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Statement of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran On the latest developments in Iran and the upcoming “election show”

With the unexpected death of Ebrahim Raisi, developments are taking shape in the country’s political arena that paying attention to them is crucial in formulating effective policy strategies of the popular movement. In the presidential election show of 2021, amid widespread boycott by the overwhelming majority of the nation, Ebrahim Raisi was installed as the President through stuffing the ballot boxes by votes of the Revolutionary Guards and security forces under the order of the Supreme Leader. Raisi’s three-year presidency, after serving as the head of the judiciary branch, marked one of the darkest records of presidents favoured by the Supreme Leader. Mr. Montazeri [the deputy leader during Khomeini’s rule who was defamed and ousted in 1988] rightly called Raisi and his cohorts in the “death commission”, sent by Khomeini to prisons to execute prisoners [in summer of 1988], “criminals of history”, for massacring imprisoned freedom fighters across Iran.

Raisi’s term was characterized by harsh and bloody policies of repression against popular protests and labour strikes and the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising, extensive violation of women’s rights, continuation of neoliberal economic policies, exacerbating poverty and deprivation that has engulfed over forty percent of the population according to official statistics, rise in unemployment, soaring inflation reaching fifty percent according to the latest government statistics, ongoing widespread corruption in state apparatus and connections, relentless plundering of national resources, and adventurous foreign policies in the region that have exposed Iran’s national interests and security to immediate and increasing dangers. Raisi, as the head of the executive branch, continued and expanded the anti-worker “economic surgery” program. Supported by the parasitic capitalist class, Raisi embarked on implementing such infamous policies as “labour law reforms” in favour of grand capitalists, wage suppression, and further privatization. The living standard of the working people worsened steadily during Raisi’s term.

Internationally, contrary to the devious claims of Khamenei and regime defenders about the regime’s influential and powerful foreign policy- including missile launches towards Israel, which, according to Amirabdollahian [Foreign Minister perished in helicopter crash], was forewarned to the Biden administration and thus Israel- in carrying out the foreign policy, the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran have always been engaged in closed-door negotiations with the American delegates-under Khamenei’s orders- aiming to reach an agreement. Similar secret negotiations were conducted in Oman during Ahmadinejad’s second presidential term, which eventually led to Khamenei’s “heroic flexibility” and his explicit directive to approve the “JCPOA” agreement. The Islamic Republic’s participation in the Shanghai Pact and joining the “BRICS” group, along with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Argentina, should be assessed within the strategic policies of the BRICS leadership and the Shanghai Pact to limit the international influence of the US and the European Union, not framing it as the Iranian regime’s “anti-imperialist” policies.

Iran is in a critical situation and the Islamic Republic is facing an escalating crisis. Contrary to the entirely false propaganda of Khamenei and other regime leaders and their fabricated statistics, Iran is in a critical political and economic state, a situation that has taken on different dimensions with Raisi’s death. That is why the Iranian regime draws attention to “foreign threat” and launches a sham electoral campaign to temporarily divert public attention from the ongoing crisis. The heavy upset of another sham election of the Islamic Majlis [legislative body] and Assembly of Experts shook the regime’s unstable pillars. In the second round of the Majlis elections, the votes cast in Tehran were only seven percent of the eligible voters in the capital.

The Tudeh Party of Iran in its statement on March 2, 2024 noted that “the widespread and coordinated boycott of the election, supported by workers, retirees, teachers, justice-seeking families, political prisoners, civil organizations, progressive and freedom-seeking forces, and political organizations showed that with joint efforts it is possible to challenge the authoritarian regime. The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that the critical conditions of the country are like a fire under the ashes which like the widespread public protests of 2017 and 2019 and the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising will inevitably reignite.

The upcoming presidential “elections,” our party’s assessment

The ludicrous roster of candidates showing up during the registrations for the presidential election show, and manufactured controversies by the regime’s propaganda apparatus about the approval or rejection of this or that candidate by the Guardian Council, is another desperate attempt of the regime to “draw” attentions to the show of installing Raisi’s successor on June 28. The outcome will not benefit the people in terms of the overall policies of the regime and will only be a superficial change and a reshuffling of the regime’s oppressive figures. The recent so-called discussions, including advising the Supreme Leader to “hold free elections” and the debate about “choosing between bad and worse,” which is an outdated matter, is implying that by bringing to power one of these figures the current suppression and repression and the trampling of workers’ rights can be swayed towards democracy and the realization of people’s rights. The correct question is that which of these candidates, all well-known regime figures, have taken a step towards realizing the people’s rights and challenging the theocratic regime? We have gone through five presidential elections over the past two decades. The elected and in fact appointed Presidents in all cases have implemented similar policies of harsh and bloody repression of the rights of the working people, women, and students (since 2005), implementing disastrous economic policies in line with the interests of the country’s grand capitalists which has led to rampant poverty, deprivation, unemployment, inflation, unprecedented corruption, and the destruction of the country’s economic infrastructure. Has there been a difference between the regime’s overall policies and the performance of these regime operatives that we can today fantasize about the possibility of such a change?

