Contribution of the Tudeh Party of Iran

Dear Comrades;

Allow me, on behalf of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran to thank the fraternal Portuguese Communist Party for facilitating the holding of this International meeting of the Communist and Workers Parties to consider challenges and opportunities confronting the people’s struggles and the prospects for peace and socialism.

Dear Comrades
Our meeting is taking place at a time when both dangers and opportunities confronting the world movement for peace, democracy and socialism are too evident to ignore.  In Middle East the Israeli war machine is spreading terror, death and destruction in Gaza and Lebanon and in Latin America popular revolt is limiting options for Imperialism in country after country.  Earlier this week the power of people’s votes in the mid term elections for both House of Representatives and the Senate forced the US administration to sacrifice one of its key architects of pre-emptive wars. 

We hope that this International meeting will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the key factors influencing the current situation, the aggressive policies of the US administration, the influence of the international balance of forces, the strength and ability of the democratic forces to challenge the current drive by imperialism and the prospects for socialism.

To this end and in order that we can develop correct and timely tactical and strategic slogans for our movements we believe it to be crucial to understand the world as it is and to base our programme of actions on analysis of the current world situation.

The world today still carries the imprints of the conditions and imbalances which were created as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. It is an irrefutable fact that until then, these countries acted as a counterbalance to the United States and its allies and an effective barrier against their imperialist plans for world hegemony.

This reference to the consequences of collapse of the socialist countries is vital if we are serious to attempt to portray some of the important challenges confronting us exactly as they manifest themselves and affect us and our struggle for change, for peace and progress.

One of the key features of the world today is that it is gripped with war, militarism, terrorism, exploitation, poverty and hunger as never before. And it is important to acknowledge the interdependence of all these tragic consequences of the dominance of capitalism in our world today.

During the past 15 years since 1991, millions of people have perished in wars which were directly or indirectly influenced by the imperialism’s desire to control access to all markets and all natural resources.

The human costs of the restoration of capitalism in the former Soviet Union since 1991 has been devastating for people of Russia and other former republics making up that country.

The tragic wars that devastated the Balkan countries, the fratricidal war between former republics of the Soviet Union, the wars that devastated the countries of Africa; such as Somalia, Ethiopia, Chad, Congo and Sierra Leone, the military invasions and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq were all calculated and planned actions designed to promote and develop hegemonistic positions of the US imperialism. In today’s world war and conflict are the strategic weapons used by imperialism to develop and advance its domination.

The world at the beginning of the 21st century is clearly witnessing the bloody consequences of the attempts by the US and its allies to justify the subjugation of nations and regions for their imperialist design.

The presence and operation of the US armies and military bases thousands of miles away from the shores of America has undermined peace, security, the normal functioning of communities and the independence of countries worldwide.

The US and its allies in the EU ignore the UN Charter and trample upon some of the most basic norms of international law and its protocols.  The prime deciding factor in all US policies have been to provide conditions for unhindered exploitation of markets and natural resources worldwide and to this end military might has been used at will. 

The US annually spends 600 billion dollars on its military machine and has a deadly array of nuclear, chemical and most modern conventional weapons to impose its dictatorial plans on countries and regions across the globe.

And all this at a time when a huge number of people are suffering hunger, poverty and under-development as a result of global economic order imposed and protected by the US imperialism. It is estimated by FAO that more than 500 million people are still suffering hunger world wide and according to UNICEF every year more than 5.6 million children die as a result of under-nutrition.

Dear Comrades
Nowhere the disastrous impact of these policies is demonstrated better than in Middle East. 

The events in recent months including the bloody invasions of Gaza Strip and Lebanon in the summer have shown that the US administration is seeking a way to accelerate its plan for "Greater” or “New” Middle East, the plans that it originally launched in 2004.   It is now clear and accepted by all concerned that the main aim of the plan has been to ensure that the region is politically, economically and militarily controlled by the US administration. 

As we all know the aim of the planned efforts of US Imperialism is not as they are portrayed in the media, to "spread democracy and human rights", but to guarantee political control of this sensitive region for the USA and to enable it to benefit from its enormous oil reserves.

Historically the US energy needs have resulted in direct or indirect destruction of progressive and democratic processes and movements in the Middle East. Given that the prevailing US economic model requires even more energy, thus its involvement in the Middle East region will remain destructive. The US will either wage more wars or would covertly or overtly collaborate with the local dictators in order to secure plentiful and cheap sources of oil. Globalisation of capital and enormous increases in consumption patterns of the advanced capitalist countries have and will exasperate the critical and dangerous situation in the Middle East and worldwide effecting other countries. 

