Iran: prospects for the left

Anne Mc Shane reports on a successful meeting in Cork, and looks forward to the February 13-20 Week of Action called by Hands Off the People of Iran

On January 28 the Historical Society at University College Cork, hosted a useful meeting. The theme was the history of the ‘new left’ in Iran and the talk was presented by Yassamine Mather. Over 50 people attended and took part in the discussion, which was wide-ranging and thought-provoking.

Some Iranian students argued that ‘reformist’ leader Mir-Hossein Moussavi would be a step forward compared to the present government. It was said that the working class could become stronger under a ‘reformist’ administration.

Yassamine answered that Moussavi has now accepted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election as president and has conciliated with the regime. He fears the masses and is willing to broker a compromise to undermine the movement for change. If he gets into power he will move to crush the struggle, not facilitate it. He was prime minister in the 1980s when thousands of activists were massacred by the regime. Moussavi is not in essence different from Ahmadinejad. He and the ‘reformists’ want to preserve the status quo.

A question was raised about whether Ahmadinejad is an ally against Israeli domination of the Middle East. Yassamine replied that his was a fake anti-imperialism and the true relationship with Israel is less belligerent than Ahmadinejad pretends. He is willing to make whatever deals are necessary, both with imperialism and with the Israeli government, to stay in power and maintain Iran’s own regional influence.

The issue of national minorities within Iran was explored, and it was acknowledged as a vital issue in the struggle.

The kind of solidarity we could provide was also discussed and Yassamine said that she believed we need to give support to the prisoners arrested during the recent struggles. We need to demand an immediate end to executions and the unconditional release of all political prisoners now.

Hopi in Cork will follow this successful meeting with a continuing programme of solidarity. We will hold a week of action from February 13-20. This will include street stalls, meetings and other fundraising activity.

An organising meeting will take place this coming Tuesday February 9, at 7.30pm at Solidarity Books in Douglas Street. For further information and to get involved, contact me on 086 23 43 238, at Anne@hopoi.info or via www.hopi-ireland.org

Hopi Week of Action February 13-20

Manchester: Saturday February 13: Day school, University of Manchester students union, meeting room 1, Oxford Road, M13, 1pm. Sessions on ‘Imperialism and Iran’, ‘The Iranian revolution 1979 and today’. Followed by fundraiser, 6pm, Whitworth Arms, 508 Moss Lane East, Rusholme, Manchester, M14.

London, Friday February 19, 7pm: Solidarity gig, Ryan’s Bar, Church Street, Stoke Newington, N16. £5 (£10 concessions).