For principled solidarity

Unite in opposition to both imperialist war and theocratic rule


For principled solidarity
by yasmine

If anyone is in any doubt about the level of the threat of war against Iran, I suggest they read the text of a speech by Tony Blair comparing “Iran’s extremism” to “rising fascism in the 1920s and 1930s” (The Times October 19).

Quiet clearly the vacuous former PM and current ‘peace envoy of the quartet’ has spent so much time in Israel that he repeats like a parrot the most stupid utterances of Israeli politicians - all this in line with the US administration’s plans for possible military attack against Iran and paving the way for more extensive sanctions.

Worst of all for Iran’s leaders, Russian president Vladimir Putin, in Tehran for talks with the theocratic regime following meetings with Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, gave a stark warning that Russia will not oppose further sanctions and military strikes against Iran, unless it stopped its enrichment of nuclear-grade uranium.

Many observers in Tehran believe that it was Putin’s visit that sparked the resignation of Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. Whatever the reasons behind this resignation, coming amidst rumours of the impending departure of foreign minister Manuchehr Mottaki, it is clear that even supporters of Ahmadinejad have now realised that Iran faces a serious threat. The response to this threat has engulfed the crisis-ridden regime in turmoil and, although it appears Iran will reject any nuclear compromise, hours after the resignation of Larijani was accepted by the Iranian president, Iran’s supreme leader, ayatollah Ali Khamenei, intervened directly to make sure Larijani remains part of the negotiating team meeting EU officials.

Of course, no-one who has listened to Dick Cheney or George Bush could be in any doubt that the nuclear debacle is no more than an excuse for preparing for such an attack. The current US administration labelled Iran its main enemy in the region on the day it came to power in 2001 - it was Iran’s compliance with and support for the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq that delayed the escalation of the conflict. But now the US administration is so desperate to divert attention from the disaster in Iraq that an air assault on Iran by the US or Israel is a real possibility.

To complicate matters further, Turkey’s threats of attacks against Iraqi Kurdistan show the fragility of the relative ‘peace’ in that part of Iraq. The Iraqi president and member of the Kurdish PUK, Jalal Talebani, has played a dangerous game over the last few years, promising one thing to the Americans and the opposite to Turkish and Iranian Kurdish groups. If you listen to both his Kurdish utterances and his English speeches, you could be forgiven for thinking there are two Talebanis: one who is pro-American, while remaining loyal to Iran; and another who is an anti-colonial Kurdish nationalist.

Of course, with the escalation of the Turkey-PKK conflict, the PUK and its leader now have to face the consequences of playing with fire for so long. Over the last few years the PUK has repeatedly justified its support for US military intervention in the region by telling Iranian and Turkish Kurds that the current Iraqi Kurdish statelet is the first step on the road to an independent Kurdistan. It holds up the ‘referendum option’ in the Iraqi constitution as the trump card and implies that the establishment of an independent Kurdish state is just around the corner.

Many Kurdish leaders, including in Turkey and Iran, have fallen in behind Talebani’s pro-US line, foolishly believing his slogan that the end (an independent Kurdistan) justifies the means. But Talebani’s promises mean nothing - his masters in Washington and Tehran are only interested in ‘Kurdish rights’ as long as they suit their own purposes, such as during the propaganda war against Saddam Hussein.

Of course, the US still supports Iranian Kurdish groups as part of its ‘regime change’ policy, but inevitably the same support cannot be granted to the enemies of a Nato ally, Turkey. So this week, in addition to the threat of US-Israeli ‘shock and awe’ attacks against the people of Iran, the region faces the threat of military attacks by Turkey against Iraqi Kurdistan.

The barbarous US-led unfinished war in Iraq, combined with the duplicity of both the capitalist clerics in Tehran (who now call for the withdrawal of UK troops from southern Iraq, yet supported the US invasion of 2003) and the reactionary president of occupied Iraq, Jalal Talebani, have made the situation in the region far more complicated than ever before. Simplistic solutions and slogans such as the banal idea that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ can only lead anti-war activists into one crisis after another.

That is why Hands Off the People of Iran has constantly fought for a principled campaign along two main lines. First and foremost, we are vehemently against every imperialist intervention in the region and for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US-UK troops. This demand is echoed by the working class and rising social movements inside Iran.

