Monthly Archives: December 2009

Regime threatens mass murder whilst left activists are arrested

 

 

We will fight until all of our classmates, comrades and friends are released. we wont let the Islamic republic take the revenge of its inevitable collapse on activists.

We will fight until all of our classmates, comrades and friends are released. we wont let the Islamic republic take the revenge of its inevitable collapse on activists.

Below is a brief report of the moves the regime has been taking against known leftwing activists and the threats that leading officialis have been giving on state television. This report was sent to us by  Anahita Hosseini of the ‘Independent Leftist Students’ who represent an anti-imperialist socialist tendency within the student movement in Iran

After the mass protests of Sunday December 17 the regime is showing its fear of people uprising by going to well known activists homes one by one and arresting them. This morning armed plain cloths forces went to Mahin Fahimis home who is a member of the organization of: mothers for peace and arrested her and her son Omid Montazeri who is a known leftist student activist. Omid is Hamid Montazeriz son a known communist activist who was executed by the regime during the mass murders of the leftists and Mujahadeen in prison in 1988.

Ardavan Tarakameh another leftist student activist who was staying in Omids home this morning was arrested, afterwards the plain cloths forces went to Ardavan’s parents home and searched it all and took some books and notes, and told his mother she is not allowed to ask any questions about what they are doing or where her son is. Zohreh Takaboni one of the mothers for peace whose husband was also executed as a leftist in 1988 has also been arrested.

The regime has started a new scenario since this morning on all of their TV channels they are talking about what happened in the 80s they are talking about the leftist opposition of Iran in those days and how the regime killed them! because of their activities, they are frankly threatening people that they are not afraid of repeating the history.

After yesterdays uprising it became more obvious that no one is of the illusion of re-running the elections. The slogans are aimed at the regime and Khamenei himself, radicalization of the movement has made the regime fearful of the effect of the lefftist and the other radical activists on the current uprising. They are threatening to bring back the black and the bloody decade of 80’s in which they mass murdered thousands of the bravest, purest and the true believers of freedom and equality especially in 1988 when they executed thousands (possibly 30 thousand) leftists and Mujahadeen and buried them in the mass graves. Now they are threatening their children and all the other activists and all people who are yelling their anger against them, in their official news today they said: the rebels have crossed the red lines by having slogans against Khamenei and they will all pay back for it. what is obvious is that they will not be able to repeat the bloody years of 80s because they cant mass murder a nation. But we should take the threat serious on the level that we know this regime has nothing to lose and before its final collapse they may do anything for revenge. They may try to limit the number of activists against them, the threats they have started against people is important on these levels, and it is our responsibility to fight until the release of each and every political prisoner in Iran alongside supporting the peoples uprising. Underestimating the threats of the dictator regime in taking revenge on the protesters can end in a catastrophe.

We will fight until all of our classmates, comrades and friends are released. We wont let the Islamic Republic take the revenge of its inevitable collapse on activists.

Unity – Struggle – Victory

 

 

 

27 December: Iran’s bloody Sunday

Mass protests rock Islamic Republic

Mass protests rock Islamic Republic

December 27 was the bloodiest and most violent convulsion in Iran since the June elections. Millions of ordinary Iranians came out onto the streets to use the Ashura ceremonies and mourning as a focal point of opposition protests. In every part of Iran security forces backed up by Basij militia and the revolutionary guard (Pasdaran) resorted to ever intensifying violence as swarms of protestors over-ran state-repressive forces. It is unclear how many have been killed and arrested at this time, the regime say that only 4 have been killed, whilst student websites and news feeds from Iran put the number around 15. ‘Reformist’ leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s nephew is among the dead. The official reason for these deaths have been accidents and murder by ‘uknown assailants’. The regime has admitted to arresting over 300 protestors yesterday, this number will undoubtedly be much greater.

Clashes took place in Shiraz, Isfahan, Ardebil, Arababad, Mashhad. Whilst Marshal Law was declared in Najaf-Abad, at least four have been killed in the city of Tabriz and the house of recently deceased Ayatollah Montazeri was the scene of heavy fighting in Qom.

