Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Greetings to the FSLN on the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Popular Revolution


On behalf of the Communist Party of Australia we send warm and revolutionary greetings                                    to the FSLN on the 40th anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua.
On 19th July 1979 we witnessed the last successful armed revolution of the 20th Century.                                    The all-out popular war defeated Nicaraguan dictator Somoza, one of the most horrible                            butchering dictatorships in Latin America.
Under the leadership of Commander in chief Carlos Fonseca Amador, the FSLN                                                made the correct strategic and tactical assessment giving leadership to the insurrectional                                    and guerrilla warfare effort in which the entire people participated in the overthrow of                                Somoza’s dictatorship. They followed the legacy of the “General of Free Men” Augusto                                   Cesar Sandino.
A very young revolution was confronted with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the                              pressures that mounted in the unipolar world of the 90’s. Including the US inhumane war                              against the Sandinistas with the CIA sponsored Contras as well as the economic war                                    against the people. We remember the victims of the war in particular the Cachorros (pups)                      youngsters who gave their lives in defence of the homeland and their revolution.
In Nicaragua’s elections the FSLN lost an election to Violeta Chamorro in 1990 and the                                              neoliberal policies of the past were returned. The people quickly remembered the reasons                                      for their earlier struggle and the support for the FSLN returned. Daniel Ortega and the FSLN                                    returned to power in 2007.                                                                                                                                                        
Since then the FSLN under the leadership of Commander Daniel Ortega has rebuilt the basis                                     of the revolution despite the attacks by US imperialism which at the beginning of 2018 tried                                     to overthrow the government.
Nicaragua have overcome the attacks to proudly build a society that provided for the people                              and is free of gangs and other miseries. The building of a socialist society is the task the                      Sandinistas have ahead in their program.
We stand in solidarity with the Sandinista National Liberation Front, FSLN on the 40th                           anniversary of the Sandinista revolution. We paid our respects to all those whose blood                               fertilised the road to a successful popular revolution.
In solidarity,
Communist Party of Australia, CPA

Sunday, July 14, 2019

“The transformation of production and unifying slogans of workers in Europe”


