Many working class Iranians have voiced their opposition to the reactionary Shia-Islamic theocracy in Iran. Despite all religious propaganda, Iran is a deeply unequal nation. The ruling Ayatollah’s work hand in hand with capitalists to keep themselves wealthy and powerful. In 1979, the Iranian Revolution ended one reactionary regime and replaced it with another one. 39 years later many working class Iranians now understand that Shia-Islamism does not work in their favor. Revolutionary socialists stand in full solidarity with all those brave workers, who dare to defy the religious state and its henchmen. We call for the overthrow of the regime and a socialist Iran under control of workers councils!
By now the criminal theocracy in Iran has crushed most demonstrations and arrested over 3.000 Iranians. In their statement the regime claims that the ”revolutionary Iranians have crushed the supporters of the Shah and the USA”. With ”revolutionary Iranians” they mean the theocratic supporters of the Islamic Republic, who use police brutality to crush anyone who rejects the Shia-Islamic state. Tehran is seen as a major enemy of the western world, since it broke free from western imperialism in 1978. But despite the overthrow of the Shah and his henchmen, the working class would not be free. Under the leadership of religious leaders called Ayatollah’s, Iran became a theocracy that disguise itself as a ”Islamic democracy”!
Sure there are elections in Iran, but these elections are not free. Critics of Shia-Islamism are not allowed to compete, only those who recognize the religious state and its oppressive institutions are able to run candidates. This is why ”democracy” in Iran is divided between hardliners and reformers. The hardliners are the ones who often win any political debate, because the political leadership is subjugated to the supreme religious leader. Ali Khamenei is the Supreme Leader of Iran since 1989, he is more powerful then the President of Iran and his point of view is law. The president can be a hardliner or a reformer, but the supreme leader is the person who can overturn any decision made by the presidency!
Khamenei succeeded Ruhollah Khomeini, the Godfather of the Iranian theocracy. Khomeini was in power form 3 December 1979 until his death on 3 June 1989. His conservative theocratic believes lay the groundwork for the regime’s dictatorial nature. Unlike other Islamic regimes in the Arab world, the Islamic Republic of Iran mixes Shia-Islamism with anti-imperialism and opposition to American dominance of the world. This is why Iran has been viewed by the western world as a great enemy. American right-wing politicians have often called for a war with the theocracy. Like Cuba, the USA put Iran under a weapons and trade embargo. They claim that Tehran was supporting terrorism which is hypocritical to say, since American inventions in the Islamic world has caused more death and destruction then anything Iran has ever done. Beside the biggest Islamic theocracy in that region is not Iran. The reactionary Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia is far more brutal in enforcing Islamism then Iran is. But since Saudi-Arabia supports western imperialism, it is a big ally of the USA. Iran has voiced opposition to the USA and this is why they are put under an embargo like Cuba!
United Nations sanctions against Iran were lifted last year. But the USA and EU are still enforcing their own sanctions. Why? Because of Iran’s nuclear program. Western imperialism does not like it that an anti-imperialist nation is able to produce nuclear weapons. It is not a problem when dictatorial regimes like Saudi-Arabia owns them, but for Iran to produce and own nuclear weapons is suddenly a ”danger to international peace” according to the USA and EU. Iran is under sanctions only because it is building a nuclear industry, not because of its violation of human rights. If the western world truly cared about oppressed people, then it would have imposed sanctions on its own allies in the middle east. Because the reactionary Kingdom of Saudi-Arabia, the terror State of Israel, the United Arab Emirates and many other western allies are undemocratic and oppressive regimes that violate human rights each day!
This does not mean that Iran is less dictatorial. Despite its opposition to American style capitalism, Iran is just as right-wing when it comes to economics. Privatizations and deregulation led to massive inequality, especially under rural workers. Since Iran is a relative young country many who live today did not experienced the Shah and the revolution, which gave Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei supreme power. If Iran was a true democracy then the theocracy would not survive. The youth is more secular then the 1978 generation and because of the theocracy, rejection to religion is growing fast. Because these Iranians known what is is like to live under a state that brutally enforces a religion. Like all people of the world they want to be free from poverty, exploitation and state enforced religion!
