Monday, June 22, 2009

Some Post-1979 Iranian History Revisited--Part 2

(Revisiting some of the following post-1979 Iranian people’s history might help U.S. anti-war activists understand better some of the historical background of what is currently happening within Iran in 2009).

After opposing the Khomeini regime’s decision to release the U.S. Embassy hostages to the new Reagan Administration (following a failed attempt by the Democratic Carter Administration to “rescue” the U.S. Embassy hostages by sending some U.S. military commandos into Iran) and the Islamic Republic’s press censorship law in January 1981, the People’s Mojahadeen declared its opposition to the Khomeini regime in a June 20, 1981 street march. Twenty young Iranian women People’s Mojahadeen protesters were then arrested by Khomeini’s regime and quickly executed.

In response, the People’s Mojahadeen group bombed the headquarters of the pro-Khomeini Islamic Republican Party [IRP] headquarters on June 28, 1981 and eliminated almost the entire leadership of the Islamic Republican Party, whose members held the majority of seats in the Iranian parliament. By means of an armed uprising the People’s Mojahadeen guerrillas apparently hoped to then overthrow Khomeini’s Islamic Republic in the same way they had helped to previously overthrow the Shah’s regime during the late 1970s.

The Islamic Republic authorities responded to the People’s Mojahadeen armed revolt during Iran’s war with Iraq by quickly executing 100 more of its domestic Iranian political opponents in retaliation for the June 28, 1981 bombing of the Islamic Republican Party’s headquarters. But on August 30, 1981, the People’s Mojahadeen insurgents next bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic’s Prime Minister, killing 130 top leaders of the Islamic Republican Party, including Iran’s President and Premier.

In retaliation, 7,746 Iranians were then either executed by the Khomeini regime or killed in clashes with the security forces of the Khomeini regime by 1984. Of these 7,746 Iranians, 6,221 were members of the People’s Mojahadeen, including 933 women members of the People’s Mojahadeen.

Unlike the People’s Mojahadeen group, the Tudeh Party and the People’s Fedayeen group continued to express support for Khomeini’s Islamic Republic regime after June 1981 and both the Tudeh Party and the People’s Fedayeen group continued to be allowed to operate openly by Iranian government authorities.

But after the Tudeh Party criticized the Islamic Republic’s conduct of its war with Iraq and the Khomeini regime’s intention--after the Iranian military forces recaptured the Iranian land that Iraq had occupied early in the Iraq-Iran War--to now invade Iraq, some top Tudeh Party leaders were arrested by Iranian government authorities in February 1983.

Subsequently, the Tudeh Party was outlawed on May 4, 1983 by the Iranian government; and 670 civilian members of the Tudeh Party and 100 Iranian military officers who supported the Tudeh Party were also arrested.

Then, in December 1983, the 100 Iranian military officers who were Tudeh Party supporters were put on trial. And on February 25, 1984, ten of these Tudeh Party supporters within the Iranian military's officer corps were executed by Islamic Republic authorities.

Thirty members of the People’s Fedayeen group were also arrested in the Fall of 1983. And, after the Iranian government declared that the People’s Fedayeen group was subversive and anti-Islamic in December 1983, the People’s Fedayeen group was also outlawed in February 1984.

In their 2006 book Democracy In Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty, University of San Diego Professor of History and Political Science Ali Gheissari and Vali Nasr described how the religious, anti-communist supporters of Khomeini’s Islamic Republic regime apparently also started to violate the democratic rights of leftist Iranian supporters of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, after the Democratic Carter Administration refused to extradite the deposed Shah of Iran and the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was seized:

“Fundamentalists began to constrict the Left’s room to maneuver, purging their members from positions of power, attacking their offices, gatherings, and demonstrations, and intimidating or arresting their members and supporters. For instance, they attacked university campuses, intimidated and arrested students and faculty, and in June 1980 set in motion a `cultural revolution’ to cleanse the universities of the Left. Fundamentalists permanently occupied Tehran University by making its grounds the site for the official Friday Prayers…”

In an article that appeared in the June 21, 2003 issue of the Asia Times, B Raman also asserted that in Iran “after seizing power with the help of the communist students, the clerics ruthlessly suppressed the communists, arresting and executing many of them;” and “those who escaped arrest and death at the hands of the clerics managed to flee to West Europe and started organizing their activities from there.” According to the 2006 Democracy In Iran book, the secular Iranian leftist activists “were portrayed by fundamentalists as American stooges, and resistance to religion’s prominence in society was depicted as a Western ploy to destabilize the revolution.” (end of part 2)

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