Intervention by Christos Tombazos, Member of the C.C. of AKEL and Central Organizing Secretary of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour, at the PEL seminar on the subject: “The transformation of production and unifying slogans of workers in Europe”
12 July 2019, Fiuggi Italy
First permit me thank the organizers for this fine and useful initiative.
I consider that before we focus on the essence of the issue regarding the transformation of production and working people’s joint action, it is important to look at the context within the EU itself. If we do not see the stark realities, we may not arrive at beneficial conclusions.
For that reason, to talk about rights, joint action, about a Europe of the working people, it is in our opinion useful, albeit briefly to look at today’s realities, to see the current EU as it actually is and not as how one may imagine it to be.
As AKEL, we believe that today’s European unification has no relationship whatsoever with its own declarations and – above all – with the aspirations and needs of the peoples in the EU member states. When during the mid-1990’s, AKEL decided to consent – but according to preconditions and taking into account the cause of the Cyprus problem – to Cyprus’ accession to the EU, it proclaimed that this was the result of the dramatic changes that took place in international conditions and not in the character of the European Union itself. During that period, the assessments and warnings of AKEL, as well as that of a large section of the Left in Europe about the capitalist nature, course and policies of the EU were ignored or mocked. However, today it is evident that these assessments and warnings are being verified.
One wonders, can the EU today continue implementing the same neoliberal policies when their very results have led to millions of unemployed, poor, under-employed and even homeless people?
When even the former President of the Commission himself, Jean-Claude Juncker, admitted that the EU is in danger of becoming a Wild West of social dumping and that the living standards of today’s young people are worse than their parents?
What meaning do the EU’s declared supposed values have on the crucial issue of our era, namely with regards the refugee and migration issue? The principles of solidarity are being replaced by the doctrine of “Fortress Europe”, by the Right and far-right logic of repression, the militarization of the EU’s external borders or the refugee “detention centres” on European territory.
How “European” is the xenophobic attitude of governments like those of Orban in Hungary or Kurt in Austria, governments that are members of the European People’s Party EPP?
How “European” is the government of Italy that has reached the point of arresting rescuers? They refuse to participate in a system of hosting refugees across all member states, depending to their capabilities. It is the attitude of these forces that has resulted in states such as Greece to take on a disproportionate share of responsibilities in hosting refugees, despite the fact that this constitutes the legal and moral obligation of all member states. In particular, on this burning issue, we believe that the progressive forces of Europe must send out the powerful message that – even though we know the issue of immigration is a complex one and there are no easy solutions – racism and hatred are not only not the solution, but are part of the problem.
As regards foreign policy and defense issues, we pose the following questions: How can the EU be considered a “force of peace”, as it itself claims, when it is proceeding towards a “turn in investment” towards the war arms industry?
When its powerful member states are engaging in widespread selling of arms and weapons with authoritarian regimes and warring Middle Eastern countries?
When it is continuously deepening its coupling and association with NATO?
When the EU opts for an ongoing escalation of confrontations with Russia, instead of choosing the path of dialogue and cooperation?
The issues relating to the democratic functioning, transparency and essential parity of member states within the EU structure are one of the most debated European issues. In our view, the “democratic deficit of the EU” not only concerns its operation and procedures. It is a structural issue. The EU has a class character, given that the elites and powerful interests prevail to the detriment of the peoples, citizens, trade unions and social movements. Their characteristic expression is the huge influence of multinational giants’ lobby on decision-making by EU institutions.
The answer to these huge deadlocks cannot be the nationalist “Euro-skepticism” of the extreme-right that has unfortunately increased its position in the recent elections. The answer cannot be the forces that are threatening to plunge Europe back to the darkest times of its history. The situation is more worrying than many people think.
On the political horizon of Europe democracy, peace, the rights and the conquests of our peoples are now facing a terrible danger. Extreme right-wing forces are already in governments and have entered parliaments in a number of member states. They bring with them xenophobia and racism, fanatical anti-communism and anti-Semitism, sexism and homophobia, even praising Hitler and Mussolini. For some years now, they are being legitimized in the eyes of the people as a result of the tolerance shown towards them or even by the treatment they enjoy mainly from the member parties of the European People’s Party. They are now encouraged by Trump’s government. They are now being coordinated and organized with a view to the European elections. All of them not only do not represent an “anti-systemic alternative force”, but instead the most barbaric and reactionary version of the system. Every democrat and progressive citizen of Cyprus and Europe must rise up against this threat. This is why, as AKEL, we feel the strong need in these conditions to address an appeal to all democrat fellow citizens who, even if they may not agree with us on all issues, share however the need to block the road to the far-right.
We are waging our struggles in this framework, in constantly changing conditions, both on a political level and production levels. I will give you some examples from my own country, Cyprus, as they roughly have evolved in all countries, with variations of course.
Since the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, drastic changes have taken place in the developmental model of the Cyprus economy, which has resulted on the on hand in a gradual but rapid shift in economic activity and, consequently, in employment, from the primary and secondary sectors to the tertiary, i.e. services.
One characteristic example is the fact that in 1995, where changes such as the disappearance of the footwear industry that flourished in the 1980’s had already taken place, the manufacturing industry had a double GDP than the financial sector, whereas the share of agriculture and fisheries in the GDP was as much as the banking and insurance sectors combined.
The most significant changes are related to the dramatic contraction of manufacturing and agriculture and their replacement with banks, insurance and the wider service sectors such as private education, private health, technology companies, auditing and law firms and other related sectors.
In 2017, financial and insurance activities were at the forefront of the Cyprus economy with their contribution to GDP standing at 9.64%. Yet a few years ago they were in tenth place with their contribution just 4.79% of GDP.
All this, combined with other factors such as the increase in the Cypriot people’s educational level and the young generations’ orientation towards occupations that are in demand, have created the preconditions for a form of “de-proletarisation” of the Cypriot working class. That is to say, the numbers of manual workers and craftsmen have fallen drastically, while the number of highly qualified workers and of working people in the general services sector have risen sharply.
Another reality that has evolved is the gradual covering of even the reduced needs for the low-skilled manual jobs by immigrants, who make up 30% of private sector workers.
However, apart from the shifting of employment from traditional sectors of economic activity to the services sector, another important factor that had a drastic effect on the production process is the continuous development of new technologies.
In the course of human society technological advances and achievements have led to new developments in the production process. One would expect that today, the vigorous growth of productive forces combined with scientific and technological innovations would have led to an improvement in living standards and that working people across the world would enjoy at least minimal dignified living standards.
Instead, however, these benefits mainly serve the interests of the ruling circles and multinational companies and hardly any workers. Developments in the production process with the introduction of new technologies reveal the capitalist system’s contradictions. In the context of neo-liberal capitalist globalization, social inequalities, the exploitation of the working class and the concentration of wealth in the hands of the privileged few are intensifying. There is an increase in the number of working people who have a job and a steady income, but are living in conditions of poverty or are on the poverty line. The number of poor working people is growing.
One characteristic of the ongoing acute unequal distribution is the fact that today 1% of the world’s population own the same wealth as the 99%, while over 300 million people survive on less than one and a half dollars a day.
In recent years, there has been an explosion in the development of new technologies and their use in industrial production and the economy in general, leading to the fourth industrial revolution, as it has been defined by experts.
At the same time, and while the “fourth industrial revolution” is being implemented, as defined by the mass use of new technologies in industrial production, millions of people all over the world are still being denied access even to electricity, drinking water, health and education. Even worse the progress of new technologies and their introduction and use in the production process is being used by capital for the further deregulation of labour relations. Employment through electronic platforms is yet another form of flexibility and undermines working people’s possibility to take collective action and to assert. The International Labour Organization estimates that 42% of the world’s labour force is employed in conditions of flexibility.
At the same time, the application of technologies is displacing the labour force, and according to estimates by 2020 it is expected that in 15 developed countries there will be a loss of 7 million jobs which will be replaced by machines.
In a context where the correlation of forces are not favourable for working people, historical labour gains are being abolished. The current balance of forces, in combination with the imposition of neoliberal austerity policies and the deregulation of labour relations, have led to greater exploitation and increased capital’s profitability. At the same time, and as a result of the heterogeneous development, acute social contradictions are being observed.
In Europe, the ruling circles taking advantage of the capitalist crisis have imposed a framework with attacks against working people’s gains and trade union rights, the abolition of the welfare state and the privatization of public organizations, the promotion of “flexible forms of employment” such as part-time work, mini-jobs and “zero hour” contracts as a means of tackling unemployment, intensifying the pressure and attacks on labour rights and as a result serving the interests and profitability of capital and multinational companies.
At this point we of course believe that we need to also look at the situation within the trade union movement.
We are obliged to point out that many battles against these policies could have been won had the ETUC as the dominant force demonstrated the required class consistency and determination by mobilizing the working people.
Instead the ETUC chose the path of class compromise.
We as AKEL and the class-based trade union movement of Cyprus believe in solidarity and mutual support, in coordinating our actions and struggles to respond to capitalism’s globalization and the imposition of neo-liberalism.
My organization, PEO, as the Coordinator of the European Regional Office of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), is working actively, despite the negative balance of forces, for the unity and solidarity of the class-orientated progressive forces in Europe and the development of actions against neoliberal policies.
In these conditions and despite the difficulties, organized struggle, class struggles and international solidarity remain for working people the means to defend their social and labour rights, as well as the means to project a different perspective.
As the Left, of course, we don’t seek to stand out just for our consistent opposition to everything we disagree with. We therefore shouldn’t just be a voice of protest. We above all are seeking to develop action, with our proposals, by putting forth our demands and assertions, through our struggle and vision. We are promoting demands for a different model of socio-economic development in Europe. For investment programs to create permanent and dignified jobs. To support social policies and combat poverty. For the effective safeguarding of collective agreements and the right of trade union organization. We should aim and achieve a common package of minimum social rights for all the peoples, starting with the EU’s accession to the European Social Charter. We should aim to bring more democracy, participation and transparency through the implementation of measures that will make the EU institutions truly open and accountable to people. We are struggling for a Europe that will reject militarization, interventionism and the pursuance of a double-standard policy in the EU’s international relations. We are struggling for a foreign policy that must be based on principles, peace, the respect for international law and solidarity.
The big question is: what kind of Europe do we want and who should it serve? We unequivocally reply that we want a Europe that will serve working people, citizens and the peoples. A Europe of peace, social equality, democracy, equal co-operation and open multicultural societies. The Europe of the Peoples.
We need to step up our actions for this kind of Europe. We need to focus on what unites us as the left, put aside possible differences on secondary issues. We need to get closer to the class-based trade unions and social movements and listen to their concerns and support their assertions.
We aspire to and are sure that, as always, our Group, the Confederal Group of GUE/NGL in the European Parliament will as always be our ally.
We thank you again for the hospitality and organization of the event. We wish you all the best in your struggles for all of us.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Those creating refugees are the criminals, not those helping refugees

