From A World To Win News Service

Dirty Politics Amid the Ruins:

Iran and Earthquake Diplomacy

Revolutionary Worker#1230, February 22, 2004, posted at

We received the following from A World to Win News Service:

9 February 2004. A World to Win News Service.This week's visit to Iran by Great Britain's Prince Charles highlights the growing tempo of "earthquake diplomacy" as the great powers and the Islamic Republic engage in a grotesque courtship amid the ruins of the devastated city of Bam.

The royal's visit was billed as "non-political," but it is hard to see how its intentions and even the particulars could have been more political. Charles may have travelled in his position as patron of the UK Red Cross, but he packed his army uniforms. The visit was cleared and undoubtedly proposed by the government Foreign Office.

Iran was the second stop on a tour that started in Iraq. Charles first met with U.S. occupation chief Paul Bremer. Donning the desert fatigues and beret of the UK's occupation forces, he gave a pep talk to British troops stationed in Basra, near the Iran border. "We don't normally take the prince to places as dangerous as this," a military spokesman explained. "The troops need cheering up." That's no surprise, since they find themselves in a vicious war with no end in sight, after recent revelations that Tony Blair sent them there on a "false prospectus" of claims about Saddam Hussein's non- existent weapons of mass destruction.

Then Charles met with Iranian President Khatami, where among other things they chatted about Iraq and the president's own political future. Finally the prince got around to a short stroll through the ruins of Bam, ostensibly the reason for this whole excursion, before flying on to lecture the rulers of Saudi Arabia. It's not shocking that an English prince would pursue current UK imperial interests in three countries where at one time or another Britain was the dominant power, but it is noteworthy when a self-styled reformer and representative of the Islamic Republic (IR) is so eager to sandwich himself into such an agenda.

The following overview of the "earthquake diplomacy" that has been quickening in tempo since the disaster of December 26 is from the latest issue of Haghighat (, mainly in Farsi), organ of the Communist Party of Iran (Marxist-Leninist- Maoist).


The Islamic Republic of Iran invited all the world's countries, including the U.S., to send aid to the Bam earthquake victims. International observers described this not as an act of concern for the victims but as a signal from the regime that it was giving a green light to the U.S. This invitation completely contradicted the IR's previous policy when it rejected international aid for the Roodbar earthquake 13 years ago, which killed at least 40,000 people [as did the quake in Bam].

When U.S. planes took off from American military bases in Kuwait and landed in Kerman near Bam, the Western press pointed out that this was the first time U.S. military aircraft had touched down on Iranian soil since the Tabas incident (a failed attempt by the U.S. to invade Iran in an attempt to rescue the U.S. hostages from the American embassy seized in 1979 by students following the line of Ayatollah Khomeini). So this new landing was very important for the U.S. military.

This imperialist superpower is no longer satisfied just to lure Iran indirectly or through other semi- feudal, semi-colonial regimes under its domination. The U.S. is telling the IR that the "sell-by" date of apparently independent reactionary regimes in the Middle East is over. In fact, the U.S. wants that regime to pave the way for an open U.S. presence in Iran.

Other issues, such as American disapproval of the regime's nuclear activities, its intervention on the Palestine question and its support for Islamic fundamentalists in the region, and the U.S.'s criticism of the lack of political liberty and so on, are in fact secondary, subordinated to and in the service of the main issue: The U.S. wants the IR to throw away its pretensions of independence and dare to announce that it is a U.S. puppet and pleased to be one. From the other side, in its talks with the U.S. the regime is trying to leave some wiggle room so as not to lose face, and more importantly, to ensure that in the future the U.S. will not try to overthrow it. So far, the U.S.'s answer has been that only unconditional capitulation is acceptable.

There is struggle on this issue: one day Rafsanjani [ex-president and the real "strong man" in Iran] comes and announces that "The U.S. has sent positive signals" and the next day he comes and says, "The U.S. made a mistake and they are wrong to think they can achieve their aims."

There is no doubt that secret meetings between the U.S. and different factions of the IR are continuing. The improved relations between Iran and Egypt, the regime's invitation to the U.S. to send aid to the Bam earthquake victims and their military airplanes from Kuwait to Bam, and the exchange of conciliatory messages between the IR and the heads of the U.S., are indications that Iran has accepted its new position in those secret meetings.

In order to show its readiness for the acceptance of the new conditions, the regime has started to normalize relations with the U.S. puppet regimes in the region. It is believed that after re-establishing relations with Egypt [and Jordan], Israel is next. The Islamic Republic has long-standing clandestine security and military ties with Israeli officials. According to the new position, it should establish open relations with Israel.

The U.S. is working to form a permanent military and political structure involving Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The IR is willing to take part in that project. Iran cooperated with the U.S. around the issues of Afghanistan and al-Qaida. The regime also helped out the U.S. in invading Iraq and even Saddam's capture. This kind of cooperation has been extended on the Palestinian question.

However, what makes the U.S. uneasy is that the IR is badly isolated from the masses. The IR has effectively suppressed the people and the revolutionary forces, and the U.S. never disagreed with the IR on that. But every reactionary power knows that the stick alone is not enough when it comes to ruling over the people. A stable regime is one that in addition to repression has a minimum of legitimacy. This is something the IR cannot achieve under any circumstances. The last bullet remaining to the IR was to play the game of "two factions" or the game of "reformism." Even that misfired and did not reach its target.

The U.S. and European powers are both colluding and contending over Iran. Europe doesn't want the IR to get so close to the U.S. that Europe no longer has any influence or servants in the Iranian regime. From the other side, the IR's political and economic ties with Europe are unacceptable for the U.S. The Islamic Republic is right to be fearful, because with the deepening cracks between the Western imperialists, the puppets who have been serving both and presenting themselves as independent to their people now must choose which of those powers are to be their main master. Lately, puppets prefer the stronger power. Muammar Gadaffi, the head of Libya, is the vanguard of these apparently independent puppets. By giving in completely to the U.S.'s conditions, he set a pattern for the rest to follow.