IRAN’S supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has welcomed President Obama’s change of rhetoric in relation to Iran but has however stated that what is necessary, if better relations are to be established between Iran and the US, are concrete policy changes.
Khamenei asked: ‘Did you remove the sanctions? Did you stop supporting the Zionist regime? Tell us what you have changed. Change only in words is not enough.’
He continued that if President Barack Obama altered US policies, Iran was prepared to follow suit.
This was Khamenei’s response to Obama’s offer of a ‘new beginning’.
If the Obama initiative is to progress, the next move is up to him. He will be expected to announce at least an easing in the US sanctions against Iran, or the unfreezing of some of the Iranian assets that are still held by the US.
However, only last week Obama extended sanctions against Iran for one year, saying it continued to pose a threat to US national security.
The very fact that US imperialism has for the moment ditched the ‘axis of evil’ approach to Iran is indicative of the desperate crisis of US policy throughout the Middle East and Central Asia with their massive oil and gas deposits.
Last week, revolution in Pakistan was just headed off, when the Pakistani president, under intense US pressure, was forced to free the imprisoned chief justice, for the moment appeasing the revolutionary democratic movement.
The British Foreign Minister Miliband admitted on Saturday that the NATO forces were not defeating the Taleban in Afghanistan and were suffering a strategic defeat.
The new Obama representative in the region, Holbrooke, the political leader of the 1999 attack on Yugoslavia, has been scathing about the regime in Kabul. He is advocating allowing sections of the Taleban to take part in the August presidential elections, and then joining the government. Included in the deal will be the Taleban leaders who have been spearheading the drive to kill British troops in Helmand province!
Holbrooke wants the thousands of US troops that will shortly be arriving in Afghanistan to concentrate on the war on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border, at the same time as the US encourages the Pakistani military to get ready for a take over.
Iran’s projected role is to stop any aid for the Taleban crossing the Iranian-Afghan border and to seal it, while at the same time using its influence in Iraq and the Lebanon to hold back the national liberation movements.
The US ruling class knows that the Iranian bourgeoisie is not opposed in principle to such a deal with the US, since it allowed the US invasion of Iraq, and then allowed emigre Shi’ite leaders to return to Iraq from Iran to form the government and to support the US occupation.
What is ultimately on the table is the following: Iran must give up any plan to engage in uranium enrichment and accept international offers to provide fuel for nuclear power.
Iran must stop arming Hezbollah in Lebanon and supporting Hamas in Gaza, and to must help in achieving a ‘US peace’ in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as stopping threatening Israel.
Iran will demand the right to enrich uranium, and an end to all US and UN sanctions, plus a defined partnership with the US in the region.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Assad has announced that he is willing to mediate between Iran and the US and is waiting to be summoned by Obama to do the job.
Assad in return will be willing to sign a peace treaty with Israel provided the Golan Heights in its entirety is returned to Syria and the pre-1967 border restored.
The prospect is that despite the new-found willingness of the US and the national bourgeoisie to do a deal, the eruptions of the revolutionary movement of the masses throughout the region will prevent such a clear-cut collaboration emerging.