As part of Hopi’s activities in Farsi we have relentlessly exposed the advocates of ‘regime change’ Bush-style, as well as those Iranian political groups and organisations who deliberately or unconsciously take a soft line on the macabre policies of imperialism in our region.

However, as the threat of military intervention increases, we see it as our duty and responsibility to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people, who, with the exception of the regime’s paid agents and security forces, are increasingly united in their opposition to both imperialist war and the rule of the theocracy. We read their demands, see their protests and hear their slogans every day.

The thousands of workers in Haft Tape who in October shouted, “We are hungry - why is the state refusing to pay our wages?” The workers in Iran’s oil industry who write that “dividing the company into hundreds of small, private contracting firms is privatisation of Iran’s oil industry on a scale far more alarming than what is happening under the US invasion in Iraq”. The car plant workers in Iran Khodro who this week drew attention to the death of yet another worker (the third in less than two months) through exhaustion in this most exploitative joint French-Iranian capitalist venture. We will not ignore their calls.

The anti-war movement should read the reports of the regular demonstrations organised by leftwing students, such as the one held on October 22, and act in solidarity with them. Student protesters in Tehran shouted, “Death to the dictator, death to reaction” , “Ahmadi Pinochet, Iran will not become like Chile” and “Release the imprisoned students”. On October 23, hundreds protested at Bouali University at the ‘suicide’ of a fellow student who was held by the security forces following a previous demonstration.

By contrast, there are those in the anti-war movement whose idea of anti-imperialism is to invite supporters of reactionary clerics such as Muqtada al Sadr and Hezbollah officials to their rallies, who lead chants of “we are all Hezbollah now”. They seem oblivious to the fact that in the only country in the region where there is a secular, socialist anti-war movement - Iran - for the majority of the population Hezbollah are the thugs who go around throwing acid in the faces of young girls for daring to reveal part of their fringe beneath their headscarf. Hezbollah are the hoodlums with chains who attack workers staging protests outside privatised factories where the unscrupulous owner (often a relative of a senior cleric in power) refuses to pay the workers their wages and calls on Hezbollah to arrest them if they protest too much. Hezbollah are the forces who arrive in jeeps to demolish the huts of poor shanty town dwellers when a developer buys up the land and needs it cleared.

To be frank, those who raise such an obscene slogan in Britain - be they followers of some islamist group or members of the Socialist Workers Party - are in no position to lecture Hopi about solidarity.

Some of us have personally experienced the repression meted out by the brutal islamic regime. We who have mourned the loss of tens of thousands of socialists and communists - tortured and executed at the hands of the clerics - view with contempt their anti-western rhetoric. We have even dared to hope - obviously foolishly! - that incidents such as Irangate, not to mention the track record of Iran’s islamic republic over 28 years, would be sufficient to prevent anti-war campaigners confusing Tehran’s anti-US slogans with the genuine anti-imperialism of the Iranian people. In our era anti-imperialism cannot but be anti-capitalist.

Do the SWP and those like the Communist Party of Britain’s Andrew Murray really think that clerics presiding over a neoliberal capitalist economy - in a country where the gap between the rich and the poor grows every day, where corruption, drug addiction and prostitution are ripe and only repression keeps the regime in power - either want or are in a position to fight US imperialism?

Those of us who are not fooled by the regime’s empty rhetoric will continue our principled campaign, whether or not we are excluded from the Stop the War Coalition. We will expose the false image of the Iranian people manufactured by the pro-war media, but we will also expose the rosy portrait of Iranian society depicted by the crude apologists of the islamic regime, such as Campaign Iran - which, to its shame, the STWC supports while smearing Hopi.

Yassamine Mather Deputy Editor of Critique, Journal of Socialist Theory, published by Centre for the Study of Socialist Theory and Movements, Glasgow University.




