From the hospital workers' strike

“من پزشک هستم و در بیمارستان رسول اکرم در خیابان ستارخان مشغول به
کارم. دیروز تعداد 38 نفر به دلیل
اصابت گلوله در اورژانس بیمارستان ما پذیرفته شدند که 10 نفر آنها کشته و
بقیه زخمی بودند. الگوی زخمها حاکی از این بود که مردم به رگبار بسته شده
اند زیرا بسیاری از مجروحین دو یا چند گلوله خورده بودند و محل اصابت
گلوله ها نیز بسیار نزدیک به هم بود، به عنوان مثال پیر مردی 68 ساله در
دو ناحیه کتف چپ و سمت چپ شکم مورد اصابت قرار گرفته بود و یا پسری 18
ساله از ناحیه کف و مچ دست هدف قرار گرفته بود. شرح حال اخذ شده از
مجروحین و نیز الگوی زخمها نشان می داد که تیر اندازی از پشت بام انجام
شده است، مثلا جوانی 32 ساله از کمر مورد اصابت قرار گرفته بود ولی گلوله
از جلو و از قسمت ران خارج شده بود.

بنا به گفته مجروحین تیر اندازی به طور ناگهانی و زمانی آغاز شد که سیلimage001
جمعیت در حال عبور از کنار یک پایگاه بسیج در شمال میدان آزادی (اول
بزرگراه محمد علی جناح) بود. به گفته مجروحان یک اتومبیل در مقابل درب آن
پایگاه به شکلی پارک شده بود که کسی نتواند با شکستن در وارد آن شود و
این امر نشانه برنامه ریزی قبلی برای تیر اندازی می باشد. به گفته شاهدان
حدود 4 نفر بسیجی از پشت بام این مرکز به طور ناگهانی اقدام به تیراندازی
نمودند به نحوی که حتی کسانی که قصد نجات زخمی ها را داشتند خود نیز مورد
اصابت قرار می گرفتند. یکی از مجروحین می گوید در حالی که پشت یک اتومبیل
پناه گرفته بودم زخمی شدم.

در این مرحله مردم خشمگین به اتومبیل پارک شده در مقابل این پایگاه حمله
کرده و آنرا به آتش می کشند ولی نمی توانند وارد پایگاه شوند. در ادامه
پلیس ضد شورش به همراه گروه های دیگری از بسیجیان برای پراکنده کردن مردم
خشمگین از راه می رسند که در این مرحله نیز در قسمت هایی از طول خیابان
جناح (به عنوان مثال در نزدیکی مترو) عده دیگری نیز کشته و زخمی می شوند.

طبق اطلاعاتی که امروز صبح از پزشکان بیمارستان امام خمینی کسب شد، به
این بیمارستان نیز در طی دیشب 38 کشته که با گلوله مستقیم کشته شده بودند
منتقل شده است.

لازم به ذکر است که در بامداد امروز پلیس امنیتی تمامی جنازه ها را به
زور از بیمارستان تحویل گرفته و آنها را با وانت به محل نا معلومی منتقل
کرده است و خانواده بسیاری از آنان حتی از کشته شدن فرزند خود نیز بی
خبرند. در بین کشته ها و مجروحین تعدادی کودک 15 و 16 ساله نیز دیده می
شوند.

امروز ساعت 9 تا 11 صبح دانشجویان و پزشکان بیمارستان رسول اکرم در
خیابان مجاور این بیمارستان تجمع کرده و به توزیع برگه هایی حاوی
اطلاعاتی پیرامون تعداد کشته ها و زخمی ها اقدام نمودند. این تجمع در
نهایت با حضور پلیس ضد شورش به پایان رسید”.

Videos from the Hopi Emergency Solidarity Meeting on June 20

Here are the videos of yesterday’s solidarity meeting, which was attended by over 40 people and raised 230 pounds for our comrades struggling in Iran. The Speakers were Yassamine Mather and Moshe Machover with the Green Party’s Jim Jepps in the Chair. To find out more about upcoming HOPI meetings, or to request a speaker for your organisation, campaign or union – please get in touch with us at office@hopoi.info or on 07590429226.

