Revolution #171, August 2, 2009
Live from Iran: Excerpts from A World To Win News Service Coverage
Iran’s political crisis may not be at the top of U.S. news headlines at the moment, but it is continuing in new and different ways and is far from over. Sharp divisions continue, and are developing at the top of the Islamic Republic. And many streams of mass anger, outrage, and courageous protest from below continue to break out in defiance of brutal state repression.
This has been the biggest political upheaval in Iran since the 1978-79 revolution that overthrew the U.S.-installed and backed Shah and brought the Islamic Republic and clerical theocracy to power. While immediately triggered by infighting at the highest levels of the Islamic Republic and comprised of diverse political viewpoints (including many who —at least for now —follow the more liberal of the Iranian theocrats and hope that the Islamic Republic can be reformed for the better), at a deeper level, this uprising reflected profound hatred on the part of significant sections of Iranian society of the suffocating and oppressive character of life under Islamic theocratic rule.
It is the responsibility of people in the U.S. to support the uprising of the people, while opposing moves by “our own” rulers to dig their claws deeper into Iran. For analysis and background on the situation in Iran, see “Response To Election Fraud Reveals Deep Schisms in Iranian Ruling Circle and Broad Based Profound Hatred of the Regime —UPRISING IN IRAN” by V.T. (Revolution 6/28/09); and “Roots of the Iranian Uprising: A Society Drowning in Corruption, Destruction, Superstition, Dark Religious Ignorance, Drug Addiction and Prostitution,” by Larry Everest (Revolution 6/28/09). For a brief survey of the role of U.S. imperialism, see “60 Years of U.S. Intervention in Iran: A Horror for the People.” All these articles are available at revcom.us. Revolution will speak to the developing situation in Iran in upcoming issues.
Following are excerpts from coverage of protests and repression in Iran distributed by A World To Win News Service (AWTWNS). These articles and others from AWTWNS are available, in full, at revcom.us.
From Iran: Brave Protests Commemorate 10th Anniversary Of Student Upsurge (July 13, 2009. A World to Win News Service)
On July 9, the tenth anniversary of the student upsurge that marked a new wave of the Iranian people’s struggle, thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of Tehran and many other cities to commemorate the anniversary and continue their protests against the regime. Various authorities, including the governor of Tehran, the heads of the security forces and the Interior Ministry, had all vowed to “crush” any such actions. But despite the clear danger of beatings, torture and death, people came out, and they stayed out to confront baton-wielding police, Basij militiamen on motorbikes, tear gas and warning gunfire. In some cases they did battle with the security forces, and occasionally even overran them.
The people who decided to demonstrate were aware that the regime was not just making idle threats. The day before, the authorities had announced that 500 of the 2,000 people they reported arrested were still being held and would face trial. Since prisoners are not allowed any contact with families or lawyers, many people in Iran —and Amnesty International —fear they are being tortured to produce confessions that foreign powers are behind the protests, and that this could be used as a pretext to justify executions. (AI press release June 29) Many people seem to have “disappeared.” There is good reason to believe that the death toll has been far higher than the several dozen reported by the government.
Tehran, July 9: “I was not a tenth as brave as young women today”
(July 13, 2009. A World to Win News Service.)
Following are excerpts of two on-the-scene reports from Tehran received by the student newsletter Bazr.
What an enormity is associated with 18 Tir (July 9). Everyone is out, young, old and middle aged. This time the people have learned not to gather in only one street. There are mass protests in seven or eight central Tehran locations. There is no sign of silence. Everyone is shouting a slogan. Some are shouting “Allah-u Akbar,” but soon “Death to the dictator” and “The rule of coup d’état—resign, resign” replaces it. The center of clashes is the intersection of Vali Asr and Enghelab streets, in Daneshjoo (Student) Park. The crowd is concentrated and dense and the Revolutionary Guards anti-riot forces attack with tear gas and batons. Faces are bloody. The crowd continuously goes into the street from the sidewalks and then back again. The cars, like two weeks ago, keep sounding their horns (as a sign of support). There is a continuous honking. Again fists are in the air, along with the V sign of victory and solidarity. A wave of people is moving towards Enghelab Square and Tehran University from all the main streets. This time we hear the people sing a song they used to sing during the 1978-79 revolution, but the word “Shah” has been replaced by “Mahmoud” (Ahmadinejad): “Mahmoud the traitor I wish you would become vagrant/ you destroyed our country/ you killed the youth of my country…death to you, death to you!”