Protests began in the morning around 10 am with heavy security presence on major streets, squares and transport links. In Tehran the supreme leader’s residence was surrounded by massed ranks of Pasdaran and police. Throughout the day chants against Khamanei, such as ‘this month is a month of blood!- Khamanei will be toppled’. A clear indication of how far the protest movement has come since June, not only is the regime fearful of a re-run of the election, but are now considerably worried that a revolution is underway. In Tehran clashes erupted at many religious sites as soon as people started to gather for the planned opposition protests. The fighting was intense, with security forces taking several defeats as demonstrators burnt police vehicles, stations, Basij posts and erected barricades. In a couple of instances police and Basij were arrested and detained by the people and three police stations in Tehran were briefly occupied by protestors.. Demonstrators also attacked the Saderat Bank in central Tehran, setting it on fire.

As the day wore on the security forces began to crack, the first division of the special forces refused orders to shoot protestors. There are many pictures and videos that show police retreating or being beaten back by protestors (some are in this report). There is also unconfirmed statements from sections of the army declaring that they will not be used to put down popular unrest. During the evening clashes erupted outside the IRIB headquarters with security forces firing tear gas and bullets into the crowds who responded with rocks and burning barricades. Later on there was fighting in and around Hospitals in central Tehran.

Following the protests several aides to opposition leaders have been arrested whilst injured protestors have been interviewed, beaten and arrested whilst in hospital, the many injured have had to endure interrogation with painful injuries. In response to this it has been reported that medical staff have been patching people up instead of admitting them to the already overcrowded wards. In many parts of Tehran residents opened their doors to the injured and exhausted demonstrators.

The Ashura protests saw a qualitative change in the protests, the people of Iran attacked and won street battles in Tehran, attacked a set fire to police stations and security forces vehicles, demonstrators arrested and detained many riot police and Basij throughout the day. Possibly more importantly the regime has undermined its own religious credibility by making martyrs on Ashura day. Neither side of the regime can now back down, and through this split the mass movement is breaking down the Islamic Republic. Many calls have come not just for the end of Khamanei’s rule, or Ahmadinejad’s government but for the end of the Islamic Republic itself. On the streets protestors have begun chanting ‘Independence, freedom, Iranian Republic’, a slogan which has been condemned by ‘reformist’ leader Mousavi as too radical. The Ashura protests have further underlined that the Islamic Republic is facing the greatest existential threat since its inception and the Iraq-Iran war.

Below are some videos of the protests:





Ayatollah Hussein-Ali Montazeri (1922-2009)

Montazeri The contradictory figure of Ayatollah Montazeri died in the early hours of Sunday, December 20. In one of his last statements, he warned that the current crisis in Iran was threatening the entire basis of the regime.

Yet how did this man – originally a stalwart of the state, one of the main architects of the Islamic Republic of Iran and, until 1989, a designated successor of the Islamic Republic’s founder, Khomeini – come to such a dramatic conclusion?

The official version of events has it that they fell out over Montazeri’s opposition to the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. The truth is that conflict had flared between them earlier. Official history will remember Montazeri as the man who played a crucial role exposing the Iran-Contra scandal. This was a scandal that both revealed the emptiness of the regime’s ‘anti-imperialist’ credentials and also something about the nature of this man; a senior, yet simple cleric who had maintained illusions about these rhetorical pretensions (despite weight of the evidence to the contrary that had piled up by the mid-1980s).

Thus, he was genuinely horrified to discover that the inner circles of the regime – from Khomeini to Hashemi Rafsanjani, from Khamenei to Moussavi – were deeply implicated in the arms for hostages scandal. Iran was sold arms via Israel, including Hawk missiles, at a time at a time when the USA was publicly calling for a worldwide ban arms sales to the Islamic state.

Iran was loudly claiming to implacably oppose both US imperialism and the Zionist state. Yet the quid-pro-quo for the Israeli-brokered arms deal was Iran facilitating the release of US hostages held by Hezbollah in Lebanon. The negotiator in the US was Lt. Colonel Oliver North, a military aide to the National Security Council, reporting to Robert McFarlane, and later John Poindexter. An inventive reactionary, North improvised an addendum to the plan: diverting proceeds from the arms sales to support the counterrevolutionary Contra rebels in Nicaragua.