AKEL C.C. Press Office, 1 July 2019, Nicosia
The action by Carola Rachete, activist and captain of the Sea-Watch 3 boat, to defy the threats and bans issued by the far-right Italian Minister Salvini and subsequently dock in Lampedusa with her ship carrying 40 refugees exhausted by thirst and hunger from the Mediterranean, raises high the bar of a humane approach in the modern world. Her boldness should have been a global example and not be subject to persecution by the Italian authorities. The absurdity is outrageous. Instead of apologizing to those who cause the waves of refugee and those who refuse to take on their share of responsibility for accommodating refugees, all those who are expressing practical humanitarian solidarity with refugees are being prosecuted.
This is a new case in the attempt by the Right and far-right effort in Europe to criminalize the provision of humanitarian assistance to refugees who are at risk in the sea. This policy constitutes an inhuman and immoral practice which in fact violates international law as well. The increasing persecution and repression of those who rescue refugees from the sea has already had tragic results. According to figures released by the International Organization for Migration, in spite of the fact that the number of arrivals of refugees to Europe has fallen recently, the macabre proportion of deaths – due precisely to the sea tragedies – has increased.
However, it isn’t only Salvini and the European extreme-right who are guilty. The EU bears enormous responsibilities. Just a few days ago, the European Commission refused to clarify its position as to whether or not it agrees with Italy’s decision to impose fines on those who rescue refugees. The EU, with its policies, is building the “Fortress Europe” with a web of measures, mechanisms, and agreements with authoritarian regimes to contain refugees in modern concentration camps, and with armies of border guards to halt boats instead of search and rescue operations. The EU’s current legal framework – in particular, as expressed in the EU Facilitation Directive – does not effectively separate traffickers who exploit refugees from people and organizations that selflessly and often at the risk of their own lives rescue refugees in danger.
Every day, it is confirmed that the expression of grief and indignation for the ongoing human tragedies of immigrants in Europe, the United States and around the world is not enough. A struggle against the extreme right, its policies and rhetoric is demanded. A struggle for solidarity and humane treatment towards refugees and immigrants.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Please Make A Tax-Deductible Donation to the Embassy Protectors’ Defense Fund

