The following is a letter by the Stop the War Coalition Sydney to Prime Minister Julia Gillard
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We are concerned with the growing threat of a new United States-Israel strike against the people of Iran and are writing to ask you to distance your government from any measure that could lead to an attack on Iran.
The media is currently filled with reports of an alleged nuclear threat posed by Iran and the assumed need for the US, or Israel, to take military action.
These reports recall the “weapons of mass destruction” stories issued in the months leading up to the illegal invasion and war on Iraq. As we know, the Bush administration’s assertion that Iraq possessed massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and that it was capable of launching an attack — nuclear, chemical and biological — on the US within 45 minutes was dangerous nonsense.
Now, we see all-too-similar reports trying to justify some kind of military action against the people of Iran. In June, the UN imposed new sanctions on Iran and last week US President Obama and the European Union imposed new unilateral sanctions aimed at preventing Tehran’s access to imports of refined oil products. The US and Israel are preparing to forcibly supervise ships going to and from Iran — a provocative and dangerous, if not illegal, development.
Just as in the case of Iraq, none of the claims made by the Obama administration stand up to unbiased scrutiny. Iran has submitted to the most intrusive inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, above and beyond what is required by Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
None have found evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program — a claim that Iran has repeatedly denied and explained it has a right to develop nuclear power. The International Institute of Strategic Studies made it clear in April that Iran has “a limited capability to project force beyond its borders”.
Given that the US is the only government to have used nuclear weapons against civilian populations and it has the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction on the planet, shouldn’t a discussion of the dangers of nuclear weapons include those stockpiled by the Pentagon?
And, as you know, Israel has an undeclared and illegal arsenal of around 200 nuclear warheads.
Iran has 10% of the world’s oil reserves, while the US has just 2%. With the Gulf of Mexico oil deposits perhaps permanently unavailable, it’s easy to conclude that the US’ sabre-rattling is related to its need to control a greater share of the world’s oil and gas — 60% of which is found from Saudi Arabia up to the Caspian Sea basin.
Your government must oppose any further wars in the Middle East — whether initiated by the US or Israel, which has also stepped up its threats to strike Iran. British and Israeli media report that Saudi Arabia is prepared to provide a corridor for an Israeli strike on Iran.
Australia must oppose these threats and urge the US to end its campaign of sanctions and hostilities against Iran. We do not condone the Iranian government’s human rights violations, but these do not justify further international sanctions, nor do they provide an excuse for the West to attack.
The people of Iran have suffered greatly at the hands of the US: for the past 27 years, US sanctions have impeded Iran’s right to development. A war would be devastating, not just for Iran, but for the whole Middle East.