The control of this region by the US, on one hand enables it to gain access to its huge oil reserves, and on the other hand gives it crucial geographic control over a region that is the connecting bridge between three continents. The countries such as Iran are in the best position to control the transfer of vast oil and gas reserves to the West and because of this, the US can even put pressure on its rival imperialist countries by having complete control over the extraction and prices of oil.

Dear comrades
The events since 1950s have demonstrated times and again that the US administration is not a force for peace and development in the Middle East.  The wars that devastated Iraq and Afghanistan, the continued US support for the Israeli government to violate every key UN resolution and unleash a reign of terror, assassination and occupation on the Palestinian people and the threats of further military attacks and interference aimed at securing complete compliance from Syria and Iran are examples that we can not overlook.  The US administration has exploited every flimsy excuse to justify its visible military presence in the region and continued support for its strategic allies in the region such as Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and others. 

But here we need to pause and consider in what ways we are best able to resist and frustrate the US plans.  What is the role of the movements for peace and democracy- the communists- in the countries of Middle East?  What is the part that the regimes in the countries of the region play as far as the movement for peace and progress is concerned?    As Communists if we envisage the need for development of a popular movement for progressive change and progress in these countries, a popular resistance to war and militarism, how should we encourage their development?

We need to acknowledge that complex internal factors and consequences of direct US military aggression in the Middle East are hindering formation of effective progressive processes and movements. Middle East is a region impoverished by decades of imperialist domination and brutal dictatorships and is now experiencing the brunt of the so called “war against terror”. The anti imperialist sentiments of masses in the Middle East are directly and indirectly encouraged towards a struggle influenced in forms and content by religious institutions. For example the inhumane violation of international law by the US helps reactionary personalities such as Iran’s president, Ahmadinejad, to portray himself as an anti-imperialist champion. In the Middle East a legacy of brutal suppression of progressive organisations allows the undemocratic forces with theocratic and reactionary tendencies to capitalise on the growing anti-US sentiments of the people. The dynamics of the interaction between internal reaction and the external imperialist pressures is a danger that could lead to devastating disastrous consequences in the region and the wider world.

As Communists and progressives we are democrats.  We campaign for democracy, human rights, emancipation of women, workers rights.  In all these we have been opposed by imperialism and its puppets.

The key to understand the reality of the situation in the Middle East is to appreciate how the vicious circle of imperialist adventures and murderous policies of local dictatorships against people of the Middle East is assisting each other directly and indirectly to prolong the tragedy.  Who should we blame if the Middle Eastern countries today are in dire need of the most fundamental freedoms, if they are poverty stricken, if human rights, including the women rights, are savagely violated?  Isn't it the fact that the imperialism not only ignored but in fact encouraged, negations of all these rights for the purpose of being able to continue plundering the resources of these countries? 

For us struggle against imperialism, militarism and war goes hand in hand with the struggle for freedom, democracy, women's right, social justice for the deprived working people and the efforts to build a world free from exploitation. Our struggle is through developing the struggle of the working people and building the mass movement for an alternative world order and not through military adventurism or acts of terror. 

It is timely to relate my analysis to the current development in our country Iran.

As you know Iran has been going through significant changes during the last year.

Following 8 years of struggle by the people Iran to reform the religious dictatorship ruling our country, the 2004 parliamentary elections and then the 2005 presidential elections put an end to the reformist government of Khatami and created a new situation in Iran. The role played by the security forces in these elections clearly resembled a coup d’ etat atmosphere through which Ahamdi Nejad (previously working in the special unit of the revolutionary guards dealing with opposition forces) came to power. Today in Iran key ministries are controlled by well known and high ranking military and security officials. The Interior Minister is for example one of the three notorious judges sent to Iran prisons by Khomeini in 1987 to clear Iran's prisons from the political prisoners. This led to the massacre of thousands of political prisoners including hundreds of party comrades including 40 members of our party's CC, secretariat, politburo, some of whom had previously served 25 years in the Shah's prison.

Our party, following the so called election of Ahmadi Nejad stated that the regime will move to crush the popular movement for reform and create the “stable” political conditions required by the regime to continue its absolute control over levers of power. The policies adopted by the regime over the last year have proved this. We also believe that the regime's adventurist policy in the region and its stand off with USA is part of the smoke screen required to carry out the crushing of the popular movement. The sudden change of policy during the last year towards more confrontation is firstly to outmanoeuvre its internal opponents and to prepare the ground to suppress the popular movement by accusing it of being American agents as well as developing and increasing its regional influence by appearing to be standing against imperialism and Israel. 

