"The Risk Has Increased Substantially"
Interview with Mehran Adib, chairman of the European branch
of the Iranian People's Party
By Andrea Claudia Hoffman
Frankfurt/Main Frankfurter Rundschau (Internet version)
3 Aug 99
[FBIS Translated Text]
The forbidden Iranian People's Party advocates democracy and freedom
of speech. Its members see themselves subject to mass persecution by the
government since the student unrest in Tehran. Frankfurter Rundschau staff
member Andrea Claudia Hoffman spoke with Mehran Adib (Brussels), chairman
of the European branch of Hesb-e Mellat-e [Iranian People's Party].
[Hoffman] What political goals does the Iranian People's Party support?
[Adib] We are fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of the press,
and the realization of human rights in Iran. We do not want a totalitarian
regime but a democratically elected representation of the people. We also
advocate a separation of the state and religion.
[Hoffman] How many members of your party have been arrested since the
most recent protests in Tehran?
[Adib] Officially Khorso Seif, Bahram Namanzi, Farzin Mokhber, and Mehran
Mirabdolbaghi-Kashani were arrested. The government has confirmed these
names. According to our information, however, almost 150 members and sympathizers
of the People's Party have been in prison since the unrest. The government
is trying to destroy us with every means.
[Hoffman] Of what are the mullahs accusing your party?
[Adib] We are being made responsible for the student revolts three weeks
ago. The Islamists are saying that the party is controlled by foreign
governments with the task of causing unrest.
[Hoffman] What role did your party really play in the student protests?
[Abid] The demonstrations for freedom of the press and against the
attack against the student residence hall were organized by the Mellat-e
party in the first days. Then the government sent the Anzar Hisbollah,
militant Islamic thugs who are responsible for the escalation of the peaceful
demonstrations. The excesses were supposed to provide an excuse for the
brutal suppression of the democratic movement. We are against all violence.
But now the government is trying to give us the blame for the chaos.
[Hoffman] Is there a connection between the latest protests and the
murder of Dariush Foruhar, the former chairman of your party, and his wife
Parwaneh Foruhar in November 1998?
[Abid] Many students are interested in the political work of the Foruhars.
After their dreadful death, their popularity among the students increased
enormously, especially after the secret service finally had to admit that
it was involved in the murders. Several thousand also took to the streets
eight months ago; the persecution of our members began at the same time.
Several were arrested but released soon after that. It was only the latest
student revolt that resulted in a systematic wave of arrests.
[Hoffman] It is said that 750 arrested students were released recently.
Were members of the People's Party also among those released?
[Abid] Not a single one of our people was released. On the contrary,
the secret service is continuing to search one house after another of
our members. For this reason, most have gone underground. But I would not
want to give the number of persons who must be in hiding at this time.
[Hoffman] How can the Iranian People's Party continue its political
work under the present circumstances?
[Abid] Because the party, just as all groups critical of the regime,
was already illegal even before the unrest, not much has changed with
respect to the real working conditions: we must always act in the underground;
now we just have to be more careful than before. The personal risk has
[Hoffman] How do you assess the present situation in Iran?
[Abid] The dictatorial regime will come to an end and we are now experiencing
the beginning of that. Until now our political upheavals always occurred
in the same pattern: a movement begins with student protests and if the
dissatisfaction is great enough -- as it is again at the moment -- then
the rest of the population joins in. If one compares the situation now
with the situation before the fall of the shah, there is an important and
dangerous difference. In contrast to the shah, the mullahs stand totally
isolated internationally. Where should they go if the people no longer
accept them? The mullahs are damned to fight to hold on to power until
the bitter end. For this reason, there is the danger that they will kill
the prisoners: it is in their interest to keep the country in an atmosphere
[Description of source: Frankfurter Rundschau: Left-of-center daily,
with links to the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)]