Following the intervention in Libya, the dangers of further western attacks in the region are very real. Here are ten reasons why a war against Iran cannot be justified and would have catastrophic consequences.
No threat.Iran has not attacked any country in more than 200 years. Its military spending per capita is among the lowest in the region. The regime has allowed inspections and agreed to negotiate with the West on all issues. Current Western rhetoric recalls the Iraq war, when a threat was fabricated to justify an attack.
Double standards.Many of the West's allies, including Israel, have nuclear weapons. There is no evidence that Iran is developing them, as last year's IAEA report made clear. Iran, unlike Israel and Pakistan, is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which it has the right to develop civilian nuclear power.
Sanctions lead to war.As the recent military standoff has shown, sanctions are increasing tension and distrust. They will strengthen the hawks in Iran. In Iraq, sanctions resulted in a genocidal level of civilian casualties and brought nothing but death and suffering to the Iraqi people. Sanctions were not a stepping stone to peace, but to war.
Catastrophic consequences.Any attack on Iran will lead to thousands of casualties and provoke retaliation with devastating effects across the region. Sanctions and war will drive up the cost of oil, creating further havoc to a world economy already in crisis.
Lessons from the past.If the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya teach anything, it is that military intervention brings death, division and misery. 30,000 died in Libya, tens of thousands in Afghanistan, and a million in Iraq. Violence continues in all three countries.
War = cuts in welfare.Barack Obama recently committed to military expenditure above the levels of George W. Bush's administration. Britain spent hundreds of millions bombing Libya and is spending £6 billion a year on the war in Afghanistan. An attack on Iran could have far greater financial implications, leading the government to threaten yet more cuts in welfare and public services.
Democracy.Recent wars have been deeply unpopular at home and have created a democratic deficit. Plans have been laid in Washington and Whitehall for an attack on Iran, with neither elected politicians in parliament nor the electorate, being consulted.
Security.The War on Terror has made the world a more volatile and dangerous place. An attack on Iran can only increase bitterness against the Western powers.
Civil liberties.The campaign against Iran will lead to further demonisation of Britain’s Muslim community and more curbs on our freedom, dressed up as 'anti terror measures'.
We can make a difference.The main restraining factor on the war makers is mobilised public opinion. Even George W. Bush opposed Israel attacking Iran while in office, because he felt Americans were against it. The voice of the anti-war majority in Britain must be turned into a mass movement that forces our political leaders to end their policy of endless war.
From Stop the War site
Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.
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