Popular Movement to
Overthrow Islamic Regime of Iran,
Interview with Azar Majedi
WPI Briefing: We are witnessing an escalating campaign led by the USA and other western governments against the Islamic Republic of Iran's development of a nuclear programme and links with Al-Qaeda. The USA has been speaking of regime change in Iran for some time. Are these the real issues at hand or are these merely pretexts? What are the real reasons for this new pressure on Iran? Can you please comment while also discussing the differences between the USA and EU governments on how to deal with the Islamic regime [The EU states continue to call for critical dialogue while stepping up pressure on Iran on the stated issues; France has even gone so far as to attack the People's Mujahedeen Organisation of Iran (PMOI) as a clear offering to the Islamic regime.]?
Azar Majedi: In this case as in the case of Iraq, the USA is not after the truth, nor is it trying to make the world a safer place. Toying with the issue of developing nuclear power is serving two purposes for the USA: one to put pressure on the regime in Iran and second to prepare public opinion if a more aggressive policy comes on its agenda. As in the case of Iraq, the world is still awaiting the first cache of weapons of mass destruction to be discovered. We exposed the US' intention and deception at the time when the war climate against Iraq was escalating. We told the world that the reason behind the military build-up and war propaganda was the USA's efforts to establish the new world order, which George Bush Sr. started at the time of the Gulf war. All the talk about the threat of Saddam Hussein's regime using weapons of mass destruction against the world, or bringing freedom to the Iraqi people were just big lies and war propaganda. The truth is now out in the open. Nearly four months after the occupation of Iraq, the Iraqi people still fear for their lives, for their livelihood and fear an all out religious and ethnic war. Now, we are witnessing a rather similar situation vis-à-vis the regime in Iran. The US position vis-à-vis Iran is not as aggressive as in the Iraqi case, but nevertheless we should stay alert.
The USA intends to run the world, to choose and oust regimes as it wishes. With its newly acquired position in the Middle East, Iran has become another target. It is not clear, even for the USA itself, whether the threats against the Islamic Republic will go as far as a regime change by means of war, or whether they will only serve as a means of stepping up pressure on Iran to submit to certain US demands. What is clear is that the USA has stepped up pressure on the Islamic Republic.
Very soon after coming to power, the Islamic regime adopted anti-US propaganda as a tactic to suppress the left. The flag of political Islam raised by the Islamic Republic of Iran became and anti-US flag. This ideological position created a dilemma for the Islamic Republic as well as the US. Therefore, to subdue political Islam, to discipline this movement, the US needs to show that it has the upper hand vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic. In my opinion this is the core of the tension between these two reactionary regimes.
As with the European Union, they have always had a different attitude or policy towards the Islamic Republic. This is the result of the differences between Europe and the US, and the Islamic Republic's different policies vis-à-vis Europe and the USA. The war against Iraq brought this difference of policy and interests into an open disagreement on the verge of hostility. The relationship between France and the US deteriorated considerably over the attack on Iraq. France's different approach towards the Islamic Republic can be understood in this light.
WPI Briefing: Clearly regime change is on our and the people's agenda too, but not in the way the USA wants. There is a huge difference between what the USA has imposed in Afghanistan or Iraq and the banner of freedom and equality that we have raised and what the people of Iran are demanding on the streets. Can you please comment?
Azar Majedi: The situation in Iran is very volatile. In the past month we have witnessed mass demonstrations calling for the regime's ouster. This new wave of demonstrations has been much more radical and outspoken. For the first time, people have shouted 'down with the Islamic Republic of Iran'. Despite relentless efforts by the regime's security forces, the movement is still alive. On 9th July, the anniversary of the student uprising, despite a de facto state of siege imposed all over the country, a huge number of people gathered on the streets and showed their mood of defiance and protest. It is an undeniable fact that the people of Iran want to get rid of the Islamic Republic. They want freedom and equality.
As for the Worker-communist Party, we have always been at the forefront of the movement for freedom and equality and against the Islamic Republic. This party belongs to the communist tradition, which has fought to topple the regime ever since it came to power. However, as you mentioned, our aims and our methods are totally opposite those of the USA. The USA is trying to bring about a right wing government in Iran, a regime that would continue to suppress people's freedom, and to exploit the masses, and the working class as ferociously as the present regime or the previous one, the monarchists. If the US intervenes more directly, it will cut short the people's movement; it will send them back home and will decide for them. Whereas, now people are exercising their power; they are in the process of choosing their leaders, and the regime they want. I say more directly, because at the present, by giving support to right wing tendencies, such as the son of the previous Shah, the USA is intervening to their benefit. It is self-evident that, here, we are only discussing one aspect of the political consequences of US intervention. If this intervention takes a military shape, the humanitarian consequences will be devastating. People in Iran are about to create a massive revolution; the USA's intervention will abort this great movement.
WPI Briefing: The recent protests in Iran have been covered extensively by the media, which portrays them mainly as protests sowed by monarchist exiles sitting in Los Angeles via satellite TV. The regime is also portraying the protests as the USA's attempts to destabilise the regime. Can you explain what these protests really represent and mean?
Azar Majedi: We are not only witnessing the shaping of a great movement against the Islamic Republic of Iran and for freedom and equality. We are also witnessing a propaganda war. The Western media is not telling the truth and the Islamic Republic wants to taint the movement in order to justify its suppression. The Islamic Republic has no credibility in the eyes of the people, so its propaganda is futile. But Western media can shape public opinion, as they did at the time of 1979 revolution in Iran. It is our duty, and the duty of any freedom loving human being to expose this media and their lies. There are definitely some sections of the population who side with the right-wing. But the bulk of the people, the core of the recent uprising, belong to the Left. The slogan 'long live freedom and equality' is the slogan of Worker-communism. It is we who have shouted this out and brought it to people. The Right is still even hesitant to call for the demise of the Islamic Republic. Women in Iran want freedom and equality; the Right is not even capable of understanding these concepts. The workers want freedom both politically and from exploitation; this is a nightmare for the Right. The militancy expressed in these demonstrations sends shivers down the backs of the Right. We are entering a revolutionary phase by a people who want to be free and equal. Nobody, even the most ignorant politician would identify these demands with the Right. This movement is Left. The people are more and more recognizing Worker-communism. We are trying to overcome censorship and reach the people. We are seeing results very rapidly.
WPI Briefing: As a member of the Worker-communist Party of Iran's Political Bureau, what is your message to progressive people, organisations, parties, trade unions and so on? How can they support the people of Iran? Anti-imperialists in the Stop the War Coalition will most likely support the Islamic regime vis-à-vis the USA. What should the position of progressive people be? What forms of solidarity and support can they provide?
Azar Majedi: They should unequivocally support the people's movement against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is a just movement. A people who have suffered formidable terror, seen and experienced incredible atrocities and crimes, a people suppressed and oppressed for nearly a quarter of a century are rising to win their freedom. This must be supported by any freedom loving and humanist organisation and person. With regards to the US, if it comes to an actual intervention, we should, of course, condemn it as unequivocally as we condemn the Islamic Republic and support the people's movement to topple it. This is the just and most humane position to take.