He was shot thrice in the chest and died on the way to the hospital. He has been buried in Behesht e Zahra cemetary section 257, row 50, number 19.
To listen to my interview on BBC’s Woman’s Hour on banning the burka, click here.
To see video sung in Farsi/English in support of Iranian people, click here.
Tyranny and repression unavoidably depict an inverted and distorted picture of the political realities of society. The fall of dictatorial regimes has always produced outcomes other than what the political observers had expected according to their previous observations. It is quite understandable that in a repressed atmosphere the true character, power and programmes of political parties or forces, the balance of power between social forces, the direction and pace of political trends and, most significantly, the true political and social inclinations of the people and of various social classes, would not find an accurate reflection.
Iran under the Islamic regime is a living example of a repressed political environment with a distorted political profile and hidden history-making trends. Judged by the appearances, the present and future political personages of Iran are to be found among the likes of Khatami, Yazdi and Soroosh. Apparently, ‘worker’ and ‘communist’ are not forces present at the centre stage of politics. Apparently, what determines the fate of Iran is Khatami’s smile and Khamenei’s health. Apparently, the discourses determining Iran’s future are the regurgitations, over and over again, of the slogans of the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and Mullahfied versions of the demand for the ‘House of Justice’, which under the title of ‘civil society’ saturate the pages of the apparently ‘influential’ publications of the apparently ‘dissenting’ circles close to the regime itself.
News reporters and news fabricators, professors of oriental studies, experts from the Western states, nationalist parties and patriots, Third Worldist groups and those ‘smitten’ by the East, which, for a time, for reasons beyond their own control, delusively thought of themselves as communist, are all eagerly gazing at this jumbled scene, this warped picture, and receiving their conceptions, beliefs and inspirations from it. If we believe them, Iran stands at the threshold of yet another Islamic salvation. Domesticated Mullahs, together with an Islam perfumed with the rose-water of ‘modernity’, with Muslim-enough dissenting thinkers and dissenting-enough Muslims, with a law inspired by Islamic faith and a theocrat that respects the law, these are supposed to usher Iran, through a gradual process devoid of any revolution or disturbance, into the era of the second Islamic Republic. This is the ‘civil society’ which, in the minds of the pious Bazaar merchant and his Western-educated sons, the Iranian people have been longing for for a century and, indeed, deserve. Iran is supposedly moving along this route.
However, behind this spectacle, real history moves in a different direction. One should look further, put the ear to the ground, and feel the tremors of the foundations of this reactionary system. The current battle in Iran is not between hard Islam and soft Islam, or between theocracy and law, but between freedom, on the one hand, and tyranny, reaction and Islam, in all their forms, on the other. In the developments lying ahead, the personages in the foreground will quickly become irrelevant, and disappear. In the camp opposing Islamic reaction we will find not today’s petty reformers but the rank of communism, freedom and working-class egalitarianism, the rank of radical, anti-religious secularism, the rank of modernism, and the rank of thorough liberation of women. These are the true inclinations of the great majority of the Iranian people which lie hidden under the veil of repression today, and which are about to make the political future of Iran.
The above was translated by Jamshid Hadian and edited by Bahram Soroush. It has been translated and published because of its relevance to the current situation in Iran. It was first published in Persian in Iskra, No .3, April 4, 1998.
For details on the various demonstrations on June 26, click here. Some of the demonstrations are listed below. They will be held at consulates and embassies of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
London, UK, 12:30, 16 Princes Gate, London SW7 IPTThere is also a march organised on Saturday 27 June beginning at 2pm at the former Bank Melli building (High Street Kensington station) and moving towards the Islamic regime’s embassy from 2:30pm with a demonstration at the embassy from 3-6pm.
Ottawa, Canada, 12-3pm;Copenhagen, Denmark, 12pm;Helsinki, Finland, 11am; Frankfurt, Germany, 11am;Bern, Switzerland, 12pm;Canberra, Australia, 12pm; Stockholm, Sweden, 12pm…
* During the past two weeks, millions of people have come out on to the streets of Tehran and other cities for freedom and an end to the Islamic regime in Iran.
* Their protests are not about the farce of an election; elections in Iran are neither fair nor free. There are no basic political freedoms and right to organise. Candidates are selected by the Supreme Leader and Guardian Council and are chosen from amongst pillars of the regime. Mousavi – now branded a ‘reformist’ – was prime minister during the 80s when thousands were executed.
* The ‘election’ is a pretext for people to come out with their own demands, including: ‘We want the prosecution of those who ordered and carried out the killings,’ ‘Free political prisoners,’ ‘Down with dictator,’ and ‘Down with the Islamic regime.’ The intensified factional infighting within the regime’s ruling class opens the space for them to do so.
* During the past two weeks, hundreds of protestors have been wounded or killed by the regime’s security forces, including 27 year old Neda Agha-Soltan who was shot in the chest on June 20. Many of the wounded have been dragged out of hospital beds and imprisoned.
