No to U.S. War Plans
On June 24 Congress overwhelmingly passed new sanctions against Iran. These sanctions follow those passed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), at U.S. insistence. The sanctions specifically blocked what had been a successful diplomatic effort by Brazil, Turkey and Iran to resolve issues related to Iran’s nuclear energy program. President Obama rejected the agreement reached, known as the Tehran Declaration, and insisted on securing yet more sanctions against Iran at the UNSC. His administration then unilaterally added dozens more companies to the list of companies banned by the U.S. Congress then joined this effort, further extending the list of banks and companies the U.S. would refuse to do business with to companies in many third country. All are part of U.S. war plans to weaken Iran through sanctions, much as was done against Iraq. Voice of Revolution urges all to oppose these sanctions and oppose all U.S. war plans against Iran, which constitute crimes against the peace.
In Congress, the Senate and House in quick succession approved their individual bills and then a joint resolution, H.R. 2194, was passed overwhelmingly. The Senate voted 99-0. The House vote was 408-8. Representatives John Conyers of Detroit and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio among the 8 voting against the bill, called the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010. The measure is now before President Barack Obama, awaiting his signature.
Senator John McCain, of Arizona, said the legislation represented "the most powerful sanctions ever imposed by the Congress on the government of Iran." Foreign companies will be given a choice, McCain said. "Do you want to do business with Iran, or do you want to do business with the United States?" Thus the U.S. is attempting to dictate trade policy and foreign relations for the entire world.
One provision added in the final House-Senate negotiations specifies that foreign banks interacting with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard or certain Iranian banks will be shut out of the U.S. financial system. The Treasury Department recently added three dozen more companies and individuals to those blacklisted by the U.S. because they are said to contribute to Iran's nuclear energy program or help Iran "evade" existing sanctions. This includes five companies the U.S. claims are part of Iran’s state shipping line and 71 ships. These are the most likely targets for U.S. plans to inspect Iranian ships on the high seas, potentially provoking war in the region.
The sanctions are yet another example of the U.S. passing laws that directly trample on the sovereignty of other countries, requiring them to submit to U.S. efforts to isolate and weaken Iran and make it acceptable for the U.S. to dictate who does and does not trade with a given country. It has done the same with Cuba, also as a means to force Cuba, and other countries engaged in trade with Cuba, to submit to the U.S. blockade. Trade wars are an expression of the increasing conflicts among the imperialist powers, and can escalate to military wars. In increasing its unilateral sanctions, the U.S. is both preparing for war against Iran and attempting to strengthen its positions of power in relation to its imperialist competitors so as to achieve world domination.
The bill, like previous ones imposing sanctions on Iran, includes waiver provisions, meaning Obama is not required to enforce the sanctions. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, of Connecticut, the top Senate negotiator on the bill, acknowledged that past presidents have generally not enforced sanctions on Iran, in part because some U.S. monopolies with interests in the region oppose them. He added that the new bill states "in no uncertain terms" that the president must investigate if there is credible evidence of a violation and ultimately impose sanctions. Given Obama has been pressing for sanctions, it is likely he will do more to implement those which most weaken foreign competitors of U.S. monopolies and cause harm to Iran's economy. He also has the power to freeze assets of foreign companies held in the U.S.
The congressional legislation specifically:
• Expands the scope of the 1996 Iran Sanctions Act by penalizing foreign companies involved in commerce in Iran's energy sector. This includes insurance, financing and shipping companies that engage with Iran in importing refined petroleum, maintaining or expanding Iran’s domestic refining capacity or providing goods, services or technology for Iran’s oil and gas sector.
While Iran is the fourth largest producer of crude oil, it imports refined products such as gasoline. These sanctions are an effort to undermine Iran's efforts to develop her natural gas reserves and refining capacity while punishing third country companies. These companies include those in Germany, as well as China, Russia and Pakistan. Obama can now sanction them.
• Bans U.S. banks from dealing with foreign banks doing business with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, or with sanctioned Iranian banks or in any way aiding Iran's nuclear energy program.
