Mossadegh, Jebhe Melli Iran, Iran National Front: Basic Intro to History and Factions
The sole party or coalition that Mossadegh led between 1949 until his death in 1967 is JM.
From the get go, the JM was a coalition of many parties and individuals. Our social base is vast. JM brought together various ideologies: liberal democrats (largest group), social democrats (second largest group), pan-Iranist nationalists (Dariush Forouhar’s Hezb Mellat Iran), devout Muslims who believed in separation of religion and politics (Grand Ayatollah Zanjani, Ayatollah Taleghani, the younger Ayatollah Zanjani), liberal democratic Islamists, democratic socialists, as well as some right-of-center folks.
Some of the parties in the JM are: Hezb Iran (founded in 1941 or 1942), supporters of Hezb Socialist, supporters of the Third Force, Hezb Mardom Iran (combined democracy, socialism, and Islam). Hezb Mellat Iran (Forouhar’s party) split from JM in April 1979.
JM brought together various social classes: modern educated middle class, traditional lower middle class (e.g., bazaris), democratic and nationalist elements of the upper classes (capitalist, tribal), and modern working class (e.g., Jahan Pahlavan GholemReza Takhti).
JM brought together devout Muslims, less devout Muslims, agnostics, atheists, as well as all kinds of Sunnis, Zarthoshtis, Jewish, Armenian, Assyrians, non-practicing Bahais, …..
JM brought together Azerbaijanis, Persians, Kurds, Gilaks, Khuzestanis, Qashqais, Bakhtiaris, etc into one organization.
Therefore, JM was a vastly heterogenous coalition of classes, religious beliefs, ideologies, and ethnic groups.
People are free to come in and if they do not like it to leave. JM is the only main political party in Iran that has NOT killed its own members. The Pahlavis did MURDER their own top loyal officials and supporters. The fundamentalists have murdered their own leaders and members. The PMOI, Tudeh Party, Fadaian, all have murdered their own members.
The fascistic Pahlavis and Islamic fundamentalists also tortured, raped, and killed other Iranians who dissented. The sole group that has been in power in Iran and did NOT torture, rape, and kill those who criticized it, has been the JM. The sole group in power in Iran that did not destroy freedom of the expression and the press has been JM. The fascistic monarchists and fundamentalists destroyed freedoms of the press and expression.
In JM we welcome diversity of views among our members and leaders. We have always had various parties and factions. We fully believe and practice freedom of expression, including differing and dissenting from the consensus.
JM’s objectives were: independence, democracy, freedom, human rights. In our view, the Shah was nokar of colonial powers who wanted to subjugate the Iranian people in order to have our oil. Our view is vindicated by massive historical and scholarly documents. The Shah was a brutal savage tyrant. There was no democracy, freedom of the press, of political parties, or human rights under the Pahlavi tyranny. The rule of Islamic fundamentalist has been more tyrannical, more violent, and more repressive than under the Pahlavis. We believe that the Iranian people deserve a system faaaaaaaaaaar better than those under the tyrannies of monarchy and the IRI. We believe that the Iranian people deserve democracy, civil liberties, and human rights. We that the best form to achieve these is a secular democratic republic. The best form with the highest likelihood of success for achieving these goals is a constitutional design based on a parliamentary democracy with a ceremonial president, with a Bill of Rights.
The Jebhe Melli Iran inside Iran right now has two factions.
1. The leadership faction. The number one leader of JM is Adib Boroumand. He is the Chair of the Central Committee and the Chair of the Leadership Council. He is a liberal democrat associated with Hezb Iran. The number 2 is Dr. Hossein Mousavian. He is the Chair of the Executive Committee. He is a social democrat. He come from the Socialist Party (abolished in 1961 when it was under the leadership of Dr. Masoud Hejazi and Dr. Khonji). The leadership enjoys the support of the majority of the Central Committee, and the Executive Committee. Dr. Mehdi Moayedzadeh is a prominent member of the leadership group.
2. A small dissident faction is led by Mr. Koroush Zaim (right wing) and Mr. Jamal Dorodi (used to be a social democrat). This faction tried very very hard to replace the current leadership but failed. In the past 2 years, this faction has published really nasty public attacks on the majority. They remain members of JM and Central Committee.
JM/INF groups outside Iran.
1. Sazemanhay Jebhe Melli Iran Kharej az Kashvar. Iran National Front-Organizations Abroad (INF-OA). The INF abroad in the U.S. was established by the late Dr. Ali Shayegan and Dr. Mohsen Ghaemmagham in the early 1960s. It has been in existence since then. Dr. Ghaemmagham is currently a member of the Central Committee of the INF-OA and the Chair of the Entesharat of the INF-O (U.S. branch). INF-OA is very close to the majority faction inside Iran. JM in Iran and the INF outside do NOT have any formal organizational relationship. But we communicate with and help each other. During the struggle against the Leadership faction by the Zaim dissident fact, INF-OA strongly and fully backed the Leadership and attacked Zaim faction.