Montazeri was horrified to when he found out about this sordid deal. It was his office that leaked the news of Reagan’s secret talks with Iran to a Lebanese newspaper and provided background information about the rest of the deal. The Lebanese paper’s scoop was picked up by the world’s media and this broke Iran-Contra affair worldwide.

Khomeini and others involved in the conspiracy were furious and started a campaign to undermine Montazeri. His solidarity organisation (set up to support ‘anti imperialist’ movements throughout the world) was taken over and its head, one of Montazeri’s relatives Mehdi Hashemi, was executed.

To undermine him, Khomeini’s inner circle (including Rafsanjani and Moussavi) encouraged rumours and jokes about his simple- mindedness. When Montazeri met students returning from higher education abroad, they introduced themselves to him as holders of Phds and MScs.  Montazeri was supposed to have replied that his son had a BMW.

At the end of the Iran Iraq war in 1988, Khomeini issued orders to execute political prisoners who were beyond ‘redemption’. That year, thousands of Mojahedin and communist prisoners were executed – despite the fact that most of them had already received custodial prison sentences or even had served their sentence and were eligible for release.

Montazeri broke ranks with other clerics in condemning the executions. In a letter to Khomeini he wrote : “our prison system and our human rights record are worse than the Shah’s regime”. All this despite the fact that he was aware of Khomieni’s illness and was thus potentially weeks away from becoming  “Supreme religious leader” himself.

Of course had he not been an Ayatollah, he would have paid with his life for any of the above offences. As an Ayatollah, Montazeri’s worst punishment was a period of house arrest in 1997 after he had criticised Khamenei’s leadership. In June 2009, he called the presidential election results fraudulent and later issued a fatwa against Ahmadinejad’s government.

Yet protest movements against religious states do not need ‘spiritual leaders’, and Montazeri himself would have objected to being dubbed as such by sections of the ‘Green Movement’ and the media. However, in one of his last statements he warned Khamenei that the current political crisis in Iran was now endangering the very existence of the Islamic regime. It is likely that the words of this senior cleric, one of the founding figures of  an Islamic Republic now riven with crisis, will haunt Iran’s rulers in the months to come as they stumble from one crisis to another.

Yassamine Mather, Hopi Steering Committee

Videos from Hopi's AGM

Impressions from Hopi’s Annual General meeting, which discussed the issues of imperialism’s drive to war, our opposition to sanctions, the workers’ movement in Iran and the tasks for the solidarity movement

Imperialism’s drive towards war
Speakers: Mike Macnair and Moshe Machover

The workers’ movement in Iran
Yassamine Mather

HOPI AGM report

crop6HopiAGM09Chris Strafford reports on the annual general meeting of Hands Off the People of Iran

On Saturday November 28 around 60 people gathered for Hands Off the People of Iran’s third conference. Motions condemning sanctions and threats of war against Iran and calling for a nuclear-free Middle East were overwhelmingly carried.

The conference was opened by national secretary Mark Fischer (CPGB), who outlined Hopi’s strengths as well as weaknesses. Whilst we have gained some smaller affiliations over the last year, we have not made a big breakthrough and it is important for Hopi to “up its game”, he said. The June elections in Iran and subsequent mass protests were “a defining political moment” in the history of the Islamic Republic, which totally vindicated Hopi’s stance.

Hopi has always called for the building of strong links between the democratic and revolutionary movements in Iran, whilst others in the movement – most notably the Socialist Workers Party, George Galloway and the sycophants that surround him – previously attacked us for ‘trying to dictate to the movement in Iran’. Some had even accused us of playing into the hands of imperialism for daring to criticise the theocratic regime. SWP members were left looking red-faced and sheepish when the leadership realised the way the wind was blowing and made a U-turn, coming out in favour of the millions of protestors who marched through the streets of Tehran and other cities  (although SWP comrades on the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition continue to oppose Hopi’s affiliation). Galloway, however, has simply made himself look idiotic by defending not only the rigged elections and the subsequent repression, but also the Islamic republic itself.

