During the last few months, changes have occurred in the political climate of our country. On the one hand, social movements have emerged and on the other hand, a widespread new wave of repression has grown by the regime authorities. To have a better image of the situation, one needs to look at the emergence of the fundamentalist-right (FR) faction, its actions, and nuclear crisis within the last two years.
The Emerge of the FR Faction and its Actions
Within the last two years, our country has witnessed the rise of the FR faction in internal and external political scenes. This faction has followed different policies as opposed to Rafsanjani and Khatami’s policies in national and international scenes. These policies had the full support of the supreme leader, thus, were curried out as the Islamic Republic’s (IR’s) official policies. From its early days in power, FR faction started pressing public atmosphere, putting pressure on journalists, parties, political, cultural, student, and labor activists, cutting the relations between the elites and people, censoring media, publications, theatres, film production, closing and controlling information channels, filtering internet sites, banning satellites and NGO’s. It implemented a widespread repression against student movement and appointed para-military and non-elected bodies at the universities. It created a garrison-security atmosphere at the universities, broke into Tahkim-e Vahdat headquarter, and officially banned students’ Islamic associations.
The ruling faction extended its repression to the national minorities. It arrested and imprisoned their activists, closed local media, and controlled their cultural activities.
The FR faction did not even tolerate those clergies who were opposed to mixing religion and politics and arrested a handful of them. Within the last two years, this faction tried to revitalize the pre-1997 political atmosphere. In spite of being significantly successful in some areas, it faced the resistance of civic society and demand movement activists, social, political, movement of freedom loving forces and pressures from international community and was not able to give predominance of the 80’s and 90’s atmospheres over the country.
FR faction has executed policies which have been noxious to different social classes, especially workers. Ever-increasing unemployment, widespread dismissal of the workers, bankruptcy of certain industries, leaving workers and their families with no support, lack of job security, delay in wage payments, and temporary contracts are some examples.
During the presidential election, Ahmadinejad’s empty promises could attract certain layers of hard working and marginalized classes of the society. But as soon as they saw that Ahmadinejad’s current policies contradict his promises they kept distance from the dominant faction when. In reality, Ahmadinejad’s policies acted against the demands of those classes. The ruling faction has implemented a significant amount of pressure on that layer of the society who is demanding reform and changes in political structure and establishment of democracy. This faction is attempting to minimize the role of that layer in political and social changes.
The dominant faction treated a layer of bourgeoisie who emerged as an advocate of economic adjustment after Iran-Iraq war, as its opponent. This layer of bourgeoisie is not happy with the dominant faction economic policy, especially in granting profitable structural-industrial projects to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its leaders.
Ahmadinejad’s economic and management policies have created efficiency crisis and have intensified economic crisis. Widespread dismissal of the competent managers, experienced specialists and replacing them with military-security elements on one hand and, irrational decision making, widespread interferences in all social aspects of people’s lives, on another hand has created a incompetent government and has intensified the efficiency crisis. Ahmadinejad’s government inability in governing the country is the main issue of the people, even among fundamentalist faction.
In spite of unprecedented increase in oil revenue and availability of a huge amount of funds, harmony among three branches of the government, and sufficient infrastructure and man power, Ahmadinejad government’s action has caused decrease in rate of GDP as opposed to the previous years, increase in import, decease in domestic production, growth in imported products in goods and service markets, increase in vulnerability of the economy due to reliance of product and service markets on oil revenue. Decrease in the rate of use of country production capacity, bankruptcy of a number of production units and contractual companies, derangement in work of banks and leasing companies, high risk in investment, escape of man power and funds from the country, high increase in housing prices, increase in inflation, distribution of wealth and income noxious to low income people, increase in unemployment, and increase in gaps between social classes are the consequences of the Ahmadnejad’s government economic policies. FR faction has generously granted huge and profitable projects to IRGC, Basij and various institutes who are competing with private sector by having the privilege of governmental leverage. These institutes are exempted from any being audited and paying taxes. Government’s economic policy is an oil-corruption policy that has benefited the IRGC, Basij, paragovernmental institutions, and supporters of the ruling faction the most and noxious to the working, middle and low income classes, private sector and independent institutions.
By pursuing nuclear program, the ruling faction who came to power after the most recent presidential election has led our country towards a face off with the international society. Two resolutions against Iran have been ratified by the Security Council of the UN and the third one is under way. But the IR has not stopped uranium enrichment and no significant progress in Larijani-Solana’s negotiation has been made.
During the last few months, the IR has insisted on uranium enrichment and the US and EU have been working on new policies to implement more pressures on Iran:
- During their recent summit, G8 leaders have concluded the connection between nuclear program and terrorism. They have accused the IR of being involved in nuclear activities and terrorism.
- Bush’s administration has accused the IR of new terrorism activities within the last few months. Accusing the IR of terrorist activities in Iraq and Afghanistan can create an atmosphere for military action.
- US Senate has ratified unanimously an annexation to the Pentagon budget which has asked Iran to stop its support of insurgents and para-military forces in Iraq.
- House of Representatives’ Foreign Policy and International Relations Committee approved a new law to ban oil companies who invest in Iran. This is a new chapter in cooperation between Republicans and Democrats against the IR.
- Bush’s administration claims that the IR is pursuing nuclear program and is the biggest financial, training and arm sources for terrorist groups in the Middle East. It is also trying to convince the world that the IR is the most serious threat to the world peace.
- European countries are preparing the first draft of the third sanction resolution against Iran. This draft says: “Iranian aircrafts and ships will be banned of landing, transiting and passing through international waters. Two main banks (National bank and Saderat bank) will be blocked and arm deals with Iran will be banned. More military and security official trips and even Russians activities in nuclear power plant in Bushehr will be banned. High ranking officials of defense, intelligence, and High Security Council are included and even trips of family members of the IRGC will be banned.” Military option is still on the table of Bush’s administration and widespread logistic activities are underway in this regards.
The United States has increased storing its most advanced and deadliest weapons in the Persian Gulf region. At this situation, a military suicidal operation from the IRGC and Basij against US naval forces or evidence of the Qods Guard role in terrorist operations and killings of American soldiers in Iraq, or being convinced that the IR has capabilities of enriching uranium can be pretext for a military attack by Bush’s administration against Iran.
Although, there are differences between Democrats and Republicans in the US and between US and the European policies towards Iran, but there are clear evidences that both Democrats and Republicans will act against the IR. Also there are not serious differences among the Security Council members with respect to sanctions and pressures against Iran. Moderates, who believe in seriousness of military attack from hardliners in the US against Iran, are willing to prevent military operations by imposing tougher sanctions.
It is apparent that sanctions will increase during the next few months. Regime’s officials declaim that the Security Council sanctions have not had affect on economic, social, and political situation and the government has been able to neutralize the international activities against the IR. But rush and unplanned decision in rationing gasoline by Ahmadinejad’s government indicates that what the regime says is just another bluff.
The IR has made a great deal of preparations, such as transferring its nuclear program to underground tunnels, rationing gasoline, and preparing numerous flour storages for unseen situations, to face military attacks and sanctions.
Outlook of Nuclear Crisis in the Near Future
In spite of some hopes such as direct negotiation between Iran and the US on Iraq and allowing IAEA inspectors to visit heavy water reactor in Arak, nuclear crisis has continued to exist and there is no sign of solution for it. The IR is still insisting on uranium enrichment.
At the same time, the IR is trying to express its willingness in having “the big bargain” with the US and EU if its demands were accepted. In midterm, there is one possibility that the IR would come to understanding the reality that because of the international pressures, intensified sanctions, internal crises, and people’s objections, the very existence of the regime would be in question. Thus, the regime authorities may be willing to comply with the Security Council demand and, as they did during the Iran-Iraq war, “drink off the cup of poison”.
Because of its unique economic situation, the IR in short term will be able to handle the sanction without facing serious difficulties but not in midterm. As consequence of sanctions, economy wheels will slow down and the society will face severe difficulties. Even now, sanctions have affected political, economic, and social aspects of people’s lives and have changed their views about nuclear program. In the past years, regime was able to make a national issue of nuclear program. But, as the time went by and regime’s purposes were divulged and people felt the consequences of the international sanctions and Iran was isolated internationally, the IR lost people’s popular support of the nuclear program. People know that regime’s persistence in nuclear program, uranium enrichment and hostility with the US will be noxious to our national interests.
Rise of Social Movements
Ahmadinejad’s presidency and his FR policies in political, social, and cultural aspects convinced the political forces and social movements that the atmosphere was not suitable for aggressive tactics. To minimize the cost of struggle and resistance against the ruling faction they started a retreat and resistance tactic.
But the FR faction’s act cost them a defeat in local elections and weakened their positions in the society. At the same time, it deepened the social crevices and caused emerge of demand and social movements. Teachers’ movement was the first emerge. They started their protest before the New Year. Workers, women, and students joined the protest movements. Student movement stepped in again and raised the democracy and justice flag.
Obviously, each movement has its own characters which distinguish them from one another. Workers are asking for their guild demands, wage and unions. Women’s demands clash with the constitution, political structure, and ideology of the regime, but they currently are asking for their guild and civil rights. The Students’ pro-reform movement is fighting against theocratic dictatorship, for freedom, democracy, and social justice.
In spite of having differences, all the existing movements face the dictatorship wall and their struggles move to political level. Currently, fighting for freedom and human rights against the ruling dictatorship is the element which links various movements.
During the months prior to the presidential election, political activists, in particular secular forces were in the political arena. Because of deepening social crevices, this has changed and demand and social movements have strong presence in the political and social arenas.
The presence of social movements does not guarantee their capabilities. These movements have serious weaknesses. They lack the support of various social movements and regime is trying to make them passive by mortal strikes.
Propagation of Suppression and Short Term perspectives
Within the last couple of years, the FR faction was facing political and social forces’ resistance and was not able to control the society. But, within the last few months, especially last few weeks this faction has started a widespread suppression.
FR faction who was unsuccessful in achieving its goals through “suppression and control project” has started “widespread suppression project” such as; arresting several students, invasion of students’ headquarter and banning their associations and publications, forcing out secular university professors, trying and sentencing women movement’s activists, arresting and imprisoning teachers, banning and censoring media and publications, sentencing national minority activists, arresting few Iranians who were citizens of foreign countries, execution of tens of people on the ground of insurgency, and controlling public domain on the ground of fighting “bad veiling”, “insurgency”, and addiction.
To understand the reasoning behind this widespread suppression, one should analyze the current situation of the ruling faction. This faction is:
- Facing numerous social crises, such as economic and efficiency crises;
- Encountering different social groups;
- Losing support of lower layers of the society, because of increase in unemployment and inflation;
- Facing nuclear crisis, intensified international pressures and Security Council sanctions which have already affected people’s daily life;
- Emerge of demand and social movements and smelling the danger of widespread public dissatisfaction and social revolts;
- Being isolated internationally and gradually among the various social groups of the country and having the support of a small group of the people.
At this situation, FR faction has felt the threat and has started a widespread suppression. Internationally, for the ruling faction there is not much room left for maneuver. Nationally, there is no room for propaganda either. Ahmadinejad and his allies in power are facing number of social crises and are not able to deceive people with propaganda.
Ruling faction is seeing its fate inseparable from the fate of the whole theocratic system and believes that its own future and regime future would be guaranteed by implementing an aggressive policy in closing political atmosphere and arresting opponents. This faction, who has emerged from securitymilitary institutes, is envisioning the political, social, and cultural issues and foreign affairs as security-military matters and is trying to create a security-military atmosphere to guarantee regime’s future. At the same time, it is terrified by seeing international pressures and political-social activist demands merge. It does not want to fight at two fronts simultaneously. The ruling faction is extremely terrified by the upcoming parliament election. While traditional-right and FR factions are scattered, reformists are united and have created a coalition. By creating a fearful atmosphere, the ruling faction is aiming to eliminate its political opponents and guarantee the victory of garrison parties in the next election.
While evidences of the last few months are showing that the ruling faction is preparing to face the consequences of the international sanctions and military actions of President Bush, it is clear that it is frightened to lose the control over the society and face revolts. FR faction is seeing the solution in complete establishment of a totalitarian regime. Hence, it is moving towards controlling all social aspects and eliminating its opponents.
Necessity for Resistance against Complete Establishment of Totalitarian Regime and Intensifying Suppression
At this situation, political forces, social movements and democratic institutions should resist against tightening the political atmosphere and complete establishment of totalitarian regime and fight for political-social freedom and human rights.
Resistance and organizing resistance are the main issues of the present time. The Central Council of the Organization of the Iranian People’s Fedaian (Majority) is asking all fellow citizens, political, cultural, and social forces, and all freedom loving people to stand up against the increasing suppression wave and support social movement activists and not to let the totalitarian regime completely controls the country.
The necessity of the day is that all democratic and pro-republic forces unite and resist against increasing suppression and fight for freedom and human rights. Our organization’s Central Council is inviting all democratic and pro-republic forces to work towards cooperation and widespread unification of pro-republic forces.
Central Council of The Organization of Iranian People’s Fedaian (Majority)
August 1, 2007