I am a member of INF-OA and its affiliate in the U.S. (INF-O, U.S. branch). I have served as elected Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, member of the Central Committee, and Executive Committee of the INF-O (U.S. Branch). I am currently a member of the Foreign Policy Committee of INF-OA. Most of our members tend to be liberal democrat or social democrat.
Unlike their affiliate in Europe, the JMI-A did not publish on its site some of the most nasty attacks on the JM leadership inside Iran. JMI-A is also very close to Koroush Zaim, but they also try to have good relations with the leadership. There is a group called JMI-Washington, DC, which joined this group several years ago.
I personally know many wonderful and decent members of JMI-A and JMI-E.
3. There is a very small group (I think there are about 4 or 5 people in it). Their site is:
They are led my Dr. Amir Houshmand Momtaz. Dr. Momtaz was a member of INF-O (U.S.branch), they he left us and joined the JMI-A. He then left them and created his own faction.
4. There are also several individuals who used to be members of JM, and do not belong to any group. Once every two or three years, they jointly publish a letter expressing their opinions.
JM is the only organization that Mossadegh was its official leader. Mossadegh founded JM in 1949. And until his last breath in 1967, JM was the sole organization that Mossadegh was affiliated with.
2. Nehzat Azadi
In 1961, Nehzat Azadi (NA) was created from the members of JM who wanted to create a liberal democratic Islamist party in Iran (analogous to the Christian Democratic Party in Germany, or various Christian Democratic Parties in Latin America). Dr. Mossadegh encouraged that. However, by 1962-63, Nehzat Azadi and JM moved apart. Therefore from around 1962, when the so-called Jebhe Melli Sevvom was organized, Nehzat Azadi was not part of JM.
Other groups and individuals (e.g., NA and PMOI) were in existence while Mossadegh was alive. They pursued policies different than those of JM-Mossadegh. They have the right to say that they are inspired by Mossadegh’s legacy as our democratic socialists or others may wish to say that. However, the sole party-organization that is fully a Mossadeghi entity is the JM. Others are inspired by Mossadegh, and mix their own ideology with those aspects of Mossadegh’s legacy they like and avoid those aspects of Mossadegh’s policies or ideology with which they disagree. We respect their right to take what they like and not take what they do not like.
Dr. Ali Amini’s government came to power under pressure from the Kennedy administration. Amini asked JM to join his cabinet. JM refused and instead demanded free elections. But NA engaged in negotiations with Amini and was willing to join his cabinet.
The Kennedy administration was pressuring the Shah to make certain reform (in Latin America they were called Alliance for Progress), which in Iran included land reform, female franchise, reduction of repression, etc. The Shah opposed making these reforms because the Shia clerics were opposed to them and the Shia clerics and big land owners constituted the main pillars of the Shah’s regime (other than the military and SAVAK). To be more precise, from around 1957, the U.S. government wanted the Shah to make reforms. The Shah made a deal with JFK to get rid of Amini and he himself would make the reforms. By1963, with the earlier deaths of Grand Ayatollah Brujerdi and Kashani, the Shah decided to break with his conservative Shia cleric allies (who had helped him during and after the 1953 coup).
The JM position was clear: “Eslahat ari; dictatori, naa” [Reforms Yes; Dictatorship No]. JM opposed both the Shah dictatorship and the conservative anti-reform reactionaries.
In June 1963, NA sided with Khomeini and opposed JM’s position. Bizarre as it is, the Tudeh Party also sided with Khomeini during the June 1963. The Shah’s Shia cleric allies such as Akhund Falsafi left the Shah and sided with Khomeini.
NA and the group which emerged after the revolution which calls its self Melli Mazhabi (MM) do regard themselves as supporters of Dr. Mossadegh. There is, of course, a contradiction here. Mossadegh believed that the religion should be separate from the state. He recognized that as long as a party accepts the basic system to be secular, religious parties could participate. This is the case in many democratic systems.
In Israel there are religious parties. Some of these religious parties want to make Halacha (the Jewish version of Islamic Shariah) laws of Israel. Some even oppose the secular nature of Israel. The following mentions some of these:
NA and MM have attempted to articulate a liberal version of Islam. When Khomeini issued his fatwa on Salman Rushdie, the sole person inside Iran who had the courage to stand up to Khomeini was Mehdi Bazargan. Bazargan openly, publicly, and explicitly opposed Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie as anti-freedom.
3. Dr. Ali Shariati
Dr. Shariati was a strong supporter of Dr. Mossadegh. Shariati wanted to create a progressive interpretation of Islam. This was also attempted by some in Latin America. The movement was called “Liberation Theology.” In Germany, they had a party called “Social Christian Party.” Also in the U.S., there were progressive movements such as that by Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., who attempted to make a progressive and egalitarian interpretation of Christianity. Dr. Shariati was a member of INF-O (European faction) which is the same Sazemanha that my group is in the 1960s when he was in Europe. When he went back to Iran, he left Iran and joined NA. When he was part of JM, he was a member of Hezb Mardom Iran. Hezb Mardom Iran combined, democracy, socialism, and Islam as its ideology and was a Mossadeghi party and a member of JM.
