The US government has reacted to its humiliation over Lebanon by ratcheting up the pressure on Iran.
It is threatening to impose sanctions on Iran through the United Nations (UN) if the country does not suspend its nuclear energy programme by Thursday of this week.
Iran’s nuclear programme is being used by the US as an excuse to attack the country – either through sanctions or direct military means.
George Bush’s “war on terror” is increasingly focused on neutralising Iran.
Some argue that sanctions on Iran are a preferable alternative to military action, and could even help put pressure on the Iranian regime to clean up its human rights record.
In fact any support for US-driven sanctions will weaken rather than strengthen the movements for democracy and civil rights in Iran.
The situation in Iran is volatile. Last month the government threatened to close down a legal centre run by human rights campaigner Shirin Ebadi.
Ebadi caused outrage in neoconservative circles earlier this year when she denounced US plans for a military attack on Iran. She spoke at a meeting in London in June alongside Tony Benn and Lindsey German of the Stop the War Coalition.
Any pressure applied to the Iranian regime by the US or UN will rightly be seen as imperialist meddling by the majority of ordinary Iranians.
It is these ordinary people who have the power to effect real change in Iran. On 7 August the government was forced to release trade unionist Mansour Ossanlou, who had been jailed for seven months for leading striking bus workers in Tehran.
Reballots have opened the way to bigger struggle