Iran

Two weeks have passed since the eruption of protests all over Iran after the regime introduced a surprise cut to fuel subsidies. Despite a heroic struggle by the people on the streets, the movement was crushed by the regime within five days. But this was far from a triumphant victory for a regime that is now weaker than ever before.

The protests sparked on 15 November by fuel rationing and increased prices in numerous cities spread across the country, affecting at least 100 cities and towns by 18 November. Since then, it has become increasingly difficult to follow developments, due to an almost total internet shutdown in the country. Amnesty International has confirmed that at least 106 people have been killed in 21 different cities across the country, but these are only fully named and confirmed victims.

A few years ago, a conversation was leaked between a commander of the revolutionary guards, and a group of Basiji militiamen, discussing the Green Movement that shook Iran in 2009. In that conversation the commander said something along the lines of “these guys [referring to the people in the Green Movement] are just uptown pretty boys, there is nothing to be afraid of, but once the barefoot people of the poor and destitute areas come out, that is when we have to be afraid.” Well, that day has come.

Protests broke out in Iran on November 15, 2019, after the government unexpectedly announced a major increase in fuel prices at midnight on Friday. Protesters took to the streets in many cities across the country, switching off their cars on the streets and blocking the roads.

A series of attacks on Saudi oil installations have set sparks flying once again in the Middle East. Only months after a last-minute cancellation of a US strike on Iran – and weeks after reaching out for talks without any preconditions – US President Donald Trump is yet again filling the twittersphere with threats and intimidation. Meanwhile, oil prices shot up by 20 percent and the ripple effects are already working their way through the sensitive oil and currency markets.

Sparks have been flying recently between the US government and the Iranian regime. Last night, US president Trump ordered missile strikes on Iran, but then abruptly cancelled them. The incident was the peak (to this point) of weeks of tensions between the two governments. The aborted strike came after Iran shot down a US military drone somewhere near the Strait of Hormuz. The US claims the drone was in international airspace. Iranian authorities, however, claim the drone was inside Iranian airspace when it was shot down.

In a video recorded yesterday (20 June), Hamid Alizadeh, writer for In Defence of Marxism, discusses the rising tensions between the USA and Iran, with Washington accusing the Tehran regime (amongst other things) of attacking two oil tankers. It is clear that the bellicose Trump administration, along with their reactionary allies in the Middle East, are looking to thwart the power and influence of Iran in the region, in order to assert their own imperialist interests.

We are very proud to announce the publication of Reason in Revolt: Modern Science and Marxist Philosophyin Farsi. Since its publication, there has been huge interest in the book in all corners of the world. Over the years, it has been translated into Spanish, Italian, German, Greek, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesia, Portuguese and Turkish. Now, after three years of hard work by translator Saghar Sagharnia, the book will be available to a whole new audience, published by Zharf publishing house and available in bookstores throughout Iran. While the sanctions on Iran complicate matters, we are attempting to make it

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On 1 March, the Exit Theatre group in Tehran, Iran organised a very successful conference on the relevance of Marxism in the modern era as a part of their “Exit discussion” series. The meeting, which was focused around Alan Woods’ book, The Ideas of Karl Marx, was opened by screening the teledrama “Marx in Soho”, a 2018 production by Exit Theatre, written by American historian Howard Zinn.

Almost one year since the most widespread mass protests in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, there is no sign that the mood of anger and resentment has gone away. While that movement died down due to repression and a lack of leadership or organisation, further protests – as well as strike after strike – have been taking place on a daily basis ever since.

Alan Woods editor of In Defence of Marxism discusses Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear dealand reintroduce sanctions. In taking this step, the US President is throwing a lit match onto an already highly-flammable situation. In the process, Trump has stomped on the interests of the Europeans and instead allied himself to the most reactionary regimes in the region: Israel and Saudi Arabia. Far from bringing stability or security to the people of Iran and the wider Middle East, Trump's actions will only add fuel to the

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Yesterday, Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. In a speech filled with lies, distortions and crude hypocrisy he announced that his administration will reimpose the “highest level of economic sanctions” on Iran.

