Transcript of interview on TV International conducted by Fariborz Pooya while host Maryam Namazie is away until end of March. The guest, Hamid Taqvaee, is the leader of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran.
Fariborz Pooya: What are the aims and objectives of the US government's threat on Iran? Is it only because of the nuclear facilities of the Islamic Republic of Iran or do they have a wider objective in this regard?
Hamid Taqvaee: As you have said, the US is undoubtedly not pleased with the Islamic Republic of Iran having nuclear weapons. However I don't think this is the main reason for the US' threat. It is similar to what happened recently in Iraq – the USA did not declare its real motives for its attack on Iraq either. The USA says it is threatening military attack because the Islamic regime is developing nuclear weapons. However, I think the main reason is to make the Islamic Republic submit to US' policies in the Middle East.
The main problem is the Islamic regime's role specifically in Iraq and Palestine. These are the two key issues the US is concerned about. The main aim of the US is to force the Islamic regime to back off and play within the framework of US foreign policy in the Middle East. The USA has also mention human rights in Iran. This is merely propaganda and for public and media consumption in the same way that weapons of mass destruction were in Iraq. We need to look deeper and go beyond these to find out the main reasons behind the USA's threat.
Fariborz Pooya: So you are saying that the broader objective behind the US threat is not necessarily nuclear weapons nor human rights violation in Iran, but the broader objective of US efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran and political Islam from having an influence in the Middle East specifically in Palestine and Iraq. We know that in Iraq, Iran is busy in the south organising the Islamic movement to establish a religious government in Iraq. But we see that in Iraq the US is happy to accommodate the Islamic movement. Is the US policy to change the Islamic regime in Iran or reduce its influence?
Hamid Taqvaee: The US has serious concerns with what the Islamic Republic is striving for in Iraq. Of course, in Iraq they have an Islamic government and it was obvious that they were going to have that – as long as it is a 'friendly' Islamic state as far as US foreign policy is concerned. That is the same sort of Islamic Republic they want to see in Iran, something unlike Al-Sadr, but like Sistani. That is the main reason and the key issue as far as relations between the US and the Islamic Republic is concerned. I do not think that they want to get rid of the Islamic Republic in Iran. That is not their goal.
This would create a political vacuum and the US is not sure what direction it would go. We know there is a mass popular Leftist movement against the Islamic Republic in Iran and the US is not sure that if they topple the Islamic Republic whether they will be able to control this mass movement. That is the difference between Iran and Iraq. So that is the main reason why they are not after the entirety of the regime in Iran. They want the regime to change somehow. They want to have some sort of Islamic regime similar to what they have in Afghanistan or what they may have in Iraq now. I think that is their main objective.
Fariborz Pooya: In the resolution you say that the military threat is not highly likely or immediate. Is it your assessment that the military intervention is just a threat?
Hamid Taqvaee: I think they might use military action, but I do not think it to be probable. That will be their last resort. They will try all diplomatic means at their disposal first. In this respect it is different from what happened in Iraq. In Iraq, they knew that Saddam and his regime were ready for anything; politically, they wanted to invade Iraq and topple the Baathist regime in Iraq; they said it and did it.
In Iran they are not saying that they are after the regime, and I do not think they are. In Iran they are after a political and diplomatic solution. That is the way they want to settle the question, because Iran, geo-politically is very different and more important than any other country in the region. The stability of Iran is extremely crucial for the export of oil from the Gulf to the rest of the world.
All of these are barriers; if they invade Iran, the whole region, politically and economically, would be in disarray. They are aware of these factors. The path they want to follow to achieve their goal is mainly diplomatic. Again, in this respect the situation is different from what we had in Iraq.
Fariborz Pooya: We know one of the current characteristics of Iranian society today is the strong popular movement for the overthrow of the regime. What would be the impact of a US military attack on this movement and the balance of forces between the popular movement and the Islamic regime?
Hamid Taqvaee: The very mention of the threat is a negative factor. It has always been so in Iran. It changes the issue at hand. Before the issue of the US attack on the Islamic Republic, people were actively opposing the regime; we had a strong and widespread popular movement.
Almost all sections of the society from students, teachers, workers, nurses, women, and so on were part of this widespread and strong movement for the regime's overthrow. As soon as the US intervenes in this situation, it changes the factors and issues to something else. It acts as a barrier to the popular movement. It can potentially change the whole situation, especially if they act militarily. Then everything will be changed radically and will suspend the people's movement.
The people of Iran are not being represented in this war-like situation. In this situation, the role of the communists and the Left is to prevent people from returning to their homes and to urge them to be present on the streets; the mass movement should continue and be even more radical and progressive against both sides of this war. However, the fact remains that this war is against the people of Iran. Both sides are against the revolution; we will do our best to prevent this from taking place.
Fariborz Pooya: So this war will have a negative impact and is against the people of Iran, and the Left, progressive and socialist movement would try to prevent this war. As a final question, Hamid Taqvaee, what is your message to the progressive public opinion in the west?
Hamid Taqvaee: My message to the people in Iran and all over the world is that both sides are against the progressive movement in Iran. The people of Iran are not represented in this war. The US has its own policy which has made a mess in the Middle East. You see what has happened in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will not let the same thing happen in Iran. As far as the Islamic Republic of Iran is concerned, people have 25 years experience of this most brutal oppression in Iran and for them, the regime must go. But not through US intervention. This is a war between two camps of terrorism.
On the one side, you have western state terrorism and on the other, Islamic terrorism and political Islam. Both sides have been active against each other and both are against people all over the world. As far as Iran is concerned, people should know that supporting either side will not solve any of their problems. This war has nothing to do with what people really want and the people should organise, be active and loudly and clearly declare that they are against both sides of this war. The war should not take place and if it happens it must be stopped immediately.