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Presentation by Tudeh Party of Iran
“Strengthen the struggles against escalating imperialist aggressiveness, for satisfying peoples’ socio-economic-democratic rights and aspirations, for socialism”.
It is with great pleasure that the Tudeh Party of Iran accepts the invitation to address the 14
International Meeting of the Communist and Workers Parties taking place in Beirut, Lebanon. 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.
As ever we meet at a time when our key concerns are defined by the prospects for war and peace in our region and the world. The reality is of course that the Middle East remains the most likely flashpoint for a wider international conflict.
The so-called Arab Spring has seen the balance of power shift in Egypt and Tunisia while imperialist manoeuvring continues to inform events in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. The current outbreak of hostilities in Gaza only serves to underline once again that a solution to the problems of the region cannot be contemplated without justice for the Palestinian people and recognition of UN resolutions by the state of Israel.
As we well know, even these steps will only be the first on the road to a truly lasting solution for the peoples of the region, which lies not in any imperialist determined intervention or any form of religious fundamentalism but in the securing of a socialist road which will ensure that the rich resources at our disposal are utilised for the benefit of all.
The question of war and peace is however inevitably linked to the international situation of capitalism itself. In this context the current financial crisis of capitalism remains a key driver in the push to control energy resources, especially in the Middle East. The speculative nature of investment by the financial institutions and banks, of the major European finance centres and those of the United States has seen the capitalist bubble burst since 2008.
On this occasion even the capitalists cannot deny that capitalism is in crisis, though they may not agree with us that this crisis is endemic to the system, rather than something which can be resolved by adjusting public spending, increasing money supply or revising taxation.
The reality is that the path taken, especially within the European Union, to pass the gambling debts of the bankers onto the workers of those countries through austerity measures, is actually deepening the crisis. Demonstrations across Europe on the 14
November brought tens of thousands of trades unionists and activists out onto the streets of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece to protest against the pain of further austerity. These protests were just the latest in a long line of actions which have been occurring across Europe since 2008 as the reality of capitalist economic adjustment has hit home.
Perhaps of more significance is the situation in the United States, the world’s superpower and most powerful economy.
The outcome of the presidential election on the 6
November was clearly greeted with great relief in many parts of the world. Not because Barack Obama is a progressive leader, or indeed, a socialist as many of his detractors suggest. Chance would be a fine thing!
The election did however represent a defeat for the most reactionary elements of the Republican Party in US politics and provides the possibility that a re-examination of the reasons for that defeat may temper some of the more extreme positions of that tendency.
The United States continues to adopt a bellicose position towards Iran and maintains its aggressive alliance with the Zionist forces in Israel. Only this week Barack Obama was supporting the deadly policies of the Israeli criminal government in attacking Gaza and the right of Israel to bring terror and havoc to Gaza on the pretext of supposedly “defending itself and its territory against aggression.” The world’s fourth biggest army, with weapons bought and paid for by the US, taking on people crammed onto a small strip of land and armed with rockets which could hardly be described as precision weapons. Over the past week 140 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded by the Israeli forces.
The rights to self determination and self defence are ones we should applaud. We should remind the US and its imperialist allies that these are rights that the Palestinians have been denied for the past forty five years due to the illegal occupation of their land by the state of Israel.
As we have indicated this gathering is taking place at a crucial moment in the contemporary history of the Middle East. The dangers of war, unrivalled imperialist hegemony over the region, Islamic fundamentalism, challenges to the sovereignty of nations and the erosion of the human and democratic rights of the people are ever present. Since the end of the First World War the region has never faced such an acute challenge.
One key element of the attempt by imperialism to maintain its control in the region is the New Middle East Plan, designed to ensure that no significant challenge can be made to US hegemony in the region. The US considers the control of the energy resources of the region and routes for transportation of these resources towards Europe and East Asia as crucial if it is to maintain this hegemony. It is in this light that we should see the significant role that a number of US allies in the region, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have played during the last decade. The destructive roles played by these countries in the past two years, in particular their role in the events in Bahrain and Libya, and currently in Syria and Iran is an important consideration.
It is particularly important to note the plans of the Persian Gulf States to lend support to any action against Iran and the recent strategic integration of the “Persian Gulf States” defence forces, spearheaded by Saudi Arabia. On March 6
2012, the “Gulf Cooperation Council” (GCC) announced that it would be evolving from aregional bloc into aconfederation. In May 2011 the GCC introduced the idea of bringing Jordan and Morocco into the organisation. The Saudi leadership has signalled its resolve to develop the GCC into a “single entity” named “The Arab Gulf Union Council.”
