Special to the World
The following is a statement by the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran on that country’s June 12 presidential elections.
Iran’s 10th presidential elections will be held June 12 under very critical circumstances. Four years after the coming to power of the anti-people and deeply reactionary administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the people will be going to the polls at a time when an overwhelming majority are living under conditions much worse than before and face backbreaking economic pressures, severe suppression and deep poverty. Ahmadinejad was hand-picked and installed by the Supreme Leader and is the representative of the military-security forces of the country.
Among the factors that have triggered the people’s deep and extensive discontent against the regime of Velayat-e-Faqih (the rule of the Supreme Religious Leader) and its appointed administration are detrimental economic policies, which have caused bankruptcy of the manufacturing sector and increased the already high unemployment and inflation rates.
The regime leaders, their dependents and the military-security complex have wasted and misused at an unprecedented level the country’s astronomical oil incomes in the last four years. They have heightened the atmosphere of suppression and terror along with ongoing attacks on the working class, women’s, youth and students’ movements. They have also intensified pressure on religious and national minorities.
To say Ahmadinejad’s government has been one of the most reactionary governments in the 30-year history of the Islamic Republic regime would not be a baseless claim.
Differences between 2005 and 2009
The presidential election in 2005 [when Ahmadinejad was elected] was held under very different circumstances from today.
During the eight years of the Khatami administration (1997-2005) there were serious inadequacies, including the inability of that administration to deliver the promises they made and to advance reforms. Their inaction on improving the conditions of the people, the working class and especially low-paid workers, caused a large portion of these social forces to be disheartened and disappointed with the reform process. Many abstained from participating in the 2005 elections.
Harmful divisions among the reformists in government, plus the decision by a large portion of the opposition to boycott the 2005 elections, allowed the reactionaries to organize and engage the military and security forces to support the most fitting agent to press forward its agenda.
Now substantial sections of the population have experienced four years of devastating government policies and feel its direct and indirect impact on their daily lives. Because of these experiences, people are now approaching the elections with a different point of view from June 2005.
Signs indicate the people want to free themselves from Ahmadinejad’s government. In the coming days, the will of the people must be converted to a broad showing at the polls.
Possibilities, hurdles and complexities
With Mir-Hossein Mousavi’s entry into the presidential race and with the sudden departure of Mohammad Khatami (undoubtedly influenced by the Supreme Leader) the presidential election is facing serious hurdles and complexities.
In the past few weeks, the Tudeh Party has criticized the vagueness of the reformist candidates’ policies and asked for clarification of the candidates’ positions.
Standing against the reformist candidates are Ahmadinejad, factions close to Khamenei (the Supreme Leader) and Mohsen Reza’i representing sections of fundamentalist forces opposing Ahmadinejad. These fundamentalists believe four years of Ahmadinejad has undermined their interests. These two other opposition groups are participating in the elections against a background of serious disagreements among the supporters of the Supreme Leader regime over the incompetence of the Ahmadinejad administration.
If the election is held without extensive interference and fraud on the part of forces affiliated with the Revolutionary Corps, the Basij militia and the thugs attached to the office of the Supreme Leader, then individuals like Ahmadinejad and Reza’i will face a heavy defeat. Reports indicate that ruling circles are aware of this fact and are planning to organize extensive vote rigging. This plot can be defeated only through the powerful presence of millions of people at the polls, imposing their supervision on the process.
Having experienced the last four years, it is not right to stay neutral and decide not to participate in the elections. Staying neutral and adopting the role of a mere observer of the events will only serve the crisis-ridden policies of Ahmadinejad’s government.
The election campaign is an important arena for struggle against the regime of Velayat-e-Faqih , and an avenue to expose the anti-people track record of the regime and its appointed government in various arenas.
Furthermore, the election is an opportunity for mobilizing the social forces across the country, for joint efforts and cooperation of progressive and freedom-loving forces to counteract the plots of the reaction. Encouraging the people to stay at home and boycotting the elections under the pretext of “not legitimizing the regime” not only will not solve any problem; it serves the policies of reaction to control the outcome of the elections. Refraining from participating in the elections could only be justified if it could become an incisive tool in discarding the regime of Velayat-e-Faqih .
Taking advantage of the limited possibilities available, in order to organize and make an effort to impose the demands of people on the reformist candidates, is a step towards revitalizing the spirit of struggle and overcoming the setbacks due to the Ahmadinejad regime.
Election candidates and the Tudeh Party
Immediately after the reformists announced their candidacies, we stressed the need for clarification of their policies and viewpoints. In recent weeks, both representatives of the reformist groups have stated their positions and declared their viewpoints about political, social and economic issues. Our party examined the plans announced by the reformist candidates, and also reviewed the past track record of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi. Our estimate is, given the capacity and capability of these candidates, even if they keep their promises and deliver the programs they have proclaimed, they could help the revitalization of the reform process only to a limited extent.
Eight years of Khatami’s government proved that preserving the existing power structure in Iran, compromise and submission to the regime of Velayat-e-Faqih, and lack of reliance on the masses is a serious hurdle against effecting positive developments in society. Observing the rights and freedom of people and moving on the path to fundamental and democratic developments are not possible in a country in which the law and executive power and military and security forces are exclusively in the hands of one person, i.e. the Supreme Leader. It is only with discarding this principle that the aforementioned changes could be made.
The reform process is about creating opportunities for organization and growth of the popular movement and mobilizing and equipping such a movement that could eventually impose the will of people on the ruling reaction.
On this basis, our party views the process of election not within the sole framework of voting for Mousavi or Karrubi, but to mobilize forces to defeat Ahmadinejad and Reza’i as the candidates of the Supreme Leader’s regime.
Voting for reformist candidates means voting “No” to the Supreme Leader and his candidates. We believe that people will succeed in vigilantly doing so.
The Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran calls upon the politically-conscious people of Iran and all the forces that support reform, freedom and justice to join forces in the struggle to defeat the candidates of reaction: Mahmood Ahmadinejad and Mohsen Reza’i. Succeeding in this task is one step, even though small, towards alleviating the current pressures and moving toward revitalizing the reform process and rebuilding the social forces for the future crucial struggles to discard the regime of Velayat-e-Faqih.
In these circumstances, the ruling reaction will do all in its power to prevent the realization of the people’s will.
The united will and action of millions of voters in this most crucial election could play an instrumental role in favor of the national interests and in resolving the country’s serious socio-economic and political problems.
This is not the time to stay at home and leave the ballot boxes entirely to the supporters of the Supreme Leader. The void left by millions of people will be filled with manufactured and rigged votes of the reactionaries monopolizing power. This must not be allowed to happen!