Yassamine Mather opened up proceedings:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wslMEIukCsg&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]

Continue reading Videos from the Hopi Emergency Solidarity Meeting on June 20

Defend the Iranian Students' movement

Manchester HOPI rally for imprisoned Iranian students - March 2009
Manchester HOPI rally for imprisoned Iranian students - March 2009

The eruption of mass protest across Iran has saw Iran’s youth at the forefront of the struggle and have suffered greatly at the hands of the security forces. Below is a sample of what students and young people are facing in Iran now, we also list the imprisoned, missing and now released students. No doubt these lists will expand as the hours go on, and is not comprehensive. We ask all our supporters to do what they can to get the news out on the internet, and also to donate money to HOPI so that we can aid those in struggle inside Iran. You can send us some money by going here.

“Mostafa ghanian’s body, an engineering student, was burried on thursday with a high security at the Imam reza shrine. the security guards, at the time of mostafa’s death, had kept his family uninformed. they delievered mostafas body and asked his family to sign a commitment before they could have the body. in this funeral which took place with the participation of many people and his family, none of the students were present. it is important to say that this student ( mostafa ) had gone up to the roof of his house after hearing the sound og gun fire and shootings in order to see what has happened, and therefore is shot dead by the BASIJ powers.

Down with repression
Down with repression

>>>After the recent attack of the secret police powers to the Tehran university, many student have been attack and injured and some are even missing. the last news about the students are as follow: please note that IMAN NAMAZI who was a civil engineering student at the Tehran university has now passed away.”

Missing students:
List includes name surname and subject which they study

Mohsen Azmoodeh – politics
Payam Poorang – civil
Morteza Janbazi – chemistry
Hajipoor

Students who have been attacked:

Yaghob Rahbarihagh –  electronics
Hossein Abadi – mechanics
Mohammad Fateminejad – hygiene
Mojtaba Kashani – management
Hafez Mohammad Hassani – literature


Students who have been released:

Ahmad Ahmadian – mythology
Eskandari – physics
Amin Afzali – literature
Vahid Anari –
physics
Mohammad Boloordy – architecture
Hossein Hamedi – mechanics
Mohsen Habibi Mazaheri – mechanics
Navid Haghdadi – electronics
Mohammadreza Hokmi – electronics
Kazem Rahimi – social science
Morteza Rezakhani – civil
Meysam Zarei – physics
Amin Samie – law
Bahram Shabani – photography
Alireza Sheikhy –
physics

Siavash Fayaz – civil
Seyed Hossein Mirzadeh
Hossein Nobakht – civil
Javad Yazdanfard – chemical engineering
Habib khadangi – literature

Students still in custody:


Sohrab Ahadian – English
Reza Arkvazi – medicine
Karim Emami – philosophy
Mohammad Hossein Emami – philosophy
Elahe Imanian – social science
Rohollah Baghery
Farhad Binazadeh – architecture
Iman Poortahmaseb – English
Ezzat Torbaty – agriculture
Somayyeh Tohidloo
Yasser Pafary – plan sketching
Milad Cheginy – archeology
Mohammadreza Hadabadi – social science
Seyed Havad Hosseini – geography
Farshid Heydary – geology
Behnam Khoda Bandeloo – computer
Mohammad Khansari – civil
Mohammad Davoodian – plan sketching
Mahmoud Delbari – civil
Ali Raie
Omid Rezasamety – civil
Ali Refahi – social science
Seifollah Ramezani – English
Ebrahim Zahedian – Mythology
Naser Zamani
Majid Sepahnood – cartography
Hanif Salami – counselling
Mohammadbagher Shabanpoor – English
Hamed Sheikhalishahi – biochemistry
Iman Sheidayi – English
Farhad Shirahmad – veterinary
Saman Sahebjalali –  history
Farhan Sadeghpoor – language
Farshad Tahery – computer
Ghamdideh – political science
Hazeh Faraty Rad – mythology
Esmail Ghorbany – psychology
Mohammad Karimi – geography
Erfan Mohammadi – medical
Adrian Jalali – computerscience

Source of information can be found here.