These developments are of particular concern given the total subservience of the existing Persian Gulf States to any US plans in the Middle East and their support for imperialist intervention against Iran. While we have no sympathy for the present reactionary and despotic regime in Tehran, we naturally fear for the fate of the Iranian people should military intervention be pursued.
In the past two years, and in particular since the military aggression against Libya, the Israeli extreme right-wing government has threatened to wage military action against strategic targets in Iran. We believe that such military adventurism would have grave consequences for the peoples of the region, including both Iran and Israel.
The leaders of Israel and their backers in the US- EU right wing circles have constructed their aggressive policies based on the notion of Iran secretly constructing a nuclear weapon. However, neither the IAEA nor the US administration has been able to demonstrate up to now any substantiated evidence of the militarisation of the Iranian nuclear programme. However, this has not stopped hawkish forces in the US and EU sabotaging the “5 + 1” negotiations earlier this year in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow. At present, the US is showing no willingness to accept any solution for ending the dispute over the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy. Instead the US and its allies continue to pile paralysing sanctions on Iran which impact significantly upon the lives of the people.
With regard to the current crisis, our party believes that the aggressive and interventionist policy of US imperialism and its allies to Iran, has nothing to do with the nuclear policies of Iran, or with the concerns of the West about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in our region. If the US was worried about such vital issues, it would have objected to the covert expansion of the nuclear capacity of Israel. The main issue behind the current conflict is in fact about the strategic plans of imperialism to gain long term control over the Persian Gulf and its rich oil and gas resources. The extensive presence of the military forces of the US in the Persian Gulf region (including the presence of the headquarters of the US fifth Fleet in Bahrain), is a clear indication of the long term plans of the US.
It is clear that the claims of the US regarding the threat of nuclear weapons in the region, is nothing but a smoke screen to hide their true intentions. It should be remembered that US imperialism and its allies, are responsible for the current arms race in the Middle East region, and the fact that countries such as Israel and Pakistan have nuclear weapons. Our party, along with all the progressive forces of the region, fights for a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East.
As our party has frequently stated in the past two years, the peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran, or any other country in the region or world for that matter, is the legitimate right of that country and does not require the consent or concord of the US or any other government.
The people of Iran strongly oppose any military attack against our country. Our people still bear the deep scars and pain of eight years of war in the 1980’s, waged on behalf of and encouraged by US imperialism, to crush the young revolutionary movement in our country. The Iran – Iraq war cost both countries millions of dead and injured, especially from the youth, and also the loss of billions of dollars.
The Tudeh Party of Iran has analyzed the threat of military attack on Iran as part of the imperialist policy of advancing the plan for the creation of a “New Middle East”. We have repeatedly condemned any foreign intervention in Iran under any pretext as it will bring death, terror and devastation.
Iran is currently going through a very sensitive period, in which the people's movement for peace, democracy and social justice has reached a critical stage.
The theocratic regime in Iran has proven itself incapable of offering any viable solution for the country’s economic, social and political problems. The neo-liberal economic policies of the regime are in line with the prescriptions of the IMF and the World Bank. The removal of subsidies from basic goods and services, including energy carriers, has condemned ordinary people, especially those living in urban centres, to economic hardship. Privatisation has been steadily spreading to every aspect of the economy and now even parts of the oil industry are privatised.
A year after the official imposition of the widening economic sanctions by the US and its EU allies the impact on the economy is devastating. The Central Bank of Iran on 6
August released the new figure for inflation which stands at 23% but all impartial analysts believe that true figures are much higher. According to the Central Bank’s reports in April this year the prices of daily necessities and staples have rocketed. The shortage and scarcity of raw materials for manufacturing units, due to sanctions, has irreparably damaged the livelihoods of people. Economic instability, the shutting down of manufacturing plants and the growth of unemployment has caused devaluation of the national currency. The Iranian currency is now worth 40% of its value against the dollar in November 2011. The main burden of the sanctions has been borne by the ordinary Iranian and has condemned them to economic hardship. Unemployment and poverty resulting from the sanctions is spreading..
