By Peter Symonds, 11 September 2007
An 80-page study written by two British security analysts and released on August 28 makes a chilling estimation of the overwhelming force that the US would use in the event of any attack on Iran. “The US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days, if not hours, of President George W. Bush giving the order,” the paper declared.
By Peter Symonds, 3 September 2007
The Bush administration’s abrupt dismissal of last Thursday’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear programs is one more sign that Washington has no interest in a diplomatic resolution to its confrontation with Tehran. Following Bush’s bellicose denunciations of Iran last week, the US has reiterated its intention to push for tougher UN sanctions against Tehran this month.
By Peter Symonds, 30 August 2007
Late on Tuesday night, the US military detained a visiting delegation of Iranian officials at a Baghdad hotel. The men were handcuffed, blindfolded and dragged away under the glare of TV cameras for further interrogation. Following protests in Tehran and appeals by Iraqi government officials, the delegation, which had been formally invited by the Iraqi Electricity Ministry, was finally released on Wednesday morning.
By Bill Van Auken, 29 August 2007
In his second foreign policy speech in less than a week, President Bush Tuesday portrayed the ongoing US military occupation in Iraq as part of a broader regional struggle to defend vital US interests against “radicals and extremists.”
By Peter Symonds, 24 August 2007
As it prepares for a diplomatic offensive against Iran at the UN next month, the Bush administration is maintaining a steady barrage of threats and propaganda—in particular, over so-called Iranian “interference” in US-occupied Iraq and Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons programs.
By Barry Grey, 18 August 2007
The New York Times on August 16 published an editorial in response to reports that the Bush administration plans to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. The editorial by the organ of the liberal, Democratic Party wing of the US political establishment, entitled “Amateur Hour on Iran,” exemplifies the hypocritical and two-faced character of its critique of the Bush administration’s policy toward Iran and the Middle East as a whole.
New provocation against Tehran
By Peter Symonds, 16 August 2007
In a move with ominous implications, the Bush administration, according to articles in yesterday’s New York Times and Washington Post, has resolved to brand the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a “specially designated global terrorist” organization. In doing so, Bush will use powers provided under a presidential order signed shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
By Peter Symonds, 18 July 2007
The British-based Guardian has provided a fresh glimpse into the fierce debate raging inside the Bush administration over taking aggressive military measures against Iran. In an article on Monday based on a “well-placed Washington source,” the newspaper concluded that the balance “has shifted back in favour of military action before George Bush leaves office in 18 months”.
By Peter Symonds, 14 July 2007
A little publicised amendment to the defence spending bill denouncing Iran for the “murder” of US soldiers in Iraq was proposed by Independent Democrat Joseph Lieberman and passed unanimously in the US Senate on Wednesday. Republicans and Democrats all lined up to support the White House’s unsubstantiated accusations that Tehran is funding, training and arming Iraqi militias, “who are contributing to the destabilisation of Iraq and are responsible for the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces”.
By Joe Kay, 3 July 2007
A US military official leveled new accusations against Iran on Monday, asserting Iranian government involvement in a January, 2007 attack that killed five American soldiers in Iraq. The charges are the latest in a campaign to increase pressure on Iran, while laying out a rationale for possible future military action.
By Peter Symonds, 16 June 2007
The latest meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which ended on Thursday, has set the stage for a new round of punitive measures against Iran over its nuclear programs. Washington is pressing for a third round of UN Security Council sanctions, but the presence of two US aircraft battle groups in the Persian Gulf is a constant reminder that the Bush administration is keeping “all options on the table”.
By Peter Symonds, 26 May 2007
The US administration has responded belligerently to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s refusal to suspend its nuclear programs by calling for a third UN resolution and tougher penalties. The report, which was sent to IAEA member states on Wednesday, sets the stage for a further heightening of tensions in the Persian Gulf, where the US navy provocatively began a major exercise the same day.
By Peter Symonds, 25 May 2007
An ABC News report on Tuesday provided further evidence that the Bush administration is actively engaged in a covert campaign of destabilisation aimed at “regime change” in Iran.
By Chris Marsden, 23 May 2007
The Guardian offered its May 22 front page as a propaganda conduit for the Bush administration to provide preemptive justification for an escalation of the US military “surge” in Iraq and possible military action against Iran.