Mass protests in Iran: Death to the Islamic Republic! Victory to the Iranian people!

Yassamine Mather, Hopi chair, looks at the social upheaval englufing Iran and the tasks of internationalists

The election campaign of the four presidential candidates was largely ignored by the majority of the population until early June, when a series of televised debates triggered street demonstrations and public meetings. Ironically it was Mahmood Ahmadinejad’s fear of losing that prompted him to make allegations of endemic corruption against some of the leading figures of the religious state, including former president Ali Akbar Rafsanjani and Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, former interior minister and adviser to supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei.

In doing so he crossed one of the red lines of the Islamic regime. Once that was done, the floodgates were open. The language used by all three of his opponents – Moussavi, Karroubi and Rezaii – became more colourful. As Ahmadinejad continued to rail against 20 years of corruption and political and economic interference by the “economic mafia” associated with important figures, including Rafsanjani (currently chairman of the ‘assembly of experts’ charged with electing the supreme leader), his opponents wasted no time in using equally strong language to condemn his own presidency, pointing out the worsening economic situation, mass unemployment and 25% inflation, as well as Iran’s “embarrassing international profile”.

28th Khordad-June 18th-08In response to these accusations, Ahmadinejad’s election campaign made some historic claims. Apparently he is the man who brought Islam to Venezuela and Latin America! He has secured a written apology from Blair (prompting a denial by the foreign office). And he is the only president who is so feared by the US that it has been forced to drop regime-change plans for Iran. At times Iranians must have thought their president and his supporters lived in a parallel universe.

In just 10 days the two opposed factions between them managed to expose every unflattering aspect of the 30-year-old Islamic regime. No-one in opposition could have done a better job – no-one else had such in-depth knowledge of the levels of corruption and incompetence prevalent among the inner circles of power.

It was unprecedented for the authorities, including Ahmadinejad’s government, to tolerate the various election gatherings and slogans. But the eyes of the world were now on Iran and the regime put on a show: Bassij militia and Islamic guards turned a blind eye to women who failed to adhere to Islamic dress code for the duration of the campaign. Comrades and relatives inside Iran were telling us the atmosphere was like the pre-revolution days of 1979. Political discussions were held at every street corner, political songs of the late 70s became fashionable amongst a generation born long after the February uprising.

Those who had advocated a boycott of the elections were constantly reminded that it was the mass boycott of the 2005 presidential elections that had allowed Ahmadinejad to come to power. Consequently many life-long opponents of the regime reluctantly decided to vote, if only to stop the re-election of the incumbent. On polling day the regime’s unelected leaders basked in the euphoria of a large turnout, yet they were already facing a dilemma: how to keep control in the post-election era.

If Mir-Hossein Moussavi did become president, those who voted for him would expect serious change and the supreme leader was well aware that neither he nor the new president would be able to meet expectations. That is why he and the senior religious figures around him decided to do what most dictators do: rig the elections and declare Ahmadinejad the winner. Nothing new in such measures; but the supreme leader and his inner circle made two major miscalculations: they underestimated the anger and frustration of the majority of the population; and they failed to realise that the high turnout could only mean a massive ‘no’ to Ahmadinejad and, by proxy, to the entire Islamic order.

Added to this was the sheer incompetence of the vote-rigging. In previous presidential elections, the vote had been announced province by province. This time the results came in blocks of millions of votes. Throughout the night the percentage of votes going to all four candidates changed very little. It seemed obvious that the interior ministry was playing with the figures to make sure the overall percentages remained constant.

Early on Saturday morning, the supreme leader congratulated Ahmadinejad, which was seen as official endorsement of the results. But by Sunday afternoon, under the pressure of impromptu demonstrations, he was forced to reverse this decision, and called on the council of guardians to investigate the other candidates’ complaints. By the afternoon of Monday June 15, with a massive show of force by the opposition – over a million demonstrators on the streets – he was instructing the council of guardians to call for a recount. By Tuesday there was talk of new elections.

Had our supreme leader studied the fate of that other Iranian dictator, the shah, he would have known that at a time of great upheavals, as in 1979, once the dictator hesitates and dithers he loses momentum, and the thousands on the street become more confident.

