Lok Raj Sangathan convened a meeting attended by a large number of organisations and activists to discuss the grave situation created by the US with respect to Iran. Various aspects of the matter were presented and discussed thoroughly and the meeting finally decided to work actively against the US plans to unleash war on Iran and especially its plans to involve India in this sinister strategy.

Convening the meeting, Vice President of the Lok Raj Sangathan Madhavi Thampi said that LRS is deeply disturbed by the role of the government of India with respect to Iran, as it has accepted the US position and voted to censure Iran in the IAEA. To accept warmongering on the part of US as being ‘realistic’ as the Indian government seeks to do is not only unrealistic but also wholly opportunist. LRS has convened this meeting very urgently because it senses that the stage is now being set for another great human catastrophe as in Iraq.

Prakash Rao, Convenor of Lok Raj Sangathan, drew attention to the speech made by Bush at the Purana Qila in Delhi during his visit earlier this month, in which he asserted that India had an ‘important role’ in establishing “democracy” in many countries, including Iran, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Burma, etc. It is thus clear that an important purpose of his visit was to enmesh India in the war plans of the US. Prakash Rao pointed out that the policies of US imperialism are totally hated by all sections of the people, no mater what the rulers and their apologists may claim. This was made clear by the record 30 million people who came out on the streets to protest against Bush during his visit. While the people of India are united in this opposition, the Congress and BJP are united in supporting the dangerous US policies. He questioned the logic of these parties and their double standards in claiming that a nuclear Iran would be against India’s interests. How could a nuclear US, which has unleashed war in several parts of the world and a nuclear Israel, which has waged war repeatedly on the Palestinian and Arab peoples be acceptable to India but not a nuclear Iran, which has never in its history attacked any other country?

US imperialism clearly wants to conquer the world, and it is beginning with Asia, which has the resources as well as a number of countries which do not accept US and European thought with respect to the form of government and economy. Iran is being targeted not only because of its oil resources but because it is one of the prominent countries which has not accepted the US – European diktat on “multi – party democracy” and “free market”, and is working together with other countries for a different world. After the revolution of 1979 which ousted the hated US – backed Shah, imperialists did many things to destabilise Iran. The US instigated Iraq to go to war with it, while the Russians invaded and occupied Afghanistan. Now the imperialists are inviting India to come on their side and attack Iran, a country which is our friend, with whom we have had ties for thousands of years! Prakash Rao recalled the historical analogy of Hitler’s aggression on Poland to point out that it was also not just a question of Iran alone, the aggression on Iran would be setting the stage for further subjugation of Asia and the world. India clearly has a role to play. The government was not able to send troops to Iraq because of the people’s opposition. Now it is not only a question of stopping troops but to fully oppose and make our government take a stand against the war! He concluded by saying that we are in a very good position to take this struggle ahead and we must do so. Prakash Raos’ speech was followed by a large number of interventions.

Dr N.K Afandi from the Jamiat–Islami–e-Hind pointed out that the Indian government has now let down countries from Asia, Latin America and Africa which were looking to India to lead the anti–imperialist bloc in the world. Instead, the imperialists are now using India to coerce Iran, a country which has never been subjugated! Dr Fatima, prominent human rights activist, pointed out that it was not just a question of oil or Iran, India itself was in danger from the US neo conservative policies. The neo conservatives, who now rule the US, are a relic of the mindset which bombed Hiroshima, and the danger of a nuclear holocaust is very real today. She likened the struggle against US imperialism to the war of Independence and called on all to do whatever they could to advance this struggle. Siddharth Varadarajan, distinguished journalist, justified Iran’s quest for developing nuclear power as its’ right. He pointed out that the IAEA had not found anything incriminating against Iran, then why was the file still open? Just as in the case of the non existent weapons of destruction in Iraq over three years ago, alleged nuclear proliferation is a pretext to go to war against Iran. He said that India should be in the forefront of countries warning the US not to go to war against Iran.

Dr J K Jain of Jain Studios expressed his solidarity with the others. Recalling the historic rallies in Delhi and Mumbai against Bush at the beginning of the month, he asserted that people have the power to stop India taking part in the war against Iran and we must mobilise them. Parvez Nayyer, an Iranian student, thanked the Indian people for their support. He explained that Bush was against the “clergies of Iran” because they have historically stood up against imperialism and British colonialism. A lawyer, Mr Rao Ranjit, stated that Iran was part of our extended family and Aryan civilisation had links with it. He pointed out that Iran was not democratic under the Shah, but no one could say it wasn’t now! Another advocate – activist, Col Copra hoped that better wisdom prevailed and our government would plead with Bush to desist from waging war on Iran. A journalist, Mr Harsh Dobhal, who had worked in Palestine, denounced the ties which India was now forging with Israel at the expense of the historical support to the just national rights of the Palestinian people. Anwar Hussain, activist of the Jamiat Ulema E Hind, denounced the sections of the mainstream media which claimed that the millions of people who came out to protest against Bush recently did so because they got money from abroad to do so. Prakash Rao intervened to stress the need to build the people’s own news network. Among others who intervened were Asit Marx of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Charu Kasturi, a journalist, Santosh and Dharmender of the Hind Naujawan Sabha, and social activist Avtar Singh Babbar.

After the interventions, a resolution was proposed and amendments discussed. Comrade Prakash Rao summed up the mood of the gathering by concluding that the point is not just to voice opposition to the US plans for war against Iran and the Indian governments’ complicity in them, but to actually work whole heartedly to stop them!

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