By Peter Symonds, 17 May 2007
Iran’s nuclear programs are once again being pushed to centre stage as a second UN deadline is due to expire next week. Under pressure from the US, the UN Security Council voted in March to strengthen sanctions on Iran and to set a 60-day deadline for Tehran to shut down its uranium enrichment and other nuclear facilities. Iran continues to reject the resolution as “illegal” and insist on its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.
By Peter Symonds, 15 May 2007
The announcement on Sunday of a meeting between Iranian and US officials in Baghdad in the next few weeks will do nothing to ease mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf. Washington has repeatedly made clear that any discussions with Tehran will be narrowly confined to Iraqi security, thus excluding the continuing confrontation over Iran’s nuclear programs, the longstanding American economic and diplomatic blockade of Iran and other issues.
By Bill Van Auken, 12 May 2007
Underscoring the essential objective of his Middle East tour, US Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis in the Persian Gulf Friday to deliver a bellicose threat against Iran.
By Peter Symonds, 21 April 2007
The US administration intensified its pressure on Tehran after a leaked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) letter written on Wednesday revealed Iran had doubled the number of gas centrifuges installed in an underground hall at its Natanz uranium enrichment facility.
By Peter Symonds, 19 April 2007
In a decision that was barely reported, the Bush administration resolved last week to continue to hold five Iranian officials seized in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil on January 11. While the US and international media was flooded with stories about Iran’s contentious arrest of 15 British sailors last month, there was not a murmur of protest over the illegal and provocative American detention of the Irbil five.
By Peter Symonds, 11 April 2007
Senior Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi told the county’s state-run TV last weekend that the US had been involved in his seizure and detention in Iraq and that CIA officers had taken part in his interrogation and torture. Sharafi, who was released last week, had been missing for more than two months after armed gunmen in the uniforms of the elite 36 Iraqi Commando Battalion bundled the diplomat into a car in the predominantly Shiite neighbourhood of Karrada in central Baghdad.
By Chris Marsden, 7 April 2007
Captain Chris Air, the man in charge of the 15 marines and sailors captured by Iranian revolutionary guards and released on April 4, told Sky News that they were on an intelligence-gathering mission.
By Bill Van Auken, 6 April 2007
A leading government official in Teheran charged Thursday that the Bush administration is sponsoring terrorist attacks as a means of ratcheting up its campaign of aggression against Iran.
By Chris Marsden, 5 April 2007
Iran’s release of the 15 British naval personnel captured in the Gulf is the dénouement of a humiliating episode for the Blair government and for British imperialism.
By Ann Talbot, 4 April 2007
President George Bush made his first public statement on Iran’s detention of 15 British sailors and marines on Saturday, nine days after the affair began. Iran’s action was “inexcusable behaviour,” he said, calling on Iran to “give back the hostages.”
By Peter Symonds, 29 March 2007
The Blair government, backed by the Bush administration, yesterday stepped up diplomatic pressure for the release of 15 British sailors and marines detained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRG) last Friday. In an already tense situation in the Persian Gulf, US aircraft carrier battle groups have held a major military exercise over the past two days, while British ministers in London called for Iran to be further diplomatically isolated.
By Chris Marsden, 26 March 2007
The unanimous March 24 vote by the United Nations Security Council to impose stricter sanctions on Iran is the latest step in the Bush administration’s campaign to isolate the regime in Tehran and prepare the conditions for a possible military attack. The resolution came one day after Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval forces seized 15 British Navy personnel in the Persian Gulf, setting off a diplomatic confrontation between Iran and the UK.
By Peter Symonds, 22 March 2007
Even as the UN Security Council debates a punitive new resolution against Iran, the Bush administration is threatening to impose unilateral sanctions against foreign corporations and banks engaged in investment and trade with Tehran. The measures to cripple the country economically are accompanied by ongoing US military preparations in the Persian Gulf for an attack on Iran.
By Peter Symonds, 14 March 2007
Very little of the detail appearing in the media about the recent unexplained disappearance of a top Iranian general, Brigadier General Ali Reza Asgari, including his age, can be taken at face value. But all the accounts point to the involvement of the US, Israeli and/or other Western intelligence agencies in the defection or abduction of Asgari, a former deputy defence minister, who is currently being interrogated or tortured to obtain Iranian defence secrets.
