“It is not the job of the freedom-loving and popular forces to urge the people to concede to the inevitable fate of living under the despotic theocratic regime of Iran and support its preservation.”
The theocratic regime of Iran’s electoral show is approaching its final stage. From the beginning of this “election” campaign, the Tudeh Party of Iran has stated that, since the process of “election” has been planned and organised in a manner that is dependent on the domestic and international imperatives of the regime, the result from the ballot box will be the emergence of one of the Supreme Religious Leader’s trusted candidates.
The main purpose of the attempts by all of the ruling factions in urging people to participate in the election and vote for one of the candidates has been to heat up the election process and demonstrate the legitimacy of the regime rather than to determine the destiny of the political system of the country.
The disqualification of 1630 of those registered as potential candidates; the candidacy of such individuals as Eshagh Jahangiri – with the permission and at the discretion of Ali Khamenei (Supreme Religious Leader); candidates’ charges against each other in televised debates and their total silence about the main predicament of the people – i.e. the structure of the regime in Iran, the medieval system of absolute rule by a single person, the chosen representative of the evil-minded clergy and heads of the security and repressive forces, ruling as the Supreme Leader, having jurisdiction over the law of the land and the power to decide on the macro-policies of the system – demonstrate the undeniable fact that this “election”, just as the previous election in 2013, will not change the dreadful fate of millions of citizens overburdened with poverty, injustice, corruption, and oppression.
Just as in the first two televised debates, this fact was clear in the third and final debate between the “qualified” candidates, that this group of candidates is a mixture of professional criminals, like Raisi and Ghalibaf whose hands are stained with the blood of thousands of freedom fighters, and a few veteran brokers of the regime whose main quality, by their own admission, is their absolute loyalty to the anti-people ruling regime and to the commands of the Supreme Religious Leader. Hassan Rouhani’s reference, during the third debate, to the fact that the corruption case against Ghalibaf in 2005 was in his hands and that he did not process it out of prudence and so as to be a “gentleman” otherwise Ghalibaf would not have been here today, is revealing of the character and nature of these candidates’ practices. Clearly, the survival of the regime always has a higher priority than protecting the rights of the people, because a criminal figure like Ghalibaf continues to violate the rights of the people with the support and “gentlemanly” behaviour of individuals like Rouhani.
Another important point in the Presidential election this year is the revelation of the establishment reformists’ bankrupt policy regarding “trust-building with the regime”, which exposes the attempts by these forces to engineer the demands of the reform movement in Iran up to the point of yielding to the commands of the Supreme Religious Leader, calming the atmosphere in society and avoiding challenging the foundations of the autocracy in Iran. In a meeting in east Tehran, Mostafa Tajzadeh, one of the speakers and advocates of “trust-building with the regime”, pointed out the necessity of participating in the election and added: “…after the repeated emphasis of the Leader on democracy, we are witnessing the isolation of ISIS- type views in the country. Those who say they follow the Quran and do not want the Constitution can no longer predominate. If Rouhani did not achieve anything, we would still vote for him for the sake of security. The safer the region; the better for us, especially because we are all Muslims.” It is not clear what Mr. Tajzadeh meant by the “Leader’s frequent emphasis on democracy”. Tajzadeh’s portrayal of Khamenei as a defender of democracy – someone who ordered the violent and bloody suppression of the popular protests in 2009 and put the leaders of the Green Movement under the house arrest – shows the political demise of the establishment reformists and requires no further explanation. In particular, we recently witnessed the clearly anti-people and anti-democratic stance of the Leader in ordering the rescinding of the “UNESCO 2030” document signed by the High Commission of the Cultural Revolution, and also his threat that the regime will react to any popular protest [in the election period] and will suppress and strike out at any protest.
The establishment reformists and the few defenders of the Islamic Republic abroad, in a unified effort, urge the people to participate in the election and vote for Hassan Rouhani. Based on the widespread publicity of these forces, they are arguing that this time the only practical option for the people is once again to choose the lesser of two evils and vote for Rouhani. They say this without talking about the track record of Rouhani, without mentioning that the Justice Minister in Rouhani’s cabinet is Pour-Mohammadi (a criminal and a close collaborator of Raisi in the “Death Commission” sent to prisons during the massacre of political prisoners in 1988) and without citing the fact that Rouhani did not keep or fulfil any of his promises to improve the condition of the working people and change the political atmosphere in Iran.
