With tensions rapidly escalating over Iran’s nuclear program, and with the recent statements issued by Netanyahu in his recent encounter with Obama, the spectre of armed conflict is yet again haunting the Middle East. Having burnt their fingers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon seems to want to avoid an armed conflict and the Whitehouse prefers the use of “diplomacy”. The Israeli government, however, has threatened targeted strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites.

Over the past weeks tensions between Iran and the West have been moving towards a boiling point. The imposition of strict sanctions by the US and its allies is already being felt in Iran and threatens to cripple the economy. Alongside these sanctions, military excursions into the Gulf on both sides, Iran’s test firing of missiles, the assassination of Iranian scientists, the bringing down of an unmanned US drone by Iran, and a constant war of words is threatening to cause an armed clash between Israel and the United States on one side, and Iran on the other.

In the recent period revolutionary movements have grown and surfaced across the world. The events in the Arab world have shown how strong these movements are, indeed they have succeeded in toppling tyrannical regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Yet what all these movements have lacked is a genuine revolutionary leadership, and this serves as a barrier to genuine socialist revolution. In no country does this apply more so than in Iran.

Since Sunday, September 25th more than 6000 casual workers at the Bandar Imam petro-chemical complex – Iran’s 14th largest company, based on reported sales – in the south eastern part of Iran have been on strike. In solidarity with them, workers from at least four other petrochemical plants in the “Petrochemical Special Economic Zone” (PETZONE), housing some of the largest petrochemical complexes of Iran, have been involved in the conflict.

The last few weeks have seen an unprecedented public dispute between the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader Ali Khamenei. The dispute officially erupted over Ahmadinejad’s dismissal of Heydar Moslehi, the minister of intelligence who was fired by Ahmadinejad (officially he resigned himself) on April 17, but was then reinstated later the same day by a direct decree from Khamenei. Following Khamenei’s decision to reinstate Moslehi – that was done in a particularly humiliating manner first in a personal letter to Moslehi and then in a public address – Ahmadinejad embarked on an 11 day boycott of his cabinet meetings and many other official meetings.

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