After a brief ebb over the course of the Iranian new year holidays, a steadily rising stream of local protests, which began in the aftermath of the nationwide protests in January, has surged yet again. Farmers of the Isfahan province protested for 50 days until Saturday 14 April. Starting from the small town of Varzane, the movement has taken its protests to the city of Isfahan and dragged in people from all over the east of the province.

We publish Alan Woods’ guest introduction to a special edition of Farsi-language art magazine, Contemporary Scene, called Capitalism and Art. The edition contains a series of articles about Marxism and culture, many of which were previously published on Marxist.com.

Although the youth movement that shook Iran in late December and late January has died down, nothing has been solved. It is evident that the movement merely anticipated a far deeper mood of anger and resentment, which has been building up for decades.

The following talk was delivered in January 2018 by Hamid Alizadeh at UCL in London, UK. He discusses the protests that rocked Iran between December 2017 and January 2018, explains why they came about, and provides background information on the history of the class struggle in the country. Hamid points out that these protests reveal deep fissures in Iranian society: whose working class is the second largest in the region, has an impressive legacy of militant class struggle, and is being spurred to action under the pressure of events.

Waves of heroic protests have spread rapidly to towns and cities throughout Iran over the past two weeks. This was a spontaneous eruption of rage by the lower-middle-class and working-class youth against poverty, rising prices and destitution, as well as against the wealth and corruption of the Iranian elite – particularly the clerical establishment. It is estimated that 21 people have been killed in the protests so far and over 1,700 arrested. Immediately, Western leaders from Washington to London raised a chorus defending the human rights of the Iranian people.

Ayer continuaron por quinto día consecutivo las protestas en todo Irán. Mientras tanto, las fuerzas de seguridad han adoptado una postura más dura. El quinto día las protestas parecieron haber disminuido ligeramente en tamaño, en parte debido a la creciente represión y en parte debido a la falta de un punto focal tangible para el movimiento. El régimen también ha reducido en gran medida el acceso a Internet y las comunicaciones, y también está claro que no se está informando de muchas protestas, en particular de ciudades y suburbios más pequeños.

Yesterday protests carried on for the fifth straight day throughout Iran. Meanwhile, security forces have adopted a harder stance. On the fifth day the protests seemed to have decreased slightly in size, partially due to the increasing crackdown and partially due to the lack of a tangible focal point for the movement. The regime has also heavily reduced access to internet and communication, and it is also clear that many protests are not being reported, in particular from smaller towns and suburbs.

For the past four days Iran has seen the most widespread protests since the 1979 Revolution. While it is still smaller in size than the 2009 Green movement, it has spread far beyond the mainly urban areas of the big cities to which that movement was mainly confined. This is a sea-change and it has shaken the regime to its foundations.

On 12 November, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake occurred on the Iran-Iraq border, affecting an area stretching from the Kermanshah Province in northwestern Iran, to Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. The whole of the political establishment made statements in support of the victims and the Kurdish areas, with dozens of national papers publishing their front pages in Kurdish. This is supposedly to show their solidarity with the Kurdish masses. Yet the events on the ground paint a clearer picture of the real attitude of the Iranian ruling class.

Iranians are going to the polls today in presidential elections. President Hassan Rouhani has been leading the polls followed by the main principlist unity candidate, Ebrahim Raisi. Yet the result is not the most important aspect here—the elections have brought forward the enormous contradictions in Iranian society.

The result of the elections for the Iranian parliament and Assembly of Experts marks a shift in the political situation of the country. Under the pressure of the masses the regime is changin its direction, but this will only lead to a new period of instability and an upturn in the class struggle.

Yesterday, the long-awaited nuclear deal between Iran and six major world powers was signed. After 18 days of straight negotiations the parties announced a 100-page agreement which is to set in motion the scaling back of the Iranian nuclear agreement and the lifting of harsh sanctions on Iran. This brings to an end more than three decades of harsh economic sanctions imposed on Iran by US imperialism and marks a complete defeat of the US strategy of intimidation, blackmail and coercion of Iran.

