Statement of the Tudeh Party of Iran: The Manoeuvres of the Theocratic Regime in Iran and the Changes in the Guards to Save the Dictatorship.

The presidential election show, which the ruling regime of Iran was eagerly hoping to turn into a grand endorsement of the theocratic regime, ended with the majority of the nation boycotting it. Even according to the official statistics, in several major cities, including the capital Tehran, voter turnout barely exceeded 30%. According to ISNA, the head of the election office in Tehran province said: “The number of eligible voters for the fourteenth presidential election was 10,199,742, and in this election, on June 25th, 3,366,264 ballots were used in the capital.”

It was clear that the continued stark economic and social crisis, which could bring the society to the brink of another widespread nation-wide protest like the “Woman, Life, Freedom” popular uprising or other successive protests like the ones in the past two years, could seriously challenge the regime’s survival. That’s why the leaders of the regime were deeply worried about the fate of their rule and the serious difficulties they face in maintaining their power. The ongoing regional developments, including the risk of direct and disastrous conflict with the racist and criminal state of Israel and the US imperialism, must be added to the rulers’ concerns to highlight the depth of the crisis the regime is facing with, which is caused by its own irrational and adventurous policies.

With the unexpected and ambiguous death of Ebrahim Raisi, a member of the death commission responsible for the massacre of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, the regime saw an opportunity to rearrange its guards and divert the popular movement towards the illusion of “reformability” of the regime. They intended to create a safety valve to calm the society and quell the growing anger of the masses.

The qualification of Masoud Pezeshkian (who had been disqualified in two previous presidential elections and the most recent parliamentary election) was organized and directly ordered by the Supreme Leader. This move was intended to bring state-affiliated reformists into the scene to create illusions about Masoud Pezeshkian and generate false hope for a “window” of change, similar to what was tested during Hassan Rouhani’s election campaign. Additionally, extensive propaganda and fear-mongering about the possibility of Jalili’s “election” and worsening the situation in the country was part of a precise and organized campaign to encourage the people to vote and to create a made-up “heroic” act and portray it as an endorsement for the regime’s popularity, approval, and the illusion of freedom in the tyranny-ridden country.

Mr. Khatami, who understanding the deep anger and hatred of the people towards the opportunistic regime had refrained from participating in the parliamentary election show months earlier, returned to the scene this time to repeat and promote the illusion of the “election window.” Of course, people have not forgotten that Mr. Khatami once said: “If the reformists or some of them are to be sidelined, public and global opinion won’t matter. What is important is that those who they don’t want should not come in, and I am sure they don’t want us to come in. Even if we pass this stage, we are not allowed to win more votes than they want.” And ironically, Masoud Pezeshkian, who in his previous speeches emphasized being a “servant of the Supreme Leadership” and having no authority to make fundamental changes in many areas, in his first speech after the election, confirming Khatami’s assessment of the “election” process in the Islamic Republic, said: “I thank the Leader, because without him, our names would have not easily come out of these ballot boxes.” Ali Khamenei also reminded Pezeshkian, after the election results were announced, that he must continue Raisi’s course.

Creating Illusions about Pezeshkian’s Government to Calm the Situation, and the Tasks of the Popular Movement

The government of Masoud Pezeshkian, whose key members will be vetted by Ali Khamenei, and whose major economic policies will be dictated by the Supreme Leader’s office to his government and other legislative and executive structures, will have two key missions. First, to calm the severely crisis-ridden country and create the illusion that the regime has chosen the course of reform. Hence, preventing another social explosion, which this time could involve the powerful presence of the labour and working-class movement and could create insurmountable difficulties for the regime. Second, to resume secret negotiations with the US and the European Union, who all implicitly expressed hope for his election to improve mutual relations with Iran.

The experience of Hassan Rouhani’s two terms in power, supported by the state-affiliated reformists, followed a similar pattern. Contrary to Rouhani’s campaign promises, the house arrest of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi did not end, prisoners of conscience and political prisoners were not freed, the brutal suppression of women’s rights was not prevented, and the demands of the workers and the working class were ignored. The economic crisis continued, the gap between poverty and wealth widened, widespread government corruption persisted and increased, and the bloody and brutal suppression of any mass protest, including in 2017 and 2019, continued. At the end of his term, Rouhani admitted that he had little authority and was merely an executor of the orders of the Supreme Leader, IRGC, and the security forces.

The Tudeh Party of Iran believes that aside from a small minority who participated in this “election” and voted for Jalili, the overwhelming majority of the nation, including those who voted for Masoud Pezeshkian with the hope of a “window” for change, strive for fundamental changes in the catastrophic current state of the country and moving towards establishing the people’s will over the affairs. The overwhelming majority of the nation, especially workers and the working class, who have been increasingly pushed below the line of poverty, want a relief from crushing economic pressures, suitable wages compatible with the inflation, an end to the extensive neoliberal privatization policies and workforce downsizing, the restoration of the country’s productive infrastructure, an end to the brutal and inhuman assault on women by the regime’s thugs, freedom of political-ideological prisoners, and an opening of the political atmosphere in the country. It is clear that none of these demands can be achieved within the theocratic regime and the current despotic and anti-people political system. The developments of recent decades have shown that only through massive and organized social struggle can the regime be forced to retreat. The recent historical development in France, where a broad spectrum of progressive forces from communists and socialists to greens united to prevent the victory of right-wing fascist-leaning forces, is a clear and proven sign of the power of organized and united action of progressive and freedom-loving forces, which can be noted for Iran.

Once again, we call on all patriotic and freedom-loving forces in the country to collaborate and prepare for a national dialogue to organize the frustrated masses and seriously challenge the anti-people ruling regime. Without joint efforts and organized struggle to bring about fundamental and lasting changes, the Islamic Republic, as it has shown in recent years, will continue its dreadful life, harming our country through various manoeuvres and changes in its guards.

The Tudeh Party of Iran

8 July 2023


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