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more from yasmine

Quench My thirst

by Shae'r (not verified) on

As Though the "Devil" Himself Was Around ..
Conspiracy of "Fools" Abound ..
England, US And all "The Rest" ..
In Anticipation of A "Prize" to Be Had ..
Bereft Of Any "Moral" Obligations ..
Greed And Torture "Blazens" Their Spirits ..
The Poor People Of "Iran" ..
Amassed On The Cross Path of "Civilzations" ..
Eager To "Defend" Their Land ..
Sacrifice Their "Beings", Ashore The Sea ..
May The "Evils" Of Civilizations Burn In Hell ..
May Their "Atrocities" Cling Around Their "Necks" ..
Suffocating Every "Breath" Away ..
As Sounds Of "Justice" Prevail ..
If America "Attacks" Our Beloved Land ..
May Every Village,
Every "Hamlet" ..
Every "Street" Corner ..
Become The "Graveyards" Of Their "Fallen" ..
As The Saying Goes ..
"Might Does Not Make Right" ..
God Bless "Iran" ..
The Homeland Of Our "Childhood" ....
May "All" Its Enemies ..
Vaporize "One" By "One" ..


Yasmine, as a liberal

by Farhad Kashani (not verified) on

Yasmine, as a liberal Iranian, I have to say this:
-Iran is the new fascist face in the world today. It is the biggest oppressor of women by enforcing a religious dress code and numerous openly discriminatory laws , one of the biggest enemies of the internet and free press, the country with the second most execution rate in the world, led by one of the worst dictators in the modern world, promotes Islamic fundamentalist ideas that caused the death of hundreds of thousands of innocent men and women in the Islamic world in the last 30 years, responsible for engaging our country in the longest war in the 20th century…among tens of other examples. If those facts do not convince you and other ultra leftist Iranians that this regime is fascist, then, truly, our only hopes are Richard Perl and Dick Cheney!!
It is astonishing that you ultra leftists believe that the Iranian people inside Iran will actually buy into the socialism/communism gibberish that you guys still preach after the whole world witnessed the failure and bankruptcy of its model and ideas with the collapse of the communism world!!! What on earth makes you think your model will work now after it brought nothing but poverty, destruction, backwardness, socialism fascism among others. to the people it ruled during the 1900s?? Please ask Russians, Eastern Europeans, Chinese, and Vietnamese, whom all are embracing capitalism. What other evidence is needed except REALITY?
The fact of the matter you guys are still seeking power. You failed to overpower your religious allies after they double crossed you in 1979 and now that you see that the Iranian people are rejecting both extreme socialism and religious fanatism and are engaging in a movement for liberation and embracing capitalist ideas LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD, you believe you still have a chance in possibly jumping on the band wagon and hijacking Iranian people’s movement in order to impose your dark socialism vision and way of life. The ordinary Iranian on the streets of Iran will laugh at you and that’s what is making me feel confident! Fool me once (in 1979) shame on you, fool me twice (NEVER AGAIN), shame on me!


For principled solidarity

by A.S (not verified) on

I found Yasamin's view and analogy both interesting and intellectual but not comprehensive. The two issues are totally separate. We all must do all possible to avoid an attack on Iran. Noting can justify such failure. As for the political options for Iran, it is up to people like yourself to give opinion and the rest is to be left to Iranian to decide.

Jahanshah Rashidian

A confused Rhetoric for Clear Case

by Jahanshah Rashidian on

It is an absolute and human task of any democrat group to work on toppling the totalitarian IRI.


It is a morally clear that an eventual attack on Iran must be condemned by all honest Iranians.


It is a national and self-evidence that the new state will be independent and democratic.


However, the controversial rhetoric used by Yasmin-- “anti imperialist, anti capitalist, anti US, class struggle” seems rather an utopia of an ideological which is far to be particle.

Such a rhetoric is confusable because# internationally, still has no rehabilitee after half century of violation to the basic individual freedom.



Nationally, it reminds us the painful collaboration of the Tudehist spectrum with the “anti imperialist” IRI in the first bloody decade of repression.



mullahs are crazy bush should attack on mullahs

by hajiagha on


go to my page see all cartoons about mullahs to my cartoons page

Bush attack on mullahs bush attack on mullahs bush attack on mullahs

money for all Iranian or Mullahs should get die where is my money from oil? 



by Mehdi on

"Do you mean Iranians are accepting this situation without any resistance?! Don't you have any news from inside Iran? do you know just in last few days over 200 of Iranian students have been arrested and imprisoned by government? How can you claim that Iranians "allow" this other than being under extreme supressions?"