• Requires the president to report to Congress every six months on which foreign companies are involved in projects, on their territory or jointly with host countries, which also involve the Iranians. Such joint ventures in natural gas projects with foreign energy companies already exist in Scotland, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. Sanctions are to be applied against companies providing technology, goods and services in the context of these partnerships and joint ventures. The sanctions include denying support from the U.S. Export-Import Bank, being prohibited from receiving U.S. government contracts, and restricting imports to the U.S. from these countries.
• Bans foreign companies from U.S. government procurement contracts if they provide Iran with technology used to “restrict the free flow of information.” Iranians the U.S. claims are involved in “human rights abuses” would be barred from obtaining visas and be subject to having their assets in the United States seized.
• Strengthens the U.S. trade embargo against Iran by codifying in law longstanding executive orders and limiting the goods exempted from the embargo.
• Requires the Director of National Intelligence to report on countries that permit other countries engaged in commerce with Iran to use their ports, fueling facilities, etc.
• Provides a legal framework for U.S. states, local governments and other investors to divest their portfolios of foreign companies involved in Iran's energy sector.
The House passed its original version last December, and the Senate in March. But at the urging of the White House, Democratic leaders put off a final vote as they waited for diplomatic talks to play out. The success of diplomatic negotiations is represented in the Tehran Declaration, as well as the final declaration of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that was adopted by 189 countries, including Iran. This declaration required Israel to abide by the NPT and called for a nuclear-weapons free zone in the Middle East. It is specifically against these successes and as part of U.S. efforts to weaken Iran as it prepares for war against her, that the U.S. instead is imposing more sanctions.
The U.S. followed a similar path with Iraq, using sanctions to weaken the country so as to more easily defeat it in war. The brutal and deadly impact on civilians is well known. So too is the continued resistance in Iraq to U.S. occupation.
It is also well known that Iran is fully capable of withstanding the sanctions while also being stronger militarily than Iraq was when the U.S. invaded. The world’s peoples also stand firmly behind Iran and Iraq in their fight against the U.S. and for their sovereignty. The U.S. imperialists are known for their failure to take such facts into account and to underestimate the role of the people as decisive in winning wars. Blinded by their own arrogance and conviction in their military superiority, the U.S. may well instigate war against Iran. Now is the time to vigorously oppose such a dangerous direction.
No War on Iran!
Iran's Supreme National Security Council has issued a declaration in response to a recent UN Security Council resolution against the country. The following is the full text of the declaration:
In the name of God, the most Gracious and the Merciful
The Islamic Republic of Iran's Declaration in Response to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 1929 on June 9, 2010. Contrary to the expectation of the international community that the new UNSC resolution would condemn Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla less than ten days before the adoption of the Resolution, the international community saw once again the United States defending the Zionist regime and thus preventing the Security Council from taking any action against the atrocities. The Resolution also ignored the final declaration of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that was adopted just 15 days earlier by 189 countries. This declaration required the Zionist regime to abide by the NPT. But the international community has not seen a single UNSC resolution condemning the nuclear activities of the Zionist regime. Nor has the Council shown any intention of finding out who provided nuclear weapons to the Zionist regime.
The reason is clear. Some of the permanent members of the Security Council are principal suspects of this proliferation. The subject of Resolution 1929 is not concern about production, manufacturing, proliferation or testing of a new generation of nuclear weapons by permanent members of the Security Council. Also there is no reference to 11 proposals by the Islamic Republic of Iran during the NPT Review Conference concerning disarmament and non-proliferation — the same proposals that received a warm response by the international community. The subject of the Resolution, contrary to all expectations, is the peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which have been demonized on the basis of false accusations that have not been proven. On the contrary, the last report by the Director General of the IAEA, published only a day before the Resolution, reiterated for the 22nd time that our activities have not diverted from their peaceful objectives.
