Rulers Split Over Iran—Both Sides Are Wrong

Larry Everest | March 24, 2015

A week after inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Washington, DC, to attack President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, Republicans again tried to derail any deal, this time with an open letter to the “Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Signed by 47 Republican senators and released on Monday, March 9, the letter warned that any deal Iran made with Obama could be quickly undone.

The GOP letter drew howls of outrage from the Democrats and their liberal and “progressive” supporters. Secretary of State John Kerry called it a breach of “more than two centuries of precedent in the conduct of American foreign policy.” The New York Daily News called the Republicans “traitors.” The New York Times warned the Republicans could “diminish America’s standing as a global power capable of crafting international commitments.”

That “global power” imposes and enforces global relations of exploitation and domination by economic, political, cultural, ideological, and military means. That “global power” and the system it enforces is the main source of the catalogue of horrors that afflicts the people and planet today. That is not a starting point for anyone to take who has any feeling for the oppressed around the world!

What IS This Negotiation About... Really?

The U.S. and other world powers have been negotiating with—and threatening—the Islamic Republic of Iran for many years and subjecting it to crippling sanctions that create real misery for the population. These threats and attacks are framed as being about preventing Iran from building—or being able to build—nuclear weapons. That is an issue in its own right for imperialists, and it is an opening to and means through which the rulers of the U.S. are exploring how they might integrate Iran into solving serious challenges they face in maintaining control over the Middle East, contending with regional and global rivals, and best carry out the horrendous crimes this necessitates.

The Republican moves to torpedo these initiatives are mixed in with larger and very intense splits in the U.S. ruling class. (See The Coming Civil War and Repolarization for Revolution in the Present Era by Bob Avakian.) They do want to derail the Iran negotiations and they are taking extraordinary, precedent-breaking steps to do so. They argue the best way to preserve U.S. domination—including the strength and stability of key allies like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt—is by intervening more forcefully in the region, including rolling back Iranian influence and weakening, perhaps crushing, the Iranian regime, even if that unleashes more misery and more explosive contradictions.

Others within the ruling class insist that sanctions, threats, and attacks need to be combined with some openings for Iran to play some role within the framework of U.S. regional dominance. There are similar conflicts within the Israeli ruling class, but the dominant section there is against any “reaching out” to Iran. The nuclear issue is framed by and essentially conditioned by these more overall differences.

The battle within the U.S. ruling class is so sharp, and in many ways unprecedented, because the stakes are so high, their options are so limited, and because they have no real solutions to the intractable contradictions facing their empire.

(For more, see “Netanyahu Bites, Obama Snarls Back: When Bloody-Jawed Wolves Feud, Don’t Choose Sides... Bring Forward Another Way!”)

These negotiations are NOT about ending war, bringing peace, or any form of liberation or a better life to anyone in the Middle East! These negotiations are about the U.S. and other imperialist powers advancing their interests in the region at this point—including by guaranteeing the U.S.-Israel nuclear weapons monopoly in the region (whatever Iran’s nuclear intentions are), and the U.S.'s overall imperialist dominance. From their side, Iran’s reactionary theocrats aim to strengthen their brutal, reactionary regime and increase the Islamic Republic’s regional and global standing, including by working with the U.S.

This article originally appeared on on March 16, 2015.