By Peter Symonds, 12 March 2007
The much-vaunted international conference on Iraqi security took place in Baghdad on Saturday without any diplomatic breakthrough or thawing of relations between the US and Iran. Despite the urging of the Iraqi government, no direct talks took place between American and Iranian officials. Nothing was announced beyond the formation of several low-level regional working parties and confirmation that a further conference would be held at the foreign minister level at a date and place yet to be decided.
By Peter Symonds, 10 March 2007
Amid mounting US military and political threats against Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna this week provided another display of political cynicism and cowardice on the part of the so-called international community.
8 March 2007
The World Socialist Web Site is publishing today the Editorial Board Statement “Stop the US war drive against Iran!” in Farsi, or Persian. Farsi is the official language of Iran, where it is spoken by more than half the country’s population of 70 million, as well as a significant Iranian diaspora around the world. Farsi dialects are also spoken in neighbouring Afghanistan and Central Asia. The dialect known as Dari is an official language in Afghanistan, where it is spoken by about a quarter of the population.
By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2007
Despite widespread media speculation of a “shift” in US policy toward Iran, the announcement this week that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will take part in a regional conference with her Iranian counterpart does not represent any softening of the US stance. Amid a mounting confrontation with Iran, the US will undoubtedly use the forum to heighten, not lessen, the tensions with Tehran.
By Peter Symonds, 28 February 2007
A lengthy article in this week’s New Yorker magazine by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh provides further evidence that the Bush administration has not only set course for war against Iran, but has over the past few months embarked on a reckless and incendiary strategy that has the potential to unleash sectarian Sunni-Shia conflicts throughout the Middle East.
By Peter Symonds, 26 February 2007
The Bush administration is intensifying the pressure on Iran following its refusal to abide by last week’s UN deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment and other nuclear programs. While publicly pushing for a new UN Security Council resolution with tougher economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran, the US is also pressing ahead with preparations for a military attack on Iran.
By Peter Symonds, 24 February 2007
Military action against Iran may not have featured in US Vice President Dick Cheney’s keynote speech in Sydney yesterday, but it is certainly on his mind. In two interviews published today—in Murdoch’s Australian and on the US-based ABC News website—he confirmed that the Bush administration was willing to go to war against Tehran on the pretext of halting its nuclear programs.
By Peter Symonds, 22 February 2007
Russian officials suddenly announced on Monday that work on Iran’s nuclear power reactor at the southern port of Bushehr would be slowed due to Tehran’s failure to make scheduled payments on the construction contract. Far from being an ordinary commercial dispute, the delay is another pointer to the extreme tensions produced by the Bush administration’s military threats against Iran.
By Peter Symonds, 21 February 2007
Despite its menacing naval build up in the Persian Gulf, the US has repeatedly denied any plans for war against Iran. Last Thursday Defence Secretary Robert Gates brazenly told a Pentagon press conference: “For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran. We are not planning a war with Iran.” The statement is another of the Bush administration’s lies.
By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2007
Two bombings this week in Zahedan in southeastern Iran are the latest in a series of incidents involving armed opposition groups based among the country’s ethnic minorities. The most recent attacks again raise questions about the activities of the US military and CIA inside Iran as the Bush administration intensifies its preparations for war.
By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2007
The following is the second part of a report delivered by Peter Symonds to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Symonds is a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and of the SEP central committee. Part one was posted on February 16.
By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2007
The following is the first part of a report delivered by Peter Symonds to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Symonds is a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and of the SEP central committee. Part two will be posted on February 17.
By Joe Kay, 15 February 2007
At a White House press conference Wednesday morning, President George Bush laid out the administration’s pretext for military action against Iran. He did so while making clear that the administration is proceeding with its military escalation in Iraq in defiance of popular opposition and the likely passage in the House of Representatives of a Democratic-sponsored non-binding resolution criticizing the increased troop deployment.
By Peter Symonds, 15 February 2007
Despite the continuing American military build up in the Persian Gulf, President Bush and his officials insist the US is not planning a military strike against Iran. In an interview with C-Span on Monday, Bush repeated what has become a mantra. He dismissed warnings of war as “people speculating” and declared that the US seeks to “solve the issue diplomatically”. Nevertheless, he reiterated that “the military is the last resort”.
By the Editorial Board, 14 February 2007
This statement is available for download as a PDF 4-page brochure in both US Letter format and A4 format
By Peter Symonds, 13 February 2007
The Bush administration stepped up its propaganda war against Iran with a press briefing in Baghdad on Sunday, setting out claims that the Iranian regime is supplying arms to anti-US militias in Iraq. While the “dossier” fails to prove a case against Tehran, its release demonstrates that the White House is intent on manufacturing a justification for a military confrontation with Iran.
