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Phase three of the 'war on terror'

@jeremycorbyn | 13.01.2012 01:38 | Anti-Nuclear | Anti-militarism | Terror War | World

Phase three in the "war on terror" now looks closer than ever. An attack on Iran.

On Wednesday an Iranian nuclear scientist became the latest of his colleagues to be assassinated. The method used was again a magnetic mine attached to his vehicle by a motorcyclist who sped off unharmed. These sophisticated weapons explode into the car killing the occupants but not necessarily endangering anyone nearby - or the person who places the bomb.

Iran has accused Israel of planting the devices. The US has specifically denied any involvement.

Tehran remains a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. There have been disputes about its adherence to a voluntary additional protocol, but Iran claims that it has abided by all of the statutory conditions required by the main treaty.

Western and UN-imposed sanctions against Iran are likely to backfire against Western economies and interests with any oil embargo likely to be followed by a threatened Iranian naval blockade of the Straits of Hormuz. This in turn would choke off a large proportion of European oil supplies and force the price up to as high as $140 per barrel.

The role of Britain and the US in stoking up the flames of resentment against Iran is particularly scandalous. Any war with Iran would have more awful consequences than in Afghanistan or Iraq.

None of this is to deny that serious human rights abuses are being perpetrated by the Iranian government against trade unionists, ethnic and religious minorities, or people who protested against the outcome of the last elections.

In the Commons on Wednesday I drew attention to the continuing imprisonment of Tehran bus workers' leader Reza Shahabi and an EDM which I tabled in December supporting "the rights of independent trade unionists in Iran to represent their members without the threat of imprisonment."

However it must be noted that none of the long-standing critics of the government within the country want outside intervention or a war. Any conflict is more likely to unite than divide people in Iran.

Political change comes from within a country and not at the barrel of a Nato gun.

The basis of the Western objections to Iran is its alleged development of nuclear weapons and nuclear reprocessing.

At last year's NPT review conference a clear resolution was adopted calling for a nuclear-free Middle East which would mean that Israel would have to publicly admit to ownership and possession of nuclear weapons and be prepared to engage in negotiations for disarmament along with the continued non-possession of nuclear weapons of every other country in the region.

I have tabled a parliamentary motion which reads: "That this House welcomes the government's support for the establishment of a Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone in the Middle East since the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference; welcomes progress in appointing a host country and facilitator in Finland and Jaakko Laajava; notes that with growing tension the establishment of the zone is vital to the long-term peace and security of the region; believes it vital that no state in the region develops, produces, acquires or permits the stationing on their territories, or territories under their control, of nuclear weapons; and urges the government to do all it can to ensure that a conference involving all states in the region takes place in 2012."

Barack Obama signalled a historic shift in US defence strategy during his recent Asia-Pacific tour. His speech last week on the future role of the US armed forces provided further evidence of this change.

The path he has mapped out echoes the country's 19th-century strategy of domination over the Caribbean and Pacific regions rather than the European theatre where its involvement was rooted in World War I, II and the cold war period through Nato.

The US already has an enormous number of bases in Asia, constructed during the Vietnam war or more recently during George W Bush's "war on terror" period after 2001.

It has now openly stated that China is its new adversary because of Beijing's rising economic and political influence.

Washington has recently worked with astonishing speed to achieve a rapprochement with the generals in Myanmar. In Australia the Labour government has agreed to the construction of a big US base in the northern city of Darwin.

At a press conference this week days ago Pentagon officials were asked what they thought of Chinese expressions of concern at US military expansion across the region. They laughingly described it as "advice that we note."

The Chinese economy is growing fast and in the foreseeable future it could overtake the US. Its holdings of dollars and other foreign currencies are enormous, as is its investment power in the US and other economies. It appears that the US military has now decided that this growing competition has to be countered by a huge deployment in Asia.

The Stop the War Coalition has called a demonstration at the US embassy on January 28 calling for no war against either Iran or Syria.

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  1. Come to the Iranian protest at Occupy LSX — Iranian in London