‘IT simply is not true that they went into Iranian territorial waters and I hope the Iranian government understands how fundamental an issue this is for us,’ Prime Minister Blair said yesterday from the EU celebrations in Berlin.
Blair was speaking after last Friday’s seizure of 15 British sailors and marines after they entered Iranian waters in the divided waterways of the Shatt al Arab.
Blair continued: ‘We have certainly sent the message back to them very clearly indeed. They should not be under any doubt at all about how seriously we regard this act, which is unjustified and wrong.’
The implication of these words is a threat that unless the sailors are returned at once then Britain and perhaps the United States will take military action.
As far as the News Line is concerned the issue is not whether the British boarding craft strayed into or entered Iranian waters by accident or by design.
The issue is that they should not be in the Shatt al Arab waterway at all.
In fact there should be no British forces either in Iraq or Afghanistan.
As well there should be no British special forces, or British sponsored forces, in northern Iran, or Khuzestan seeking to organise a revolt of Azeris or Arabs against the Iranian government, as the Iranian government has repeatedly alleged.
In fact the aggressors in the Middle East, in the Gulf and in Afghanistan are US and UK imperialism and their allies.
Their military forces have been in the field for the past four years seeking to liberate Iraq and the Caspian Sea region from its oil and gas resources.
The US and UK regimes have already decided that Iran will not have a nuclear power programme, since they rule the world and will not permit it.
These regimes have just tightened the economic sanctions on Iran and have given Iran ultimatum after ultimatum that it faces attack, initially probably by Israel, if it continues to refuse to kowtow to Washington.
Blair’s tone is now a distinctly threatening one, as the instigator of five wars in ten years of office begins to convince himself that a strike against Iran will restore his shattered reputation.
In fact an attack on Iran will not only bring death and destruction to Iranians, it will bring an oil blockade and a major disaster for the western capitalist economies, as well as signing a death sentence for the thousands of British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The way to achieve the speedy release of the 15 sailors and marines is not to start a new war, but to give up the British imperialist ambition to once again be owning and running Iran’s oil industry as Britain did before it was nationalised, first of all by Mosadeq in 1953.
However just as a leopard cannot change its spots, neither can US or UK imperialism.
There is a massive anti-war movement in this country. It must reject the latest absurd imperialist attempt to try and show that Iran is a big bully, and the UK is its victim.
It is Iran that is being threatened and bullied and not just with a new war but with an Israeli attack using tactical nuclear weapons.
The anti-war movement and the trade unions must oppose any military action against Iran.
These movements must do what they refused to do when the imperialists were preparing to attack Iraq.
They must tell Blair that any military strike against Iran will be met with a general strike to bring down his government and bring in a workers’ government that will withdraw all British troops from the Middle East and the Gulf, and put an end to British capitalism and imperialism.
If the anti-war movement and the trade union movement is really opposed to imperialist war this is what must be done.