By Peter Symonds, 12 February 2007
Amid the continuing US military build up in the Persian Gulf, the Bush administration is already conducting an economic war against Iran aimed at bringing the country to its knees. The most overt element of this campaign is the attempt by the Treasury Department and other US agencies to force governments, major banks, oil corporations and other businesses in Europe and Asia to cut off investment, loans and financial arrangements with Tehran.
By Peter Symonds, 6 February 2007
As it prepares for military aggression against Iran, the Bush administration is once again resorting to a concoction of lies, misinformation and half-truths to provide the pretext. In his January 10 speech announcing an escalation of the war in Iraq, President Bush denounced Syria and Iran for backing anti-US insurgents and declared the American military would “seek out and destroy” these networks. He has since confirmed ordering US troops to “capture or kill” Iranian agents in Iraq.
By Peter Symonds, 1 February 2007
A relentless and unmistakable American buildup for war against Iran is currently underway. Military preparations are being accompanied by a daily barrage of propaganda against Tehran issuing from US sources and relayed uncritically via a compliant media. The chief accusation currently being levelled against the Iranian regime is that its agents are supporting and arming Shiite militias inside Iraq to attack US troops—a charge that has yet to be substantiated with concrete evidence.
By Peter Symonds, 24 January 2007
As the US administration intensifies pressure on Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing growing criticism at home from sections of the country’s ruling elite over his uncompromising statements on Iran’s nuclear programs as well as over his populist economic measures.
By Peter Symonds, 5 January 2007
An article published in the Boston Globe on January 2 has provided a glimpse into the preparations of the Bush administration for political provocations and a military attack against Iran. While the White House continues to maintain that it intends to resolve the ongoing confrontation with Iran diplomatically, a team of top officials from the Pentagon, State Department, Treasury, CIA and National Security Council has been working to strengthen US military alliances against Tehran, covertly finance Iranian dissidents and oppositional groups, and isolate Iran economically.
By Peter Symonds, 29 December 2006
Months after the expiry of a UN deadline for Iran to suspend its nuclear programs, the US finally pushed a resolution through the UN Security Council on Saturday imposing a series of sanctions on Tehran. While the resolution represents a compromise, there is no doubt that the Bush administration will exploit it to the hilt to fuel tensions with Iran.
By Bill Van Auken, 23 December 2006
In his year-end press conference, President George W. Bush once again condemned the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the officially sponsored conference of Holocaust deniers convened in Teheran earlier this month, declaring that it “heralded a really backward view of the history of the world.”
By Peter Symonds, 19 September 2006
Four years ago, President George Bush appeared before the UN General Assembly and demanded that the UN rubberstamp a war against Iraq that was based on flagrant lies about Saddam Hussein’s so-called weapons of mass destruction. Today, as Bush goes to the UN to demand tough action against Iran, American claims that Tehran has a nuclear weapons program have been exposed as fabrications.
By Peter Symonds, 9 September 2006
An editorial in Monday’s Australian entitled “Endgame for Iran” is another sign that the vast resources of the Murdoch global media empire are being mobilised to support a new US war of aggression against Iran. A similar editorial headed “A nuclear Iran is not an option” appeared in the same newspaper last week, along with an opinion piece in the London-based Times entitled “What a shambles over Iran” and continuing agitation by Fox News commentators in the US.
By Peter Symonds, 2 September 2006
The Bush administration has reacted aggressively to Iran’s refusal to halt its nuclear activities, with threats of punitive sanctions and an escalating, open-ended confrontation. A UN Security Council resolution passed on July 31, under pressure from Washington, set August 31 as the deadline for Tehran to shut down its uranium enrichment facilities and comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions.
By Bill Van Auken, 28 August 2006
With the clock ticking to an August 31 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution demanding that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program, a section of the American ruling establishment is pressing US intelligence agencies to produce “evidence” that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose an imminent nuclear weapons threat.
By Peter Symonds, 24 August 2006
The Bush administration yesterday signalled its rejection of Iran’s offer of “serious negotiations,” setting the stage for punitive economic sanctions and an escalating confrontation with Tehran.