Those behind the adoption of this Resolution are exposing themselves to the judgment of the international community under circumstances where the world witnessed the adoption of the Tehran declaration. This was a declaration that openly and clearly called for peaceful nuclear cooperation without any confrontation with regards to the rights of sovereign nations. The United States encouraged Brazil and Turkey to interact with Iran. One month after the adoption of the Tehran declaration [in May], it was welcomed by the 120 members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
The adoption of Resolution 1929 irrespective of the Tehran declaration and the attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla has proven the righteousness of the viewpoints of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
1. It proves that the Security Council is not a proper forum to uphold the maintenance of international peace and security and a body to secure the rights of nations. It proves that as long as the United States formally regards itself as committed to the security of the Zionist regime and continues to support its atrocities, the Security Council is not able to adopt any resolution condemning the many crimes committed by the Zionist regime.
2. It proves that the United States is becoming more and more discredited and distrusted in the world and that not even the slogan of "change" could restore the U.S. administration’s long-lost credibility. The international community clearly witnessed the U.S. President’s willingness to encourage other countries under false pretenses. This can be judged by the statements made by President of Brazil and the Prime Minister of Turkey, which are now available to the international community. [This refers to Obama’s letters to Brazil and Turkey supporting the plan for having Iran’s low-enriched uranium processed in Turkey to provide enriched nuclear fuel rods to power the Tehran research reactor, which produces radioisotopes for cancer treatment. Obama encouraged Brazil and Turkey to negotiate the plan, then when they were successful, denounced it and instead demanded increased sanctions —VOR Ed.]
3. It has proven the United States is the principal offender in using, proliferating, and testing nuclear weapons, and thus poses the greatest threat to the international community and mostly its own people. How can a regime that is not able to contain an oil well be trusted by the world to contain its arsenal of nuclear weapons that jeopardizes global security?
4. It has been proven that the United Stated tries to distract and redirect world public opinion from the real threats by concocting made-up and fictitious threats. The real threats are the direct results of flawed policies by the American regime in stockpiling nuclear weapons and supporting state terrorism.
5. It has been proven that certain monopolist governments are determined to deprive other nations of peaceful nuclear technology and having access to fuel which are clear examples of the "right to development," "right to natural resources" and the "right to self-determination."
Using the opportunity to demonstrate to the public opinion of the world the above-mentioned viewpoints, the Islamic Republic of Iran declares:
1. Entry of the Security Council into the subject relating to peaceful activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran is illegal, unwarranted and contrary to Article 39 of the Charter. It also fully contravenes the organizational and safeguard requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Council needs to take prompt action in redressing and putting right its past mistakes.
2. The Islamic Republic of Iran openly and clearly declares that any action against the lawful and legitimate rights of the people of Iran will be responded to with reciprocal lawful actions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
3. Disappointment with the U.S. administration in receiving the unanimous vote of the members of the Security Council, despite all the unconventional pressure exerted and contacts established by the president, and the fact that the international community in the declaration of the Non-Aligned Movement chose not to go along with the will of certain big powers clearly demonstrates the beginning of a new era of international relations to ensure the rights of nations based on justice and respect.
4. We are pleased to see that "Peaceful Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for None" as a human goal, has turned into an opportunity to forge greater cooperation among independent governments and consider it an auspicious phenomenon for defending the fundamental rights of nations. Therefore, we believe that the insistence of the U.S. administration on continuing on the same flawed path is costly, useless and will only result in uncovering the unjust and faulty mask of the Security Council at their own cost and will strengthen the resolve of nations to have fair international relations.
5. The Islamic Republic of Iran emphasizes again the importance of the Tehran Declaration as a good foundation for greater solidarity of independent nations in countering the excessive demands by big powers and forging stronger relations for peace, justice and happiness for humankind.
(Press TV, June 18, 2010)
The following is the statement by Brazil, a UN Security Council member, read to the council June 8, strongly opposing the new sanctions resolution against Iran. The resolution was adopted June 9 under the pressure of the U.S., Britain and France. Turkey and Brazil voted against and Lebanon abstained.