Mark Fischer addresses the conference

Mark Fischer addresses the conference

Comrade Fischer went on to report our successful Hopi v Labour Representation Committee cricket match, which raised £1,000 for Workers’ Fund Iran, an organisation which aids workers in struggle and their organisations. He spoke briefly about our priorities over the coming year – firstly, building genuine internationalism through helping organisations like WFI; secondly, stepping up our campaign against sanctions; and, thirdly, developing our national infrastructure and branches, with the possibility of employing someone on a part-time basis.

Jim Jepps (Green Party), Hopi’s treasurer, gave a quick report on the current state of our finances, which he described as “modest” – we spent more than we raised last year. In the discussion Charlie Pottins (Jewish Socialist Group) urged Hopi to attend more demonstrations called outside the Iranian embassy, David Mather (Hopi Glasgow) said that Hopi needs to build its internet profile.

The next session was titled ‘Imperialism’s need for conflict and the situation in the Middle East’ with Moshé Machover (Matzpen founder) and Mike Macnair (CPGB). Comrade Macnair discussed US doctrine in the Middle East and its need as the imperialist hegemon to have undisputed military dominance. This means that, whatever Barack Obama may want to do, he is forced by events and the needs of US capital to carry on the strategy developed under the Bush government (for comrade Macnair’s speech, see ‘No way back for warmongers’).

Comrade Machover began his contribution by saying that Hopi should congratulate itself on putting forward the correct line against imperialist threats and sanctions, while supporting the movements in Iran. He said that the two major events of the last year were the elections in Iran and the election of Barack Obama. The US did not recognise that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan would strengthen the regime in Tehran and did not rule out the possibility that both wings of the regime could capitulate or do a deal with the American administration. However, the threat of war is growing – author Benny Morris, who is essentially acting as an unofficial spokesperson for the Israeli government, has warned that an Israeli attack on Iran is a foregone conclusion for the spring and summer of next year. Comrade Machover ended his speech by moving his motion, ‘For a Middle East free of nuclear weapons and other WMDs’.

Moshe Machover

Moshe Machover

An amendment from Tina Becker (CPGB) to delete the demand for “democratic international supervision” of the decommissioning and non-development of all nuclear weapons and other WMDs on the grounds that it might be misunderstood to mean under the auspices of the United Nations. Peter Manson (CPGB) proposed an amendment from the floor to make it specific that Hopi is opposed to Iran attaining a nuclear weapon, the so-called ‘mullah’s bomb’. But this was rejected as unnecessary, as the motion’s opposition to the “development and manufacture of nuclear weapons” throughout the Middle East obviously included Iran.

The motion was opposed outright by Gerry Downing (Socialist Fight), who pursued the long established error of some in the Trotskyist movement of defending the ’mullah’s bomb’ on the lines that it would ward off attacks from the US and Israel and may one day become a “workers’ bomb”. He condemned the whole motion as “pacifist”.

John Bridge (CPGB) attacked comrade Downing’s defence of Iran’s nuclear weapon ambitions by asking what kind of “workers’ bomb” it is that massacres workers. If the Soviet Union ever had used weapons against major cities in the US, the result would have been a massacre of the working class, the only force capable of stopping the drive to war and replacing capitalism with socialism, under which such weapons would be dismantled. A rewording of the demand for “democratic international supervision” was passed and the section was kept in the original motion, which passed overwhelmingly with only comrade Downing opposing.

Cyrus Bina

Cyrus Bina

After a quick lunch break comrades returned to the second session, which was opened by Marsha-Jane Thompson from the Labour Representation Committee, who read out a message of continued support from her organisation and John McDonnell MP. The session was presented by Cyrus Bina, author of Modern capitalism and Islamic ideology in Iran. Comrade Bina’s talk was titled ‘Why sanctions are not a “soft alternative” to war’ and he started by saying he considers himself a follower of Karl Marx. He said that sanctions are supplementary to war, and that they often are a precursor to military action and used to break the industrial base and civil society of countries in the sights of the imperialists.