Officially the unemployment rate is almost 15%, while the number of those officially living under the poverty line is more than 20% of the total population. The true figures are much higher. A new super rich minority, that has its roots in the Islamic clergy and has been involved in the highest echelons of the military and state apparatus, controls state power. The regime’s political, economic and social outlook is frighteningly backward and reactionary.
Despite having brutally repressed all progressive and democratic forces and seriously marginalised the pro reform forces within the structures of the regime, the ruling dictatorship is still grappling with a serious political crisis. As the term of the presidency of Ahmadinejad - whose government came to power following the electoral coup d’état of 2009 and the brutal suppression of the votes of millions of Iranians - draws to a close, the different groups within the ruling circles intensify their manoeuvres aimed at taking over the presidency.
The internal power struggle of these ruling factions is not over a change in the direction of the highly reactionary and anti-people policy, but on how to prolong the life of the reactionary regime, resulting in more poverty and destitution for the people, denying them their human and civil rights. Our Party believes - along with an important part of the progressive and freedom-loving people of Iran – that the rule of the people cannot be achieved within the context of a profoundly despotic and medieval theocratic regime.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is committed to the struggle for peace and progress and supports the struggle of the Iranian people for peace, democracy and social justice.
Confronting the current dangerous situation in the region and in particular in relation to Iran and working to win the widest possible international solidarity with the Iranian people comprises our strategic fight in this principled struggle. We are confident that we have the confidence of the forces for peace and democracy the forces resisting the tyranny of fundamentalism, terror and backwardness, the forces for socialism in our just struggle.
Capitalism in crisis
As we have previously indicated, these
developments must be seen in the context of the international crisis of capitalism, the ongoing avarice of the transnational corporations and the inability of the political classes to come up with lasting solutions. Even bourgeois democracy is under threat. In Italy an unelected government has been imposed by the EU to manage the crisis. Greece may yet go the same way.
We have mentioned the widespread response of workers across Europe to the plans to drive down their living standards while those who own and control the means of production, distribution and exchange seek to maintain their positions. Tax evasion and avoidance by the rich is rife in the major capitalist economies yet the collusion to turn a blind eye to this continues at the expense of ordinary people.
What is characterised as a crisis of the euro in the EU is a classic capitalist crisis fuelled by unplanned overproduction and unsustainable financial lending. Ironically, the tendency for the major capitalist powers to intervene militarily in various conflicts further drains their economies as resources are diverted from socially useful production to support military adventures and sustain the war economy.
The resistance to the crisis in Europe takes many forms. Trades union protests remain essential. New forms of protest such as the Occupy movement, UK Uncut tackling tax evasion and the indignados in Spain are developing. Activism at a community level is beginning to grow as the austerity measures bite into social programmes for the underprivileged.
This growing activism needs to be linked internationally, both across Europe and in relation to the struggles of the peoples of the Middle East for peace, democracy and social justice.
There are many other signs of hope across the world. In South America, Africa and the Middle East progressive forces are gaining influence and in many countries are directly influencing state power against the interests of imperialism. Strong and healthy alternatives to imperialist led crisis and war are showing new ways forward for peace and democratic change
The international communist and workers movement has a tremendous potential to articulate, shape and mobilise the struggle for an alternative that puts people before profit and centred around peace.
Based on its scientific analysis of world events it is helping to shape the mass movements for social justice, peace and change.
Our rich history, our Marxist-Leninist outlook and roots in the working class and people’s struggle can empower the forces of progress
War and crisis are not inevitable they arise from the contradictions within capitalism and are determined by the realities of world politics. The course of history can be fundamentally changed.
As Karl Marx famously stated,
“Philosophers to date have only interpreted the world. The point however, is to change it.”
Our organisation and analysis gives us the potential to translate interpretation into action and to play a full and leading part in supporting the international struggle against imperialism.
As far as the situation in Iran is concerned, we believe that the struggles for democracy, democratic rights, social justice and peace are intrinsically connected. The free operation of trade unions, progressive youth and women’s organisations in Iran is instrumental to the building of such a powerful peace movement, capable of resisting adventurism and warmongering from all quarters.
The Tudeh Party of Iran is committed to the struggle for peace and progress and supports the struggle of the Iranian people for human and democratic rights, democracy and social justice.
The Tudeh Party of Iran will continue to play its part in both providing analysis and leading action which can result in a better world for all of our peoples.