* * *
Brazil has voted against the draft resolution.
In doing so, we are honoring the purposes that inspired us in the efforts that resulted in the Tehran Declaration of 17 May.
We do not see sanctions as an effective instrument in this case. Sanctions will most probably lead to the suffering of the people of Iran and will play in the hands of those, on all sides, that do not want dialogue to prevail.
Past experiences in the UN, notably the case of Iraq, show that the spiral of sanctions, threats and isolation can result in tragic consequences.
We voted against also because the adoption of sanctions, at this juncture, runs contrary to the successful efforts of Brazil and Turkey to engage Iran in a negotiated solution for its nuclear program.
As Brazil repeatedly stated, the Tehran Declaration adopted 17 May is a unique opportunity that should not be missed. It was approved by the highest levels of the Iranian leadership and endorsed by its Parliament.
The Tehran Declaration promoted a solution that would ensure the full exercise of Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, while providing full verifiable assurances that Iran’s nuclear program has exclusively peaceful purposes.
We are firmly convinced that the only possible way to achieve this collective goal is to secure Iran’s cooperation through effective and action-oriented dialogue and negotiations.
The Tehran Declaration showed that dialogue and persuasion can do more than punitive actions.
Its purpose and result were to build the confidence needed to address a whole set of aspects of Iran’s nuclear program.
As we explained yesterday, the Joint Declaration removed political obstacles to the materialization of a proposal by the IAEA in October 2009. Many governments and highly respected institutions and individuals have come to acknowledge its value as an important step to a broader discussion on the Iranian nuclear program.
(CASMII, June 9, 2010)
On June 9, on the basis of intense U.S. pressure and insistence, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted today to impose a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran. The UNSC again demanded that Iran suspend its enrichment activities, which, when done for peaceful purposes, is permitted under international law and the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT). The most recent report from the Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), published only a day before the UNSC Resolution, reiterated for the 22nd time that Iran’s activities have not diverted from their peaceful objectives. The IAEA is responsible for compliance with the NPT and international law when it comes to nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. Despite their determination that Iran is utilizing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, the UNSC, under U.S. demand, promotes unfounded doubt to justify its unjust actions. For this particular vote, Brazil and Turkey both voted against the resolution. Both countries had conducted successful negotiations with Iran concerning its enrichment activities.
Last October, a draft agreement on fuel for a civilian nuclear research site in Tehran was put forward, in which Iranian low-enriched uranium would be shipped for further enrichment to Russia and then to France to be fabricated into fuel. This diplomacy was not completed. However, Brazil and Turkey did conclude negotiations for a similar arrangement, with Iran sending its enriched uranium to Turkey. The U.S. sanctions and those of the UNSC have now blocked these negotiations as well.
In a related development, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano informed the Agency’s Board of Governors that he had received letters from France, Russia and the United States concerning the provision of nuclear fuel for Tehran’ research reactor, which serves medical purposes. The letters were in response to Iran’s May 24 letter officially agreeing to the Joint Declaration signed in Tehran in May by Iran, Brazil and Turkey. Mr. Amano said that he will continue to use his good offices to follow up on this new development with the concerned governments.
The UNSC Resolution 1929 also comes in the context of the refusal of the UNSC to condemn the Israeli attack on the civilian Gaza flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. The raid killed at least 9 people, injured many more and was conducted illegally on the high seas. Though it occurred less than ten days prior to the UNSC sanctions against Iran, the world still awaits UNSC condemnation of Israel and imposition of an independent international inquiry. The UNSC also said nothing about the final declaration of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference that was adopted just 15 days earlier by 189 countries. This declaration required Israel to abide by the NPT and open its nuclear facilities and nuclear weapons to IAEA inspections. Israel refuses to even sign the NPT. The U.S., which provided the nuclear weapons to Israel and continues to arm and update her military with the latest weaponry, blocks any such resolution. As a result, the international community has not seen a single UNSC resolution condemning Israel’s nuclear activities. Nor has the UNSC targeted the U.S. for providing the weapons and technology to Israel, directly contrary to the NPT standards on non-proliferation.