By Patrick Martin, 5 June 2006
The announcement by the Bush administration Wednesday that it is reversing a 27-year US ban on direct talks with Iran is a political retreat, one that reflects a weakening in the world position, both military and economic, of American imperialism.
By Peter Symonds, 16 May 2006
The Bush administration has emphatically ruled out any direct talks with Tehran, despite an overture from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an open letter from top Iranian official Hassan Rohani and an appeal by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan over the past week.
By Peter Symonds, 2 May 2006
The Bush administration has seized on last Friday’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear programs to issue a new round of demands and threats, directed as much against its European and Asian rivals as against Tehran.
By WSWS Editorial Board, 13 April 2006
The revelation that the United States government has conducted advanced planning and preparation for a bombing campaign against Iran that includes the possible use of nuclear weapons represents the most serious threat posed in an increasingly unstable international situation.
By Bill Van Auken, 10 April 2006
The Bush administration is in the advanced stages of the planning and preparation for a full-scale air war against Iran, including the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons against selected targets, according to reports published this week.
By Peter Symonds, 31 March 2006
After three weeks of behind-the-scenes US bullying, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a statement on Wednesday calling on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program and giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 30 days to report back. Although amended at the insistence of Russia and China, the statement provides Washington with the pretext for escalating the confrontation with Tehran and its threats of punitive sanctions and military action.
By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2006
Having pressured the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into referring Iran to the UN, the Bush administration is engaged in a new round of diplomatic thuggery aimed at obtaining a UN Security Council statement as the fig leaf for aggressive action against Tehran.
By Bill Van Auken, 11 March 2006
With the US war and occupation in Iraq fast approaching its third anniversary, those in the Bush administration responsible for launching this unprovoked aggression based on lies about weapons of mass destruction and through intimidating the American people with fabricated threats of terror are once again beating the same war drums, this time against Iran.
8 March 2006
The following correspondence was sent in response to the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board statement on January 21 entitled “The political issues behind the Iranian nuclear confrontation”.
By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2006
In a provocative speech to an influential pro-Israeli lobby group on Sunday, US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, bluntly threatened Iran with “painful consequences” if it failed to accede completely to Washington’s demands to shut down its nuclear programs.
By Peter Symonds, 18 February 2006
The Bush administration took a further step on Wednesday in its campaign against Iran by requesting a large increase in funding for the political destabilisation of the Tehran regime.
By Peter Symonds, 14 February 2006
An article in last weekend’s edition of the Sunday Telegraph in Britain confirms that the US is drawing up plans for air and missile strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Long-distance B2 bombers, each carrying up to 20 tonnes of precision bombs and flying from bases in the US, would “most likely” be involved.
By Peter Symonds, 6 February 2006
In a decision that lays the basis for sanctions and future military action against Iran, the governing council of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) caved in to US pressure and voted on Saturday to report Tehran to the UN Security Council.
By the Editorial Board, 21 January 2006
The escalating confrontation between Iran and the major powers over Tehran’s nuclear programs raises crucial political issues.
By Peter Symonds, 13 January 2006
The US and European Union (EU) have set course for a full-scale confrontation with Iran, following steps by Tehran on Tuesday to restart its uranium enrichment facilities. The foreign ministers of the EU-3—Britain, France and Germany—met yesterday in Berlin and called for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss referring Iran to the UN Security Council for possible punitive sanctions.
By Joe Kay, 5 January 2006
German and Turkish media have reported that the US government is planning air strikes against Iran. The reports suggest that the attacks could take place in early 2006.
By Justus Leicht and Stephan Steinberg, 30 December 2005
In recent months, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly gone public with anti-Semitic declarations. He has described the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during the Second World War as a “myth” concocted to justify the existence of Israel, refused to accept the claim that “Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews,” called for the state of Israel to be “wiped off the map” and demanded that Jews currently living in Israel be moved to Canada or Alaska.
By Peter Symonds, 29 September 2005
The Bush administration and its European allies moved one step closer to an open confrontation with Iran, following last Saturday’s decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board to declare Tehran in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The resolution sets the stage for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for punitive sanctions if it fails to shut down its uranium enrichment program, to allow intrusive new inspections of its nuclear facilities and “reconsider” the construction of a heavy water research reactor.
By Peter Symonds, 17 August 2005
President George Bush’s inflammatory comments last Friday menacing Iran with military attack have again underscored the lawless character of the US administration. His declaration that “all options are on the table,” that is, including the military one, directly undermines European efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran over its nuclear programs and signals that Washington is moving toward unilateral military aggression.
