Our Approach to the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran


Our Opposition to the Call for “Overthrowing” the State is a Strategic Opposition!


Following the correct and scientific policy of the former leadership of the Tudeh Party of Iran during the years 1979-1982, in the “10 Mehr” Group’s “Political Platform for the Current Stage of the Struggle,” we have declared for the umpteenth time that we are firmly opposed to, and fight against, any effort to “overthrow” the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran — the State that arose as a result of the anti-imperialist and popular revolution of 1979 — or any form of weakening its resistance against imperialism’s hegemonic interventions and plots. This position is clearly stated in our “Political Platform”:

If we accept that the cohesion, strengthening, and success of this global front is a necessity for achieving the stated objectives, including the national ones, then we must recognize that any uncalculated action that undermines the power of resistance of this front, or even aims at overthrowing any of its constituent governments, would only serve to weaken this anti-imperialist front, and as the past three decades have shown, would only result in the defeat of the national struggle itself. And this is the red line that every progressive and revolutionary force must consider at any given moment…. Paying attention to this red line simply means adopting such methods of struggle within the national framework that do not contradict the international battle to eliminate the main contradiction to open the way for the resolution of national contradictions….

If the goal of the struggle is to defend the independence and territorial integrity of the country, establish social justice, and guarantee the democratic rights of the Iranian people, which we fought and continue to fight decisively to achieve, the way to achieve it is not to blindly follow imperialism’s plans to stir up emotions and turn the movement into imperialism’s pawn against the Islamic Republic….

Obviously, no patriotic and popular force in Iran can allow itself to become the tool of imperialism in its pre-planned plot against our homeland….

Our approach to the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a strategic approach, and not just a tactical one, which is based on the objective realities of this stage of both international and domestic affairs.


In the International Arena

Today it is generally acknowledged that our world is in transition from a unipolar order under the domination of imperialism to a multipolar order based on international law and respect for the independence and sovereignty of nations. Due to the insane resistance of the imperialist states, especially the United States, this strategic stage of transformation can be a long-term process full of innumerable dangers for the nations involved. As a result, the global defense of the anti-imperialist struggle and the support of the governments resisting imperialism — regardless of their internal political, economic, and cultural orientation — is a strategic task for all progressive forces of all countries.

In this strategic global process, the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran has assumed a decisive and vital role, the continuation of which is a necessary condition for the global movement to achieve its goals. And this is why we see the imperialist mouthpieces in the media are increasing their pro-imperialist propaganda every day, and the intelligence and security organizations of the imperialist states, aware of Iran’s military-defense capabilities, have resorted to intensifying internal economic pressures, even to vandalism and assassination, to alienate the Iranian people. The goal is to direct the people’s rightful protests against the abnormal internal conditions toward opposing the entire State of the Islamic Republic of Iran and, if possible, to foment a velvet revolution with the help of the domestic neoliberal pro-West bourgeoisies and change Iran’s strategic pro-East orientation in global affairs.

It is in this global framework that our opposition to any move toward overthrowing or weakening the resistance force of the Islamic Republic of Iran assumes, from a historical point of view, a strategic and deeply anti-imperialist character. Some falsely claim that we raise this slogan to gain privileges from the Islamic Republic of Iran. But our position is based on an objective understanding of the global historical situation and the key role of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the transition to a multipolar world. And, so long as this role continues, we will continue our strategic support for the Islamic Republic of Iran in the same way that did the experienced leadership of the Tudeh Party of Iran during the period of 1979-1983.


In the Domestic Arena

It may be easier for many activists to understand our positions from the international point of view. But from the domestic point of view, the issue is more complicated and needs more explanation.

First, we want to make clear that, in line with the position of the former leadership of our Party, we consider the anti-imperialist and popular revolution of 1979 as a national-democratic revolution and believe that despite all the setbacks of the past forty years, this anti-imperialist and popular revolution is still alive and the struggle to achieve its goals of independence, freedom and social justice is still ongoing and has not ended. The leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been able to guarantee the independence and national sovereignty of the country in the international arena. But, due to military interventions (especially the US-imposed war with Iraq), and other imperialist conspiracies, on the one hand, and the domination of the global neoliberal economic system through the policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund over the last four decades, on the other, attaining democratic rights, and social justice have been trampled and have put the country in a critical situation — a situation that the imperialist powers are now taking maximum advantage of.

The question that is rightly raised is whether it is possible to make the anti-imperialist struggle a priority in such a disastrous situation the people of Iran are facing at present. And can such a system under the domination of capitalism be considered as “anti-imperialist”? Our answer to both questions is in the affirmative.