The UNSC has imposed several rounds of sanctions on Iran since 2006, including a ban on all items that could contribute to the country’s enrichment of uranium, which is necessary for both peaceful and military uses of nuclear energy. It is accepted internationally that while Israel does have nuclear weapons, Iran does not.
According to a White House fact sheet, the new UN sanctions include:
“Ban on certain nuclear and missile Iranian investments abroad. Iran is prohibited from investing in nuclear activities abroad, like uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.”
Uranium enrichment can be used for medical purposes but no distinction is made in the sanctions. The ban also applies to investments in uranium mining.
“Conventional arms ban. States are prohibited from selling or in any way transferring to Iran eight broad categories of heavy weapons (battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles or missile systems). States are similarly prohibited from providing technical or financial assistance for such systems, or spare parts. States are also to exercise vigilance and restraint in supplying any other arms or related materiel to Iran.”
This has nothing to do with nuclear weapons but rather with providing the U.S. with a military advantage by weakening Iran’s weapons and reserves.
“Ban on ballistic missile activities. Iran is prohibited from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons and States are required to take all necessary measures to prevent the transfer of related technology or technical assistance.”
Israel is not prohibited from such activity, even though it already possesses nuclear weapons and has shown it will not hesitate to use its military might against civilians, in Gaza, against the flotilla on the high seas, against Lebanon.
“New cargo inspection framework. Iran is subject to a new regime for inspection of “suspicious” cargo. States should inspect any vessel on their territory suspected of carrying prohibited cargo, including banned conventional arms or sensitive nuclear or missile items. States are also expected to cooperate in such inspections on the high seas.”
It is this new inspection framework that the U.S. and Israel will attempt to utilize to justify boarding Iranian or other vessels on the high seas or even in ports. It is a well-known U.S. ploy, used by police in every community and the military, to brand something as “suspicious,” so as to justify use of force.
“New procedures to deal with contraband items. Once prohibited items are found, States are now obligated to seize and dispose of the items.”
In this manner, the U.S. has once again succeeded in using the UNSC to force states to become policemen for U.S. interests. This was done for the Korean War, more currently in Haiti and elsewhere. The sanction regime is being used to accustom states to involving themselves in such policing, contrary to international norms concerning sovereignty and use of force.
“Ban on bunkering services. States are required not to provide critical support services (e.g., fuel, water) to ships “suspected” of carrying prohibited cargo.”
Again, it will be the U.S. that will brand such ships as “suspicious,” simply because of where they come from (such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and as a means to force other countries to submit or face similar bans.
“Measures to restrict the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and Iran Air’s cargo division. States must require their nationals to exercise vigilance over IRISL. Three IRISL-related companies will have their assets frozen. States are requested to report any information on activities by IRISL and Iran’s Air’s cargo division, including by renaming vessels.”
This measure too will be utilized to justify U.S.-Israeli efforts to try and board ships and demand that others inspect ships deemed “suspicious.” As is commonly the case, the U.S. and Israel will determine what is or is not “suspicious.” No one has forgotten the U.S. claims concerning their suspicions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or Israel’s most recent claim that the Gaza flotilla, despite several inspections, was carrying weapons. In both cases, none were found.
“New tools to block proliferation finance. States are called upon to prevent any financial service — including insurance or reinsurance — and freeze any asset that could contribute to Iran’s proliferation. This broad language will help states take action when there are suspected financial links to Iran’s banned nuclear activities.”
Here the U.S. admits it imposed broad language so as to take action simply on the basis of “suspected” links.
Additional measures listed in the White House fact sheet serve to ensure the sanctions are not only directed to Iran, but far more broadly to all states. Everyone is to use simply “suspected” activity as the basis for imposing action against Iran. When it comes to banking, the U.S., with its own sanctions, is demanding that everyone choose between the U.S. or Iran. Thus, the “you are with us or against us” dictate of the U.S. is being broadly extended in the fields of trade and banking.