…Many women, many mothers in the front row! Furious, fresh and inspiring! Again we are attacked. This time the plainclothes “security” forces are with them.... A few hundred people go into a market passage next to Laleh Park, but there’s no way out there, so they’re trapped. Along with a few others, I jump over the fences and barbed wire and enter the park. We go towards Amirabad. …Amirabad is extremely crowded. On the corner where Neda was martyred (Neda Agha-Soltan, a young woman murdered by the Basij while she stood on a curb during a demonstration), the crowd is chanting, “Death to the dictator.” An old man—he says he is 80—happily proclaims, “Nobody is afraid anymore. Everybody has come out. It’s time for them (he means the regime) to go. Look, so many people—but unlike 1978 there are no mullahs among us! We will avenge Neda’s blood!” He’s right. The people have understood the situation well. They have grasped the weakness and vulnerability of the regime. Nobody fears anything. Everyone, young and old, shouts that slogan, firmer and stronger than three weeks ago. A family in a car slowly moving north on Amirabad is honking the horn continuously. A young man sticks his head out of the car and says to the people, “Do you still want to continue your struggle peacefully! Can’t you see they have guns?” His sister is shouting, “Death to the dictator!” I just repeat the slogan with them and hold up my fist….
From Iran: “Urgent call to defend arrested youth from torture and ‘disappearance’”
(July 6, 2009. A World to Win News Service.)
Following is from a call issued July 3rd by the Iranian student newsletter Bazr (www.bazr1384.com, www.bazr1384.blogfa.com, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Horrifying news is leaking out from prisons and underground detention centers where people arrested in the recent uprisings are being held. It is important to start a massive campaign to expose the on-going crimes and massacres and to demand the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners. In Iran, families of past and recent political prisoners can be the nucleus to initiate the campaign. But, at this point in time, Iranians abroad can play a very significant role in this matter. Even the gatherings on the anniversary of the massacres [of communists and other revolutionary political prisoners] of 1988 can be an occasion for this.
There is talk of brutal and inhumane tortures inflicted on youths and others detained in the recent uprising, with the intention to kill them. At the same time pressure is being put on marked and known people, like reporters and activists in the camps of Mousavi and Karoubi [the two main figures of the electoral opposition] to confess to their alleged crimes. It seems that in case of youths they are adopting the policy of “disappearing” prisoners developed in Latin America. A prison guard serving his national service at Evin prison explained that in the prison quarters allocated to the Basiji [militia members] and the information center of the Revolutionary Guard (Pasdaran) where no one else is allowed to enter there, severe torture is going on every day, and they are all unnerved because of the screams and cries from within; and that every day at least 10 corpses of people who died under torture are thrown in ambulances and carried out to be buried in unmarked graves.
...It is of utmost importance that our comrades in the Iranian diaspora massively campaign on the issue of detainees who are being “disappeared”. The coup-makers are not even showing any mercy for the regime’s own factions. One indication of how they are treating the people involved in their own internal conflicts is the case of a retired prominent figure in the Ministry of Information now an active member of the Rafsanjani/Mousavi [opposition] camp. He sent a letter to Zarghami (head of Iran’s radio and television authority) complaining that he had been kidnapped, beaten for a few hours and released. If they behave in such a manner towards their own, can you imagine what they would do with students and youth who rose against them?
The situation is urgent—don’t waste time!
A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (aworldtowin.org), a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world’s Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.
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