Make A Tax-Deductible Donation to the
Embassy Protectors’ Defense Fund
Dear Friend of Peace and Justice,
Embassy Protection Collective (EPC) members stayed in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC for 37 days to protect the Vienna Convention and prevent an escalation of conflict with Venezuela. During that time, EPC members inside were cut off from receiving food, electricity and water. Those who tried to deliver food to them from outside were physically assaulted. All EPC members were subjected to loud noises, strobe lights, harassment, threats and intimidation. On May 16, federal agents raided the embassy and arrested the four remaining EPC members inside.
Four members of the Embassy Protection Collective — Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, David Paul and Adrienne Pine — have been charged with “interfering with protective services" of the federal government. They face up to a year in jail and up to a $100,000 fine. There are also other activists who were arrested outside the Embassy and are now facing trials, including the costs for one EPC member who was severely injured by the pro-coup mob while trying to deliver food.
Your donation will support EPC members who are now facing federal charges by a state with unlimited resources. The government is intent on making an example of EPC members. 
We must be aware that these trials are going to have far-reaching implications that go beyond the issue of the Venezuelan Embassy. A negative outcome could be used to silence any opposition to the government's violations of the law in the future.
We need to raise $50,000 to pay the legal fees for three lawyers who are not court-appointed and to cover costs involved with discovery / information requests and reviewing the data.
With your tax-deductible support, the Embassy Protectors Defense Committee will help the EPC members put forward a strong defense of their actions.
Be an Embassy Protector by donating today. 
Please visit our web site at https://DefendEmbassyProtectors.org to make a tax-deductible donation. And Please accept our sincere thanks for your generous solidarity.
You can also help this important campaign by:
  1. Asking your organization to endorse and actively support this campaign.
  2. Organizing solidarity actions in support of the Venezuelan Embassy Protectors and sending us a report of your actions (preferably with photos) so we can publicize them on the Defense Committee's web site.
  3. Forwarding this email to the list of your contacts and ask them to distribute it widely.
Thank You.
Embassy Protectors Defense Committee

