Democratic Socialists of America emphatically and unreservedly opposes a U.S. war on Iran. It would be another “war of choice,” just like the Iraq War of 2003, and would likely be just as colossal a humanitarian disaster.
National security adviser John Bolton, who works closely with the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK), a warmongering Iranian cult that receives U.S. funding, has been urging an attack on Iran for many years — and it was Bolton and Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, who pushed hardest for crippling sanctions on Iran. As a result of the sanctions, the value of Iran’s currency has plummeted, leading to shortages of imported goods and products that are made with raw materials from abroad and a dramatic increase in living costs. U.S. sanctions are also preventing Iranians from access to life-saving medicines and are contributing to record-high youth unemployment.
On June 20, after Iran shot down a U.S. military drone it claimed was on a spy mission over its territory, Donald Trump came very close to striking Iran before calling it off when a general told him that a “disproportionate” 150 Iranians would likely die in the attack. But Trump’s plans to deploy 1,000 more soldiers, Patriot missiles and manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft to the region, in addition to the planned 1,500-soldier increase after the May tanker attacks have not been rescinded.
All this saber-rattling is occurring within the context of the U.S. unilaterally withdrawing from the nuclear agreement it (along with the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) signed with Iran in 2015. While the Islamic Republic has remained compliant with the terms of the agreement, it recently announced that, unless the U.S. sanctions are offset by the European signatories, it will increase its nuclear stockpile beyond the limit set in the agreement.
The U.S. has long claimed its aggression against Iran was predicated on preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons. While both the U.S. and its regional ally Israel have nuclear weapons, a 2007 National Intelligence Assessment concluded Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Like the Gulf of Tonkin or Iraq’s alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction, this widely parroted claim is yet another example of Washington’s willingness to manipulate facts to create a pretext for war.
The threat of war also comes at a time when working-class Iranians have been organizing in the face of the theocratic government’s anti-labor repression, most famously against the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane strike and other such strikes. The government also arrested demonstrators on May Day 2018. There are signs that labor resistance is again rising — but a U.S. war on Iran would be disastrous for this movement and likely breed the conditions for a “bunker mentality” that effectively squashes working-class organizing. Iranian dissidents, trade unionists, human rights and civil society activists overwhelmingly oppose U.S. military intervention and sanctions, and favor the nuclear deal that the Trump administration disastrously abandoned in order to lay the foundations for confrontation.
DSA therefore urges active opposition to the threat of yet another war, an end to U.S. sanctions on Iran, and also an internationalist campaign for the release of all Iranian political prisoners and incarcerated workers, such as those involved in the Haft Tappeh strike like Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian.
This statement was published on the DSA website on June 27, 2019.