By Peter Symonds, 11 August 2005
The Bush administration with the support of the so-called EU-3—Britain, France and Germany—has seized on Iran’s decision to restart its uranium conversion facility at Esfahan as the pretext for condemning Tehran and threatening UN economic sanctions. Once again Washington and its allies, with the backing of the international media, are conducting a campaign of provocation and lies that will ultimately lead to open confrontation if Iran does not completely capitulate.
Claims that new president was hostage-taker
By Patrick Martin, 2 July 2005
On June 28, the editorial in the Washington Post, the major daily newspaper in the US capital, turned up its nose at the newly elected Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The editors were irritated that Ahmadinejad had defeated the candidate favored by the US ruling elite, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and offended that he had done so by appealing to the economic grievances of Iran’s lower social classes. The Post consoled itself as follows: “The new president, after all, is not worth much attention.”
By Ulrich Rippert and Keith Jones, 1 July 2005
Iran’s presidential election has exposed a deep-rooted popular antipathy to the country’s business, political, and religious elite—an antipathy born of mass unemployment, mounting social inequality, and opposition to the enormous political and social power wielded by the mullahs. The election has also shown that the Iranian ruling class is bitterly divided over economic policy, the country’s relations with the US, the division of political power, and its methods of rule.
By Justus Leicht and Ulrich Rippert, 23 June 2005
The results of the June 17 Iranian presidential elections surprised many commentators and have served to intensify the country’s political crisis. Former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was regarded as favorite to win the election, failed to obtain an absolute majority. For the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the election of the president requires a second round of voting.
By Justus Leicht, 13 June 2005
Presidential elections have been called in Iran for June 17 and campaigning has been under way for more than two weeks. The poll is taking place under conditions where the reformist wing of the government, under the leadership of the incumbent president, Mohammad Khatami, is thoroughly discredited. Khatami is barred by the constitution from standing again.
By Peter Symonds, 25 March 2005
Far from representing a softer US stance on Iran’s nuclear programs, the Bush administration’s decision earlier this month to “cooperate” in the European Union (EU) negotiations with Iran has only increased the likelihood of a breakdown in discussions and open confrontation.
By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2005
The deal signed last Sunday for Russia to supply Iran with nuclear fuel has highlighted the fact that President Bush has returned empty-handed from his so-called charm offensive in Europe. For all the rhetoric about transatlantic unity, the European powers refused to budge on any major issue. Above all, no European troops were forthcoming to help the US out of the deepening quagmire in Iraq.
By Peter Schwarz, 25 January 2005
Reports of American war preparations against Iran have provoked consternation within European political circles.
By Patrick Martin, 20 January 2005
According to an extensive report by the well-connected journalist Seymour Hersh published in the New Yorker magazine last weekend, US military forces have been staging commando operations in Iran for months, preparing the way for air strikes against suspected weapons facilities or even a full-fledged invasion of the country. The article, titled “The Coming Wars,” cites multiple sources whom Hersh describes as “former high-level intelligence officials”—most likely CIA officials forced out over the last seven months in the Bush administration purge of the agency—as well as Pentagon consultants and others in a position to know.
By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2004
Next week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors over Iran’s nuclear programs is looming as a tense diplomatic battleground between the US and its European rivals.
By Peter Symonds, 25 September 2004
Last week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna was one more sign that the US is intent on intensifying the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program and laying the ground for another military adventure.
By Chris Marsden, 24 June 2004
Though it appears that they will be released shortly, the capture and detention of eight British sailors in the southern Shatt al-Arab waterway border with Iraq has focused attention on the sharp tensions that have developed between Iran, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.
By Ulrich Rippert, 25 February 2004
The most important result of last Friday’s parliamentary elections in Iran was the complete failure of the so-called reformers around President Mohammed Khatami. Seven years ago, Khatami was elected with a great majority, because large sections of the Iranian people rejected the reactionary regime of the mullahs, the religious rulers of Iran. However, at no point has his government been prepared to seriously confront the conservatives in the Council of Guardians, the unelected institution controlling all institutions of state power, and to defend democratic rights.
By Jean Shaoul, 22 January 2004
The earthquake that struck southeastern Iran on December 26 was one of the most catastrophic in the last 25 years. It killed more than 40,000 people and injured at least 30,000. It destroyed more than 80 percent of the buildings in Bam and the surrounding towns and villages, leaving more 100,000 people homeless.
