Contribution of Tudeh Party of Iran to the 18th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties
“The struggle against US plans in the Middle East, the fight for a united Peoples’ front for peace and an end to the threat of war, for genuine sovereignty and for building a democratic and progressive alternative!”
The Tudeh Party of Iran (TDI) would like to take this opportunity to thank the fraternal Communist Party of Vietnam and through them the leadership of the People’s Republic of Vietnam, for facilitating the 18th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all fraternal parties for extending internationalist solidarity with the people of Iran in their complex struggle for peace, democracy and social justice.
The 18th IMCWP is taking place at a very critical juncture in contemporary history. The political developments in all corners of the world, from Latin America to Eastern Europe and the borders of Russia; and from the Middle East to South East Asia, indicate that the global struggle for peace and progress is encountering massive obstacles.
The United States and its allies in Europe are attempting to block and reverse the forward march of the forces of progress and human development and to reinforce the economic and cultural hegemony of imperialism across the globe.
Despite claims to the contrary, the economic and monetary crisis that engulfed the world in 2008 still lingers on. It is a fact that the capitalist system has been unable to find a lasting resolution to this systemic crisis. The impact of the crisis is felt in the very heart of Europe and in Japan. Policy makers in key global capitalist institutions have tried to shift its burden onto the shoulders of workers and of poor and marginalised people. Inequality has become endemic in capitalist countries. Inevitably the danger of instability, terrorism and wars has become more widespread.
Simultaneously, the Middle East is going through a major crisis of war and destruction. The region has been the focus of carefully orchestrated attempts by US-led world imperialism to consolidate its hegemony and to ensure unrivalled control of the flow of oil, the ability to freely plunder the region’s resources and to exploit its markets.
In relation to the Middle East, the US and its allies in Europe and in the region have been able to dictate the course of events there by orchestrating crises, wars and conflict.
The dispute with the theocratic regime in Iran over its nuclear technology programme and the regime’s direct and covert encouragement of the forces of political Islam in its different manifestations, as well as the exploiting of disputes between neighbouring countries, have been fully utilised by the US and EU and their allies to plunge the region into an unending series of wars and conflicts.
US strategy to maintain its hegemonic influence in this oil, gas and mineral rich region during the last decade has been focussed on the promotion and implementation of the “New Middle East Plan”. At the core of the US administration’s strategy has been the goal of advancing the “Project for the New American Century”: “to promote American global leadership”. The implementation of this policy process in the Middle East is being facilitated by a new breed of comprador bourgeoisie, who have come to the fore since the turn of the century by means of the most advanced and destructive forms of social and environmental exploitation, i.e. the fusion of neoliberal economics into a version of “political Islam” that is practically acceptable to the US and its strategic allies.
An example is the theocratic regime in Iran where political Islam is combined with neo-liberal anti working people economic policies. The repressive theocratic regime provides the coercive force necessary to crush the workers’ movement, trample on human and democratic rights and ban trade union organisations.
Despite massive global Islamophobic propaganda and the real or perceived threat of “Islamic Terrorism”, US strategists are unlikely to consider “political Islam” on the whole to be a major strategic threat. In fact, on the contrary, both historical and logical analysis has shown a strong, intrinsic economic link between the objectives of imperialism and “political Islam”. The strong ties between the US and Saudi Arabia, as the main financial backer of forces such as ISIS in the region, is a good example of this.
In recent years we have witnessed a meticulously planned reorganisation of US military forces in the Middle East. This process has accompanied the careful reconfiguration of US policy towards “multi-lateral containment”, encompassing the key players of the Middle East – the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and even, to some degree, Israel. The US policy-shift in the Middle East simultaneously counters and supports the regional contradictions in relation to each key player. The US is relying on its hegemonic position in order to exploit the internal tension and contradictions between the aforementioned countries by means of the so-called “carrot and stick” approach to its diplomacy. This has already resulted in even sharper sectarian divisions and setbacks for the forces advocating peace and progress in the region and increased the risk of further military conflict in the region. The situation in Syria is a case in point.
The destructive policies of US imperialism and local reaction has plunged Syria, Iraq and Yemen into the flames of internal strife, terror and foreign interference. Libya has been reduced to a place in which tribal warlords vie for power and Islamic terror rules. These are all the byproducts of the attempt by US-led world imperialism to consolidate its hegemony and to plunder and exploit the region.
The TPI is extremely concerned that the conflict in Syria will develop into a large-scale military conflict enveloping the region. From the outset of the crisis in Syria, we have stated that this conflict has no military solution and hence we have advocated a negotiated settlement in Syria respecting the sovereignty of the country and opposing every manifestation of foreign direct or indirect interference. The TPI has called for the immediate return of all key players in this crisis to negotiation based on the provisions of the UN Charter. There must be no place for any terrorist organisation at the table. The future of Syria and its government should be decided freely by the Syrian people and the removal of the Bashar al-Assad government should not be a pre-condition for an end to violence and a lasting peace.
The economic and social data proves that the ruling dictatorship in Iran serves the interests of the big mercantile and bureaucratic bourgeoisie. While the facade of the power structure of the theocratic regime includes organs of “government” led by the president, a parliament and the judiciary, the reality is that all key instruments of power and decision-making are tightly controlled by the Supreme Religious Leader. The Iranian people have no say in the governance of our country.
