(From “Nameh Mardom”, Central Organ of the Tudeh Party of Iran No. 939, 27th January 2014)
Parts of Rouhani’s speech at Davos meeting to attract foreign investment in a country that its economy is dominated by financial and non-productive grand-capital are notable, and one of the headlines of Arman newspaper (January 25, 2014) described it very eloquently: “Iran’s red carpet for world’s businessmen”.
Contrary to Hassan Rouhani’s false and exaggerating words about the productive capability of Iran’s economy, what the government of Moderation of the Supreme Leader offers to global capitalism under current circumstances and in overt and covert negotiations, is lucrative crude oil and gas contracts, a large market for imported consumer goods and the opportunity for exploitation of cheap labor force which lacks any trade rights.
ccording to common propaganda of its various proponents, the eleventh administration of the theocratic regime of Iran is portrayed as the saviour of the country from war, and the transformer of the undemocratic nature of the ruling regime. Some of the advocates of this common propaganda and the spectrum of supporters promote this idea and even recommend it to progressive forces and issue directives that Hassan Rouhani must be defended against “the other side”. Yet, they do not specifically elaborate on who is “the other side” in front of Rouhani? Has Hassan Rouhani taken a position in favor of the interests of people and against the Supreme Leader and the totalitarian faction of the regime? And especially from the point of view of the working peoples’ interests, why should one defend this so-called moderate government? And basically with whom is Hassan Rouhani supposed to act in “moderation” and why? The central argument of defenders and proponents of Hassan Rouhani in legitimizing the election show of June, 15th, 2013, and the eleventh government with a banner of “Diplomacy and Moderation” is that a major change, stemmed from the will of people has occurred in Iran. The focal point of this argument is based on this assertion that the “Leadership” has also inevitably changed his view in favor of peoples’ demands and has forced the totalitarians to retreat.
The Tudeh Party of Iran assesses this type of arguments as mistaken, and believes that in line with the interests of the working people and future course of political developments in the country, such arguments must be exposed, because despite some trimmings of the political superstructure, peoples’ role and their fundamental interests have not been taken into account in country’s affairs, and no changes have been made to the entirety of Supreme Leadership regime and the dictator’s central role.
The ruling dictatorship not only engineered presidential election, but also at the same time was targeting to engineer the demands of popular movement within an acceptable framework; a task that Rouhani’s administration has taken on to fulfil with “moderation and diplomacy”. It is in this context that the selection of Rouhani within this framework and at the same time finding a solution for the nuclear crisis makes more sense. More importantly, Hassan Rouhani was not supposed to make any changes in the undemocratic power structure of the theocratic regime; this government and its perpetrators are organically linked to the same centres of socio-economic power that so far have been the hindrance to any fundamental change in the country, and will continue to be in future.
Incidentally, the main reason for introducing the “Moderation” dialogue- as a symbolic icon of Rouhani’s government- and Mr. Rouhani’s persistence on it, is exactly for appeasement with economic oligarchy and its representatives in political superstructure, and greater submission to the Supreme Leader’s uncontested role in all areas and aspects of running the country.
After the June 2013 election, despite some superficial changes, as far as peoples’ affairs are concerned, nothing has changed in our country, and the new government is nothing but an instrument to secure the continuation of the ruling dictatorship in connection with a political economy that serves and protects the interests of influential oligarchy and anti-national grand capital. In contract to this fact, and through deafening propaganda, this scenario is promoted that in June 2013 election peoples’ votes overcame Ali Khamenei and his totalitarian supporters, and in Akbar Rafsanjani’s words, in “the most democratic and cleanest election” peoples’ turnout was able to establish a government of “moderation and diplomacy”.
This claim suffers from profound inherent contradictions, because it claims that intervention and “choice of people” in June 2013 has forced the central role of the dictator- Ali Khamenei- to the sidelines; however, Hassan Rouhani- who is apparently the product of people’s victory over the theocratic dictatorship- has in practice taken steps to protect the Supreme Leader himself (i.e. the key individual responsible for the dire situation in Iran) and in fact secure the pillars of the current despotic regime.
The basis of the logic of perpetrators and advocates of the “diplomacy and moderation” administration is that on June 14th, 2013, people were able to intuitively change the foreign policy of theocratic regime in relation to the nuclear crisis, and the actions taken by the foreign affairs team and the government were independent steps that, here or there, were even in contrast with the demands of Ali Khamenei and the theocratic regime apparatus. To clear the air and any doubts, Mr. Zarif, Foreign Minister of Rouhani’s administration, had to explicitly clarify the role of Ali Khamenei in his speech in Tehran University on Dec 3rd: “I don’t intend to talk on behalf of the Grand Leader, but any moment the Grand Leader makes the decision, his decision will be implemented in the negotiations.”