The current generation has enough of the strict religious laws and the oppressive government that enforces them. It is said that there is a large underground youth culture in Iran. Defying the laws of Shia-Islamism by drinking alcohol and having a secret western lifestyle. Some even go so far in rejecting Islam as a Arab importation. This is true as Iran was not a Islamic country until the Arabs conquered it in 651 AD. They imposed the religion of Sunni-Islam on the Persians (old Iranians) as Zoroastrianism was pushed aside. After the Arab caliphates collapsed, the Safavid dynasty replaced Sunni-Islam with Shia-Islam. It is because of this dynasty which ruled for 235 years, that Shia-Islamism is now the dominate faith!
Economics also play a large role in the present protests. Unemployment is relative high and those who have work are earning not enough to meet ends need. Government corruption and abuse of power are core reasons of the protests which started on 28 December 2017. The demonstrations soon led to riots and massive civil disobedience. Ali Khamenei ordered the religious police and paramilitary groups to be used. The Mobilization Resistance Force or Basij is the official volunteer militia of the regime. They claim to have over 11.000.000 members, but reliable data indicates that only 600.000 are ready for combat. After one week of active protests and resistance, the regime killed 22 and arrested between 1.000 to 3.000 people. Revolutionary socialists stand in full solidarity with those brave Iranians, who dare to defy the corrupt-theocratic government!
Fear is a weapon the establishment has always used. But if the working class is not longer afraid of the religious police and the ”volunteer militia”, then it will be the ruling class who will become afraid. The left-wing of Iran needs to unite the anger towards the regime into a movement for socialism. Back in 1978, the leftists made a huge mistake in working with Ruhollah Khomeini. They believed that the Ayatollah’s would tolerate them in a ”New Iran”. But as the Islamic republic was establishment, Khomeini turned on the left-wing by banning them all. Like Stalin’s extermination of the Bolshevik Party in the 1930’s, Khomeini killed off any leftist critic of his regime. Had the revolutionary left not supported the referendum which created the Islamic Republic, they would have been much stronger. By supporting the YES vote for the Islamic Constitution, the Iranian left-wing in a way gave legitimacy to a theocracy!
Mansoor Hekmat (born Zhoobin Razani) was one of the few Marxists who rejected the Islamic republic. Hekmat was a founder of the Union of Communist Militants. This revolutionary leftist party rejected any collaboration with the Ayatollah’s. Instead they were very active in building workers councils across Iran. These councils would be the central organs of a socialist Iran. The Union of Communist Militants faced brutal repression after Ruhollah Khomeini became Supreme Leader. By 1981 they were forced to leave the country. In Iraqi Kurdistan, Hekmat’s party fused with a Maoist group to form the Communist Party of Iran in exile. Hekmat came to reject Stalinist doctrine and even the Leninist party model. He started to build his own ideology called worker-communism. In 1991, Hekmat and his supporters left the CPI and founded the Worker-communist Party of Iran. Mansoor died in London as a refugee in 2002. He was a revolutionary who never gave up his believe in a Iran free from Islamism and capitalist exploitation!
Revolutionary Socialist Media calls for a revolutionary overthrow of the Khamenei regime. But we reject western leaders who do the same thing. Far-right hypocrite Donald Trump may call for the overthrow the the Iranian regime, he only does that because he wants to appear a populist. Trump does not call for the overthrow of the Saudi Royal Family nor the oppressive Zionist regime of his friend Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump is on friendly therms with many undemocratic leaders and as a capitalist exploiter himself, he does not care about working class people. This is why we reject hypocrites like the American president and other war-hawks who want to go to war with Iran. Like Mansoor Hekmat we call for a socialist Iran under control of workers councils. We say no to a capitalist democratic republic and no to a Iran with a Islamic Constitution!