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Home Articles Flashpoints No War with iran - Letter faxed to PM Morrison Just Now

No War with iran - Letter faxed to PM Morrison Just Now

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 WED 15 JAN 2020














Dear Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Foreign Minister:


We are writing to you to urge that you have nothing whatsoever to do with, and that Australia should in ever possible way discourage, any moves whatsoever toward war with Iran.


It is safe to say that any war with Iran, whether conducted by the United States or by a wider coalition, will be an unmitigated disaster and a quagmire.


We note that according to statements by  our Foreign Minister and Defence Minister, Australia has been rather seeking to 'de-escalate' tensions between the United States and Iran. We welcome this.  Australia should attach the very highest diplomatic priority to the prevention of conflict between the US and Iran, and should seek to play a mediatory role rather than taking sides in a conflict. Australia should strongly discourage our great and powerful ally from war or confrontation with Iran.


Australia's sending the Toowoomba to the Middle east, in this light, undermines the mediatory role Australia could play, and lines us up for potential unnecessary conflict with Iran – a conflict we would be better to avoid. The Toowoomba should be ordered to head for home immediately. Iran has no quarrel with Australia. It should be given no reason to have one.


Lacking in the US-Iran tensions, is the most basic element – a good cause. The US cause as it now stands, is the very worst imaginable. The US has assassinated a senior military official of another country.  This places the US, not Iran, firmly in the dock of world opinion. It is the action of a rogue nation. That the United States Government insists that General Solemaniyeh has been responsible for what it calls atrocities is neither here nor there: Consider what would be the reaction if Iran had assassinated by drone strike a senior US military officer in, say, Toronto or Mexico. There would have been immediate calls to bomb Tehran, no matter what terrible acts Iran said it had thereby prevented. 


The fact that the Trump administration now has trouble to actually point to any real, concrete, 'imminent' plots to strike US forces in the middle east simply underlines the utter inappropriateness of what has been done. Trump has now said it 'doesn't matter' what General Solimaniyeh may or may not have been up to. The narrative of an ‘imminent’ threat having been averted by General Solimaniyeh’s murder has collapsed. It is increasingly clear that no such threat existed. Going to war on such a pretext would be nothing but naked aggression.   


Australia should instead firmly condemn this action and should clearly distance itself from it. The United States has behaved in a way that, had it been anyone else, it would have firmly condemned as the action of a rogue nation. Consider the reaction when Kim Jong Un had his brother assassinated in Malaysia.


Australia has no fundamental quarrel with Iran,(indeed, no quarrel at all) and we even have common interests (as does the US too), namely the defeat of fundamentalist terrorism, whether it be in Baghdad or – potentially – in Sydney or Melbourne.


We would be better and wiser to make common cause with Iran against a common enemy than to be hostile to them. The US too, if it understood correctly what lies in its own interests, should do likewise. US attitudes toward Iran can only be seen as not at all rational.


It is often argued that the Tehran clerical regime is repressive, and even that it would be better if it were replaced. (Do we seek too reinstate the Shah? Officially we do not seek ‘regime change’.)


This may be true (though its equally arguable that other middle-eastern regimes are even less desirable – for example, the Saudi regime, which we do not seek to overthrow, in spite of their possible association with Wahhabi extremism) – but even if it is true, this is a matter for the Iranian people themselves. The results of externally imposed regime change may be seen in Iraq, which has not turned out at all well.


Australia’s military are needed at home right now to fight the fires. Australias military hardware, logistics capabilities and infrastructure are invaluable assets in dealing with what is a true emergency. The bushfire emergency is by no means over yet. Our first priority should be to deal with that domestic  catastrophe.   


Australia should prioritise the de-escalatory diplomatic efforts it has already made. It should express displeasure and alarm in the strongest terms at the assassination of senior military – next time it could be us or a fellow 'western' nation that is at the receiving end of such action. What will be our reaction then?  


We should have nothing to do with, and firmly dissociate ourselves from, war with Iran.


Australias military capabilities belong at home fighting fires that pose an immediate threat right here, right now.


John Hallam

People for Nuclear Disarmament UN Nuclear Disarmament Campaigner

Human Survival project

Co-Chair, Abolition 2000 Working Group on Nuclear Risk Reduction

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