Also, the analysis that claims: the change in the foreign policy of regime stems from the will of people amid June 2013 election, in reality and considering the concrete data available, proves to be inherently contradictory. Now we know that covert negotiations between high ranking officials of the US and Iran’s regime in Oman, was underway in various phases two months before the emergence of Hassan Rouhani and introduction of the “new” foreign policy of “diplomacy” government. According to reports confirmed by the US State Department and other official sources, Jake Sullivan (national security advisor), John Kerry (then US senator and current Secretary of State), and William Burns (top American diplomat) met several times in these secret meetings with Ali Akbar Salehi (Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs) and Akbar Velayati (Supreme Leader’s top advisor of international relations). It is interesting that supporters and advocates of Mr. Rouhani- ignoring these obvious facts- ask others to look the other way and do not ruin the sweetness of the resolution of nuclear deal and restoring relations with the United States that has been achieved by “moderation and diplomacy” of the government. On the contrary, we believe that people should be made aware of these cover-ups. The main reason and purpose of forming this government and its character should be magnified and revealed for people from various perspectives, because what is being implemented in foreign and domestic policies and macro-economy plans of the regime, is the continuation of the secrecy in negotiations with the US and thinking of people as outsiders and leaving them outside the major deals that were made in these negotiations, and in general, ignoring the urgent demands and interests of people.
There is no doubt that direct talks with the United States for easing the strained relations and normalizing the relations between the two states- as opposed to adventurous policies and anti-imperial rhetoric in a crafted and deceiving manner- has been a much needed action in resolving the current growing international crisis. However, it must not be forgotten that these secret negotiations were happening at a time when the public opinion was focused on the ever increasing risk of military attack, and people were rightfully worried about it. In other words, at the same time that behind the scene talks were underway between the representatives of the Supreme Leader and theocratic regime and representatives of US, interventional sanctions were threatening the livelihood of people everyday more than before, and in reality, guns were put to people’s head. During all this time, theocratic regime was continually asserting the need to fight imperial powers and was putting an emphasize on it, and low and high ranking commanders of Guard Corps had a significant role- by their rhetoric and show of muscle- in inflaming the people’s fear of war. Of course all of these shows of muscle and anti-imperial rhetoric were later transformed to “heroic flexibility” by the Supreme Leader.
At that time, when some in parliament and some in the regime media were seemingly challenging the government, our party clearly stated that it was impossible to believe that individuals like Ali Akbar Salehi and Ali Akbar Velayati were negotiating with American officials without the direct endorsement, support and guidance of the “Grand Leader”. It is hard to believe that the top leaders of the regime, like the high ranking commanders of Guard Corps, were not aware of these secret moves of regime’s diplomacy apparatus. On Sunday January 26th Hashemi Rafsanjani plainly proved our party’s analysis right by saying that Khamenei had approved all the moves of Iran’s diplomacy team before and after the negotiations.
The advocates of current government infuse and promote this idea that the policy that Leader had approved prior to the “democratic” June election was the continuation of the same policies at the time, under the management of Saeed Jalili, but Leader had to change his mind and course of action in response to people’s demands! Pushing to promote this theory that Leader and the highest ranking officials of the theocratic regime of Iran were suddenly forced to change their mind because of people’s votes, at best is a naïve, and in worst case is deceitful. The reason being that prior to June election, the top ranking heads of the ruling regime had prepared the ground for certain changes in relations with the United States in order to save the regime and themselves. In this respect, the key role of Ali Akbar Velayati, as one of the secret negotiators with US officials, and also his decisive move during the televised debates of presidential candidates on Friday June 7th 2013 must be noted. On that debate, Velayati vividly and clearly questioned the track record and management performance of Saeed Jalili in previous nuclear negotiations, and by presenting specific documents- which were classified information up until then- outright and on public TV declared the official nuclear policy of regime as failure! This was a matter that speaking about it- even as a quick note- in media and official circles of regime was a taboo. It is inconceivable that Ali Akbar Velayati who is a very close and trusted advisor of Ali Khamenei would make such a move without permission and prior planning, and unexpectedly reveal regime’s secrets purposely on that night, and completely ruin the election campaign of Saeed Jalili who is Leader’s representative in High Council of National Security. We have to keep in mind that up until the night of June 7th, the election campaign, and particularly the two previous sessions of debates between candidates, was lacking any audacity in discussions or any direct confrontation and revealing dialogues. More importantly, people were indifferent and not interested in election and campaigns of the 8 candidates (including Hassan Rouhani) who were qualified and approved by the Guardian Council. On the night of June 7th, Ali Akbar Velayati displayed the first “foreign affair shock” in preparation of engineering the election. As one of the three fundamentalist candidates, Velayati had no chance in competing with Ghalibaf, but in this televised show, it was very clear that his calculated and deadly strike against Saeed Jalili and foreign affair policy of regime, created an exciting situation and atmosphere for Hassan Rouhani to make an entrance in the next show (debate). Since that moment, and in the last televised debate, regime effectively introduced another alternative for Iran’s foreign policy in a planned but indirect manner, and at the same time, introduced Hassan Rouhani to the public as the only “diplomatic” leader who is presenting a “new foreign policy”. In this televised show, Ali Akbar Velayati and Hassan Rouhani, like two major and proficient actors, were able to successfully connect and link the two projects of secret talks with US and engineering of June presidential election; and blending these projects is still underway. Therefore, it could be concluded that trimming the political superstructure of theocratic regime of Iran with the symbol of “diplomat Rouhani”, as opposed to “incompetent and reckless Ahmadinejad”, was the result of the impact of interventional sanctions of Western states and secret negotiations with top American officials which were held with direct support and direction of Ali Khamenei.