He slammed those who said that demonstrations in Iran following the rigged elections had been made up of the middle classes, pointing out that on one occasion there were over three million on the streets. Comrade Bina went to say that sanctions hurt the workers and the poor far more than they damage the regime and even so-called “smart sanctions” would be detrimental to the lives of ordinary Iranians. The movement that has risen in Iran has international implications and it is important for socialists to build solidarity with its working class and progressive component.

The third session was introduced by Hopi chair Yassamine Mather (CPGB), who spoke on the session entitled ’Iran’s workers’ movement since the June 2009 elections’, and went on to move her motion against both sanctions and war. Comrade Mather explained that the oil workers, who were responsible for bringing the shah’s regime to its knees, have once again been discussing whether to strike or whether such action now would hit the working class and poor more than the regime – not least because an energy strike coupled with sanctions could result in power cuts and reduction in fuel for heating, when people need it most. The oil workers do not want to be seen as “part of US policy”.

During the discussion a leftwing supporter of the green movement in Iran argued that sanctions in Iraq had pushed the people towards a reactionary government and would similarly strengthen the faltering regime in Iran. Andrew Coates (Hopi Ipswich) argued that Hopi has and should continue to undercut those who argue that Ahmadinejad is some kind of progressive or defend the regime because it is nominally anti-imperialist. Comrade Mather said that the reformists are getting very nervous about the protests, as they have become more radical and have evolved from simple calls for a rerun of the elections to outright rejection of the Islamic republic. The resolution was passed unanimously.

The third motion, ‘Day of solidarity with Iranian workers’, moved by Ben Lewis (CPGB), called for Hopi fundraising event like this year’s cricket match. This was passed unanimously.

The final motion from Hopi steering committee member Charlie Pottins was titled ‘No to state murders’. Comrade Pottins argued that Hopi and the whole of the movement needs to condemn the murder of oppositionists and stressed the barbarity of the regime against national minorities such as the Kurds. On November 11 Ehsan Fattahian, a Kurdish socialist, was executed by the Islamic Republic. The motion also called for Hopi, while rejecting Zionist and imperialists propaganda that compares the Islamist regime with Hitler fascism, to condemn the hosting of a holocaust denial conference in Tehran. This motion was disputed by several comrades who wanted it referred back to the steering committee for rewording, and some amendments came from the floor. In the end, however, it was passed unaltered by a clear majority.

Overall the day showed Hopi’s strengths and weaknesses. Whilst the events of the past year have vindicated our stand, as opposed to the apologists of the Iranian regime, we now need to move forward by pulling in new forces and ensuring that activists are aided by a strong steering committee and national organisation.

Free All Political Prisoners in Iran – Manchester Vigil on December 17th

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FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS IN IRAN

Vigil for all of those who have been arrested

A vigil and rally called by Iranian students and supporters at the University of Manchester to show solidarity with hundreds of students and other political prisoners in Iran. Bring placards, banners and more importantly your friends!

 

Thursday December 17 @ 4PM til 6PM

University of Manchester Students’ Union, Oxford Road

 

Manchester HOPI hopimanchester@googlemail.com – www.hopoi.org

No to war and sanctions! – No to the theocratic regime!

Student activist Mohammad Pourabdollah sentenced to six years imprisonment

 

Only crime: fighting for freedom

Only crime: fighting for freedom

Mohammad Pourabdollah a member of Freedom and Equality Seeking Students in Iran was arrested during a brutal attack on his home in Tehran on February 12th 2009. Mohammad was a chemical engineering student at the University of Tehran. He has been kept in Evin prison in terrible conditions, suffering torture and abuse on a regular basis.

Today he was sentenced to 6 years of imprisonment by the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary court. He has been in prison over 300 days already moving from the notorious Evin prison to the equally harsh Ghezel Hesar prison. His only crime was to take part in the student protests against the Iranian regime and the encroachment of the revolutionary guard onto campuses in Iran.

We call for his immediate and unconditional release along with all other political prisoners in Iran.

