Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Iran History Revisited: Part 3

(See parts 1-2 below)

In January 2007, the editor-in-chief of the Kuwaiti-based Arab Times, Ahmed Al-Jarallah, reported that “A reliable source said President Bush… held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates…and other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.” Yet in 2009 President Bush’s Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, is still the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

And as Eric Margolis observed in the February 16, 2009 issue of the Khaleeq Times:

“The CIA… funds at least one extremist Pakistani Sunni group that launches raids into Iran, attacking government posts, soldiers and civilians. Further covert American aid goes to armed separatist groups among Iran’s Arab and Azeri minorities…The US Congress has repeatedly voted hundreds of millions for such covert operations.

"The US has also waged a…financial and economic war against…Iran…

"Israeli elections produced a sharp move to the right, increasing chances Israel may make good on threats to attack Iran…”

But most U.S. high school social studies departments, ironically, still don’t even require their students to study much 20th-century Iranian history.

Between 1941 and 1978, the Tudeh Party was generally the most mass-based Iranian left-wing party to oppose the Shah of Iran’s U.S.-supported dictatorial regime. Yet prior to the Tudeh Party’s founding in 1941, there had been previous attempts by people in Iran to politically and economically democratize Iranian society.

During the Iranian Revolution of 1905 to 1911, for example,, equal rights under the Constitution of 1906 had been obtained by Iranians of Jewish background. In April 1918, a group of Iranians, the Adalat Group, had also been founded to politically oppose the Iranian monarchy, the Iranian clergy and the privileged Iranian landholding aristocracy.

During the Russian Civil War that followed the October 1917 Revolution in Russia, Soviet military and naval detachments that were pursuing the anti-revolutionary White Russian troops temporarily entered Northeast Iran on May 18, 1920. Aided by these Soviet troops, a non-communist Jangali movement, led by Kuchek Khan, then sought to liberate Iran from its oppression by UK imperialism, its anti-democratic Iranian clerics and its anti-democratic Iranian feudal landholders. And the Jangali movement proclaimed the establishment of the Gilan Republic in Northeast Iran on June 4, 1920.

Influenced by pro-communist and left sectarian Iranian activists, however, the Gilan Republic then began to distribute anti-religious propaganda in the small area of Iran it controlled and closed 19 mosques. It also prohibited religious instruction in its schools and decreed that Iranian women should be forcibly unveiled. Predictably, the Islamic clergy opposed such measures and the still religious Iranian peasants were alienated by the Gilan Republic’s anti-religious policies-- despite the fact that the Gilan Republic’s land reform decrees would have benefited these same peasants economically.

On June 23, 1920, 37 members of the Persian Communist Party (which had been created by members of the Adalat Group) then held their first congress and proposed the following political and economic democratization reforms for Iranian society:

1. overthrow of British imperialist domination in Iran;
2. confiscation of all foreign enterprises in Iran;
3. recognition of the right of self-determination of all nationalities within a unified Iran;
4. confiscation of all the land of big Iranian landowners and its redistribution to Iranian peasants and to the soldiers of an Iranian revolutionary army.

(end of part 3)