4. Democratic Socialists
The people and groups which have attempted to articulate liberal, or socialist interpretations of Islam, have also claimed to be supporters of Mossadegh. The reason is that Mossadegh is the main democrat in our politics. Therefore, those who want to be democratic, are inspired by Mossadegh’s legacy. This is also true of those who were Marxists and wanted to articulate a democratic interpretation of socialism. The prime example is Khalil Maleki. Maleki was a top member of the Tudeh Party. Once he recognized the dependent nature of the Tudeh Party on the USSR, Maleki and his supporters in the Tudeh Party left the TP, and joined the JM under Mossadegh’s leadership. Maleki’s Third Force [Niriyeh Sevvum] was Marxist, democratic socialist, pro-democracy, and was 100% for the independence of Iran. And it was a Mossadeghi group.
Mossadegh is the primary democratic icon, legacy, and leader in history and politics. Therefore, he is hated and opposed by tyrannical groups (i.e., monarchists, and fundamentalists). And that is why those who want to embrace democracy consider themselves as following him.
The PMOI founders were members of the NA. They wanted to combine socialism and modernist Islam. The PMOI regarded Mossadegh as the representative for liberal national bourgeoisie that was appropriate in 1951-53. The PMOI considered the era of capitalism to be over by 1965. The PMOI looked at Mossadegh the way Marx looked at Abraham Lincoln, or Mao looked at Sun Yat Sen (sp?). The original PMOI (1965-1984 or so) wanted to create communist Islamist organization and ideology. The new PMOI (1984 to present) is non-ideological and would make alliance with ANYONE (Saddam, the U.S., Israel, etc) in order to overthrow the fundamentalist regime.
Fadaian-Aksariyat was never pro-Mossadegh. They were very opportunistic and remain so. Aksariyat sided with Tudeh and Khomeini until their members were arrested in 1983.
7. Fadaian-Aghaliyat, and Fadaian before the revolution
Many in Fadaian did have some positive views on Dr. Mossadegh. But their ideology and methods of struggle were different.
8. Tudeh Party
Tudeh Party during Mossadegh’s time viciously attacked Mossadegh and made all sorts of lies about Mossadegh-JM. During the first year of Mossadegh’s government, Tudeh party called for 17 rallies and marches. Of these 16 were to oppose Mossadegh. The leadership of TP was nokar of USSR. So they were opposed to Mossadegh’s nationalist policies. For example, TP supported the Azerbaijan secession from Iran. Mossadegh had opposed that. Mossadegh-JM wanted to nationalize our oil from the British, as well as opposed granting any oil concession to the USSR. Stalin wanted to have our oil in northen Iran. JM-Mossadegh nationalized the Shilat Shomal [Northern Fisheries] from the USSR ownership. That made the USSR and Tudeh Party hate the JM-Mossadegh. Stalin regarded the U.S. as his number 1 enemy. Stalin regarded Mossadegh as friend of the U.S. For Stalin (and thus Tudeh), UK was a declining power, and the U.S. was the main enemy. Thus the USSR and Tudeh opposed Mossadegh-JM because they regarded the U.S. as their primary enemy.. Moreover, Stalin-Tudeh believed that the Shah lacked modern, democratic, nationalist sources of legitimacy; therefore, in their analysis it would be easier to overthrow the reactionary and despotic Shah in a communist revolution. Stalin-Tudeh believed that Mossadegh-JM by creating a modern, democratic, liberal, nationalist system in Iran would undermine the possibility of a communist revolution. Therefore, USSR and Tudeh Party strongly opposed Mossadegh-JM as their primary enemy.
Only in early 1953, USSR and Tudeh Party realized how wrong they were. But because of the terribly vicious attacks by Tudeh against us, it was not easy to trust them. After the coup, TP realized the stupid mistake they made. It was a common mistake by Stalin and communists. In the 1920s-1932, Stalin and German communists made the same mistake: they viciously attacked the German Social Democrats as their main enemy instead of Hitler and Nazi party.
The Tudeh Party AGAIN in 1979 considered the liberals (JM, NA, MM) as its primary enemy. For the Tudeh Party, the liberal democrats were close to the U.S. (jadeh saf kon America), opposed the mass executions of the monarchists (weak on domestic fascists and domestic pillars of imperialism), and could create a legitimate modern democratic system. Tudeh supported Khomeini because he was 100% against the U.S., and wanted to kill monarchists (being revolutionary).
Tudeh Party was NEVER a Mossadeghi party. In fact, the Tudeh Party’s ideology (Stalinism when Stalin was in power, Khrushchevist when Khrushchev was in power, Brezhnevist when Brezhnev was in power) was 100% opposed to JM-Mossadegh’s ideology of democracy, civil liberties, mixed economy, and non-aligned foreign policy.
Tudeh party’s ideology was Stalinist, one-party communist tyranny, nokar of USSR.