 

Hopi activists at Azar 16 demo outside Iranian Embassy in London

hopibannerhigh On Monday December 7, Hands Off the People of Iran activists attended a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy to mark Students Day. It was particularly important for those outside Iran to express our solidarity because this year’s commemorations in that country have highlighted a deepening radicalisation of the student movement, with demonstrations spreading beyond the campus and onto the streets.

It was encouraging that around 350 protesters attended what was a rather impressively prepared event in London. There were marquees, generators, a powerful PA system, a green laser lighting up the Iranian embassy and green glow sticks available on demand. But the demonstration reflected much of the confusion prevalent amongst Iranian exiles (the Hopi contingent was the only non-Iranian group that took part). This was to be expected, since it was organised by the Iranian Green Movement in London. Official chants and slogans were limited to opposing Ahmadinejad and Khomeini, rather than the Islamic Republic as a whole.

The statement on the website of the Iranian Green Movement (www.londongreen.org/en/index.php) includes some supportable demands on freeing all political prisoners, freedom of the press and calling for public trials for those agents of the Islamic Republic who have committed crimes and tortured detainees (does that include leading ‘reformists’ like Mir-Hossein Moussavi?).

However, it has absolutely nothing to say on sanctions or war on Iran. Worse, it sows illusions in what the green movement claims is the “neutral” United Nations and its platitudinous Human Rights Declarations – calling for the UN to “oversee” a “free election” in Iran. Like the sham elections in Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably …

In order to challenge this perspective, a smaller ‘red’ demonstration had been organised right next to the green tents and marquees. It was vociferous and energetic in calling for opposition to both imperialism and the whole Islamic regime, as opposed to this or that individual mullah, but – presumably by mutual consent – they were physically separated from the main demonstration by steel barriers and a row of police. The noise of the ‘green’ PA often drowned out the more principled politics.

Hopi activists distributed a leaflet entitled ‘Solidarity with the Iranian people, not Moussavi’. As well as outlining our internationalist, working class perspectives for Iran, the leaflet also carried a translation of the Iran Khodro car workers’ statement on the political crisis in the country.

Given our clear message, we were expecting to be met with a rather frosty reception. However, comrades found that there was very little difference in the way we were received by the ‘green’ and ‘red’ parts of the demonstration. Almost everybody appreciated the solidarity we have shown and many wanted further information about Hopi. We leafleted and sold papers to both sections in an atmosphere which contrasted favourably to other occasions. Following the rigged presidential elections, our comrades’ red flags were torn away by Moussavi supporters in Manchester, for example.

In view of this it was a little puzzling that the anti-regime left did not attempt to interact more directly with the ‘greens’ and those who hold illusions in Moussavi. Rather than mounting what was in effect a counter-demonstration, and being unable to make themselves heard, the ‘red’ section could have demanded speaking rights from the official organisers. The comrades were correct to retain their independent voice, however. We should not blur lines of principle. We should not encourage support for the theocrat Moussavi or seek to prettify his sordid record.

One Iranian comrade pointed out that many of those now in the ‘green’ part of the demonstration were actually familiar faces from past leftwing actions – people who consider it their duty as ‘Marxists’ to uncritically tail Moussavi.

As the mass movement inside Iran grows in confidence and the regime’s days appear increasingly numbered, the tasks of the solidarity movement remain the same: a fight on two fronts – against imperialist designs on Iran, and for unequivocal support for the Iranian masses. This necessitates taking a clear stand both against imperialist sanctions and war and against Moussavi, a butcher of the Iranian left. Both have the blood of workers, the left, democrats and secularists on their hands.

Ben Lewis

On Monday December 7, Hands Off the People of Iran activists attended a demonstration outside the Iranian embassy to mark Students Day. It was particularly important for those outside Iran to express our solidarity because this year’s commemorations in that country have highlighted a deepening radicalisation of the student movement, with demonstrations spreading beyond the campus and onto the streets.

