Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Letter to The Call: More on Iran Question

First Published: The Call, Vol. 3, No. 5, February 1975.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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This letter is in response to two letters which appeared in the December issue of Revolution (newspaper of the Revolutionary Union– ed.),one of which also appeared in the January issue of THE CALL, concerning the question of Iran and the OL position as outlined in the October CALL.

First off, it is becoming increasingly clear that Iran is taking a stand on the question of Soviet social-imperialism and its attempt at intervention in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean, Nobody seems to argue that the Shah has not been against Soviet intervention. The main argument has been that in doing so the Shah is not functioning as a member of the United Front Against Imperialism, but as a tool of US imperialism. There are two mistakes here. The first is not to see the importance of the attempts by the Shah to exercise independence from US imperialism. The second is to underestimate the danger of Soviet social-imperialism. Both are examples of substituting subjective ideas for objective reality.

The very existence of Iran as a member of OPEC is strong indication of the progressive direction of the Shah’s regime in relation to imperialism. The letter writers insist on seeing only the negative. It is true that the US has tried to force the Shah into reactionary stands in OPEC, but from their point of view this is just making the best of a bad situation. If they had their way, the Shah would have refused to join OPEC. If the Shah were nothing but a divisive tool of imperialism in OPEC, he probably would have been kicked out. Teng Hsiao-Ping in his speech to the UN said, “The imperialists, and particularly the superpowers, are taking advantage of temporary differences between the developing countries.to sow dissension and disrupt unity so as to continue their manipulation, control and plunder. We must maintain full vigilance. Differences among us . . . can very well be resolved . . . through consultation between the parties concerned.” It seems that the ultra-“lefts” are also trying to take advantage of these differences for their own ends.

The second aspect of the error involved is to underestimate the threat of Soviet social-imperialism. In the first letter the Iranian comrade goes so far as to list all the countries which have imperialized the Persian Gulf and then refers to the Soviet Union as yet “another name” and asks if Iranians “should care if particularly the Soviet social-imperialists should plunder Iran’s oil this time around?” It is Soviet social-imperialism which is most threatening the sovereignty of the Persian Gulf states now, it is this imperialism which is on the rise, while US imperialism is on the decline.

In Struggle, J.S., Chicago