* The protests are in opposition to thirty years of medievalism and cruelty. The regime stones people to death for ‘adultery,’ with the law even specifying the size of the stone to be used. Political opponents, labour activists and leaders, gays, and ‘apostates’ are executed. Iran has the highest number of child executions in the world. There is no right to strike. A woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s and women have limited rights to divorce and child custody. It imposes gender apartheid, segregating women in many public places like on buses. Veiling is compulsory and enforced by threats, fines and imprisonment…
Today, what you are seeing in Iran is an unfolding revolution that will bring the Islamic regime in Iran to its knees and break the back of the political Islamic movement internationally.
Now is the time for people in the west to show their solidarity with this movement, condemn the regime, and demand its political isolation and that its embassies be shut down.
Like racial apartheid in the former South Africa, a regime of gender apartheid must be proclaimed a crime against humanity.
On Friday, June 26, four global union organisations representing over 170 million workers have called a worldwide action day to demand justice for Iranian workers. Join those gathered in cities across the world to commemorate Neda and those killed in the past two weeks and show your solidarity with the people’s revolutionary movement in Iran.
The future is ours.
Neda Agha-Soltan, the 27 year old shot in the chest by the Islamic regime of Iran’s Baseeji security forces on June 20 died before our very eyes.
We witnessed her last breaths; and felt the rage of the millions on the streets of Iran.
In an interview with Persian media, her fiancé, Caspian Makan, said that some news sites had erroneously reported that she was a supporter of Mousavi. ‘This is not the case’ he said, ‘She was never supportive of either of these two groups. She wanted freedom; freedom for everyone.'(1)
There are times in history when individuals or tragic events become symbols and, today, Neda has become ours.
She symbolises all the beloved we have lost to this indiscriminate killing machine. But she also represents the refusal to kneel and the desire for a life worthy of 21st century humanity.
On Friday, June 26, come out to remember Neda and the over 200 killed during these past few days and to show your solidarity with the people’s revolutionary movement in Iran. June 26 is significant because four global union organisations representing over 170 million workers have called a worldwide action day to demand justice for Iranian workers (2).
We can and must turn this day into a day of condemnation of the Islamic regime.
To see Fariborz Pooya’s interview with Hamid Taqvaee on the demand to isolate the Islamic regime and shut down its embassies, click here.
To see received messages of solidarity, click here. Send your messages of solidarity with the people of Iran to be read over our 24 hour New Channel TV station to us.
To listen to Maryam Namazie’s interview on BBC radio today on the situation in Iran, click here (begins at 7:00 minutes).
To read Maryam’s letter to the editor published in the Evening Standard, click here: http://worker-communistpartyofiran.blogspot.com/2009/06/isolate-regime.html
To read an indepth interview with Hamid Taqvaee on the election farce in Iran, click here.
For details on the various demonstrations on June 26, click here.
Some of the demonstrations are listed below. They will be held at consulates and embassies of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
Ottawa, Canada, 12-3pm
Copenhagen, Denmark, 12pm
Helsinki, Finland, 11am
Frankfurt, Germany, 11am
Bern, Switzerland, 12pm
Canberra, Australia, 12pm
Stockholm, Sweden, 12pm
London, UK, 12:30, 16 Princes Gate, London SW7 IPT
There is also a march organised on Saturday 27 June beginning at 2pm at the former Bank Melli building (High Street Kensington station) and moving towards the Islamic regime’s embassy from 2:30pm with a demonstration at the embassy from 3-6pm.
(1) Interestingly the BBC failed to translate this and key bits of information in its Persian article into its English piece on the same interview.
Neda Agha-Soltan, who was shot dead by the Islamic regime of Iran’s security forces on Saturday 20 June, wanted freedom for everyone.
In interviews with the press, her fiancee, Caspian Makan, said ‘Neda was never supportive of either group [referring to the factions in the regime]. She wanted freedom; Freedom for everyone.’
Her murder has become a rallying point across the world.
He went on to say: “She was near the area, a few streets away, from where the main protests were taking place, near the Amir-Abad area. She was with her music teacher, sitting in a car and stuck in traffic.
“She was feeling very tired and very hot. She got out of the car for just a few minutes.
“That’s when she was shot dead. Eyewitnesses and video footage of the shooting clearly show that probably Basij paramilitaries in civilian clothing deliberately targeted her. Eyewitnesses said they clearly targeted her and she was shot in the chest.
“She passed away within a few minutes. People tried to take her to the nearest hospital, the Shariati hospital. But it was too late.”
Makan said Neda’s family struggled to persuade the Iranian authorities to release her body.
“She was taken to a morgue outside Tehran. The officials from the morgue asked if they could use parts of her corpse for body transplants for medical patients,” he said.
“They didn’t specify what exactly they intended to do. Her family agreed because they wanted to bury her as soon as possible.
“We buried her in the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran. They asked us to bury her in this section where it seemed the authorities had set aside spaces for graves for those killed during the violent clashes in Tehran last week.”