The slogans and militancy of demonstrators in Tehran and other Iranian cities is today the driving force in Iran – and not only for the supreme leader and his entourage. These slogans also dictate the actions of the so-called ‘official opposition’. The meek, scared Moussavi, whose initial response to the vote-rigging was to seek a reversal of the results by the “centres of Shia religious guidance”, suddenly gained courage and appeared at Monday’s protests. After promising that he would protect people’s votes, he could not ignore the tens of thousands who on Saturday and Sunday were shouting, “Moussavi, return my vote”, “What have you done with our vote?” and even one of the students’ slogans, “Death to those who compromise”.

28th Khordad-June 18th-06There can be no doubt that Ahmadinejad’s press conference and victory rally on Sunday played a crucial role in increasing the size of the anti-government demonstrations on Monday and Tuesday. As riots were taking place all over the capital, the reference to Iran as a “very stable country” reminded many of the shah’s claims that Iran was an island of tranquillity, less than a year before he was overthrown. In response to a reporter’s question about protests in Tehran, the president referred to his opponents as “dust and tiny thorns”. A comment that he will regret forever, as the huge crowds on Monday and Tuesday kept taunting him.

Demonstrators in Tehran are also shouting slogans adapted from those of 1979, often prompted by leftists and students: “Tanks, guns, Bassij are not effective any more”, “Death to the dictator”, “Death to this regime that brings nothing but death”. Clearly the supreme leader’s standard response of bussing in supporters from the countryside to put up a well-orchestrated show of force (as they did for Sunday’s and Tuesday’s pro-Ahmadinejad rallies) does not work any more. Sunday’s event failed miserably, with reporters claiming that many of those arriving by bus could only speak Arabic. By Tuesday some of Ahmadinejad’s non-Iranian supporters arrived at the rally with yellow Hezbollah flags. As Mr Ahmadinejad has no supporters amongst Sunni Arabs in the Khouzestan province of Iran, if these reports are correct one could guess that participants at the state-organised rallies included the thousands of Shias invited in June every year from Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan to participate in the events commemorating the anniversary of the death of Khomeini.

It is difficult to predict what will happen in the next few days. However, one can be certain that nothing will be the same again. No-one will forget the fact that both factions crossed many ‘red lines’, exposing each other’s corruption, deceit and failure. No-one will forget the obvious vote-rigging that makes a mockery of ‘Islamic democracy’ – when Moussavi called it a “charade” he was only echoing the sentiments of the masses.

On Tuesday another presidential contender, Mehdi Karroubi, said: “This week ‘the republic’ was taken out of the Islamic regime”. No-one will forget that the immediate response of the regime to peaceful protests was to arrest, beat up and shoot opponents. No-one will forget that at least seven people have been killed in these protests.

There is little doubt that Moussavi /Karoubi/Khatami and Mohsen Rezaii will look for compromises and will ultimately sell out. However, these protests have gained such momentum that already in Tehran people compare the plight of Moussavi (if he does become president) with that of Shapour Bakhtiar – the last prime minister appointed by the shah, whose government lasted a few short weeks before the revolution overthrew the entire regime.

However, before the British left gets too excited and starts sending its blueprints for revolution to Iran, let us be clear about some facts: working class organisation remains very weak during this crucial period; most of the Iranian left is as confused and divided as it was in 1979, but now, of course, it is much smaller. Repression against labour activists and leftist students is harsher than ever.

Yet students’ and workers’ organisations have been very active in the anti-government demonstrations and they have managed to change some of the slogans of the protests, turning anti-Ahmadinejad slogans into slogans challenging the entire Islamic ‘order’. There was talk of a one-day general strike. However the organisations discussing this decided to try to improve the left’s intervention in current events before contemplating such ambitious calls. We should not expect miracles, but one can see that unlike the Iranian exile left (some of whom have benefited from the largesse of organisations offering regime-change funds, while others have tailed rightwing-controlled international trade unions) the left inside Iran has been conscious of the revolutionary potential of this period and, given its relative weakness, is doing what it can to make an independent, principled, but systematic intervention. That is precisely why the authorities’ attacks on university campuses, where the left is strongest, have been so severe; and why we must do all in our power to support comrades in Iran.

