TWO oil tankers were attacked on Thursday morning in the Gulf of Oman.
The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous and Norway’s Front Altair were abandoned after two massive blasts set the ships on fire. The explosions were big enough to have been caused by torpedoes.
It was the Iranians who rushed to evacuate the crew, saving every single one of them!
The Gulf of Oman lies at one end of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane through which hundreds of millions of dollars of oil pass daily. Oil prices leapt by as much as 4% after Thursday’s incident.
Immediately, the US blamed Iran for the attack, with the Saudis and the UK government toeing the US line, despite there being no evidence that the Iranians had anything to do with it.
More to the point, it is not in Iran’s interest to blow up a Japanese tanker. The attack took place at exactly the same time as the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting with the Leader of the Iranian revolution Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran. It would be an act of sheer madness to attack a Japanese vessel while simultaneously hosting the Japanese head of state.
So this begs the question, whose interests did these attacks serve? The answer is that the only forces which benefit from these attacks are the imperialist powers, the US and the UK, and their Saudi and Gulf feudal allies.
The US and the Gulf feudalists are desperate for an excuse to attack Iran, and they have just manufactured one, as they did with the ‘Saddam has WMD’ lies in 2003.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said: ‘It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman.’
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said: ‘We have no reason to disagree with the Secretary of State. We agree with him. Iran has a history of doing this.’
Like a good poodle, Tory Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt rushed in behind his master: ‘I have been in contact with Pompeo and, while we will be making our own assessment soberly and carefully, our starting point is obviously to believe our US allies.’
This prompted Iran to warn the US. The Iranian mission to the UN said in a statement: ‘The US and its regional allies must stop warmongering and put an end to mischievous plots as well as false-flag operations in the region’.
Russia produces 10.5 million barrels of oil a month, making it the biggest oil-producing nation in the world. The Saudis produce 10 million a month. The US comes in third with 9.2 million barrels a month, then Iraq with 4.3 million, China with 4.1 million, Canada 3.8 million and then Iran producing 3.5 million barrels a month.
US President Donald Trump’s position of ‘America First’ is a defensive one. Protectionism is an attempt to export America’s crisis around the world. And the US is desperate to cut out Iranian oil production so that it can raise prices significantly.
In May, the leaders of Russia, France and Germany underscored the need to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. This gave the EU and Russia access to Iran’s trade, primarily their oil, in return for Iran halting the production of enriched uranium.
Trump pulled the US out of the agreement called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), piled sanctions on Iran, threatened to sanction any country which trades with Iran and then began sanctioning any company or bank that deals with Iran, the latest being an Iraqi company and an Iraqi bank. Now it is threatening to move from an economic war to a shooting war.
The drive to crush Iran and steal its oil wealth comes out of the US’ acute economic crisis and its attempts to try and claw back its economic position as top dog of the capitalist world, something which is slipping from their grip and which Trump fears will provoke an uprising of US workers.
The issue for US and UK workers is clear. Their enemy is at home. A new worldwide imperialist war will see hundreds of millions of workers die.
The US and UK bosses must be told by the US and UK trade unions that any attack on Iran will be met with regime change and systemic change at home in the UK and the US through socialist revolutions!