The “revolutionary guards”, and their paramilitary wing, the “Basij”, play a significant role in Iran’s economy and this is a major source of internal factional conflicts and competition within the regime’s ruling elites. The “revolutionary guards” leaders report to and are appointed by Ali Khamenei, as the commander of the armed forces.
Iran has been engulfed in a deep and widening socio-economic crisis. The effect of more than two decades of neoliberal-oriented economic restructuring combined with the harsh paralysing sanctions imposed by the US and EU has ruined the economic production system. The sanctions benefitted the “revolutionary guards” leadership, bazaar merchants, speculators and profiteers who have used the situation to quadruple the prices of goods, commodities and smuggled products. This has resulted in the huge concentration of private wealth, mass unemployment and structural poverty. The concentration of private capital in Iran is broadly in the spheres of parasitic and non value-added activities such as finance, importation and property.
It is important to note that, during the past three years, the unique feature of the negotiations between the US and Iran, sanctioned by Iran’s supreme religious leader, has been that the IRI has had to negotiate and compromise from a weak bargaining position. The top level and highly confidential meetings during the past five years between the US and the IRI have covered a wide spectrum of issues beyond Iran’s nuclear industry. The main objective of the IRI negotiators has been to alleviate the deadly pressure of US financial sanctions in order to prevent the collapse of the economy and resultant political crisis and ensure the perpetuation of the ruling theocratic regime. The US, using its strong bargaining position, has been able to force the IRI to accept aspects of the US’ “New Plan for the Middle East”.
The process and the speed of the easing of the economic sanctions against Iran post the 5+1 nuclear agreement was largely dictated by the US, therefore the US and its imperialist allies have again been able to secure important critical leverage allowing them to dictate the path of the economic restructuring of Iran. This in turn has and will continue to strengthen the position of specific sections of the bourgeoisie in Iran so that their power, and indeed survival, is directly dependent on deepening economic ties with the global financial capital system.
President Hassan Rouhani and factions supporting him – in particular the influential forces around former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – are among the important political representatives of the above-mentioned sections of the bourgeoisie which are seeking to strengthen ties with imperialist economic circles.
Iran’s low technology and unproductive economy is wholly reliant on the export of crude oil and import of most goods. Thus the link to the global financial system is vital for Islamic Iran’s economic revival.
The most likely scenario as a condition of the real reduction of economic sanctions by the US is that Iran’s future economic recovery is made to depend on the intensification of neoliberal restructuring and a strong linkage to global financial capitalism.
The Tudeh Party of Iran believes the above mentioned scenario for economic growth and its linkage to US influence in shaping our country’s future balance of power is against our national interests and will lead to the plundering of our country’s human and natural resources. Our analysis shows that the outcome of this scenario will be the perpetuation of the dictatorship and oppression. We have already seen that during the last three years, for the duration of Hassan Rouhani’s presidency, the suppression of the democratic rights of the working people has continued. Iran’s working class is denied the opportunity to organise in order to challenge the neoliberal diktats of global capitalism.
The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that there is an important link between Iran’s internal situation and key developments in the Middle East and especially in respect of how the Islamic Republic of Iran is being incorporated into US policy in the region, i.e. the “New Middle East Plan”. This process may not follow a linear path but rather may involve twists and turns, but it is difficult to see how the IRI can escape from being sucked into the vortex of the US new plan for the Middle East which provides the lifeline for the perpetuation of the ruling regime in Iran.
Therefore our party’s overall objectives are interrelated and these can be summarised as:
- Protection of Iran’s national sovereignty,
- Formation of a united front for transition from dictatorship into democracy,
- Collaboration with the progressive forces in the region for speedy peace and security.
To achieve these goals our party has drawn upon all of its resources in order to mobilise the widest spectrum of popular forces who at present suffer the consequences of the regime’s bankrupt policies. Even according to official government statistics the economy is stagnant, Iran’s national industry is declining fast, millions of people are living below the regime’s defined poverty line, over three million people are unemployed (in some provinces this comprises more than 60% of the population) and there is rampant corruption and growing inflation.
The Tudeh Party of Iran works closely with the movement for progressive and effective reforms in the country and believes that there is a growing consensus that unless all democratic and freedom-loving forces work together we will not be able to push the dictatorial regime into retreat. We are conscious that the best cover for a Party, such as ours, that is banned and working under the most difficult conditions, with membership outlawed and carrying a heavy prison sentence, is to be part of the mass movement and able to influence the direction of the struggle. In short, some of our key analysis and views are reflected in the slogans of the peoples’ movement to end the dictatorship in Iran. That is the strength of the work done by our comrades in the country and in exile and why the Iranian leadership is seriously concerned about the influence of the Party.
Since the attempt by the clerical regime in Iran to eliminate the party of the Iranian working class thirty years ago, we have rebuilt it into an effective force for progressive change in Iran. The Tudeh Party of Iran today is leading the struggle for a united front of all progressive, national democratic and anti-imperialist forces in the country fighting to achieve the above mentioned goals and traverse the path for fundamental progressive change. In this vital struggle the consistent solidarity of the working class and communist movement internationally has been and will remain crucial.
We are confident that the final victory belongs to the Iranian working people.