iran
was threatening the stability and security of the region and the world. Refusal
to “come clean,” he said, “is going to lead to
Sarkozy and Brown denounced Iran and explicitly demanded harder sanctions.
They threatened a military strike, saying that “all options are on the
table with regard to Iran.”
This whole scenario shows that these bankers, finance ministers and politicians
have no solutions for the crisis wracking the globe. They used the summit to
justify the bailout of the banks and to give vague assurances of future
economic recovery. The trillions of dollars handed over to the banks is the
greatest redistribution of national treasuries in human history.
Unable to reach agreement on regulating international banking, trade or any
aspect of international finance capital, which has spread chaos through the
entire world, the imperialists gave the appearance of unified purpose by making
ominous threats against Iran. All the corporate media loyally fell in line. No
journalists dared to ask about the havoc arising from the capitalist economic
system or what solutions the imperialists proposed. All the media snapped to
attention and joined in demonizing Iran.
Iran in full compliance
In the face of such an onslaught of war propaganda, it is important to review
Iran is fully in compliance with all international agreements, including the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and International Atomic Energy Agency
guidelines and reporting regulations. The IAEA is the U.N.’s nuclear
The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty guarantees all nations the right to
develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. According to IAEA reports, Iran
is enriching uranium to less than 5 percent. At this level of purity, the
uranium is useful for peaceful nuclear-based electricity generation but is well
below the 90-percent U-235 needed for nuclear weapons. Iran possesses no
facility with that capacity. (www.iaea.org)
Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, told Press TV on
Sept. 27 that IAEA safeguard agreements call for nations to inform it of the
existence of a new enrichment plant at least six months or 180 days before the
introduction of nuclear materials into the facility. Iran notified the IAEA on
Sept. 21, which is 18 months in advance.
This second, smaller facility outside Qom, Iran, is an empty building. It has
no nuclear material at this time and no equipment for enrichment has been
installed yet. The small-scale site is meant to house no more than 3,000
centrifuges—many fewer than the 8,000 machines at Natanz, Iran’s
other enrichment facility.
“It is a very ordinary facility in the beginning stages” and 18
months away from operation, President Ahmadinejad said at a Sept. 25 news
conference in New York. “It is not a secret facility. If it was, why did
we inform the IAEA ahead of time? ... What we did was completely legal,
according to the law,” the Iranian president said. “We have
informed the agency, the agency will come and take a look and produce a report,
and it’s nothing new.”
The Iranians also said that the facility was hardly clandestine. Nor is it a
surprise, as U.S., Britain and France have claimed. These same countries also
state that they have known about it for three years. Both the U.S. and the
French have presented aerial photos of the construction, and U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that the U.S. knew of the plant before Iran
Is Iran really a threat?
The U.S. still has thousands of nuclear weapons. It is the only country that
has ever used a nuclear weapon and the only country that has time and again
threatened to use nuclear weapons. The U.S. refused to abide by the Nuclear
Test Ban Treaty and the U.S. Congress has never ratified it.
Israel clearly has uranium enrichment facilities and is estimated to possess 60
to 400 thermonuclear weapons. Israel refuses to abide by any international
agreements or any inspections. Yet every U.S. administration has been
completely silent on Israel’s nuclear enrichment and weapons program.
Thirteen countries presently enrich uranium. Argentina, Brazil, South Africa
and Australia have also announced plans to begin enriching uranium.
Twenty-eight countries have nuclear energy plants, with the largest number of
power plants being in the U.S. Another 10 countries without plants have plans
to build one. Yet only Iran and North Korea are ever challenged or
Iran has consistently supported the creation of a nuclear-weapons-free zone in
the Middle East and proposed the concept in a joint resolution in the U.N.
IAEA and Iran
Iran has not only agreed to more stringent IAEA inspections than other nations,
it has also offered to operate the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz as a
multinational fuel center with the participation of foreign representatives.
Iran has further renounced plutonium reprocessing and agreed to immediately
fabricate all enriched uranium into reactor fuel rods. This offer by Iran to
open its uranium enrichment program to foreign private and public participation
follows suggestions of an IAEA expert committee.
Despite all these agreements, Washington has insisted that Iran must totally
suspend its entire enrichment program.
The IAEA released its own statement on Sept. 17, saying, “With respect to
a recent media report, the IAEA reiterates that it has no concrete proof that
there is or has been a nuclear weapon program in Iran.”