Under the Present Conditions, Anti-Imperialism
Does not Mean Taking on the Entire Capitalist System

Those who consider opposition to capitalism as a pre-condition for being anti-imperialist have not understood correctly the scientific concepts of the National-Democratic Revolution and the Non-Capitalist (not anti-capitalist) Development Path and equate the national-democratic revolution with the socialist revolution. And for this very reason, they approach the issue within the perspective of a one-dimensional class struggle within the national framework alone, without considering global trends and their effects on domestic processes. But the theories of the national-democratic revolution and the non-capitalist development path are precisely based on recognition of global balance of forces and the impact of imperialist domination on a country’s internal structures.

From the perspective of these theorists, due to the distortion of the internal structures caused by imperialist domination and the suppression of working class and its political party, national-democratic revolutions are led not by the working class but by revolutionary democrats. While these social strata are not anti-capitalist or socialist per se, they do want to achieve certain level of sovereignty, democratic rights and social justice for the people. From the perspective of these theories, the necessary condition for reaching the goals of the national-democratic revolution is the adoption of a non-capitalist (not anti-capitalist or socialist) development path by revolutionary democrats. This means that the capitalist economic structure, through conscious planning, is placed at the service of the national, i.e., popular, objectives. In such an arrangement, the profit motive of capital is harnessed by the state, to serve progressive and revolutionary social goals. In such a system, capitalism continues to exist, but is prevented from monopolizing and dominating the State and its political structure. Obviously, the implementation of such a model requires opposition to imperialist domination, and thus becomes a part and parcel of the global anti-imperialist struggle to establish a multipolar world. Such opposition to imperialism does not require the immediate dismantling of the entire capitalist system.

We see many examples of the implementation of this model in the world today. Following the dismantling of the socialist camp, many socialist countries, including Cuba and China, were forced to privatize parts of their economy, yet at the same time they placed these privatized enterprises fully at the service of their socialist system. The Chinese model is a very successful example of such a process. The Articles 43 and 44 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which define the economic structure of the country, and which were adopted with the help of the former leadership of our Party, clearly reflect this model. Had these articles been implemented during the past forty years, Iran’s domestic situation would be much different today.


Why Didn’t It Happen in Iran?

The assessment that the retreat of the February 1979 Revolution from its principal objectives began with the introduction of neoliberal structural adjustments by Hashemi Rafsanjani’s administration and continued by the subsequent administrations in the past four decades is a correct but incomplete assessment because it begins the analysis midway. The fact is that the emergence and ascendency of Iran’s bourgeoisie, especially the pro-West neoliberal bourgeoisie, has also been the result a series of international factors as well. Failure to give the latter due attention renders impossible a full understanding of the causes of retreat of popular revolutions, both in Iran and worldwide, in the past four decades. Such failure impedes the process of finding a correct solution to Iran’s current problems.

1. The Eight-Year Imposed War with Iraq

The first external factor was the eight-year imposed war against the Iranian revolution. It can be safely said that this war was a decisive turning point in the retreat of the Iranian revolution and the most important factor in the right turn of Iran’s ruling circles. Although the first stage of this military scheme was neutralized in a relatively short time due to the sacrifices of our patriotic and revolutionary forces and the expulsion of Iraqi forces from the occupied territories, some within the Iranian State pushed for continuing the war. This made the conflict an eight-year war of attrition that exhausted most of the Iranian revolutionary forces.

The resulting economic strain caused by this war of attrition changed the balance of class forces in favor of Iran’s reactionary classes, especially the commercial and the bureaucratic bourgeoisie, to the detriment of the middle and lower strata of society. By taking advantage of the drastic fall in domestic production and the lack of raw materials and necessary consumer goods, leading to black market conditions, the commercial bourgeoisie amassed unprecedented wealth and capital, and grew at a cancerous rate. The bureaucratic bourgeoisie took advantage of concentration of Iran’s financial resources, especially the oil revenues, in the hand of the State for war purposes to consolidate its power. The extraordinary war situation gave it the ability to control a huge part of the country’s government and military budget, as well as the war time network of distribution of goods and services.

