The US decided to send troops and the Patriot missile system to its base in S. Arabia. But that was before Iran had seized the British tanker Stenna Impero in the Straight of Hormuz (20 July).

At the time, the UK had already impounded the Iranian tanker ‘Grace1’  in Gibraltar (4 July); and on 19 July, the US had claimed to have downed an Iranian drone over the straight of Hormuz. In all these instances, Iran was, and still is, defending itself from imperialist attacks. Iran is not the warmonger it is accused of. Even the British media are forced to admit this.

It was the US administration that broke the Iranian nuclear deal. And it is Iran that proposed to France and Germany – and even the UK – to help keep the deal alive. The latter countries are gradually taking the side of the US  (through their common class interests), but they do this slowly, reluctantly and with a good deal of resentment.

Iran is perfectly right to seek to use the divisions between the USA on a one hand, and the US imperialist allies on the other like Britain, France and Germany.  This is how Iran succeeded in having the ‘Grace 1’ eventually freed by the British-controlled authorities in Gibraltar (15 August).

The European bourgeoisie does not trust the Trump leadership in the US. Indeed it is afraid of it. It feels forced by the US into costly commercial ruptures not only with Iran, but with other countries too. Over Iran, this bourgeoisie feels dragged by the Trump administration into a probable other war – and this, with hardly any consultation. Although the US deploys the patriot missile and the UK keeps sending warships to the Gulf, important press articles appear both in the US and the UK to criticise this escalation towards war.

Sensing how dire the consequences are going to be, the Pentagon hesitates to launch its all-out attack of ‘regime change’ against Iran. The Trump government reacts to this by taking its own actions here and there, to show the continuing capacity of capitalism and that of D Trump. When the latter withdrew the US unilaterally from the nuclear deal with Iran, it was to impose perishing economic sanctions on that country and force the European capitalists to follow suit. This was Trump’s intention in the absence of all-out war against Iran, but Iran does not give up. It fights back and uses the contradictions in the imperialist camp to make common front with the anti-imperialist forces in Syria, Lebanon and beyond.

The key role of Russia and China

Today, wherever the imperialists go with the intention to fragment and subjugate countries – as in Venezuela and Syria – they find Russia and China in their way.  It is true that there are important capitalist sectors in Russia and China, but these do not decide at foreign policy level. The foreign policy of Russia and China comforts the perspective of world human development and the immediate anti-imperialist struggle.

Through their failures, hesitations and procrastinations, Trump and the imperialists show that it is them who are afraid. It has not been for a lack of military strength that they failed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria. They failed because there is no more capitalist development to be had for them in the world.

It is the Soviet Workers State that defeated nazism in the last war – and not ‘the allies’. It was the triumph of the Soviet Union that created the conditions for China to become a Workers State (1949), and for most of the world’s colonies to become independent. For imperialism to continue to pillage the world today, it must now defeat Russia and China. The latter look for their further development through the support they are still capable of giving at government and political level, to places like Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Syria, Iran and other countries.

With its resolute anti-imperialist resistance, Iran demonstrates that it is not afraid. The one that is irresolute, irrational and cowardly is world imperialism. Although it wants and needs a complete showdown with Russia and China, it senses that it is already too decomposed to be coming out the winner. Any direct US-led war on Iran is going to involve Russia, China, Israel, Lebanon, the whole Middle East, the whole world. Imperialism needs total world war to try and save its regime, but the way people are not intimidated makes it vacillate.

The tasks for the Left

The left must support the struggle of the Iranian Republic in the defence of Iran’s national sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to determine its future. In places like Venezuela, Iran or Hong Kong, the US, UK and the world imperialists are not meddling to defend ‘freedom, democracy and human rights’. What they seek, against all rationality, is to force the ex-colonial world back under imperialist rule.

In our Western countries, one must demand that Iran is not attacked. In every country and internationally, the task is to unite the anti-war, anti-imperialist and anti-austerity movements . The relative dithering of imperialism in relation to Iran offers the opportunity to pose – in each country and internationally – the need for a greater penetration of the anti-imperialist ideas inside the working-class and popular organisations.

The cry has to be: “Don’t attack Iran!”. When explaining this slogan, one must count on the welcome which it already receives in every country, even in the United States. This slogan must be used to draw the workers parties, the workers’ struggles and the trade unions closer to those who struggle against the austerity policies of capitalism, as well as the anti-war and anti Nato movements, in every country and internationally. – 22.7.19 revised 2.9.19