Trump's policies point towards regime change in Iran. The anti-war movement must stand firm, argues Shabbir Lakha
Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal is just another example of how reactionary his administration is. Faced with being the most unpopular US President in history and scandal after scandal, Trump has increasingly resorted to being dictated to by the Washington neocons to abate his domestic problems. Pulling a move with such serious international ramifications to placate the national opposition to you is as cynical as it gets, and it’s becoming a defining feature of the Trump administration.
The nuclear deal was first negotiated in the context of an impending Israeli attack on Iran, and was successful in stopping the drive to war and in stopping nuclear proliferation in Iran. Not unlike Trump’s pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement, This has ripped the mask off the international bureaucracy and the US’s so-called role in maintaining peace in the world.
The other parties that are part of the agreement are scrambling to make the agreement work even without the US. European signatories including the UK, Germany and France have said they will stay part of the agreement, the EU is considering countermeasures to US sanctions, while countries like India have flat-out refused to adhere to the sanctions, and China will be hosting a summit with the Iranian and Russian Presidents in a bid to maintain the agreement.
The reality is that the US is paving the way to regime change and direct confrontation with Iran. It is no coincidence that just an hour after Trump’s announcement, Israeli jets targeted Iranian positions in Syria and killed a host of Iranian soldiers. Along with this, it was a few days later that the new US Embassy was opened in Jerusalem while the Israeli army massacred Palestinians in Gaza.
Far from being isolationist as some commentators would like to believe, the US is reorientating its involvement in the Middle East following its defeats during the last 17 years of the War on Terror – most notably in Syria. All signs point to the solidifying of the US-Israel-Saudi alliance with a clear target painted on Iran.
For all the noise made by world leaders in opposition to the US pulling out of the deal, just like the Climate agreement and the US Embassy move in Israel, the UK and others will likely fall in line with Trump’s reactionary foreign policy when push comes to shove.
Because of the mass protests against Trump’s actions and in solidarity with the Palestinians, and because of Theresa May’s own increasing unpopularity, the Special Relationship with the US has unmistakeably taken a serious blow. Theresa May has even proposed that Donald Trump avoids London when he visits so as to avoid the protests.
But the fact is that she has still invited him to the UK and still confirmed the plans after his recent actions. She ran to his side when he first came to office, jumped at the opportunity to bomb Syria with him despite no domestic mandate in either country, and has refused to take the NHS off the table in any trade deal with the US. As she clings on to power by her fingernails, so her desperation to maintain the relationship with Trump grows.
This isn’t good news for anybody. It means a higher likelihood of new fronts of war in the Middle East, a reassertion of US imperialism in the region with Britain as its junior partner, and the potential for regime change or nuclear development or both in Iran.
It means our fight to get the Tories out now and not later is even more critical, and it means that the antiwar movement’s role and visibility in the opposition to Trump when he comes to the UK on 13 July is even more crucial.
Shabbir Lakha is a Stop the War officer, a People's Assembly activist and a member of Counterfire.
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