It was encouraging that around 350 protesters attended what was a rather impressively prepared event in London. There were marquees, generators, a powerful PA system, a green laser lighting up the Iranian embassy and green glow sticks available on demand. But the demonstration reflected much of the confusion prevalent amongst Iranian exiles (the Hopi contingent was the only non-Iranian group that took part). This was to be expected, since it was organised by the Iranian Green Movement in London. Official chants and slogans were limited to opposing Ahmadinejad and Khomeini, rather than the Islamic Republic as a whole.

The statement on the website of the Iranian Green Movement (www.londongreen.org/en/index.php) includes some supportable demands on freeing all political prisoners, freedom of the press and calling for public trials for those agents of the Islamic Republic who have committed crimes and tortured detainees (does that include leading ‘reformists’ like Mir-Hossein Moussavi?).

However, it has absolutely nothing to say on sanctions or war on Iran. Worse, it sows illusions in what the green movement claims is the “neutral” United Nations and its platitudinous Human Rights Declarations – calling for the UN to “oversee” a “free election” in Iran. Like the sham elections in Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably …

In order to challenge this perspective, a smaller ‘red’ demonstration had been organised right next to the green tents and marquees. It was vociferous and energetic in calling for opposition to both imperialism and the whole Islamic regime, as opposed to this or that individual mullah, but – presumably by mutual consent – they were physically separated from the main demonstration by steel barriers and a row of police. The noise of the ‘green’ PA often drowned out the more principled politics.

Hopi activists distributed a leaflet entitled ‘Solidarity with the Iranian people, not Moussavi’. As well as outlining our internationalist, working class perspectives for Iran, the leaflet also carried a translation of the Iran Khodro car workers’ statement on the political crisis in the country.

Given our clear message, we were expecting to be met with a rather frosty reception. However, comrades found that there was very little difference in the way we were received by the ‘green’ and ‘red’ parts of the demonstration. Almost everybody appreciated the solidarity we have shown and many wanted further information about Hopi. We leafleted and sold papers to both sections in an atmosphere which contrasted favourably to other occasions. Following the rigged presidential elections, our comrades’ red flags were torn away by Moussavi supporters in Manchester, for example.

In view of this it was a little puzzling that the anti-regime left did not attempt to interact more directly with the ‘greens’ and those who hold illusions in Moussavi. Rather than mounting what was in effect a counter-demonstration, and being unable to make themselves heard, the ‘red’ section could have demanded speaking rights from the official organisers. The comrades were correct to retain their independent voice, however. We should not blur lines of principle. We should not encourage support for the theocrat Moussavi or seek to prettify his sordid record.

One Iranian comrade pointed out that many of those now in the ‘green’ part of the demonstration were actually familiar faces from past leftwing actions – people who consider it their duty as ‘Marxists’ to uncritically tail Moussavi.

As the mass movement inside Iran grows in confidence and the regime’s days appear increasingly numbered, the tasks of the solidarity movement remain the same: a fight on two fronts – against imperialist designs on Iran, and for unequivocal support for the Iranian masses. This necessitates taking a clear stand both against imperialist sanctions and war and against Moussavi, a butcher of the Iranian left. Both have the blood of workers, the left, democrats and secularists on their hands.

16 Azar: The entire regime is the target!

“Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target”

“Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target”

The 56th anniversary of a murder of a student by the Shah’s security forces during Vice-president Nixon’s visit in 1953 may prove to be the last held under the heel of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Possibly millions of students, youth and workers took to the streets in protests against the regime and the barbaric repression since the rigged June elections. Though hard to confirm, today’s protests could be the biggest since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Protests have taken place in Tehran, Isfahan, Mashhad, Arak, Karaj, Orumieh, Kerman, Rasht, Shiraz, Ahvaz, Kermanshah and Hamedan and there have been reports of soldiers protesting at Qom Airbase. Protestors carried Iranian flags that omitted the Allah sign showing that the movement is moving beyond the slogans of the June protests.

