By New Worker correspondent
PEACE activists all around Britain and the world rallied in London on Saturday 24th March – New Year’s Day in Iran - to raise awareness of the dangers of a Nato attack on Iran – an action that is now definitely on the imperialist agenda.
In central London members and supporters of Stop the War gathered in front of the National Gallery, overlooking Trafalgar Square, for speeches, music, poetry and a symbolic “die-in” to protest against Nato’s plans to bring death and destruction to the people of Iran as they did to Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
The campaign raised the issue of the role of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog since the appointment of Yukiya Amano to director general of the IAEA in July 2009.
Wikileaks has revealed that the IAEA director general sees himself as "solidly in the US court on every key strategic decision", including Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme.
Yukio Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.
Since then, the West's confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme has deepened and threats of military action by Israel and the US have become more frequent.
At the same time, the IAEA's reports on Iranian behaviour have become steadily more critical.
In November, it published an unprecedented volume of intelligence pointing towards past Iranian work on developing a nuclear weapon, deeming it credible.
But some former IAEA officials are saying that the agency has gone too far. Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientist who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the West's mistakes over Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA's assessment of Iran now.
"Amano is falling into the Cheney trap. What we learned back in 2002 and 2003, when we were in the run-up to the war, was that peer review was very important, and that the analysis should not be left to a small group of people," Kelley said.
"So what have we learned since then? Absolutely nothing. Just like [former US vice-president] Dick Cheney, Amano is relying on a very small group of people and those opinions are not being checked."
Don’t Attack Iraq day events were staged in Bristol, Birmingham, Llandudno, Newcastle, Oxford, Shoreditch, Wandsworth and Peterborough.
One of the speakers at the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) conference in the United States on 24th March 2012 was Leila Zand, Programme Director, Middle East & Civilian Diplomacy, Fellowship Of Reconciliation. She said that rather than sharing her own views on the dangers of a war on Iran, she had asked friends in Iran what they would say. She read the following message that they sent her:
“….Dear fellow American peace lovers, please deliver our message to your politicians. We are not just a piece of land. We are not oil. We are not nuclear sites. We are not evil. We are women, men, children. We are people with dreams, jobs, families, with a baggage of 5000 years of experience.
“When we talk about war we know what we are talking about. We have heard the shrieks of missiles. We have smelled the gunpowder. We have run for shelters. We have seen pieces of a human body in top of our trees and on our roof tops. We have lost loved ones. We know what war means. War was behind our windows.
“We experienced war in our back yard. For my generation, killing, bombs, missiles, chemical weapons and terrorism is not just in Hollywood; is not a computer game; it is real. And that is why we don’t want evil to knock on our door again. We don’t want war.”