Sunday, April 5, 2009

Iran History Revisited: Part 13

(See parts 1-12 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…”

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

In the summer of 1949, a non-communist, anti-imperialist, secular Iranian nationalist political leader, Dr. Mossadegh, was instrumental in organizing the National Front group, a coalition of Iranian nationalists and leftists. Mossadegh’s anti-imperialist National Front group members then ran candidates in the elections for the new Iranian parliament on a platform of opposition to increasing the Shah of Iran’s personal political power and of opposition to a new, unfavorable Iraqi government agreement with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company.

After National Front candidates did well in the Iranian parliamentary elections, Mossadegh became Iran’s prime minister in April 1951 and began to introduce some democratic political reforms. Mossadegh’s government, for example, soon nationalized Iran’s oil industry. In early 1950's, Mossadegh’s government also allowed the Tudeh Party activists to form the Society of Peace Partisans political group and to publish Tudeh Party literature.

But following a 1951 military agreement between the Shah of Iran and the U.S. government, the Shah of Iran and his UK imperialist and U.S. imperialist backers attempted to prevent the resurgence of the Tudeh Party in Iran under the more democratic National Front government regime. Tudeh Party publications were suppressed again and Tudeh Party street demonstrations were again banned in Iran by the Shah of Iran, following a July 14, 1951 mass demonstration in Tehran against the visit of U.S. President Harry Truman’s special envoy, Averell Harriman. And when Tudeh Party activists defied the Shah of Iran’s ban on street demonstrations on December 5, 1951 to march toward the Iranian parliament in support of demands for democratization, Iranian police suppressed the demonstration.

Yet despite the 1951 repression, by early spring 1952 the still-illegal Tudeh Party had recovered its pre-1949 political strength. In Tehran there were again around 40,000 to 50,000 Tudeh Party sympathizers and 10,000 members; and in the rest of Iran, there were around 40,000 additional Tudeh Party sympathizers and 10,000 Tudeh Party members. In early 1952, the Tudeh Party’s Youth League also numbered about 5,500 members. About 33 percent of the vote in Tehran local elections in early 1952 also went to pro-Tudeh Party candidates.

But later in 1952, the Shah of Iran, the right-wing Iranian landowners and the pro-imperialist conservatives who controlled the Iranian Army attempted to oust Dr. Mossadegh’s National Front government. In response to this attempt to oust Mossadegh’s government, there was a mass popular uprising by the Iranian left and Iranian anti-imperialist nationalists to reinstate Mossadegh to power which achieved its aims. Following Mossadegh's return to power in July 1952, Mossadegh’s National Front government then called for more redistribution of Iranian land to Iranian peasants and for large cuts in the Iranian government’s military budget. In addition, control of Iran’s War Ministry was transferred from the Shah of Iran to the office of Iranian Prime Minister Mossadegh. (end of part 13)