Saturday, June 29, 2019

AKEL on the tragic consequences of US and EU immigration policy

AKEL C.C. Press Office, 27 June 2019, Nicosia
The shocking photo of the father and daughter from El Salvador who drowned in their attempt to cross to the US to seek asylum reminds us in a tragic way the human cost caused by the American Trump government’s draconian anti-immigration policies. It also reminds us of what the xenophobic policy of the US means in practice which has indeed refused to sign the UN Pact on Immigration and followed by EU states such as Hungary, Italy, Austria and Poland. It also compares with “Fortress Europe” which was built with deliberate policies of the EU, at the doorstep of which thousands of refugees from the Middle East and impoverished peoples from Africa are drowning in the sea. It’s therefore not enough for one to be shocked and saddened by the ongoing tragedy, as long as the policies that provoke it are not opposed and resisted.
In any case, let’s not forget, however, that the same racist logic is hiding behind all those in our country too who consider the refugees from wars as representing a “cultural danger”, but who of course on the other welcome foreign rich Tycoons spending millions of Euros to buy Cypriot citizenship as a “blessing for the economy”.
So long as millions of people are victims of wars, poverty, exploitation and now climate change, they will continue to risk their lives by seeking refuge and searching for a better life for them and their children. Neither Trump’s walls, nor the EU’s border army can stop this desperation, but will only make it worse and cause additional new human tragedies.
In today’s world, the stand towards migrants and refugees prove to be a measure of the humane treatment and attitude shown by governments, organizations, peoples and citizens.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Tudeh Party of Iran, The urgency of mobilising public opinion in Iran and the world to thwart another horrific war in the region

