Trump dumps the Iran nuclear deal

The following article has been published in the latest issue of the Clarion magazine.

On May 8th Donald Trump finally withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA, or the Iran nuclear deal, was the Obama government’s top foreign policy achievement and was therefore consistently condemned by Trump during the 2016 election campaign. And as President he has continued his attacks for the past 14 months, calling the deal “insane”, “the worst”, a “disaster” and so on.

It therefore came as no surprise that he has now withdrawn the US from it. To justify America opting out of an international law endorsed the UN Security Council, Trump made a speech filled with lies and half-lies. The main lie was that the Iranian regime is not compliant with the JCPOA. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency (a UN body) has repeatedly said that the Iranian regime is in full compliance with the deal. In fact it is US imperialism that has not fulfilled its commitments like easing sanctions, especially banking restrictions. America’s stance has also prevented many European companies and banks from trading with Iran, fearful of US fines.

To many Trump’s speech sounded very much like comments by George W Bush before the Iraq war. Given the general economic problems of American capitalism and the political crisis of this presidency, Trump’s move does not mean that the US is preparing to invade Iran. It is aimed at extracting even more concessions from the Iranian regime. This strategy may involve some clashes between the US (and its regional allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia) and the Iranian regime and its proxies – as has already happened in the Golan Heights.

All other signatories are still committed to the JCPOA. Britain, France and Germany all lobbied hard to dissuade Trump from such a move. Russia and China, both with a UN Security Council veto, have always supported the deal. Since the JCPOA is vital for preventing Iran’s dire economic situation becoming even worse, Hassan Rohani has said that the regime will remain in the deal and will be working European powers to continue it may be without America.

What should the response of British socialists and labour movement activists be? Socialists should never forget that this regime was established after the Hezbollahis crushed the independent and radical mass movements: the workers’ factory committees, the women’s movement, the students, the national minorities and so on. And ever since it has been in power this regime has exploited and oppressed workers more than the Shah’s dictatorship.

The past two years have seen an upsurge in the Iranian workers’ movement, with many radical struggles. These include the Haft Tappeh Sugar Cane workers who in January 2018 threatened to take over the running of the company from their incompetent management. Esmail Bakhshi, a workers’ representative, said: “… we have the expertise to produce sugar, so we’ll manage it ourselves.” Just last week, on May 10th, there was a peaceful country-wide protest by teachers and retired teachers demanding more funds for education, higher wages and an end to privatisation. The protest in Tehran was violently broken up and many teachers and activists were arrested. The regime’s Minister of Education used “the current political situation of the country and the government” as an excuse for police brutality.

There are many workers’ struggles taking place in Iran every week over very basic demands such as the payment of unpaid wages. The regime’s response to the workers’ just demands has always been massive repression, including jailing many activists, flogging workers and so on.

Solidarity with the struggles of Iran’s workers, women, national minorities and students must be the main task of all those who are concerned with Trump’s move and want to help overturn the right-wing shift in politics around the world. Socialists should in no way support Iran’s brutal capitalist dictatorship.

Morad Shirin (Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency), May 13th 2018.


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