As the White House fact sheet outlines further, the UNSC sanctions require:
“Vigilance over all Iran’s companies. States are required to ensure their nationals exercise vigilance when doing business with any Iranian firm, including IRGC and IRISL, to make sure such business does not contribute to Iran’s proliferation.”
“ New banking measures. States are called upon to prohibit on their territories new banking relationships with Iran, including the opening of any new branches of Iranian banks, joint ventures and correspondent banking relationships, if there is a suspected link to proliferation. States also should prohibit their own financial institutions from opening branches in Iran if there is a suspected link to proliferation.
“New measures to limit the role of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The resolution highlights the IRGC’s role in proliferation and requires states to mandate that businesses exercise vigilance over all transactions involving the IRGC. Fifteen IRGC-related companies will have their assets frozen.
“Targeted sanctions on specific individuals and entities. Forty Iranian companies and one individual will be subject to an asset freeze. The individual — the head of a critical nuclear research program — will also be subject to a travel ban. Thirty-five additional individuals previously subject to “travel vigilance” will now be subject to a travel ban
“Appointment of a UN sanctions monitoring panel. A UN “Panel of Experts” will be established to monitor states’ implementation of the sanctions, report on sanctions violations and recommend ways to continually improve enforcement.”
Having met in Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran, the undersigned have agreed on the following Declaration:
1. We reaffirm our commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and in accordance with the related articles of the NPT, recall the right of all State Parties, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy (as well as the nuclear fuel cycle including enrichment activities) for peaceful purposes without discrimination.
2. We express our strong conviction that we have the opportunity now to begin a forward looking process that will create a positive, constructive, non-confrontational atmosphere leading to an era of interaction and cooperation.
3. We believe that the nuclear fuel exchange is instrumental in initiating cooperation in different areas, especially with regard to peaceful nuclear cooperation including nuclear power plant and research reactors construction.
4. Based on this point the nuclear fuel exchange is a starting point to begin cooperation and a positive constructive move forward among nations. Such a move should lead to positive interaction and cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear activities replacing and avoiding all kinds of confrontation through refraining from measures, actions and rhetorical statements that would jeopardize Iran's rights and obligations under the NPT.
5. Based on the above, in order to facilitate the nuclear cooperation mentioned above, the Islamic Republic of Iran agrees to deposit 1200 kilograms (kg) low-enriched uranium (LEU) in Turkey. While in Turkey this LEU will continue to be the property of Iran. Iran and the IAEA may station observers to monitor the safekeeping of the LEU in Turkey.
6. Iran will notify the IAEA in writing through official channels of its agreement with the above within seven days following the date of this declaration. Upon the positive response of the Vienna Group (U.S., Russia, France and the IAEA) further details of the exchange will be elaborated through a written agreement and proper arrangement between Iran and the Vienna Group, which specifically committed themselves to deliver the 120 kilograms of fuel needed for the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR).
7. When the Vienna Group declares its commitment to this provision, then both parties would commit themselves to the implementation of the agreement mentioned in item 6. The Islamic Republic of Iran expressed its readiness to deposit its LEU (1200 kg) within one month. On the basis of the same agreement the Vienna Group should deliver the 120 kg of fuel required for TRR no later than one year.
8. In case the provisions of this Declaration are not respected Turkey, upon the request of Iran, will return swiftly and unconditionally Iran's LEU to Iran.
9. We welcome the decision of the Islamic Republic of Iran to continue as in the past their talks with the 5+1 countries (U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) in Turkey on the common concerns based on collective commitments according to the common points of their proposals.
10. Turkey and Brazil appreciated Iran's commitment to the NPT and its constructive role in pursuing the realization of nuclear rights of its member states. The Islamic Republic of Iran likewise appreciated the constructive efforts of the friendly countries Turkey and Brazil in creating the conducive environment for realization of Iran's nuclear rights.