Interview: The Iranian Revolution

Flag of the Peoples Mujahedin of Iran

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! no. 11 – July/August 1981

We print below an interview given to FRFI by the Moslem Students Society (Supporters of the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran — PMOI). The PMOI is the foremost revolutionary anti-imperialist organisation in Iran and together with other revolutionary forces is the vanguard of the Iranian revolution.

Q First, can you briefly explain the significance of the removal of Bani-Sadr as President of Iran by the Islamic Republican Party (IRP) controlled Parliament?

A Bani-Sadr's elimination was part of the reactionaries' aim to establish a state of total repression in Iran in order to pave the way for a complete compromise with imperialism. The ruling regime had to rid itself of its internal opposition represented by Bani-Sadr as the first step in its aim to crush all revolutionary forces in Iran, particularly the PMOI and to destroy the revolutionary activities of the people.

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Iran: anti-austerity protests

Iranian protest 2018

As 2017 drew to a close, thousands of people came out onto the streets of Iran, protesting against austerity measures and unemployment. The protests were on a scale not seen since the ‘Green Movement’ which followed the 2009 elections (see FRFI 210). They reflected many different interests, from working class people angry about cuts imposed by President Rouhani’s budget measures, through those demanding a stricter form of Islamic rule, to those seeking to overthrow the Iranian government in favour of full integration into the imperialist global economy. Internationally, the protests were seized upon by imperialist leaders and ruling class media, to further their objective of regime change in Iran. President Trump tweeted on 30 December: ‘The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change, and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most’.

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Iran ‘The prize’

With the 14 July 2015 agreement between Iran and the P5 + 1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on Iran’s nuclear energy programme, enormous investment opportunities for multinational corporations open up in Iran and significant strategic changes in the Middle East may be in the offing. The deal should lead to the removal of US and European Union sanctions on Iran in early 2016 and give Iran access to over $100bn frozen in overseas banks. Sanctions have cost Iran $160bn in oil sales in three years. The US has imposed sanctions on Iran since 1979; these may be removed. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was furious at the deal, calling it a ‘stunning, historical mistake’ that will make the world a ‘more dangerous place’. Saudi Arabia threatened to develop its own nuclear industry. Saudi Arabia and Israel fear an economically strong Iran which the removal of sanctions could bring. They also fear that their strategic significance to imperialism will be downgraded and that the advantages that have come with it will be reduced.

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Iran: A change in tactics

The interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear industry announced on 24 November 2013 indicates a change in US tactics towards Iran and the Middle East. If the Iranian government believes that by making concessions to the P5 plus one (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), imperialism will accept an independent Iran, this would be a mistake. The US, Britain and France will continue to try to force Iran into becoming a client state that accepts US hegemony in the Middle East.

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Iran under pressure

During October 2012 the US and Israel held a three week joint missile and air defence exercise with 4,500 soldiers, making it the largest joint military exercise between the two nations. On 2 November The Independent reported the British government to be considering stationing warplanes adjacent to the Persian Gulf to prevent Iran from blocking the Strait of Hormuz, through which passes 35% of the world’s seaborne oil. British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that European countries must be ‘prepared, if necessary, to take a bigger role in relation to North Africa and the Middle East...Europe, as a whole, needs to do more.’ The Royal Navy maintains ten ships, including a nuclear submarine, in the Persian Gulf region. Hammond was issuing a threat to the peoples of the Middle East, North Africa and Iran, in particular, not to challenge imperialist domination of the region.

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