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.

Q Can you tell our readers something about the IRP?

A The IRP is the organisational expression of a socio-political current which we term the ‘right-reactionary current'. It is based upon the traditional petit bourgeoisie the most backward sector of Iranian society — comprising sections of Bazaar merchants and small business men and has a world outlook very much influenced by feudalistic notions. This current is irreconcilably opposed to the interests of the workers and peasants but has no interests in opposition to the bourgeoisie and imperialism. In its evolution towards a full compromise with imperialism, its main enemy is the revolutionary forces and their strategy. During the past two years this current has shown itself ready to compromise with imperialism as witnessed in Hostage Deal and the Talbot contract. There are also reports that a special committee has come to England to take advice from British imperialism in 'riot control'. In order to prevent the revolutionary currents from establishing a close connection with the masses, the IRP from the very beginning moved to shut the field of political freedom and repress fundamental rights.

Q Can you tell us what the IRP has been doing?

A Officially it has monopolised all executive and political power in Iran. It has taken complete control of the media, parliament and the so-called revolutionary guards. Using these powers they have banned Mojahed, the PMOI weekly organ which sells 500,000 copies. They even banned Bani-Sadr's newspaper and now there is no paper in Iran which can legally express opposition to the IRP. Masud Rajavi, member of the PMOI leadership was denied the right to stand as a candidate in the presidential elections despite his tremendous popular support. Universities, which had been in the forefront of anti-dictatorship struggles were closed down. The IRP has stopped workers from forming their own committees and imposed on them so-called Islamic Society Committees which in all disputes between workers and management have sided with management. The regime has also cancelled Section 3 of the land reform programme which involved the distribution of land to poor peasants.

Coupled with this there is the unofficial method of club-wielding. The IRP has created gangs of thugs armed with clubs, knives and other weapons, who have conducted a campaign of terror against revolutionaries and their supporters, leaving scores of PMOI supporters dead. When on 5 March, Bani-Sadr himself exposed the IRP's hand behind the club wielders, they were severely punished by the people. Then the IRP resorted to open terrorism. On 27 April, a 200,000 strong demonstration by the Moslem Mothers Society (Supporters of the PMOI) in protest at the killing of Mojahed militia sisters, was fired on leaving at least one dead and 70 injured.

Q After Bani-Sadr's removal what has happened?

A The repression has intensified and so far over 70 revolutionaries have been executed — amongst them prisoners sentenced to prison terms, but then taken out and executed, 14-15 year old children, prisoners who had not even had a trial or been identified. Also executed was the famous poet and writer Said Soltanpour a member of the Fedayee Guerillas. In addition all street protests and demonstrations have been subjected to armed attack resulting in hundreds of dead and injured. The number of political prisoners is now estimated to be 10,000 with at least 3,300 being PMOI supporters and members and torture is once again widespread in the IRP prisons.

Q We know of mass resistance to the IRP. Can you tell us something about it?

A Mass opposition to the IRP has been increasing for some time. The strongest expression of this was at the 500,000 strong demonstration on 20 June, organised by the PMOI with one hour's notice. The demonstration was to protest against repression and the elimination of Bani-Sadr. Prior to the demonstration and on it the masses chanted 'Death to Beheshti!- ‘Down with the Party of the Club-Wielders!' ‘The Party of Club-Wielders Must Be Sent to the Graveyard!' Beheshti had been leader of the IRP and personally responsible for torture and executions. He also, we can prove, had close contacts with American imperialism. As the demonstration approached Parliament, so-called revolutionary guards opened fire killing scores of demonstrators and wounding hundreds of others. On this day the anti-popular nature of the ruling reactionary regime was displayed openly and completely to the masses.

Q So what then is your view of the bombing of the IRP headquarters and the killing of its top leadership, among them Beheshti?

A We do not yet know who has claimed responsibility, but it could not have been the work of counter-revolutionaries. They do not have the military technique to carry out such a sophisticated operation and most importantly they had no interest in attacking the IRP which is increasingly including ex-Savaki members into the system. In addition this was not an attack on innocent civilians — the classical target of counter-revolutionaries. The fact is that on 20 June, the regime established a new relation with the people, that of bullets and blood. So obviously new methods, taking into account the wishes of the people as expressed on 20 June and also involving hundreds of thousands of people have to be considered. In this respect the bombing of the IRP headquarters was a people's bombing. The subsequent execution of Katchui, governor of Evin prison personally responsible for death and torture, was also a revolutionary execution.

Q How do you see the future? What about a civil war?

A The massacre of 20 June represents a turning point. This is the day that the IRP declared open civil war on the people. If by civil war you mean the armed uprising of the masses, then obviously if the present executions and repression increase that is inevitable. But the future is bright. The IRP has lost all its support as demonstrated by the few people who came to the funeral of the dead IRP leaders, some of whom had been forced to attend. Within the system only Khomeini retains some credibility based on the hope by some people that he will ask the IRP to step down. Khomeini has so far shown no signs of doing so. But the revolutionary forces, particularly the PMOI grow in strength daily. With the elimination of Bani-Sadr, the main differences between the revolutionary organisations have also disappeared. It is now possible to envisage the emergence of a united revolutionary front, to assume the leadership of the people in the anti-imperialist struggle. This leadership is something which was lacking before. The aim is that millions and millions instead of hundreds and hundreds of thousands will follow the revolutionary leadership. Such a following will give the imperialists second thoughts before intervening to stop the revolutionary masses from destroying all imperialist foundations and links in Iran.

This month's Jack Woddis Award for National Chauvinist Hypocrisy goes to the IMG and SWP. Terrified of revolutionary violence, they condemned the people's bombing of the IRP Headquarters. The IMG said: ‘No socialist can possibly support such terrorist methods.' The SWP said: ‘... the bomb … will not do socialists in Iran a favour.'


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