When it comes to predicting Iranian politics, no one can claim to have a crystal ball. However, it is reassuring to see that the unique position Hands Off the People of Iran took – against imperialism, against the threat of war and for the overthrow of Iran’s Islamic regime – has been vindicated by the events of the last two weeks. Imagine what would have happened if during the last year we had witnessed a military strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear industry, or various US plans for regime change from above had materialised. Political Islam in Iran and the region would have been the undisputed winner of such a scenario. We were right to argue that positive change can only happen from below and from inside Iran and we will continue to maintain this position.

28th Khordad-June 18th-04At the same time, these events have exposed the ignorance of groups such as the Socialist Workers Party, whose leaders kept informing us about the virtues of Islamic democracy in Iran. We have seen the selection of candidates by an unrepresentative nominated council of guardians; the role of the supreme leader in inventing the results of an election; and the brutal repression of legal and official opponents. If that is what the regime can do to its own, one can imagine the kind of treatment reserved for its opponents.

But even under the threat of beatings and executions, an overwhelming majority of the Iranian people have shown that they do not believe SWP-type apologia. No-one in their right mind should ever make such claims again. Hopi’s judgement was correct and we did not compromise our principles; that is why, now that the Iranian working class is in need of international solidarity more than ever, we are in a good position to help deliver it.

Barack Obama: has the threat of war gone away?

November 4 2008

Barack Obama’s victory has enthused millions of people across the globe. But anti-war activists should be careful not to cheer him too loudly.

Much was made of his claim to want to meet Iran’s president Ahmadinejad “without preconditions” to sort out the ‘disagreements’. And, after all, both have quite a lot in common: they want to see the Shia government succeed in Iraq and are strong opponents of the Taliban in Afghanistan. But Obama has also made clear that he will do “anything” to stop Iran from developing the facility to produce nuclear weapons. He has “not ruled out” the prospect of war.

Furthermore, “If Iran continues its troubling behaviour, Obama and Biden will step up our economic pressure and political isolation”, it says on Barack Obama’s campaigning website. So, even harsher sanctions and economic warfare are likely to be introduced by new US President – which will hit the poor and the working class the hardest.

Much has been made of Obama’s announcement to “withdraw American troops from Iraq by 2010” – less well known is the fact that 30,000 soldiers will remain in Iraq after that, to protect foreign businesses and diplomats and to train the Iraqi security forces. He also wants more troops in Afghanistan and extend the so-called ‘war on terror’ to Pakistan: another 10,000 soldiers will be sent there.

A quick look at his advisers and potential cabinet members he is currently assembling also tells us a lot about his views on the future of the Middle East:

– There is speculation that Hillary Clinton might become his Secretary of State. She has, of course, voted for the war on Iraq and has threatened to “obliterate” Iran if it uses nuclear weapons against Israel.

– Madeleine Albright (appointed by Barack Obama to represent him at the G20 meeting last weekend) was Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State and as such responsible for Clinton’s Nato-war on Yugoslavia and imposing the horrific sanctions on Iraq. In her now infamous TV interview on the programme ‘60 minutes’ in 1996, she said of the estimated 500,000 deaths resulting from the sanctions: “We think the price is worth it”. She also couldn’t rule out a war against Iran: “This last resort can never be given up”, she told Prague-based CT1 television.

– The Republican Colin Powell, rumoured to be given the post as Education Secretary, was George W. Bush’s Secretary of State during the 2003 Iraq invasion and the head of the US armed forces during the 1991 Gulf war.
While President Obama might suspend the sable-rattling against Iran for a while, it is clear that he will not bring war in the Middle East to an end. And the threat of an attack on Iran has certainly not gone away. Quite the opposite: the global financial crisis is making imperialism more belligerent, not less.

Iran and the threat of war- Torab Saleth

Part one

Torab Saleth looks at the nature of the Iranian regime and its relationship with the United States. He describes the history of the conflict and goes behind the current media speculation to explain what is really going on in the Middle East.

Continue reading Iran and the threat of war- Torab Saleth