The September-October issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists publishes an
interview with IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei. In the course of
the interview he declared: “We have not seen concrete evidence that
Tehran has an ongoing nuclear weapons program. ... But somehow, many people are
talking about how Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest threat to the
world. ... In many ways, I think the threat has been hyped.” These
authoritative statements and words of caution are totally ignored by the wild
circus of the imperialist media.
Around the world the imperialist countries are isolated on this issue. On Sept.
16, 2006, in Havana, Cuba, all the 118 Non-Aligned Movement member countries,
at the summit level, declared their support of Iran’s civilian nuclear
program in their final written statement. The Non-Aligned Movement represents a
majority of the 192 countries in the U.N.
Again on July 30, 2008, the Non-Aligned Movement welcomed the continuing
cooperation of Iran with the IAEA and reaffirmed Iran’s right to the
peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The movement further called for the
establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East and called for a
comprehensive multilaterally negotiated instrument which prohibits threats of
attacks on nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
In February 2007, lawmakers from 56 member states of the Organization of the
Islamic Conference, addressing Iran’s nuclear program at a meeting in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, urged “full respect for equal and inalienable
rights for all nations to explore modern technologies including nuclear energy
for peaceful purposes.”
Sanctions—a weapon against development
Iranian spokespeople have made it clear that Iran will develop its own
facilities to enrich uranium for energy. It has been subject to the most severe
series of sanctions and export restrictions on technology for peaceful nuclear
technology and for all other forms of development. After decades of violated
agreements, contracts and treaties, Iran cannot trust the U.S. or Europe to
consistently provide the nuclear energy fuel to run power plants.
The U.S. provided aid to Iran’s original nuclear development during the
years of brutal dictatorship of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. At that time
Washington was more than willing to give Iran nuclear technology. But after the
1979 Iranian Revolution overthrew this U.S.-imposed dictatorship and reasserted
national control over Iran’s own oil and gas resources, Washington ended
all nuclear cooperation. Since then the U.S. has taken every possible measure
to sabotage, strangle and overthrow the Iranian government.
The latest U.S. and European discussion of a blockade of refined gasoline to
Iran is just the latest example of efforts to stop Iran’s
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates discussed ways to harm Iran: “There
are a variety of options still available, including sanctions on banking,
particularly sanctions on equipment and technology for their oil and gas
industry. ... I think there’s a pretty rich list to pick from.”
(bloomberg.com, Sept. 27)
Washington has used enormous pressure several times to impose economic
sanctions through the U.N. Security Council. These sanctions are a form of
strangulation, an intentionally brutal weapon applied to developing countries.
Sanctions exacerbate social tensions and undercut the support for a targeted
government by creating economic havoc. Wildly spiraling, uncontrolled
inflation, shortages, long lines, shutting off imports of basic supplies and
closing off export markets impact harshly on the most defenseless sectors in
every society. Currencies become worthless. Industries are forced to shut
Over the last five decades in an effort to extract concessions, different forms
of U.S. sanctions have been used against the poorest countries of the planet.
They have targeted nine countries in Africa, six countries in Asia, five in the
Middle East, three in Latin America and three in Europe.
On Oct. 1 a meeting called the “5 + 1” for the five-member U.N.
Security Council plus Germany is scheduled to meet with Iran on its nuclear
energy program. The threats restated at the G-20 meeting aim to coerce Iran to
accept extremely intrusive controls.
Remember that under U.S. pressure in August 1990, the U.N. Security Council
imposed a total blockade on Iraq. The blockade resulted in the deaths of more
than 1 million children under the age of 5 from the resulting desperate
shortages and preventable diseases. Meanwhile, a hunt for supposedly secret
weapons of mass destruction dragged on for 13 years.
In 2003 the Bush administration claimed that Iraq had a secret nuclear weapons
program close to completion and posing an imminent nuclear threat. A media
frenzy claimed that Iraq was close to producing nuclear weapons. This fear of
weapons of mass destruction—WMD—became the main justification for
the U.S. invasion and occupation.
All reports from the IAEA confirming that there was no evidence of such a
program were ignored. No such weapons were ever found. But after six years of
U.S. occupation, a quarter of Iraq’s population is dead, disabled or
dispersed in the form of dislocated refugees.
Washington’s lies must be exposed. Iran’s sovereignty and its right
to full development must be defended and supported.
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