U.S & World Politics

Iran Menaced by U.S. Imperialism


Last week, the Trump administration ordered the assassination of one of Iran’s top generals, Qasem Soleimani. While the administration claims that the strike was in response to “terrorism” and Iran’s subversive role in the Middle East, it’s really about one thing—the long running efforts of the U.S. to dominate Iran, the region’s second-largest oil producer. During the 20th century. the U.S. used every means to dominate Iran—supporting brutal dictators, overthrowing governments, and funding devastating wars. Iran was under the thumb of foreign domination until 1979. In fact, the U.S. government—and the big oil corporations it serves—have never forgiven the Iranian regime for what it did in 1979. It took back control of the oil on its own land.

Iran’s oil exploited by the British

Iran has the fourth largest oil reserves in the world. This oil was exploited by the British starting in 1909. After World War I the British occupied the country and propped up an army officer named Reza Khan who became the “Shah” or king. His regime ensured that the British oil interests in Iran would be protected.

A movement to gain rational
control of the oil

A movement grew to kick out the British and regain control of the Iranian oil. It was led by a lawyer named Dr. Mohammed Mossadeq. In 1951, the movement demanded real elections, and Mossadeq was elected Prime Minister. After being elected, Mossadeq demanded that Iran retain at least some of the profits from the oil fields. When the British refused, Mossadeq ordered the total takeover of the oil fields.

The U.S. and Britain overthrow Iran’s Prime Minister

As a response to the threat to their oil interests, in 1953 Britain’s intelligence agency and the U.S.’s CIA, organized a coup to remove Mossadeq from power. They replaced him with the former Shah’s son, Mohammed Reza Shah. Iran’s oil was divided between Britain and the U.S., with 40 percent of the profit going to companies from each country and the rest going to a handful of other international corporations.

The Shah—a brutal dictator
serving the U.S.

The CIA helped the Shah set up a brutal secret police force, SAVAK, that kidnapped and murdered thousands of people for opposing his regime. During the 1970s, the U.S. also helped the Shah set up one of the most powerful armies in the region to help ensure U.S. dominance in the Middle East. The oil continued to be exploited by U.S. and British oil interests.

The revolution of 1979

Despite the intense repression, people’s anger grew, and in 1979 Iranians took to the streets in protest. The movement was huge. Working people went on strike, took over cities, and even disarmed the police and army. It was the end of the Shah’s reign. During the intense repression under the Shah, one of the only organized political forces in Iran was the Islamic religious establishment. Under the leadership of a high-ranking cleric, Ayatollah Khomeini, religious clerics assumed control of the country, and founded the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Revolution of 1979 deprived the U.S. of one of its most important military allies in the region, and this new regime took back the oil fields just as Mossadeq had done in 1951. The rulers of the Islamic Republic enriched themselves, becoming wealthy while most Iranians remained poor and exploited. But the regime won a certain amount of legitimacy by taking control of the country’s resources.

A standoff with the U.S.

Since the 1979 Revolution, the U.S. has been in a standoff with the Iranian regime, continuing to this day to be an obstacle to U.S. control of the Middle East and its resources. During the 1980s the U.S. armed Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq to undertake a massive invasion of Iran. During that war, although more than a million people lost their lives, the regime survived. Iran has been able to develop an important influence in the region, especially in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, much to the frustration of the United States government. Internationally Iran has worked with Russia and China to develop its oil fields. All of this puts Iran in the cross hairs of U.S. foreign policy. Now Trump flirts with launching a war. We have every reason not to fall for this agenda. We know that the U.S. government only has a return to total U.S domination in mind for Iran. Only the poor and working class of Iran has the right and the possibility to enact a true “regime change.” NO to U.S. war on Iran! , January 4, 2020