On Thursday, April 2, Iran and the world’s most powerful nations signed a preliminary outline agreement about Iran's nuclear programme. It also dealt with the various sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, UN and the European Union. This marks the beginning of the end of a 12 year standoff between the US and Iran. But what lies behind the negotiations and what does the deal mean?

Hossein Shariatmadari, the powerful editor of the Iranian right-wing daily Keyhan, was disrupted time and time again as he tried to speak at Tehran University on 13 December. The hundreds of students gathered in the call would interrupt him with slogans such as "Leave, interrogator!", "Keyhan, Israel congratulations on your unity", "Death to reaction" "Shame on you, liar, leave the university". This open defiance of the students clearly shook Shariatmadari, who as a close confidant of Ayatollah Khamenei is one of the most reactionary voices of the regime.

We publish the latest edition of the Farsi journal of the IMT - Mobareze Tabaghati. In this edition you will find articles about the underlying tensions which are accumulating in Iran. We also take a look at the situation of the working class and its latest movments. There are also articles on Kobane as well as the 150th anniversary of the First International.

As we get closer to the deadline for a deal on the nuclear negotiations, the question of “what now” is being asked by more and more people in Iran. The Rouhani government has bought itself time by turning the focus of the masses outwards to the nuclear negotiations, but sooner or later he will have to face the internal situation.

As these lines are being written hundreds of thousands of Iranians have poured onto the streets to celebrate the victory of Hassan Rouhani, in the presidential elections. Pictures of mass celebrations all over Iran are circulating the internet. This is an open defiance of Khamenei and the whole security apparatus of the regime which was dealt a humiliating defeat in the elections.

Yet again the Iranian presidential elections have taken an unforeseen turn. After excluding all his critics and most obvious competitors from the race, Khamenei had thought that he could secure a peaceful campaign period concluding with his handpicked candidate on top. But contrary to his calculations his recent actions have opened up even deeper rifts in the ruling clique. His feeble attempt at forcing unity within the regime has resulted in his faction coming out as the weakest one in the race. At the same time the campaign of Hassan Rouhani has seen a sudden surge in popularity with hundreds of thousands of discontented youth at its mass meetings and rallies.

Yesterday the Guardian Council in Iran announced the names of the eight candidates for the upcoming Presidential elections. The Council is a 12-member body of theologians and jurists, appointed by the Supreme Leader and the head of Judiciary, with responsibility for vetting presidential candidates ahead of the elections, scheduled for 14th June.

This year’s presidential race in Iran was dramatically shaken this week by the news that Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had announced his candidacy. Although Rafsanjani has fallen out of favour with the regime in recent years, it is quite possible that his bid could be successful.

For the past year Iran has experienced a deepening crisis of capitalism, which in the last few months has spiralled into hyperinflation and devaluation of the currency. A recent trip to the country provided a perspective of the current situation within, particularly how people are dealing with the worsening conditions.

Today, October 3, 2012, thousands of people took to the streets in a spontaneous demonstration around the Bazaar of Tehran. The protests spread around the Bazaar, with people shouting slogans and wrecking a bank. The protest was against the massive price hikes of the recent period, the collapse of the Rial and the fact that the regime has chosen to completely deny the existence of these problems.

The new edition of the Iranian Marxist journal, Mobareze Tabaghati, is now out, and the PDF can be downloaded here. Here we provide an English translation of the Editorial dealing with the economic crisis and its impact on the masses. Although the 2009 movement has receded, a new wave of struggle on a higher level is inevitably being prepared.

With tensions rapidly escalating over Iran’s nuclear program, and with the recent statements issued by Netanyahu in his recent encounter with Obama, the spectre of armed conflict is yet again haunting the Middle East. Having burnt their fingers in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon seems to want to avoid an armed conflict and the Whitehouse prefers the use of “diplomacy”. The Israeli government, however, has threatened targeted strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites.