I think Iranian people have accepted this regime over any other possibility presented to them. Whether this is because of suppression or lies or threats or whatever, the fact remains that by far the majority have submitted to this system. It doesn't mean they love it, but it does mean that they prefer that over anything else they can consider. That's exactly why I say Iran cannot really have a "revolution" or a very fast change. Because people are not ready for such a change. In fact that's why Shah couldn't keep them under control. Even Shah was too progressive for the collective Iranians. Don't just look at a small few in tehran or those who are educated. Majority can't even read or write and are still living in superstitions of the ancient world.


In a normal world, people call this "inflation".


All I know is that my father can afford 50 times what he could afford in 1987. Iranian money has risen compared to American dollar and other currencies. I am not saying it has had a great rise but it is also not true that things are just as bad as 1987. That's all I am saying.



"You are not agent of IRI but your view on these issues do not seem very realistic. "


I don't see how my views are not realistic. I think it far more unrealistic to think that any time soon we could have a government in Iran that would allow different political parties including socialists or communists. All you have to say is "communist means anti-God," and that's be the end of that, I am afraid. You won't get a chance to explain.



by Sohrab_Ferdows on

You wrote:



But I can't get rid of this question in my mind, how is that possible? If people in Iran could support and sustain such a fantastically democratic government, would they allow themselves to be in such a terrible state now?"

Do you mean Iranians are accepting this situation without any resistance?! Don't you have any news from inside Iran? do you know just in last few days over 200 of Iranian students have been arrested and imprisoned by government? How can you claim that Iranians "allow" this other than being under extreme supressions?


You also wrote: "My father's house was worth about $2,000 in 1987. Now, I am told it is worth more than $100,000. I see that as improvement in Iran."

In a normal world, people call this "inflation".

You are not agent of IRI but your view on these issues do not seem very realistic.



Forced Democracy?

by Mehdi on

I keep hearing different opposition groups talking about establishing democracy in Iran and getting rid of theocracy. I don't understand how they intend to do that? I guess they intend to bypass people in Iran, and on their behalf, topple the current regime by force and then force at least a temporary regime on people (because let's face it current people in Iran will not submit to anything other than an Islamic regime like the one they have), and then somehow turn that temporary regime into a dreamlike democracy. And from what I hear, that promised democracy, will of course be such a democracy that the likes of which have never been seen before. It will be a democracy that will  make the US government look like a barbarian prehistoric dictatorship!


But I can't get rid of this question in my mind, how is that possible? If people in Iran could support and sustain such a fantastically democratic government, would they allow themselves to be in such a terrible state now? How can we so quickly force this people from its current hopeless ignorance into the heights of awareness which can only be dreamed about? I have, of course, heard some funny suggestions. We would open their eyes! We would educate them on TV! In other words we could accomplish what most countries have not been able to accomplish in years. Why? Because we are different!


Call me an agent of IRI or whatever you want, but it seems to me only reform would possibly work in this environment. Most opposition is very pessimistic but I see improvements in Iran compared to when I left Iran in 1987. My father's house was worth about $2,000 in 1987. Now, I am told it is worth more than $100,000. I see that as improvement in Iran. I am well aware that Iran is not nearly as democratic as a place like US. That is the reason I am still living here and not Iran. But I think if we just close our eyes with the help of hatred for mullahs and forget that the natural progress of events by itself brings about betterment, we will probably do more damage than help. Probably some of these same extremists views has brought us to a point where criminals like Bush can now claim that attacking Iran is justified.


Something to think about, your firey fierce revolutionaries ;)



You need to think better

by myown (not verified) on

First and foremost we ara against every ruling family, dynasty (like mullahs and before them) in Iran. this is our main principle.

Not yours ....
"That is why Hands Off the People of Iran has constantly fought for a principled campaign along two main lines. First and foremost, we are vehemently against every imperialist intervention in the region and for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US-UK troops. This demand is echoed by the working class and rising social movements inside Iran."


No war no appeasement

by Sohrab_Ferdows on

Very nicely written article but author has failed to offer a substitute solution for the issue of regime change other than being against Bush & Cheny style. There is no doubt that threat of possible war is the most mind boggling issue which our nation is facing today but "anti-imperialism" rhetoric has never been able to accomplish anything for Iranian people and I don't believe it can do anything at this time either. Iranian people's srtuggle against Islamic government is happening in different sectors and different layers of society and they can never be linked with "leftwing" of anything. These are the "people" of Iran, whether they are students, workers, teachers, writers or anything else. Taking credit for a portion of this movement by calling them "leftwing" not only is wrong, it will provide the repressive Iranian government with an excuse to commit more aggression against democratic movements of Iranian people.