Statement of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran

The published news in recent days indicate that our nation is on the verge of a very dangerous military conflict with the Trump administration. Following the shooting down of the US surveillance drone on 19 June - a drone that according to the published reports had entered Iran’s air space - news outlets around the world reported that an attack by US military forces against Iran was called off at the last minute on Trump’s orders. Confirming this information, Trump emphasised in an interview with NBC TV station on 22 June, “I am not looking for war, and if there is, it will be obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”
Furthermore, it was reported that, on the orders of Trump, a broad cyber-attack was launched on Thursday 20 June against weapons systems of Iran’s Guards Corps (IRGC) with the purpose of disablingthe computer systems controlling IRGC rocket and missile launchers. Furthermore, Trump announced that the US is set to impose further sanctions on Iran,and tweeted on Saturday 22 June, “I never called the strike against Iran ‘Back’, as people are incorrectly reporting. I just stopped it from going forward at this time.”
The escalation of tensions following the attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the imperialist media’s accusationsthat Iran perpetrated the attack, as well as the stance taken at the summit of the Islamic States (held in Saudi Arabia) against Iran, leaves no doubt that the regional reaction led by the medieval regime of Saudi Arabia and the racist government of Israel, along with influential individuals in charge of formulating the foreign policy of the Trump administration, including Mike Pompeo and John Bolton, are preparing the ground to impose a dangerous military conflict on our country and the wider region.
On 22 June, Trump claimed that his goal is to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and that he is willing to talk to Iran’s leaders. When considering this current position of Trump, it is worth noting that it was the Trump administration that through withdrawing from the JCPOA (despite the opposition of the EU states and the governments of  Russia and China that were the other signatories of this agreement) and imposing the harshest economic sanctions on Iran to date in order to advance regime change, laid the ground for the current precarious situation in the region.
In recent months, the Tudeh Party of Iran, while warning about the grave danger that threatens peace in the Persian Gulf region, has stressed that the regional disputes must be resolved solely through a reduction in tensions, d├ętente and via negotiations. Clearly, and contrary to all the claims of the leaders of the Iranian regime, the inhumane economic sanctions imposed by the US imperialism have created a very difficult condition in our country for millions of Iranians and pose serious challenges to the economic viability of the regime. The inability of the EU states to create a functional instrument to circumvent the US economic sanctions on Iran and the inability of Iran to sell its oil,with exports reduced from 2.8 million b/day to 700,000 b/day, has exacerbated the current economic hardships that are the result of the regime’s decades-long pursuit of neoliberal policies in favor of the interests of grand capital in Iran.
Obviously, the current situation is unsustainable for long and the leaders of the Iranian regime, knowing that this grim situation cannot be drawn out, are counter threatening the US and Europe that they will fully withdraw from JCPOA, accelerate uranium enrichment, and further inflame the tensions in the region.
Such threats as, “If Iran cannot export oil, naturally it will not just sit and watch while others continue to do so. If we cannot export, then others will not be able to either. The options, choices, and possibilities open to Iran are numerous. It is not just the Strait of Hormuz. There is not only one solution.” (Quoted from Mr. Araqchi, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, in talking to Al-Alam news network about the Europe’s proposed package to save the JCPOA) not only will fail to reduce the tension in the region, but will also provide a pretext to the US imperialism and the reactionary states in the region to pursue their objectives and to intensify imperialist military interventions there. In recent days, the Unites States and its allies have been mulling over dispatching more troops to the region in order to protect the oil pipelines in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Such interventionist actions could certainly raise the tensions and lead to sparks that ignite the gunpowder keg that sits in the region.
No progressive nationalist, patriotic, and freedom-loving force can support the resumption of the current tensions norbe in favour ofa military strike on Iran. History shows that the working people, both urban and rural, would be the first and foremost victims of any war and military conflict. In addition, the continuation of the current tensions and the development of “wartime conditions” inside Iran would present the ideal opportunity for the regime to intensify suppression and tyranny[as it did before during the devastating Imposed War with neighbouring Iraq].
The Tudeh Party of Iran, like all freedom-loving and patriotic forces of the nation, adamantly opposes the interference of imperialist states and the regional reaction in Iran to orchestrate “regime change”.
Deposing of the despotic regime ruling Iran and establishing a people-oriented and democratic government that would safeguard the freedom and sovereignty of Iran, and end to the current oppression and corruption as well as implement policies that bringabout social justice, is possible only through the struggle of the people of Iran and the freedom-loving and patriotic forces of the nation. The events in Iran’s contemporary history,including the 1953 coup,as well as other developments in the region- from the ousting of the nationalist government of Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt to the full military-political support for the corrupt, anti-people, and inhumane regime of Saudi Arabia as the closest ally of the United States - all show that the typical favourite regimes of imperialism and its allies are dictatorial and dependent regimes that have nothing to do at all with the wishes and demands of the people of Iran and the patriotic and freedom-loving forces of the nation.
The struggle to reduce tensions and mobilising a strong movement in support of peace in the region and globally, in order to prevent any and all dangerous military conflicts, is an immediate task that must be pursued with full resolve. The warmongers in the US administration as well as the reactionary and anti-people governments in the region, including the theocratic regime in Iran,should not be allowed to once again impose another disastrous war on our region. Let us move forward together hand-in –hand, with the slogan “No to anti-human Sanctions, No to War, and No to Dictatorship”,to pave the way to preserve peace in the region and thus establishfavourable conditions to intensify the struggle to dispose of the theocratic regime of Iran.