Finally, after all the publicity shows, on Sunday, June 9, the Guardian Council announced the names of six ratified candidates. These six include: Masoud Pezeshkian [ex-president of Tabriz university and perpetrator of the infamous Cultural Revolution in 1980s], Mostafa Pourmohammadi (another member of the Death Commission sent to slaughter political prisoners), Saeed Jalili, Alireza Zakani, Amir Hossein Qazizadeh Hashemi, and Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf (recently the Speaker of Majlis and someone who has a dark record of suppressing students and embezzlement and corruption). To add to the excitement of the election, the Guardian Council ratified the qualification of Masoud Pezeshkian, who was disqualified in the 2021 presidential election. The purpose of qualifying Masoud Pezeshkian’s candidacy- who was also disqualified in the recent parliamentary election and was later confirmed with Khamenei’s intervention- is to entice parts of the reformists to take part in the show and create the illusion of another “open window” [for change] and to encourage the indifferent public to participate in an election where the majority’s vote and will have no impact [on the future developments]. On June 12, Pezeshkian discussed his future plans and said: “At the time of registration for the presidency and in the five minutes I had, I said we are not going to draft a new plan and consider new policies. The leader’s policies are established and legal work has been done and anyone who comes [to the office] must implement these plans in line with the seventh development plan… Any government that comes to power should not change the path. The goal should not be ignored.” Also, in a recent discussion with university students, Pezeshkian said: “I am loyal to the Leadership and actually am entirely devoted to him. No one has the right to insult someone who I believe in.”

The view of the Tudeh Party of Iran on the upcoming election show is clear. In Iran, the topic of “elections” under the supervision of the Guardian Council of the Supreme Leader not only does not give people the chance to choose and determine their own destiny, but is part of the regime’s leadership game to put the regime operatives in various positions. We still believe that the theocratic regime of Iran is irreformable, and therefore its goal in staging such shows, contrary to some illusions, is not to open a “window” for improving the current situation, which is an excuse for calling on the people to take part in the “elections.” The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that by mobilizing the broad spectrum of popular forces it is imperative to boycott and unmask this vulgar show and demonstrate that the Iranian people have long gone past the regime’s plays in the theatre of choosing between “bad and worse”. The people of Iran do not believe that fundamental changes in the overall policies of the regime and the realization of the rights of the oppressed people cannot be achieved within the framework of the repressive and anti-people theocratic regime ruling the nation. Contrary to this opinion and belief that boycotting the election is a kind of “passivity” against the regime, the fact is that extensive and active boycott of the elections, whether through non-participation in voting or casting invalid votes, as well as exposing the nature of this game of the regime leadership, is itself an effective active action that we have seen its successful results in the February 2024 parliamentary election. It was then when the workers chanted in their rallies: “We no longer vote.” Voting in the regime’s fabricated elections, which are only important to the regime’s leaders in order to claim public support for their policies, ultimately contributes to the show of legitimacy of this repressive and anti-people regime.

Dear compatriots, freedom-loving forces of the country!

Our joint action in boycotting the despised and bankrupt regime’s election show orchestrated by Ali Khamenei will be a clear message from the overwhelming majority of the nation to the regime. The people of Iran have long moved past this anti-people regime and want to move towards a future free from this oppressive regime. As emphasized in our recent statements, we believe that the deep and wide rift between the vast majority of society and the ruling dictatorship is irreparable. A major part of society, especially the working class and other working people, as well as women, the youth and students, are demanding fundamental political and social changes and going beyond this authoritarian regime. The Islamic Republic is decaying and facing crises and difficult decisions for its survival, which, of course, will not necessarily guarantee its survival. With the intensified joint and united struggle of all patriotic and freedom-loving forces of the nation, it is possible to move towards ending this dictatorial regime and establishing a national and democratic government.

Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran

June 16, 2024

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