A reminder

The disgraceful role of Campaign Iran, outlined by Tina Becker

In 2005, the SWP joined forces with Casmii (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran) to form Campaign Iran. Casmii’s leading figure, Abbas Edalat, was used by the SWP to argue against Hands Off the People of Iran’s policy of opposing both imperialism’s war plans and the theocratic regime of Iran.

In various meetings organised by Campaign Iran, he assured the audience that there are “no forces in Iran who are fighting both against the threat of an imperialist intervention and the regime” (Weekly Worker April 26 2007). Arguing (successfully) against Hands Off the People of Iran’s affiliation to the Stop the War Coalition in 2007, he told the STWC conference that you cannot condemn any move to invade Iran if you also tell “ordinary member of the public” that it is headed by a “vicious, repressive regime”, as this would only “confuse” workers who were “already confused by the massive demonisation of Iran” (Weekly Worker November 1 2007).

He said Hopi should not be allowed to affiliate because its politics of opposition both to war and the regime was “divisive”. A line that was then repeated by SWP members, not least those now supporting the Left Platform - for example, when SWP delegates tried, unsuccessfully, to prevent the Public and Commercial Services union from affiliating to Hopi (see Weekly Worker May 29 2008).

Also speaking at the 2007 STWC conference was Somaye Zadeh, a member of the Left Platform and a steward at last week’s Campaign Iran meeting in London. In October 2007, she moved the main motion on Iran, which was adopted at conference - clearly in response to Hands Off the People Iran’s motion for affiliation.

In her unforgettable speech, she outlined the “five lies” that were being spread against Iran, including “lie number five: Iran is a repressive and undemocratic country”.

Yes, she said, “there are restrictions on who can stand in elections”, but “both the current president [Ahmadinejad] and his predecessor Khatami were voted in with overwhelming popular support.”

Yes, Ahmadinejad does not like homosexuals much, but “Iran does allow sex changes and in fact the average number of sex changes in Iran is seven times that in the whole of Europe”.

Yes, “there are restrictions” against women, but “the literacy rate amongst women is 98%. And 64% of university students are women ... Iran has the only squad of female firefighters anywhere in the Middle East. It has had a female champion race car driver.”

Her extraordinary contribution, which was featured on the STWC’s website until very recently, is still available on YouTube[1] and the Weekly Worker published the extracts of her outrageous speech.[2]

About a year ago, the SWP’s central committee fell out with Abbas Edalat. Since then, there have been two Campaign Irans: the Left Platform’s lot (campaigniran.wordpress.com) and Edalat’s group, which also trades under the name of Casmii (www.campaigniran.org). For a taste of the latter’s politics, go to its website, where you will find prominently featured on the home page an article entitled ‘Analysis of multiple polls finds little evidence Iranian public sees government as illegitimate’.

At least those reactionaries stayed true to their line. The SWP, as so often, quietly changed its tune without ever justifying it or explaining why.


  1. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Hq5hKzx6O0
  2. Weekly Worker  November 1 2007.