This change in the balance of social forces during the war of attrition with Iraq was also reflected within the ruling bloc. The large commercial bourgeoisie and its supporting forces were able to gradually occupy the positions of power in the government and increase their power in Parliament. The bureaucratic bourgeoisie was also able to gradually capture the executive branch of the State and conquer the last trenches of the supporters of “Imam Khomeini line.” The “radical” faction within the State, i.e. followers of the “Imam Khomeini line,” whose social base was severely weakened by the war and assassinations of its leaders, gradually retreated due to pressure from the commercial bourgeoisie and bureaucratic bourgeoisie. Ultimately, with the recognition of the “role of respectable merchants and marketers in advancing the revolution,” the State was turned over to the two bourgeois factions.

Form this point on, the reversal of the achievements of the revolution, done sporadically for some time, snowballed. Distributed lands were gradually reclaimed from peasants and returned to the original landlords. Factories and businesses were returned to their original owners, who were often asked to return from abroad to retake possession of their property. Confiscated private capitals were released, and secret negotiations with the imperialist states, especially with the United States, became more blatant.

Domestically, it was time to settle scores with the forces that, for various reasons, were not ready to submit to the dominance of the commercial and bureaucratic bourgeoisie. This process reached its peak with one of the bloodiest crimes in Iran’s contemporary history, aptly named the National Disaster, of the execution of thousands of political prisoners — including prominent leaders of our Party. This attack on the revolutionary process ultimately culminated in the settling of accounts with progressive religious forces supporting the “Imam Khomeini line” in the government and parliament.

It is therefore clear that the domination of the big bourgeoisie over the revolutionary government was not a phenomenon solely caused by internal factors but was also influenced by the direct military intervention of imperialism to derail the process of the revolution. It was because of this imperialist-imposed war that the nascent big bourgeoisie of Iran was able to seize the State power and implement its structural adjustment policies at the hands of the Rafsanjani administration, and thus change the course of the revolution. It was the far-sighted leadership of our Party at the time who predicted the disastrous consequences of the war for the Iranian revolution, and firmly opposed its continuation after the liberation of Khorramshahr. And paid the price of doing so with their lives.

2. Collapse of the Socialist Camp and the Emergence of a Unipolar Neoliberal World

If the imposed war was the beginning of the process of the rise of the big bourgeoisie to power and the imposition of neoliberal economic policies on the revolution, the continuation and burrowing of these anti-people policies in Iran was the result of the beginning of a new era in the world arena, which began with the collapse of the socialist camp and the formation of a unipolar world under unilateral economic and military domination of imperialism.

With the establishment, expansion, and consolidation of the imperialist military-strategic order after World War II, our world also witnessed another qualitative change in the economic character of imperialism, namely, the unprecedented growth of financial-banking capital after 1970s, followed by its monopolistic control of the global financial-banking system after the collapse of the socialist camp. This global dominance of imperialist financial-banking capital qualitatively changed the economic structure of the imperialist order and led to the establishment of a neoliberal “new world order” (globalization) revolving around the circulation of the imperialist financial-banking capital, the main feature of which was the transfer of the production process — “outsourcing” — to developing countries.

With the domination of the process of “outsourcing,” the direct export of productive capital to developing countries came to a halt and mainly took either the form of private sector loans to manufacturers in these countries (with government guarantees of repayment) or signing “arm’s length” secondary contracts with local private enterprises to produce and sell the finished goods at local prices and then importing and selling them in imperialist countries at much higher market prices. The resulting new model of doing business was based on making contracts at the lowest cost of production with local manufacturers around the world, thereby transferring the problems related to production, wages, and workers’ living standards to foreign employers, who themselves were under severe pressures from these same international companies to reduce production costs — especially labor costs — as much as possible.

But achieving success in this new way above all required the removal of all economic regulations in developing countries — especially through changing the labor laws, government tax policies, opening floodgates for import and export, etc. In other words, reducing the cost of production in developing countries required widespread access to cheap labor, minimizing, or if possible eliminating, taxes for foreign companies and their domestic affiliates, and finally removing domestic state control over these countries’ own economies. While in the past, the imperialist order relied on the control of the economy by powerful dependent states, the establishment of this neoliberal “new order” required a reverse process, that is, removing the control of these states over the economy and handing over state powers to the private sector. The process was implemented one by one in developing countries, and the states that resisted it were either overthrown, or forced to surrender, or the policy of “regime change” in them was put on the agenda.

This “liberation” of the private sector of the developing countries, and the establishment of direct connection between these countries’ private sector with the imperialist “outsourcing” capital, led the formation, growth, and increasing political power of a layer of the “neoliberal” bourgeoisie, and transformed this layer into a powerful internal force for imposition of the “neoliberal” economic model in their economies.

