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A dated opinion on Iran

Editorial comment prepended on 17 April 2013: Either the analysis contained within this article is fundamentally flawed or circumstances have changed since the occurrence of the events upon which this article is based. In 2013. For all its ongoing formal adherence to a fundamentalist Islamist doctrine, Iran has acted to defend its part of the world, including the secular government of Syria, which protects its Christian minority, against terrorists who uphold a fundamentalist Islamist doctrine which bears superficial resemblance to that of Iran.

Whatever, for all that has been helpfully analysed and understood in the past, with the socialist/Marxist methodology, upon which this article was structured, the dynamic of the developments since the Iranian revolution of 1979 seem inexplicable when that methodology is used. Just possibly other factors, including the spread of the Internet has helped to change the dynamic of world history.

What is not widely known is the role of supposedly Trotskyist left wing parties in propping up the rule of the Mullahs in 1980. Whether this was decisive I cannot say, but in 1980, one of the major Trotskyist Parties, affiliated with the Trotskyist Fourth International, made a surprising turn and, instead of being a left-wing opponent of the government and the mullahs, began to whitewash the mullahs and to smear political opponents of that government, including feminists and left-wing University students at the University of Tehran.

This article started out as a comment in reply to the comment entitled "Stoning of Women in Iran."

This article started out as a comment in reply to the comment entitled "Stoning of Women in Iran."


What is not widely known is the role of supposedly Trotskyist left wing parties in propping up the rule of the Mullahs in 1980. Whether this was decisive I cannot say, but in 1980, one of the major Trotskyist Parties, affiliated with the Trotskyist Fourth International, made a surprising turn and, instead of being a left-wing opponent of the government and the mullahs, began to whitewash the mullahs and to smear political opponents of that government, including feminists and left-wing University students at the University of Tehran.

The Iranian Islamist fundamentalist mullahs, from which the current Iranian government inherited power, won government in 1979, after a prolonged popular struggle against the dictatorship of the Shah of Iran, who was imposed upon the Iranians by a CIA sponsored coup in 1953.

The mullahs were only one of a number of political forces opposed to the rule of the Shah. Others included socialist groups, liberal democratic groups, and groups representing the non-Persian oppressed nations within Iran, including the Kurds, Azeris, Arabs, Baluchis, etc.

The consolidation of the dictatorial power of the mullahs after 1979 was far from inevitable. During the early months after the collapse of the Shah's regime, the dynamic of the Iranian revolution seemed to match that of the dynamic of the Russian revolution, with the transitional bourgeois democratic government of Mehdi Barzagan atop vast rival mass movements vying with each other and with the government for political power.

Eventually the Iranian mullahs overpowered their more left wing rivals as well as the Iranian transitional government with terrible consequences which included the mas-murder of political opponents and the pointless prolongation of the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-1985. Whilst guilt for starting the war can rightly be attributed to the then dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, the prolongation of that war from 1981, when Hussein tried to sue for peace, until 1985, cost the lives of perhaps half a million more on both sides and, indirectly, made possible the even more terrible first and second U.S. wars against Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

What is not widely known is the role of supposedly Trotskyist left wing parties in propping up the rule of the Mullahs in 1980. Whether this was decisive I cannot say, but in 1980, one of the major Trotskyist Parties, affiliated with the Trotskyist Fourth International, made a surprising turn and, instead of being a left-wing opponent of the government and the mullahs, began to whitewash the mullahs and to smear political opponents of that government, including feminists and left-wing University students at the University of Tehran.

The University of Tehran was smashed as strongpoint of political opposition to the Mullah government, when the Mullahs invaded the campus and forcibly dispersed left wing students on the pretext that they were to teach literacy to Iranian peasants. No subsequent reports of the impact of the Mullah's claimed literacy drive were heard which would confirm that the supposed literacy drive was no more than a pretext of the Mullahs to break up and smash an opposition political force.

In 1980 or 1981, Fatima Fallahi, a female member of the abovementioned Trotskyist Party, was arrested by the Mullahs and apparently threatened with execution. (I recommend against googling her name because it seems to return a large number of hits not related to the Fatima Fallahi I am discussing.) Despite remembering her name, other details such as dates, places and other names may be less clear to me after all this time.