Based on this view it is clear therefore that Bush administrations interference in the internal affairs of our country and trying to built puppet alternatives to the regime directly and indirectly serves the interest of the reactionary forces in Iran. Our party has made it clear that it strongly opposes any interference in our country's affair by US imperialism.  We know full well the lies behind the slogans of supporting democracy in Iran. After all it was the CIA backed coup d’ etat in Iran that overthrow the elected popular government of Dr Mohammad Mossadegh in August 1953 and paved the way for the decades of Shah's police state in Iran.  

Dear Comrades
Under the pretext of war against terror and the spread of democracy, the US administration is now attempting to rally international support for its policy against Iran. Another round of dangerous brinkmanship between Washington's neo-conservatives and Iran's ruling dictatorship is underway. Iran has one of the largest reserves of crude oil and natural gas in the world and with a population of a nearly 70 million is the biggest country and market in the Middle East. Therefore it is reasonable to deduce that the future control of Iran would form the basis of the Middle East strategy pursued by the Washington's neo-conservatives.

It is important to point out that the US administration is playing a sophisticated game with the regime in Iran. Also despite the rhetoric, the Iranian regime has shown that it is capable of working with imperialism once they receive assurances about their future. (Let’s not forget Iran Contra affair as well as the role Iran played in assisting US forces in their military interventions in both Afghanistan and Iraq in recent years).

It is clear that US strategy is exclusively aimed at securing its vital interest in Iran and its hegemony over the Persian Gulf region. Therefore the growing movement for democracy in Iran, not only poses a real threat to the ruling theocratic regime - at the same time it is a direct challenge to the strategic US policy towards Iran.

The use of Iran's nuclear industry as a dangerous bargaining tool by both the US and Iran's ruling dictatorship is a pretext for a much more complex and fundamental political struggle for influence over the Persian Gulf and its neighbouring countries. Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the right to peaceful nuclear energy is an unalienable right of any independent country and does not require the approval of this or that foreign power. We have also pointed out that the tension creating policies of Imperialism in the region, and its attention to Iran’s nuclear program is part of its wider policy to impose its hegemony in the Middle East. Our party – rejecting the views held by some “opposition” parties that encourage foreign countries to impose sanctions against Iran and meddle in its internal affairs – believes that any form of sanctions and interference against Iran will hurt our national interests and will be directly detrimental to interests of ordinary people and workers.

We also believe that the adventurous policies adopted by the leaders of Iranian regime, are aimed at gaining political advantages in the region and in the country’s current complex developments. They will only hurt the country’s ultimate national interests and we must oppose them decisively. The way to salvage the region from rising tensions and further conflicts and confrontations does not pass through imposing sanctions against Iran. By recognizing Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes through involving relevant and competent international organizations we must move towards the resolution of the current difficult and complex difficulties.

Dear comrades
The Bush administration and its British counterpart have tried to portray their imperialist policies as the struggle of “good against evil”.  Dangerous fundamentalist and reactionary interpretations of Islam and Christianity are formed into policies which serve to promote economic and political interests of imperialist powers and dictatorships in the Middle East. Both, the fake champions of democracy and reactionary religious extremist disguised as phoney heroes of anti-imperialism are a dual threat to humanity.  Their mutual confrontation has nothing to do with tackling the key issues such as eradicating poverty, disease and exploitation or the very real dangers facing humanity because of climate change.

In this critical juncture of human history, all across the globe the opposition to war and the struggle for peace remain the focal point for all progressive forces.  The 20th century showed the path to socialism is complex and the recent setbacks due to collapse of the USSR has probably made it more intricate. But the excesses of the capitalism reflected in the dangerous development of the last few years that could regress the humanity back into barbarism, could only be confronted by a determined united front of the progressive forces. We are of the firm opinion that socialism can be the only strategic outcome of the current struggle for peace and progress.  Although the slogans of this struggle, its pace and methods of development in different countries will depend entirely on the socio- economic situations within them.  We should not underestimate and ignore the fundamental lesson of scientific socialism theory for basing our tactics, slogans and programmes of actions on an objective assessment of the balance of forces within the country and internationally and the state of readiness of the working class movement and its allies.  In today’s struggle for peace and progress in different countries there is no substitute for a Marxist, long term and scientific analysis of the socio-economic situation of the country in deciding the right slogans and course of action.  We have to be ready to consider complex solutions for complex problems confronting us.

Tudeh Party of Iran has pledged its support for this struggle and its lofty goals and is conscious of its responsibility in these critical moments. We are also determined to continue our struggle for creating the widest support for our people's struggle for peace, freedom, democracy, and social justice.

Long live international Solidarity

Long live socialism

Thank you for your attention.

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