These changes to the global imperialist order in line with the interests of financial-banking capital have now given rise to a key contradiction within developing countries, namely, the contradiction between the “neoliberal” economic order pushed by imperialist financial-banking capital, on the one hand, and these countries’ independent national development, on the other. On one side of this contradiction is the internal neoliberal bourgeoisie that is fully dependent on this neoliberal “world order,” and on the other side are the heavily exploited workers and toilers, national bourgeoisie, and the pro-independence governments that are resisting this “neoliberal world order.” And imperialism has not been sitting idle in this confrontation and is making every effort — through electoral interference, and financial, political, propaganda, assistance to the supporting political parties and NGO’s — to guarantee the dominance of the “neoliberal” bourgeoisie in these countries. And if the resistance continues, they impose deadly “intelligent” economic sanctions, which have become the most effective weapon used by financial-banking capital today.

For more than four decades, especially since the collapse of the socialist camp, Iran has been subjected to deadly pressures of imperialist neoliberal policies. During the past forty years, because of the maximum “intelligent” sanctions imposed by imperialism — which are consciously designed to weaken state sector and strengthen the “liberated” private sector of the countries —the balance of class forces and relations of power within the State have shifted in favor of Iran’s neoliberal bourgeoisie. Taking advantage of imperialism’s “intelligent” sanctions and the support from international financial-banking capital, this bourgeoisie has not only transformed itself into a formidable financial power in the country but has been using this power to return Iran to the lap of international capital.

At the same time, we must emphasize that despite all economic and political retreats before the the big bourgeoisie, especially the pro-West neoliberal bourgeoisie, the pro-independence faction within the State, representing the middle and lower strata of the Iranian society, did continue to resist imperialism at the regional level by organizing a regional resistance and neutralizing its policies as much as possible, thus keeping alive an important part of the initial goals of the revolution.

Here, too, we see how the internal processes within our country are linked to the global processes of international capital, and for this very reason, the struggle for the establishment of a national-democratic model in Iran cannot be carried out in a vacuum and apart from the ongoing anti-imperialist struggle at the global level. And it is precisely from this point of view that our opposition to the call for “overthrowing” the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran acquires a strategic nature that applies to a certain historical phase in the global struggle against imperialism.


The Movement Towards a Multipolar World Has Begun

This forty-year long era of imperialism’s unilateral domination and its neoliberal project are approaching their final stages, and the global south has taken the first steps toward transition to a multipolar world based on international law and respect for peoples’ sovereignty and national independence. The balance of power in the world is gradually changing to the detriment of imperialist states and their regional supporters, and the bankruptcy and inhumanity of the neoliberal worldview is becoming ever more apparent to the peoples of the world. International alignments are shifting between countries, and every day more countries join the ranks of the world’s thriving forces. Today, there are few countries in the world that have not been affected by these changes.

At the same time, we have no doubt that this transitional period is a very dangerous one. Imperialism, especially U.S. imperialism, will not give up their world domination easily, and will undoubtedly impose heavy costs on the peoples of the world along the way, as we have already seen in Ukraine and Gaza. In such a situation, maintaining unity and strengthening the forces of resistance against imperialism is imperative. We must support the governments that are involved in the resistance regardless of their economic system and internal policies. This has become a strategic necessity.


The Second “Jockeying Battle” Begins in Iran

In the same way that Iran was affected by the unilateral domination of imperialism and neoliberal economics over the last four decades, so today, as the balance of world forces shifts towards a multipolar world, events in Iran are also heading in a new direction. The old “jockeying battle,” which had faded away because of the dominance of different layers of the big bourgeoisie over the State and the weakening of what the previous leadership of our Party called “Imam’s anti-imperialist and popular line,” is taking shape once again in line with the international trends. It seems that after a four-decade break, the scattered supporters of the “Imam Khomeini Line” have found new life due to global developments and are going to reorganize themselves once again to assume their historical responsibility to swing the Iranian revolution back to its original track.

Undoubtedly, due to the forty-year influence of the pro-West neoliberal bourgeoisie, this movement is still in its embryonic stage and has not yet taken a serious practical shape. Although the anti-imperialist, pro-resistance faction has thus far been able to strengthen and consolidate Iran’s defensive capabilities and coordinate the country’s foreign policy with those of the global resistance front, domestically, the reigns of the country’s economy are still in the hands representatives of the pro-West neoliberal bourgeoisie. In other words, the supporters of “Imam Khomeini’s anti-imperialist and popular line” have been able to implement the “anti-imperialist” aspect this line to the best of their ability, but in their efforts to implement the “popular” demands of the revolution they are still facing an uphill battle against a powerful bourgeoisie that dominates the economic structures of the country — a battle in which any failure can easily nullify the achievements made at the international level.