At any rate, an energetic and sizable international political campaign apparently succeeded in preventing Fatima's execution and she was released. In 1981, she toured Australia as a guest of the then Socialist Workers Party, which was the fore-runner of today's Democratic Socialist Party which publishes Green Left Weekly.

At the time I was a committed member of the SWP and looked forward to hearing a sophisticated analysis of the Iranian Revolution at Fatima's public meetings in Australia. Fatima Fallahi was a member of the revolutionary left. I hoped to learn from her speeches about the prospects of the revolutionary left establishing a socialist government that would set an example to the rest of the region and to the rest of the world and how we could help them from Australia.

Instead, Fatima's speeches turned out to be shameful and embarrassing apologies for the Mullah's rule. She smeared political oponents of the Iranian mullahs as mentioned above.

Just possibly, Fatima could be excused for her deception, because she may have feared for her own life or for the lives of friends and family still in Iran. But there can be no such excuse for the Socialist Workers Party of Australia, nor its then US equivalent (also known as the Socialist Workers Party) for helping her to spread those lies. In the coming months and years, Socialist Workers Party newspapers essentially peddled justifications for the Iranian Mullah regime. On the Iranian regime's prolongation of the Iraq-Iran war they were silent. Privately they excused it. On one occasion a leading member of the SWP told me that a defeat of the supposedly revolutionary Iranian army then attempting to invade Iraq with waves of sacrificial child soldiers, being thrown across minefields and into barbed wire, would be a defeat for revolutionaries everywhere.

A more objective analysis of the situation would surely have concluded that the accession of such a government to power represented a defeat of the revolution. Excusing that regime's crimes against its own people would surely only compound the consequences of that defeat both in Iran and internationally.

How is it that the successors of those who denied and covered up for the crimes of Iranian Islamic fundamentalists over a generation ago, are now silent about the wrongful blaming of Islamic peoples for the crime of 9/11, 7/7, the Bali bombings, the Madrid train bombings or else actively promote those lies?

The enemies of my enemy are not necessarily my friends.

Whilst I believe that the United States has committed more evil than any other single country since the end of the Second World War, this doesn't mean that I will defend the indefensible actions of the Iranian government, who are in opposition to the United States. By the way, the reason that I believe that the United States is evil is based on their record in the Vietnam war, their CIA meddling in other countries, what they have done in Europe, such as helping form Nazi collaborators to reestablish their power and influence in Italy and Germany, by failing to fully prosecute war criminals, despite some spectacular show trials. (A lot go off because they were considered reliable enemies of communism.) The CIA also organised the mass murder of at least a hundred thousand members of the communist party of Indonesia in 1965. The death toll of its war against IndoChinese people from 1954-1975 exceeds 3 million (and may be more according to some sources.)

Comments

Asia Bibi, a 45-year-old mother-of-five, denies blasphemy and told investigators that she was being persecuted for her faith in a country where Christians face routine harassment and discrimination.

The court heard she had been working as a farmhand in fields with other women, when she was asked to fetch drinking water.

Some of the other women - all Muslims - refused to drink the water as it had been brought by a Christian and was therefore "unclean", according to Mrs Bibi's evidence, sparking a row.

The incident was forgotten until a few days later when Mrs Bibi said she was set upon by a mob.

In the meantime, someone informed Pakistani police of the attack on the Bibi family.

Police then arrested Bibi on blasphemy charges. Following a lengthy trial, she has been sentenced to death.

We would expect for instance that, as a religion committed to a faith based on tolerance, peace and equality for all humans, they would now step forward to state that there should be no space for bigotry or for the raising of objections over fetching water which seem to have led to more serious charges.

A further complication is frequently created by the fact that extremist groups and clerics rally to create an environment which makes it difficult to look at matters fairly whenever a charge of blasphemy is brought.

Iran's law against blasphemy derives from Sharia. The law against blasphemy complements laws against criticizing the Islamic regime, insulting Islam, and publishing materials that deviate from Islamic standards. The regime uses these laws to persecute religious minorities such as the Sunni, Bahai, Sufi, and Christians and to persecute dissidents and journalists.