MY introduction to activism came as part of organising the Stop The War Coalition group at Strathclyde University.

We held public meetings on the "war on terror", day schools on the impact of the war on the people of Iraq, campaigns against the demonisation of Muslims, and protests of various kinds to highlight the atrocities being carried out on the basis of lies and deceits. We would tour lecture halls, urging students to attend demonstrations and rallies. In 2007, four years after the initial invasion of Iraq, we held a day of action to oppose war with Iran.

The logic for this was simple. Rhetoric had been sharpening from key figures in the White House. John McCain – laterally depicted as the mature and statesmanlike Republican alternative to Trumpism by the liberal establishment – infamously sang "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran parodying the Regents song Barbara Ann.

We only needed to look at the map to see that Iran bordered Iraq and Afghanistan, and at the blueprint for a century of American "full spectrum dominance" as referred to in the Project for A New American Century, authored by many of the leading neocons in the Bush administration, to recognise the serious threat of extending the war into Iran.

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Despite these imperialist fantasies, the US was unable to launch a further war. After Bush, Obama resorted to drone wars to maintain US interests in the region, rather than boots on the ground. Iraq and Afghanistan had become quagmires, politically and militarily.

Fast-forward ten years and John Bolton – neocon-in-chief under Bush – re-enters national politics, this time in the Trump administration as National Security Advisor. An unhinged presidency, now being advised by an individual who should be an internationally recognised pariah in any sane world order. Bolton was joined by the equally hawkish Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who also has eyes fixed on Iran (when not orchestrating coups in South America).

The Strait of Hormuz couldn’t be more important geopolitically. This narrow pinch point between Iran and the Arabian peninsula, which 20 per cent of the world’s oil has to pass through, is the sight of many shipping assets, both military and those from oil corporations.

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In recent weeks, the Strait has seen the return of gunboat diplomacy, where various incidents are projected and interpreted in ways that serve certain propaganda ends. In the case of the US, there is no doubt that the intention is to ramp up pressure on Iran and to align other powers, including the UK, behind their approach to the country.

Of course, these incidents are focussed on in some detail. But as ever there is a wider geopolitical power-play that needs to be borne in mind. And so often the human story is swept under the carpet.

Just as the millions of Iraqis who either died or had to flee their own country have been sanitised from Western audiences, today we hear little about the impact of the US sanctions on Iran. And even less about how these sanctions are being deployed as a weapon of war.

The sanctions now being imposed on Iran are hitting the people of the country hard. Iranian currency is worth just 40 per cent of what it was just one year ago. The economy contracted by 4.9 per cent from March 2018 to March 2019. Inflation has risen to 35 per cent – a sharp incline in the last year. Iraq takes in $25 million worth of Iranian goods every day, but soon the US waiver that allows Baghdad to trade with Tehran will expire. People's lives are full of economic uncertainty. And it is getting worse.

The aim of the US sanctions is ostensibly to re-negotiate the nuclear deal. But the wider agenda is to cripple the Iranian oil industry. And to use the sanctions as a pivot around which to grow anti-Iranian sentiment.

None of the permanent UN security council members (Britain, France, Russia and China), nor Germany or the EU, agree with Trump's scrapping of the deal, or the sanctions. They want to continue the deal and trading with Iran. No one should be under any illusions about who is ratcheting up the tension. The blame lies squarely at the door of Trump, Bolton and Pompeo.

Even if the pro-war hawks don’t get their own way by force of will, or strategy, accidents can happen that compel a wider conflict. In that regard, war with Iran would be an even worse catastrophe than Iraq. It would threaten to engulf the whole region, with multiple fronts including Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine.

The UK is meekly acquiescing behind those who want war. We can expect only the most unfettered support for American military adventurism from the Tory party. Jeremy Corbyn has a long track record of opposing Western intervention and US foreign policy. That will not change.

But this is also the primary motivation among the establishment in preventing Corbyn from coming to power. All of this means it is going to be important that the SNP become far more vocal in developing outright opposition to the Trump White House on matters of foreign policy.

Yes – defence is not a devolved issue. But the world is changing, and changing fast. It is volatile and open to all kinds of shocks. International law was tested – and broken – over the Iraq war. We live in an era that requires leadership, and courage. That means having the ability and the wherewithal to suspend diplomatic niceties with those who are looking for another disastrous war, no matter how powerful. There should be no equivocation. Opposition to future wars, after the disastrous start to the 21st century, must be cast iron and popularised.

We need to hear much more from the SNP on Iran. Scotland can play a key role in dismantling the Trident nuclear system. In breaking with the legacy of failed foreign policy that has guided the UK, independence for Scotland can also mean the emergence of a new foreign policy. The SNP is historically rooted in the peace movement. Members, supporters and voters will expect that the defence spokesperson, and the First Minister, will speak out against US games in the gulf as the crisis over Iran develops.

If Scotland is indeed on the cusp of independence, then the leaders of the SNP should have no difficulties in ensuring that Scotland’s voice is heard at an international level, including on questions of war and peace.