Middle East is currently going through a very critical and dangerous chapter of its history and recent developments could have important consequences for the Syrian and Palestinian peoples.
With thanks to Communist Party of Greece(KKE) for facilitating this meeting and for its defending the rightful struggle of thepeople of the region. Turkey, Iran and Iraq also will not remain unaffected.
This important event is taking place on the 10th anniversary of the US and British criminal war and occupation of Iraq. It is also a time of unprecedented tension in the region signified by the escalating military conflict in Syria, open threats of military attack on Iran, instability in Pakistan and Iraq, and growing popular protest in Turkey. In April the new US Defence Minister, Chuck Hagel who was visiting Israel announced that "The bottom line is that Iran is a threat, a real threat." This extremely dangerous and provocative statement came only two days after the Pentagon admitted it was finalising arm sales contracts totalling $10 billion to strengthen the military capability of Israel and two of Iran's key adversaries – Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It is also very important to note that the threat of a so called “limited military strike” against Iran by US or its puppet, the right wing government in Israel, still persists and recently the US Senate has announced its support for Israel if it decides to carry out a military attack on Iran alone.
During the last three years, following the peoples’ movements in the Arab countries which toppled the American backed regimes of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia, we have witnessed ongoing Imperialist intervention in the Middle East in different forms ranging from the use of brute and direct military force in Libya and Bahrain, to a covert proxy war (up to this moment) in Syria. The results of these hegemonistic policies are always the same: death and destruction for the peoples of these countries and further setbacks in their struggles for transmission into a National Ddemocratic stage.
The fact is that the policies pursued by the US and its EU allies have ensured that instability is dominating the region. Libya, Egypt, Lebanon and Iraq are all gripped by various degrees of political crisis, all as a result of imperialist direct interventions and interference. The situation in Syria is directly influenced by what is taking place in its neighbouring countries and also by the shameful and reactionary policies pursued by Turkey. And in Iran, the people are being strangled by various ruthless economic sanctions and military threat for “regime change” under the pretext of Iran’s nuclear danger. The US is determined not to allow any force in the region to be able to challenge its hegemonistic rule or the aggressive policies of its strategic ally, i.e. the state of Israel.
The consequences of a US planned and desired “regime change” in Syria would be serious destabilising element in the entire Middle East. We are concerned that the developments in Syria could directly or indirectly result in military conflict between the US and its NATO and their regional allies which will involve Iran’s theocratic regime. As you are aware, Iran has a strategic cooperation agreement with Syria going back to 2006, covering energy, economic and military matters. This would offer the ideal justification to the US and its allies to launch a military attack on Iran, if the latter would not fall in line to accept the emerging “New Middle East Plan”. Although this military adventure on the part of the US and Israel may not take the form of a full scale war, it will no doubt be aimed at strategic facilities and infrastructure targets that could cause serious damage in Iran and further destabilise the region. This is what the US and its allies want: an unstable Middle East which in turn justifies imperialism’s direct political – military and economic involvement for years to come, followed by the militarisation of the region that would perpetuate the current underdeveloped socio-economic conditions in the region. The Middle East’s oil and gas reserves, vast and untapped markets and its strategic geo-political position make the region one that imperialism considers as vital for its plans to exercise its hegemony.
Tudeh Party of Iran alongside all progressive forces in Iran is totally against any military adventure in the region which no doubt will have catastrophic consequences for all people struggling for genuine democracy, progress and social justice.
In the past 34 years we have had first-hand experience in dealing with various forms of Imperialist interventions. From the victory of the great Iranian revolution in 1979, to the present day we have had almost constant interference in the affairs of our country. The Iraq – Iran war which was instigated by the Imperialism through Saddam Hussein in 1980 lasted for 8 years, left over a million dead and injured and massive devastation of infrastructure and displacement of millions of people in both countries. The right of Iran to develop nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes has been exploited by the US and its allies as a means for creating tensions in relation to Iran endangering the security of this country. This in turn strengthens the hands of ruling dictatorship in Iran to divert attention away from the internal contradictions. Today Iranian people face devastating intrusive US economic sanctions which have brought nothing but poverty, unemployment and misery to the millions of ordinary people, including harshly affecting the health and well being of the majority of the population. Therefore our people have first-hand experience of what imperialist intervention means. The devastating inhuman effects of these sanctions have inevitably impacted the ways that the people would desperately seek to reduce the misery inflected on them – the results of the recent presidential election on June 14 th is a good example. The regime was able to manipulate the peoples’ deep concerns about the damaging imperialist sanctions in these elections and on the June 14 th the struggle for democracy in Iran effectively became the victim of these interfering sanctions which were skilfully exploitation by ruling theocracy.
We believe that the heightened tensions and standoff between US imperialism and its allies with the Iranian regime in recent years has very little to do with Iran’s nuclear policy and the West’s concern about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in our region. The real issue behind the current standoff has more to do with the long term strategic plans of US imperialism to control the Persian Gulf and its vast energy resources. The military occupation of Iraq, toppling of Libyan regime, attempts for “regime change” in Syria, and the vast US military presence in the Persian Gulf region is a clear indication of the long term plans of the US. Furthermore the US backed policies of the Israeli right-wing government against the Palestine cause remains a core reason for tension and military conflict in our region.