In preparation for these demonstrations the regime formed lines of police, Basij and Pasdaran around the universities, squares and monuments in the major cities. The government also attempted to limit internet access with up-to 50% of attempts to connect failing, however, the regime failed to stop the flood of information that is now on hundreds of blogs, twitter and news sites. The mobile phone network was also shut down in central Tehran and limited in other parts of the city. At one point the Basij were scene frantically searching computer rooms at Tehran Polytechnic University in an attempt to stop pictures and videos coming out. Protestors managed to organise the protests and relay information of road blocks etc through the internet and land lines in defiance of the government. Once again the Iranian youth has shown the world that the state cannot keep a lid on protests and unrest.

Repression and Resistance

Repression and Resistance

On the streets the state repressive forces backed up by militia assaulted and arrested protestors but were met with courage and defiance.

At Hamedan University two students were thrown from the second floor by Basij scum, reports indicate that both students have sustained severe injuries. There were also heavy clashes between students and security forces here. At the hospitals in Tehran police with dogs prevented injured protestors from entering, arrested and attacking people who looked like protestors. At Amir Kabir University students were savagely beaten by security forces, where a prominent student leader; Majid Tavakoli was arrested. At the Medical College in Tehran Basij thugs attempted to break up a demonstration beating several students, there were reports of some badly injured protestors at this demonstration. At the Polytechnic University students clashed with the police and managed to repel them for a time shouting “Marg Bar Khamanei” (Down with Khamanei!) as the focus of popular anger shifts from Ahmadinejad and onto the Supreme Leader and the entire Islamic Republic. At Razi University in Kermanshah militia and police had a massive presence but failed to stop the student demonstration. At Sanati University in Isfahan in Kermanshah student protests were attacked by security forces. Professors at Beheshti University joined with the 2,000 strong protest to scenes of massive cheering and chants of ‘Death to the Dictator’. In Kurdistan students burned images of Khomanei and Khamanei in the University, they were also protesting the murder of socialist fighter Ehsan Fattahian who was executed on the 11th November. There were protests and clashes at Azad Shahrkord University, Elm o Sanat University, Sharif University, Azad University of Mashhad, Azad University of Najafabad, Sanati University in Isfahan, Hormozgan University, University of Zanjan, Yasooj University and others. School students have also taken part in the demonstrations, at a high school for girls in Tehran they gathered and chanted slogans, the video is below.

There was heavy fighting across Tehran with students turning the tide against security forces and militia at times. Basij who were carrying Hezbollah flags were attacked and thrown out of Khaje-Nasir University by brave students. Outside Tehran University, the streets approaching Enghelab Square and Valiasr Street saw shots fired by security forces, it is not clear whether they were warning shots or fired into the crowd, some reports claim that some students have been shot. There were reports of security forces refusing to attack students and at times taking water from students who were calling for them to join the protests. It also seems that around Enghelab Square Basij abandoned their positions and vehicles which were swiftly used to form burning barricades by the youth. It has been reported that riot police attacked Basij who were attacking demonstrators. If this wavering from security forces and demonstrations from soldiers are confirmed then this could undermine the regimes confidence in its ability to suppress the protests and may possibly signal an acceleration of the regimes collapse.

Proving that the protests go far beyond the student movement, elderly women dodged bullets and tear gas to bring water, sandwhiches and first aid to the student demonstrators. Some were attacked by security forces, one women was beat savagely by Basij thugs. Below is the video of her after the attack:

Where fighting was taking place residents rushed to aid the students and young workers and many have formed voluntary medical groups, helping the injured into nearby homes and distributing water to crowds. Many workers joined the demonstrations after finishing work swelling the numbers in central Tehran and other cities.

Many students posting on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook have been asking where are the reformists? The mass movement has kept the colour of Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s presidential campaign yet it seems he has abandoned the movement he helped to stir up. As students chanted across Tehran “Mousavi is an excuse, the entire regime is the target” the reformists will have been made acutely aware that the movement is far beyond their control now.

Protests have continued on into the evening with sporadic clashes between protestors and police. It is unclear how many have been arrested today, though we expect it to be in the hundreds. The workers movement internationally must get serious in organising solidarity and demanding the immediate release of all of those who are in prison and secret detention sites. An analysis of today’s events and a wider report will be posted shortly.

Below are some videos from today’s protests: