Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

UNITY interviews a member of Ranjbaran Party

Iran today: An Iranian Marxist-Leninist View

First Published: Unity, Vol. 3, No. 13, June 24-July 3, 1980.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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UNITY recently interviewed Ali, a member of the Central Committee of the Ranjbaran (Proletarian) Party of Iran, on the situation in Iran today, the issues facing the country and the views of the Ranjbaran Party. The Ranjbaran Party is a Marxist-Leninist party that was founded last December out of the merger of nine organizations.

UNITY: It is over a year now since the success of the Iranian revolution. Could you talk a little about the situation with respect to the threat to Iran today from the two superpowers?

Ali: Both the U.S. and the Soviet Union are interested in our country. It is a very critical area for their rivalry; they constantly create instability. But the U.S. imperialists and the Soviet Union, they don’t understand what is happening in Iran, and they will not succeed.

American imperialism thinks it can force us to do this or that with the economic sanctions. They don’t know that we didn’t have anything to eat before anyway. Our people were eating one meal a day. They are eating much more now, since there is no Shah to steal $14 billion.

It is also apparent that the U.S. has agents inside Iran, and is trying to infiltrate people into Iran. For instance, we know they are supporting General Oveissi (a former top officer in the Shah’s army – ed.) who is now in Iraq. There is a great deal of creating disunity here and there. There are sabotages here and there. We feel that much of these are done by the U.S.

But the U.S. position in Iran is very weak. If the U.S. would have gotten to the Embassy (during the rescue attempt), within minutes there would have been a million people there. And the people wouldn’t go just to watch. Such is the consciousness of the people.

Actually the U.S. is so feeble in Iran. But the Soviet Union is very fresh. Its tricks are very fresh. Our people haven’t had that much experience like the experience they had with the U.S.

UNITY: What is the role of the Soviet Union?

Ali: First of all, the Soviet Union has got its troops all around us. It’s got troops on our border in the north. It’s got its troops on the border with Afgahanistan. It has Warsaw Pact troops in South Yemen. It has its fleet all over the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

Secondly, it has its direct fifth column in Iran, called the Tudeh Party. Their trick right now is to prepare the society for a coup, because they can never find a mass base. From the experiences of Afghanistan and Chile, they have theorized that a coup is one of the best things to do. They are trying to prepare the society psychologically, and how they do it is like this. Their papers and organizations in appearance say they support the government. But in every other thing they do, in who they give arms to, in the other newspapers they have indirect control in, they are creating disturbances and instability for the government. They attack the government as not a national government; they call it agents of a foreign government.

The Soviet Union is also penetrating in the military and other organizations. For example, they have penetrated into an organization called the Mujahideen.

UNITY: What has been the stand of the Iranian government towards the Soviet Union?

Ali: It is very interesting. When Foreign Minister Ghotbzadeh went to Yugoslavia for Tito’s funeral, the Soviet Union told him, “We are a good friend, a good neighbor.” And Ghotbzadeh answered, “Yes, and you are also a good neighbor for Afghanistan.” The major policy of our government has been very firm against the Soviet Union, and also against the U.S.

There are some people in the government who follow a policy of appeasement towards the Soviet Union. They want to replace the U.S. with the Soviet Union. And we constantly expose these people. One of them is Mokri, the Iranian ambassador to the Soviet Union.

But if the Soviet Union ever comes into Iran, this will be its grave. We feel that Iran can never be defeated again.

UNITY: Could you talk about some of the domestic problems Iran is facing today?

Ali: One area is the economy. Right now inflation is around 15 to 20%. Many of the factories are working at 40% of their actual capacity. After the revolution, our consumption has increased, but our production has not. We still haven’t started new industries – most of the economy is still reliant on oil. This is the disastrous economy we have inherited from the Shah’s regime. Of course it takes time to reorganize the whole thing. We have done better in the past year, although the economy hasn’t really picked up yet. But the people are patient.

There are two reasons why we don’t have the economy going. First of all, there isn’t enough political stability. In an unstable political situation, the workers can’t work very well, and the national bourgeoisie can’t invest. You have to have certain rules for banks, loans, for the whole structure of the economy. The other reason is that there are people who are phony “leftists.” They have become phrase-mongers really, and they are causing instability.

There are several reasons for this instability. One is the interference and sabotage by the two superpowers. One is the sabotage of the so-called “left,” which in practice is aligned with the Soviet Union. Another is there are people who want to monopolize power. Unfortunately, there are factions in the government, who try to monopolize the power in their own hands. These people are in appearance pro-Islamic in philosophy, but nevertheless they fight amongst themselves.

We in the Ranjbaran Party are very much against this. We think the people in the government should unite themselves first of all. The main thing for the Iranian people is unity right now in order to withstand foreign intervention and overcome all political and economic difficulties.

Who benefits from this instability? The people who put the oil on the fire, the agents of the Soviet Union. The Tudeh Party and different organizations who are in the Soviet Union’s line, they want to make the instability worse, because they benefit very directly from it.

But we want to make this instability change to stability.

UNITY: How do you look at the situation of the American hostages?

Ali: The main thing is the crimes of the U.S. against Iran and for the U.S. to meet it’s demands. The hostage situation, while it has mobilized truly millions of Iranian people against U.S. imperialism, it also has many shortcomings to it. For instance, it has busied our government and our nation for all these past six months. We haven’t done some of the basic things we have to do to fight U.S. imperialism, for instance our economic recovery. Another thing is that it makes our struggle very one-sided, because it forgets the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has taken advantage of this atmosphere to propagate its policies. Fortunately President Bani-Sadr and some of the responsible members of the government are very firm and are very clear on this. For instance, in the past six months Kayhan and Ettelat, two major newspapers, were penetrated by Soviet agents from the Tudeh Party. But in the past week, under Khomeini’s order and Bani-Sadr’s efforts, these two papers were taken over by good forces. They have put people in the top that we know very well. They have a very clear line of “neither West, nor East.”

UNITY: Could you talk about the work of the Ranjbarah Party?

Ali: It’s been about five months since its founding congress, and I could say some of its achievements. First of all, its unity is very good. Nine groups and organizations and collectives united to create a party. Our unity is so good that even other groups that oppose us must admire our unity. And most important, our influence among the people is rising. In the beginning, it was more difficult, because people weren’t very clear about who is a true communist and who is not. Many people had very bad experiences for years, maybe for one or two generations, with the Tudeh Party. They didn’t accept us very well either. But over the last year, with our explanations that we are communists working for Iranian interests, not for the interests of the Soviet Union or any other power, their attitude towards us changed completely.

They know we like Khomeini. They know we accept his leadership for the Iranian people, for this revolution. They know we voted for the Islamic Republic.

For instance, with the people’s committees that control different parts of the cities, in the beginning, a year ago, sometimes when for various reasons we would get arrested, we would have a rough time. But now it’s very good, they know us. Whenever they see we are writing slogans on the walls or selling Ranjbar (the party newspaper), they say “Good luck to you.”

But we have much more work to do to spread our influence and make a mass base in Iran. To do anything in Iran, it is essential to have the mass base.

We are very confident in our people. The atmosphere in Iran since the revolution is very jubilant and the Iranian people really feel their freedom. It is like boiling water when you have taken off the top.