It is good to know that some communist figures are also aware of the extent of the problems that Iranian people are enduring but it would be more heart warming if we heard the news that "leftwinger" groups would like to stand side by side with other Iranians against repressive Islamic government in Iran without trying to put their ideology above Iran. Anti-imperialism is as bad and as extreme as  imperialism itself. In fact, extremism itself is more dangerous to healthy development of a society than any other issue. "no war no appeasement with Islamic regime" has been slogan of most Iranian political activists and groups which if combined with united opposition leadership away from ideological agendas at this stage, will produce result for Iranians. Unfortunately, war will be inevitable if Iranian opposition can not form their united force to resolve this issue for benefit of Iranian people. The situation in Iraq showed that, US administration will not deviate from what they intend to do because of disagreement even with some of their serious allies. The responsibility of opposition at this time is to work for Iran as a united force and not for their own political and ideological agenda.


What is the solution . . . ?

by Javad agha (not verified) on

You have written about the problems which we all know. What are the solutions to our problems?


I am very upset at the comments posted here which reflect poorly how we expect our problems to be solved.


One cannot hide in other countries, especially countries which are the source of world problems and offer solutions. This is a fact that when the Western economies decline, they start wars. Western countries have prospered during conflicts.


It is well known fact also that neo-cons control the foreign policy in the Western world.


Capitalistic system is a shrewd one and will do anything to maximize profit, especially when they are dealing with less powerful countries. China is slowly getting out of the abuses which Western countries caused there. Communism proved to be a failure mainly because of corruption of its leaders and no accountability.


Those who hide in the U.S. or Canada and think these are better countries at this time when war drums are being beating, are benefiting from companies which hire them. The Blackwater is a well known example of stealing from Iraqi’s to benefit Americans. Naturally those Iranians who are living in the U.S. are benefiting from Iraq war, therefore think America is the greatest country to live or work there (many of these Iranians have no conscious or morality).

Shah or no Shah we have had problems. We need to work together to make our people accountable. We have not learned that as long as we have natural resources, countries such as the U.S. will do anything to get it as cheap as possible.


You have not mentioned how the Western governments deal with third world countries. They are ordering them to come to table and they are telling them what to do. Countries such as KSA and Kuwait have no choice, Iranians have choices. We will not stand to the Western bullying, and will fight for our rights which you cited some of the examples which are taking place to change the government for better.
We have a long and a hard road ahead of us (with war or no war).


Both are evil!

by farrad02 on

Mullahs ruling Iran and big corporations wanting to take over the world!


Your agenda is showing...

by America (not verified) on

No facts...just the desire to make the world in your own image.


I Sahre Your Dream MRX

by masoudA on

Could not agree more.   We have already lost one country to the so called fight against "Imperialism", a fight in which imperialists must be defeated by those who want to be imperialists !! 

 Dear Yasmine - this is not the time to be devisive.   The world has drawn a clear line and is asking for us to pick sides.  In fact this line was drawn right after WW2 and it's called the articles of human rights.   If you believe in equality of all geneders, faiths, races, and nationalities - then make sure you don't get on the wrong side - because as you said this war has already sarted !!!  As Iranians we have a very easy proposition - we just need to be against everything the akhoonds stand for.    Yes there are many problems in the west, and in the world.  There is much wrong with the US Capitalism, Russian Socialism, Europe Royalism, ........ But if you check the trends they are all improving over-time.   The mullahs ?  they are on a crash course headed right to hell. 


If you are not with them, you are against them

by Alborzi (not verified) on

This is an impossible position, both left and right (and this goes back to before Shah) hate moderates, they call them
bourgeois, liberals, western, terrorist, you name it, for years
I was under illusion that "western liberal democracies" were by
definition liberal democracies, I now know better, they profile you, lay you off, search you in Airport (randomly mind you, but its always you), you are in a no man's land


I have a dream

by MRX (not verified) on

of one day forcing all these commi's to get a real job and work 10 to 12 hours a day! I am sick of their supposdedly anti-imprealistic, anti captialist struggle while they live in west and collect hefty paychecks and welfare from the taxes that rest of us has to cough up every day by working our ass off.