Therefore, contrary to intentional misinterpretations or naïve optimism about this course, the will of people had, and will have, no role in the final result of this project; what is promoted today as “national unity” is nothing but concession between competing factions within the regime with the objective of continuing to protect the joint economic-political interests of them within the framework of current theocratic regime. The Rouhani government and he himself, contrary to his assertions and general rhetoric, has brought no hope in favor of the interests of working people and working class, i.e. the majority of country’s population. Economic situation of the country is very chaotic. There is no indication in the horizon of social relations for any improvement in human rights situation related to the lives of people. Our party and other forces and people-oriented analysts have shown through structured analyses that neoliberal economic policies of Hassan Rouhani serve the interests of the same powerful oligarch layers that are organically linked to overt and covert talks of Iran’s regime with the US. It would be naïve to think that secret talks between the US and Iranian regime, and the more open continuation of these talks since September, have only focused on technical matters of nuclear issue. In order to extend its survival, the ruling regime of Iran has sat on secret negotiation table in front of the largest economic and military power of the world, from a very weak economic and political position. The conditions of these negotiations are not such that the national interests of Iran could be served and protected. What was proudly announced on January 12th as the agreement to begin the implementation of the first phase of Geneva accord by January 20th, proves our point, because Iran’s regime has pleaded to oxidize and degrade half of the 20% enriched Uranium which was produced with peoples wealth, just to be able to reclaim $4.2b of the wealth of nation. Enriching Uranium, which in fact was done with no sensible justification and economic benefit, was only to implement an adventurous policy directed by Ali Khamenei, which imposed a huge financial burden on the nation as a result of extensive sanctions. Now, the Rouhani’s government of “diplomacy” claims that the halt and reversal of 20% enrichment of Uranium in order to reclaim the blocked revenues was a “success”! It is worth noting that Rouhani’s government is rhetorically trying to act as if it is defending the national sovereignty of Iran against the imperial power. However, this ludicrous announcement of deputy Ministry of Foreign Affairs of theocratic regime (Abbas Araghchi) illustrates the extent of weakness of the negotiating team dealing with imperialist powers: “Iran will continue its 20% enrichment until January 19th.” This shows that the “moderation” government will continue its production of 20% enriched Uranium up to the last minute, to save the face of “Leadership”, and will then degrade it the next day.
This regime is a dictatorial regime revolving around the will of the Supreme Leader; a regime whose political economy is dominated and controlled by very powerful and extremely parasitic oligarchs that in dealing with the largest capitalist power of the world, will sacrifice- for its survival- the opportunity to develop and grow the national economy of our country in favor of their own narrow-minded interests. In this respect, parts of Rouhani’s speech at Davos meeting to attract foreign investment in a country that its economy is dominated by financial and non-productive grand-capital are notable, and one of the headlines of Arman newspaper (January 25, 2014) described it very eloquently: “Iran’s red carpet for world’s businessmen”. Contrary to Hassan Rouhani’s false and exaggerating words about the productive capability of Iran’s economy, what the government of Moderation of Supreme Leader offers to global capitalism under current circumstances and in overt and covert negotiations, is lucrative crude oil and gas contracts, a large market for imported consumer goods and the opportunity for exploitation of cheap labor force which lacks any trade rights