We consider the victory of pro-resistance forces in this battle within the leadership of the State a pre-condition for the restoration the Revolution to its original path. For this reason, at this critical historical stage, we consider our support for these forces is a strategic support, and the only way to achieve the goals of the February 1979 Revolution as a national-democratic revolution.

As we have repeatedly stated in our “Political Platform” and other analytical documents, we consider the removal of the neoliberal bourgeoisie from power and establishment an order based on social justice and respect democratic freedoms, within the framework of a non-capitalist (not anti-capitalist) economic path, as the main axis of struggle. Such a struggle, in our view, is an integral part of the global struggle against imperialism.


And Finally: A Short Response to an Expressed Concern

Some of our fellow combatants have pointed to the following part of our “Political Platform” and suggested that this part seems to negate the strategic nature of our opposition to the slogan of “overthrow” of the Islamic Republic of Iran:

Those who speak today of overthrowing the State of the Islamic Republic of Iran ignore not only this fact, but also the disarray which exists within Iran’s internal popular movement. The fact is that, today in Iran, an organized, coherent, and widespread mass movement that can take over the country’s affairs and lead the people’s struggles, and act as a progressive alternative to the current Iranian State, does not yet exist. Declaring war on the State, when there is no preparation among the popular forces, is nothing but committing political suicide and sacrificing the people and the country at the feet of imperialism, merely for the sake of appearing revolutionary. It is crucial to remember Lenin’s teaching that ultra-leftism always ends up in the camp of the right.

The concern raised by these friends is that attributing the opposition to the slogan of “overthrow” to the lack of preparation of the popular forces means that if such preparation existed today, we would agree with the slogan of “overthrow.” In other words, it means that we oppose the “overthrow” because we don’t have the power to do it.

Such an interpretation of our statement is incorrect from both logical and analytical-histrical points of view.

Logically, because it reaches such a conclusion by reductio ad absurdum. From a statement like “I am not ready to go on a trip right now,” cannot be concluded that “if I was ready, I would definitely gone on a trip.” This was a response to those who claim that they are calling for the “overthrow” to improve the conditions of the people. We have tried to show that the overthrow of the State in the current historical stage can only be accomplished by imperialism and its internal agents, and this would bring no other result than disaster for the people of Iran. From our point of view, the decision to agree or not agree with the slogan of “overthrowing” a State cannot be simply based on having or not having sufficient force. Rather, such a decision must be based on a correct understanding of the objective requirements of the historical epoch, knowledge of the factors governing the international situation, correct understanding of national interests within the framework of the goals set for the revolutionary process and determining the necessity of such action as based on all the above criteria.

From the analytical-historical point of view, this interpretation is even farther grom being correct.

Analytically, overthrowing a system can be justified when there is no chance to reform it from within. Ever since the revolution, we have repeatedly been faced with the claim by many ultra-left, and mainly anti-religious, forces that this religious system is “not transformable” and as a result, its overthrow is necessary. The past leadership of our Party, and we ourselves today, have never agreed with such a claim. If such an argument were true, we would not have faced two sharp turns during the forty years after the revolution — the first one being the West-oriented neoliberal turn to the right, and the second being the current turn to the left after the change in the balance of forces in the world. The orientations and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran have always been determined by the balance of class forces within the State and in society, not by its religious ideology.

And it is precisely for this reason that the “Jockeying Battle” that has once again started within the State will be the factor that determines the future direction of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This battle will have one of the two outcomes: either the victory of the anti-imperialist resistance forces within the State, removal of the pro-West neoliberal bourgeoisie, and the return of the Revolution to its original track; or, the victory of the pro-West neoliberal bourgeoisie, the end of the Iran’s resistance to imperialism, and another round of violent suppression of all progressive forces in Iran. We have defined our strategic objective — as declared by our late Party leader, Comrade Kianouri, after the victory of the Revolution — as a struggle, in strategic alliance with the forces defending the original goals of the Revolution — both religious and non-religious — for realization of the first outcome and will remain on their side throughout this strategic and historical struggle.

Should the second scenario materialize, our fate and the fate of our strategic religious allies will be the same. Such an outcome will have no other meaning than the total defeat of the February 1979 Revolution. In this case, the issue of overthrowing the new U.S.-puppet regime in Iran could once again be put on our agenda.
* Translated from the original Farsi text published on May 24, 2024.

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