The peace activists in Iran, along with all the progressive forces in the region, have been calling and struggling for a nuclear weapon free Middle East. However, to achieve this, it is not for Iran to give up its peaceful nuclear programme, but it is paramount that the key allies of US, namely Israel and Pakistan, fully disarm their atomic weapons of mass destruction.
The Iranian progressive forces, including TPI, have made it clear that the peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran, or indeed any other country is their legitimate right and does not require the permission or approval of the US or European governments.
Clearly, the way to get out of the current crisis which could seriously impact world peace and result in other conflicts, is not by the threat of military strikes but through meaningful and genuine dialogue, International negotiations and trust building exercises.
We are strongly against any sort of aggression and war against Iran. As mentioned earlier, the Iranian people still bear the deep scars of the 8 years of the Iraq – Iran war and are deeply concerned about a military conflict.
It is also important to understand the complex situation in Iran and the struggle of the progressive forces and peace loving activists against the theocratic dictatorship which deliberately seeks to create tension and isolates our country. This policy over the last 3 decades has been used by the ruling regime for internal consumption to divert attentions from massive internal issues under the pretext of the foreign threat. Over the last 4 years since the rigged elections in 2009 to forcefully reinstall Ahmadinejad as the president, we have witnessed an intensification of the suppression of human and democratic rights. This has manifested itself in the security clamp downs of Independent trade unions activists, women’s rights activists and the presence of security forces inside Iran’s universities. In addition there has been the widespread closing down of independent newspapers, media outlet and internet sites. Under Ahmadinejad rule with the backing of the Supreme Leader (Ali Khameneie) IMF model for the so-called economic adjustment was vigorously implemented and Iranian people suffered major devastation as a result of the right wing economic shock therapy. Iran has remained an import-led economy with a single export commodity, i.e. it is crude oil . Therefore it is highly dependent on the dollar’s exchange rate. The economy is dominated by highly corrupt non- productive merchant capitalism in an unholy alliance with the high-ranking bureaucratic bourgeoisie within the powerbase of the regime. The powerful political factions that represent these oligarchic economic powers while they all pay homage to the “leader”, Ali Khamenie but compete with each other for greater political influence to secure their economic interests. They all are the beneficiaries of a highly unjust political economy that is protected by bruit force of the dictatorship. The progressive forces are severally crushed and independent trade unions are strictly forbidden. Elections are highly undemocratic. The recent presidential election on June 14 th was carefully engineered in order to ensure the perpetual continuation of the theocratic dictatorship. The influential and powerful factions within the regime do compete and sometimes confront each other heads on but the internal dynamics of the ruling regime has reached a sufficiently mature stage that it ensures in the final analysis all factions work towards the unity for survival of the ruling theocratic dictatorship.
The presidential election of 14th June was held at a time that Iran was facing unprecedented multi-faceted crisis. Economic bankruptcy as a result of the macro- economic policies pursued by the regime, as well as unprecedented corruption in the state apparatus, devaluation of the national currency, manufacturing downturn and bankruptcy of manufacturing plants, unemployment of millions of workers, were key features of this crisis. Economic sanctions have brought the economy to its knees. The regime had made it crystal clear that it was not prepared and willing to let a dissident or real pro-reform candidate participate in the elections. Any candidate who could pose any challenge to the key policies of the regime was barred from standing prior to the election. The candidates allowed appearing on the ballot papers were all tested and reliable servants of the interest of theocratic regime.
The regime’s supreme religious leader had in advance of the election clearly indicated that no pro-reform or progressive candidate or indeed anyone who pose a challenge to him and the theocratic regime could contest the election. Rowhani, the secretary of the Supreme Council of National Security for 16 years and Khamenei’s sole personal representative on this powerful body since 1988 won the “engineered” election with 51% of the vote. Rowhani’s election in fact indicates the people’s desire for a radical change of the current situation, and as well, for exiting the deadlock that has encompassed the society politically as well as socio-economically. This is also the result of 8 years of disastrous policies of Ahmadinejad government and the macro policies imposed by the regime. Back breaking economic pressures and particularly the sanctions imposed by the Western countries and their dire impacts, and other economic policies such as the removal of subsidies from basic goods and energy carriers, have all created such a horrible and unfortunate situation in Iran that people reach for any window of opportunity in order to liberate themselves from this dire situation.
It goes without saying that our nation is in need of significant political, economic and social changes. It is also important to note that despite the Anti-American rhetoric voiced by the theocratic regime in Iran all the major socio –economic policies of the regime, including their latest attack on workers’ rights, are nothing but right wing reactionary policies prescribed by the World Bank and the IMF.
Having stated these facts we strongly believe that the struggle of the Iranian people against theocratic dictatorship is a matter only for the Iranian people to pursue and advance. The pro peace forces in Iran therefore strongly condemn any outside interference in our country’s internal affairs under any pretext.
We believe that it is only through mobilisation and the pressure of world public opinion against the disastrous ambitions of Imperialism and its allies that we can stop another military adventure in the region. In this vital and critical struggle, the progressive forces have a major responsibility, to mobilise the widest spectrum of social forces in opposition to war, militarism and imperialism’s interventionist and aggressive policies. We are only as effective as our ability to bring people to the streets to fight for peace, bread and jobs.
• Long Live the struggle of the Iranian people for peace, democracy and social justice
• Forward to the struggle for peace and progress in the Middle East and across the world
• Long live international solidarity