Over the past weeks tensions between Iran and the West have been moving towards a boiling point. The imposition of strict sanctions by the US and its allies is already being felt in Iran and threatens to cripple the economy. Alongside these sanctions, military excursions into the Gulf on both sides, Iran’s test firing of missiles, the assassination of Iranian scientists, the bringing down of an unmanned US drone by Iran, and a constant war of words is threatening to cause an armed clash between Israel and the United States on one side, and Iran on the other.

In the recent period revolutionary movements have grown and surfaced across the world. The events in the Arab world have shown how strong these movements are, indeed they have succeeded in toppling tyrannical regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Yet what all these movements have lacked is a genuine revolutionary leadership, and this serves as a barrier to genuine socialist revolution. In no country does this apply more so than in Iran.

Since Sunday, September 25th more than 6000 casual workers at the Bandar Imam petro-chemical complex – Iran’s 14th largest company, based on reported sales – in the south eastern part of Iran have been on strike. In solidarity with them, workers from at least four other petrochemical plants in the “Petrochemical Special Economic Zone” (PETZONE), housing some of the largest petrochemical complexes of Iran, have been involved in the conflict.

The last few weeks have seen an unprecedented public dispute between the president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the supreme leader Ali Khamenei. The dispute officially erupted over Ahmadinejad’s dismissal of Heydar Moslehi, the minister of intelligence who was fired by Ahmadinejad (officially he resigned himself) on April 17, but was then reinstated later the same day by a direct decree from Khamenei. Following Khamenei’s decision to reinstate Moslehi – that was done in a particularly humiliating manner first in a personal letter to Moslehi and then in a public address – Ahmadinejad embarked on an 11 day boycott of his cabinet meetings and many other official meetings.

Today we start the publication of a document on the perspectives for the Iranian revolution. Note: This document was written in September last year. Important developments have taken place since then and the document should be read keeping that in mind. See articles published February 11, February 16 and February 18.

As we reported earlier, the situation in Iran is extremely tense. Most factions of the regime were confident that the mass movement of 2009 was now dead. But almost like lightning from a clear blue sky the demonstration last Monday shook the entire establishment, that was taken completely by surprise. Now it seems that the movement has provoked more serious cracks in the regime than we had anticipated.

Since the mass demonstration organised by the opposition on Monday, a tense mood has gripped the streets of Tehran. The youth has been mobilised and great pressure has been mounting for the opposition to take further action. This has led to the call from an umbrella organization of the Reformist parties to stage a demonstration on Sunday, February 20, in memory of the two protestors who were killed on the demonstration last Monday. This could tip the scales and fully revive the revolutionary mass movement of 2009.

After almost a year of lull, the revolutionary movement that started after the presidential elections of 2009 seems to be resurfacing. This was displayed on Monday, February 14, when hundreds of thousands all over Iran poured out onto the streets responding to a call made by Reformist leaders MirhosseinMousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.

History is indeed being written with the fall of Mubarak and as the whole of the Middle East and North Africa erupts in one revolutionary upheaval after another. This is also now having an impact in Iran as the lines are once again being drawn for a new round of battles since the eruptions that started one and a half years ago. The focus is now on the call for a demonstration on Monday, February 14.

This month, we have seen the courageous people of the Arab world rising up and fighting for a democratic system of government. Also in Iran we continue to see rising struggles, especially in the form of strikes. They come at a time of severe cuts to subsidies to food and fuel, and are sure to continue as the pinch is felt more severely.

On August 21 the Bushehr nuclear power plant was officially launched. This marked a new stage in Iran's disputed nuclear programme. In the days preceding this event, former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, was quoted around the world as saying: "Israel has days to strike Bushehr" and further "diplomatically" hinted, “If Israel was right to destroy the Osiraq reactor [Iraqi nuclear reactor bombed by Israel in 1981], is it right to allow this one to continue? You can’t have it both ways.”