These forces do not explain how, if Rouhani could not keep any of his promises in his first term in office, a transformation is now to be anticipated. How will he be able to fulfil his promises and resolve problems in his second term? Another issue that the advocates of “participation in the election at any cost” do not clarify is in whose interests – which classes and social strata – do Hassan Rouhani and other candidates in this election represent. Is it a coincidence that the basis of the economic policies of the Rouhani government is the same as that during the Ahmadinejad administration? These are the policies whose main objective is to protect the interests of the grand merchant bourgeoisie and the parasitic and bureaucratic capitalism that has grown within the deeply corrupt state apparatus of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Is it by chance that during Rouhani’s first term, as during the Ahmadinejad years, the immense gap between poverty and wealth grew even larger, and tens of millions of people still struggle with chronic poverty and deprivation? Is it a coincidence that the economic mafia of the Guards Corps’ commanders and their cohorts still control the main arteries of the economy in cooperation with the Rouhani administration? Is it an accident that the protesting mineworkers in Agh-Darreh are lashed (for daring to demand their rights)? Is it by chance that during Rouhani’s time in office, just as in the Ahmadinejad era, Iran’s per capita execution rate was one of the highest in the world? How is it that Mr. Rouhani, who is now concerned about the house arrest [of Green Movement leaders] and the lashing [of workers], never spoke up in protest when groups of Sunni activists were executed?
The people of Iran have not forgotten that during the final days of the 2013 election campaign, those who advocated participating in the election were spouting the same nonsense as they are today, and that it was then being claimed that Iran would move towards freedom and justice with the election of Rouhani. We said at the time that not only was Rouhani not a reformist whose intention was to bring change, but that even if he wanted to do so, the current structure of the regime would not permit him to do anything but carry out the commands of the Supreme Religious Leader. The fact is that the actual experience of the past four years proves the accuracy and soundness of our analysis and that of other progressive forces about the outcome of the 2013 election, the ability of the Rouhani government, and its main mission – as commanded by the Supreme Religious Leader – to conclude negotiations with the US and European states. We reiterate today that with the election of Rouhani or any of the other candidates in this stage-managed charade, the same policies as those of the last four years and the same devastating economic strategy (under the ludicrous title of the “resistance economy”), the same anti-worker and anti-people policies, the same widespread corruption and the same oppression by the establishment will continue. This being the case, how can one deceitfully invite people to participate in the election and give them false hopes?
While condemning the regime of the Islamic Republic which has denied the conventional, natural and basic rights of the people to determine their own destiny and participate in free and democratic elections, the Tudeh Party of Iran believes that participating in this election organised by the ruling regime, and voting for any candidates ratified by it, will only help strengthen the position of the ruling, evil-minded forces and support the continuation of the anti-people theocratic regime of the Supreme Religious Leadership. It is not the job of the freedom-loving and popular forces to urge the people to concede to the inevitable fate of living under the despotic, theocratic regime of Iran and by so doing helping to perpetuate it. It is only through the united and organised struggle of all progressive and freedom-loving forces, and by challenging the anti-people structure of the ruling regime in Iran – the theocratic regime of the absolute Supreme Leadership – that we can ever hope for a different future free from the chains of the current malevolent system.
Non-participation in the election and declining to vote for the candidates of the theocratic regime is neither a blind act nor a passive one. It is rather an expression of widespread and brave civil disobedience against autocracy. It is a step forward beyond the mirage of changeability of the regime (of its own accord) and the potential transformation of a regime whose inability to transform has been proven during the past thirty-eight years. It is a step towards the realisation of a radical and fundamental solution for the future of our nation whose security and independence have been seriously jeopardised in recent years due to the adventurist policies of its leaders. It is a clear message to the ruling reactionaries and enthusiasts of the “Islamic regime” that the people of Iran are no longer willing to act as the playthings of evil-intentioned leaders whose objective is to preserve the anti-people regime of the theocratic state at any cost. It is a call for launching a new social movement in order to organise the struggle, and it is a united conscious move of rejection of the theocratic regime of the Supreme Religious Leadership and for the building of a new Iran free from tyranny.
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran
13 May 2017