Not content with the mass slaughter in Iraq, Tony Blair is now advocating an attack on Iran. To which MP Jeremy Corbyn responds, the human rights situation in Iran is dire, but the threat of war will merely exacerbate the isolation of the country and promote the most conservative forces.
By Jeremy Corbyn MP
25 January 2011
The ex-PM may not have entered the QE2 Centre with a blanket over his head, but he took the next alternative and went in very early during under cover of darkness to avoid running the gauntlet of protesters.
The less-than-forensic questioning by Chilcot and colleagues resembled a self-satisfied dinner party discussion between appointed investigators and Blair.
There was very little follow-up to most of his answers and, significantly, no challenge to his astonishing revelation that of 28 ministerial meetings with Cabinet and ministerial colleagues in the run-up to the war in Iraq, only 14 of these had been officially minuted.
However Blair's statements did confirm that he had promised George Bush in 2002, almost a year before any parliamentary approval, that Britain would "be there" with the US on Iraq.
The most disturbing aspect of his evidence was the free rein he was given to declare his own opinions - his thoughts on Iran, for example.
The language and metaphors that he used to describe current "threats" from Iran were reminiscent of the language that he used in early 2002 concerning Iraq.
Blair essentially urged that preparations be made to take military action to deal with Iran.
In doing so he joined the growing chorus of international cheerleaders looking for another war.
Fast forward 24 hours to the end of a summit in Istanbul which saw the G5+1 and Iran discuss the alleged nuclear threat from the latter, talks which were reported to have broken down.
European Union foreign policy commissioner Cathy Ashton represented broad Western interests, demanding the export for reprocessing and enrichment of most of Iran's uranium.
Iran, meanwhile, maintains that it had an international legal right to process uranium for nuclear power.
Most news reports failed to cover the press conferences held by Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili, who declared that Iran was interested in discussions about nuclear disarmament and a nuclear-free Middle East - a position adopted internationally at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review last May.
However it appears that Israel, which holds 200 nuclear warheads and has refused to sign up to international monitoring, was not even addressed by the West's representatives in Istanbul.
This supposed stand-off between Iran and the West, with arguments about nuclear fuel processing presented as the same thing as constructing a nuclear bomb, is extremely dangerous.
For the anti-war and peace movement, Iran presents an important test.
The human rights situation in Iran is dire, with worldwide campaigns directed at stopping executions, defending people like film-maker Jafar Panahi and union campaigns to support those such as Tehran bus worker Reza Shahabi and other trade unionists threatened by the regime.
Demands for civil liberties, trade union rights and media freedoms are constantly being made within Iran and this should be recognised.
But it should also be recognised that the threat of war will do nothing to improve human rights.
Instead it will merely exacerbate the isolation of the country and promote the most conservative forces.
The revolution taking place in Tunisia represents the just deserts for ousted ruler Ben Ali and his family.
He seized power in a 1987 coup which toppled independent leader Habid Pourghiba.
Ever since then the Ben Ali family and its close associates have made themselves incredibly rich through privatisation, manipulating state assets, supporting Western economic interests and torturing and imprisoning trade unionists and any dissenters within the country.
As with Iran under the s Shah, the West raised very few complaints or criticisms of these abuses.
The mood across the region is changing rapidly. A combination of economic insecurity and mass unemployment is having a similar effect on popular opinion in Algeria and Egypt as in Tunisia.
Popular protest, fuelled by the ease of electronic communications, is flourishing. Indeed many people seem now to be developing "Tunisia envy."
Yet the West still seems unable to comprehend that forcing orthodox economics onto proud and independent countries is a recipe for disaster.