By Jean Shaoul, 14 January 2004
On a recent visit, I was fortunate to have just left Bam less than 24 hours before the devastating earthquake hit the ancient city and surrounding villages in southeast Iran, killing at least 32,000 people. The terrible force of the quake and the aftershocks woke everyone 120 miles away in Kerman, where I was staying.
Poor planning, shoddy construction contribute to catastrophe
By Kate Randall, 6 January 2004
The emergency response in Bam, Iran wound down Monday as most remaining international rescue teams left the devastated city. An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale struck in the early morning hours of December 26, leveling up to 70 percent of Bam’s structures, the majority built of mud bricks. The building collapses trapped the quake’s victims in grey dust. The ancient desert settlement lies about 600 miles southeast of Tehran.
By David Walsh, 30 December 2003
The earthquake that struck the city of Bam in southeastern Iran December 26 is a human tragedy of historic proportions. Estimates of the final death-toll range as high as 40,000. More than 25,000 bodies have already been retrieved, many of those subsequently buried in mass graves dug by bulldozers. Tens of thousands of people were also injured in the quake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale and released energy roughly equivalent to a one-megaton hydrogen bomb. The earthquake was the world’s most deadly in at least a decade.
By Peter Symonds, 6 December 2003
After lengthy and bitter wrangling, the US administration last week forced its European counterparts to accept an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution on Iran’s nuclear industry that provides the framework for tough punitive measures against Tehran.
By Justus Leicht, 20 November 2001
On November 11 and 12, court proceedings began in perhaps the biggest political trial since the establishment of the Islamic regime in Iran in 1979. It is directed chiefly at the “Iran Freedom Movement” (IFM, nehzat-e azadi-ye Iran), a 40-year-old nationalist-religious group which supported the “reform movement” of president Mohammed Khatami, while demanding a more thorough-going liberalisation and pro-western orientation than Khatami himself.
By David Walsh, 30 October 2001
Iranian filmmaker Tahmineh Milani faces execution if she is convicted in an upcoming trial. Milani, one of Iran’s best-known women directors (The Legend of a Sigh , What Else Is New? , Two Women ), was engaged in promoting her new film, The Hidden Half —which had been approved by government censors and the Ministry of Culture—when she was arrested in late August on the orders of Iran’s Revolutionary Council. The film, set in the present, depicts in flashback political struggles that took place in Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 coming to power of the Islamic forces. The central protagonist recounts her involvement with left-wing activists, among others.
By Justus Leicht, 26 September 2001
There was an outpouring of sympathy from the Iranian people for the victims of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In Tehran, hundreds of youth spontaneously took to the streets and held candlelight vigils for the victims. Prior to an international match against Bahrain, 40,000 football fans observed a minute’s silence and Iranian sporting associations conveyed their sympathies to corresponding organisations in America.
By David Walsh, 1 September 2001
Iranian film director Tahmineh Milani was arrested August 26 (or August 27, according to some reports) on orders of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and remains in custody, despite efforts to win her release. The detention was reported by several international sources on Wednesday and confirmed in a press release from the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Friday.
Iranian establishment closes ranks against the population
By Justus Leicht, 14 June 2001
The widely anticipated landslide re-election of Iran's President Mohammed Khatami has been hailed by all factions of the Iranian government and the Western media as an expression of the Iranian people's “trust” in his policies and the apparent ability of the Islamic Republic to undertake democratic change.
By Justus Leicht, 31 May 2001
The campaign for the election of the Iranian president has begun with the vote set to take place on June 8. On May 4, just two days before the expiry of the date for applications and following months of hesitation, the current president and cleric Mohamed Khatami, who has a reputation as a “liberal reformer”, declared he was prepared to run for a second term. His victory is regarded as certain. But it is also certain that his victory will do little to achieve stabilisation of Iran and the region—in fact quite the opposite is the case.
By Justus Leicht, 27 February 2001
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi paid a surprise visit to Germany on February 8. During the two-day trip he met with Foreign Affairs Minister Joschka Fischer (Green party), Federal Economics Minister Werner Müller (non-party), the chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Hans Ulrich Klose, as well as Bundestag (parliament) President Wolfgang Thierse and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (all Social Democratic Party—SPD).