[Marxism] Revolutionary Guards and the Iran-Iraq War (was Socialist Men, Muslims, and the "Woman Question")

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jul 25 15:37:28 MDT 2006

>Just my personal take on things,
>Lou Paulsen
>member, Workers World Party    www.workersworld.net
>Embryonic blog at

Your personal take? How fortunate since it seems to overlap with the views 
of your party:

Sharp debate breaks out at Iran forum
By Special to Workers World
White Plains, N.Y.
Published Sep 18, 2005 9:06 PM

A lively and important political debate broke out over the question of Iran 
and U.S. imperialism at a forum here on Sept. 10, when the main speaker—who 
was expect ed to oppose U.S. war moves against Iran—instead opened up an 
attack on the Iranian government.

The sponsors of the meeting, the American-Iranian Friendship Committee and 
the Engage Program of United Memorial Methodist Church, were expecting the 
featured speaker—Morteza Mohit—to expose the aggressive intentions of 
Washington towards Iran. In particular, it was hoped that he would deliver 
a strong defense of the Tehran government’s battle to keep Iran’s 
independence and assert its right to develop nuclear technology.

These expectations were based upon the fact that Mohit, a writer and 
researcher, was imprisoned for several years under the Shah. He also claims 
to be a Marxist and has translated some works of Karl Marx into Farsi. And 
indeed, his lecture began with a sharp, general historical critique of 

But to the surprise of the audience and the sponsors, he ended his exposé 
of the U.S. government’s aggressive policies towards Iran with the year 
1953—when a CIA coup overthrew the elected nationalist government of 
Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the repressive regime of Shah Mohammed 
Reza Pahlevi, and U.S. oil companies took over Iranian oil.

Mohit then launched into a one-sided and sharp criticism of Ayatollah 
Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the anti-imperialist revolution that overthrew 
the shah. He dwelt on the well-known reactionary aspects of the Khomeini 
regime, such as the suppression of the left, but neglected to mention the 
unbridled hostility of Washington to the anti-imperialist intransigence of 
the Islamic Republic. He even claimed that the U.S. government wanted 
Khomeini to rule because it knew he would attack the left.

Mohit then spoke in critical tones about the government of the recently 
elected president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He dismissed the “axis of evil” 
designation of Iran by President Bush and the “nuclear conflict” as “not 
serious” and a cover for “Iran working with the U.S. government in Iraq.” 
He alluded to unspecified “behind the scenes maneuvers” and 
unsubstantiated, undocumented and unpublicized “protocols” regarding Iraq 
allegedly signed by Iran and then-Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The title of the forum was “U.S. Foreign Policy: the Case of Iran,” but the 
event was becoming a forum to condemn the internal conduct and character of 
the Iranian government. There was no mention of Washington’s campaign to 
destroy the Kho meini government or of the looming foreign policy crisis 
flowing from Wash ington’s determination to deny Iran the right to develop 
nuclear technology.

Early in the discussion period, Ardeshir Ommani, head of the 
American-Iranian Friendship Committee, took the floor. He acknowledged that 
“Iran is not a bourgeois democratic government. But,” he said, “Iran must 
be judged in the context of world affairs. Iran is one of the most 
independent governments in the world. In terms of trade, in terms of 
capital investment and in military terms the Iranian government resists 

Ommani charged that alluding to so-called “behind the scenes” agreements is 
insufficient information. And even if there were agreements, he continued, 
“Iran has every right to make agreements to protect itself when it is 
surrounded by 35 military bases.”

He asked Mohit: “Does Iran as a country, as a people, as an entity in 
existence for 2,000 years, have the right to develop nu clear energy for 
peaceful purposes—not merely the Islamic Republic, but Iran as a nation?” 
Mohit never answered the question.

On the question of the Khomeini regime, Ommani asked Mohit: “What about the 
people of Iran? Millions of people supported Khomeini. We as communists 
could support his struggle against imperialism but we could not support 
him. But [his victory] was the result of historical circumstances. We 
cannot blame Khomeini because the people did not support us.”

As the discussion proceeded, Mohit called the Iranian elections “totally 
corrupted” despite the overwhelming landslide victory of Ahmadinejad over 
former President Akbar Hasemi Rafsanjani—a wealthy conservative turned 
pro-IMF “free market” advocate of opening Iran up to privatization and 
transnational corporations.

When an ally of Mohit’s in the audience called the Iranian government 
“fascist,” Ommani took the floor again to point out the dangers of such 
slander. “Fascism,” Ommani asserted, “has a specific meaning which does not 
apply to the Iranian government. This was just invective, calling 
Ahmadinejad a bad guy.”

“How did the Iraq War get set up by U.S. imperialism?” Ommani asked. “First 
the U.S. demonized the regime, calling it dictatorial and comparing it to 
fascism. Next they declared the elections of Saddam invalid and not the 
expression of any popular support. And then they created a campaign against 
weapons of mass destruction and said that Iraq was a threat. These are 
precisely the charges that Washington is making now against the government 
of Iran.”

Ommani charged that “Marxist language is being used here as a cover to 
argue the very line that U.S. imperialism is promoting in order to prepare 
for a war against Iran.”

Mohit again ignored Ommani’s charges and referred to the time of “the great 
democratic election” when Mohammed Kha tami, the reformer, won. “At that 
time,” said Mohit, “the prestige and respect for Iran went way up in the 
world. So much, that President Clinton had to say nice things about Iran 
and Madeleine Albright apologized for the 1953 coup.”

Fred Goldstein, a leader of Workers World Party, asked from the audience: 
“Prestige with whom? With U.S. imperialism?”

Goldstein pointed out, “Cuba is one of the most respected governments in 
the world for all its accomplishments and its ability to survive 90 miles 
from the door step of the U.S. But that respect is among the masses of 
people of the world. And it has not brought Washington one inch closer to 
Cuba. With the Khatami election, Washington thought they saw a weak spot 
and they tried to move in. The maneuver failed.”

‘Get imperialism off their backs!’

Mohit consistently referred in negative terms to Islamic forces such as 
Hamas and Hezbollah, both of which get aid from Iran. He criticized Iran 
for strengthening their “terrorist” side as opposed to their “social” 

Goldstein concluded, “The truth is that U.S. imperialism, working with the 
Saudi monarch and other reactionary forces in the Middle East and Central 
Asia, spent billions of dollars and turned the CIA loose in the region to 
exterminate the communists and the left. The destruction of the Afghanistan 
Revolution, which first gave women rights and tried to help the poor, is a 
prime example.

“Bourgeois nationalism, in countries like Egypt and Algeria, has completely 
failed to help the masses and has fallen under the domination of 
imperialism. But the struggle against imperialism continues and in this 
region of the world, Islamic forces have filled the vacuum in many 
instances. It is up to the people of the region to decide their own 
internal destiny, but they must be able to do it free from the intervention 
of imperialism. Our job is to get the U.S. government off their backs.”

Ellie Ommani, who was chairing the meeting, displayed a full-page newspaper 
ad in the New York MetroNews published by right-wing media mogul Rupert 
Murdoch. The ad for a demonstration against the Iranian United Nations 
delegation that is arriving in New York this week had a picture of a 
mushroom cloud and talked of Iran’s “nuclear terrorism.” The demonstration 
is sponsored by monarchists who want the shah back and by the People’s 
Mujahadeen, which has become a pawn of the CIA. Someone in the audience 
asked aloud: “I wonder who paid for such an expensive ad?”

The meeting ended on an up note with loud applause as Ellie Ommani called 
for “unity in our determination to fight to get the U.S. government off the 
back of the Iranian government and allow it to function in freedom and 

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