The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran
Sunday 23June 2019

Monday, June 24, 2019


The Communist Party of Britain has warned that the danger of a military strike against Iran and a new war in the Middle East has not disappeared. In a statement issued today (Sunday, June 23), General Secretary Robert Griffiths said:
  'The US and British military build-up in the region is real and escalating, replicating what happened before the disastrous bombing and invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.
  Until President Trump aborted the mission on Thursday night, the US military was about to launch air strikes to kill - by its own admission - at least 150 Iranian citizens, in retaliation for the loss of an unmanned US drone that was almost certainly violating Iranian airspace. 
  'The pretext for Western aggression is the attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, for which the US and British governments hold Iran responsible on the flimsiest of evidence.
'There is no rational explanation for why the Iranian regime would attack a Japanese cargo ship and two boatloads of Iranian exports bound for Japan at the very time that Japan's Prime Minister is visiting Tehran to mediate between the Iranian and US governments. 
  'This crisis was provoked by the decision of US President Trump to withdraw unilaterally from the UN-backed "P5+1" deal with the USA, Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China whereby Iran drastically curtailed its nuclear programme so that it can only be used for civilian purposes. Since that withdrawal, US state power has imposed a wide range of vicious economic and financial sanctions which have devastated the Iranian economy and condemned millions of workers and their families to unemployment, poverty and hunger. 
  'The real motive for escalating this issue into a military confrontation is that powerful forces in the US political-military-industrial complex see Iran as a barrier to US domination of the strategically important greater Middle East region.
  'The Iranian regime is accused of 'meddling' in the affairs of various Middle East countries by Western powers whose bombings and occupations have turned the region into a killing field, where hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more have fled their homes.
  'The US and British war criminals who caused this bloodshed have yet to be brought to trial. Likewise, their allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia have yet to face justice for their barbarous attacks on the peoples of Palestine and Yemen, respectively.
  'A military attack on Iran will plunge the region deeper into bloodshed and set back the struggle for democracy and social justice in that country by enabling the reactionary, theocratic regime in Tehran to pose as the defenders of national sovereignty.
  'Western military intervention in the Middle East must end. Britain must cease playing 'Little Mr Echo' to every US President, trumpeting the same crude propaganda before following the US military into its murderous adventures. 
  'This latest crisis also underlines the need for a left-led Labour government that will break from the US-NATO-EU alliance to pursue a genuinely independent foreign policy based on social justice and solidarity between the world's peoples'. 
  Britain's Communists have signed a joint statement with scores of other Communist and workers' parties condemning Western sanctions and threats of war against Iran, including the Tudeh Party of Iran and parties from Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, France, Russia, Turkey, India and South Africa.