The regime banned her family from holding a public funeral.
He continued: ‘She only ever said that she wanted one thing, she wanted freedom for the people of Iran.’
The white-haired man who is seen pressing on her chest in the video and repeatedly saying ‘don’t be afraid, Neda dear, don’t be afraid’ was actually her music teacher.
Read some of the solidarity messages we have received so far. Send your messages to us so we can read it out on New Channel TV.
They need your solidarity and support!
Neda, a young woman who was watching the protests in Tehran yesterday morning was shot dead by the regime’s baseeji militia. Yesterday, along with Neda, 30 others were killed and 300 wounded. There are reports that the security forces were arresting the wounded from their hospital beds.
Ali Khamanei is personally responsible for Neda’s death and the death of protestors.
Yesterday, the people’s solidarity was truly immense. They provided support, gave shelter and offered food to the protesters all day until late at night. Demonstrations took place, in many parts of Tehran, Shiraz, Rasht, Isfahan.
According to the WPI Press Office, Neda’s surname is Soltani; she is an employee of Radman Tour and Travel Agency.
Read or watch latest developments in Iran, here.
To read the latest on protests in Iran, click here.
Here is the full letter I sent in:
Today, ‘elections’ are not the real issue at hand in Iran. Everyone knows that elections are neither fair nor free there. There are no basic political freedoms and right to organise. Candidates are selected by the Supreme Leader and unelected Guardian Council and are chosen from amongst pillars of the regime. Mousavi – now branded a ‘reformist’ – was prime minister during the 80s when thousands were executed.
Often with regards Iranian politics one must look below the surface to see what’s really going on. The infighting between the regime’s factions has intensified. Both sides refuse to back down for now but this has nothing to do with people’s lives. The people of Iran have shown that they have their own demands; they want the Islamic regime to go. And it has to go. Thirty years of medievalism and brutality is enough. What this infighting has done and will continue to do is further provide the people of Iran with the opportunity to fight for real freedom and equality.
In all this, one thing is clear. There is a mass movement in Iran that is going to bring this regime to its knees and break the back of the political Islamic movement internationally. Now is the time for people in the west to exert pressure on western governments to politically isolate the regime rather than excuse and legitimise it. Like racial apartheid in the former South Africa, a regime of sexual apartheid must be proclaimed a crime against 21 century humanity.
Maryam Namazie is spokesperson of the Worker-communist Party of Iran.
People of the world!
We are your neighbours, friends, lovers, colleagues, and comrades.
You know us.
We have lived together and fought together – whether for labour rights, against Sharia, for civil rights, asylum rights, against executions and stonings, against cultural relativism, against faith schools and apostasy laws, for freedom of expression, rationalism and secularism, against political Islam and US militarism…
Today, our revolution – the one we have been preparing and waiting for – has begun in Iran.
We need you to support it full force.
The battle you see unfolding on the streets of Iran is not about the farce of an election, though that is what the western media wants you to think. Everyone knows that elections in Iran are anything but. In fact, people are taking advantage of the intensified infighting between the regime’s factions to raise their own demands and they – like the rest of us – want the Islamic regime to go.
And it has to go.
Thirty years of medievalism and brutality is enough.
If nothing else, one thing is clear.
The mass movement that is going to bring this regime in Iran to its knees and break the back of the political Islamic movement internationally has begun.
Your support and solidarity will strengthen this revolutionary movement. Come out and condemn the regime and its brutality; exert pressure on western governments to politically isolate the regime. Join us in front of the Islamic regime’s embassies across the globe to call for them to be shut down. Call for the prosecution of all those involved in the killings, for the immediate release of all detainees and political prisoners, unconditional freedoms, including for organisation, strike and protest, an end to compulsory veiling, a living wage and an end to sexual apartheid. Send your messages to the protesting people of Iran to be read on our 24 hour New Channel TV station. Support us and our party, the Worker-communist Party of Iran.
Mark our words; like racial apartheid in the former South Africa, a regime of sexual apartheid can and will be relegated to the dustbins of history.
The future is ours.
For regular updates on people’s protests in Iran, click here.
Email your messages to the people of Iran to Maryam Namazie at email@example.com.
You can see statement being read, here.
Last night professors of Tehran University started a sit-in at the university in protest to the attacks of security agents on Sunday night on students. The security forces used chains, daggers, threw students out of second floor windows and fired shots and killed 5. Their names are Fatemeh Barati, Kasra Sharafi, Mobina Ehterami, Kambiz Shoayee and Mohsen Imani; the 5 have already been buried without any notification being given to their parents. Many students have joined the sit-in. When a representative from the Basij (government’s militia force) tried to address the crowd, he was jeered and kicked out.
150 students from Mazandaran University in Babolsahr have been arrested last night.
Reports of those killed by the regime’s forces are as follows: 8 people in Tehran; 2 people in Kermanshah; 2 in Tabriz; 2 in Rezaiyeh; 2 at Shiraz University; and 5 at Tehran University. A lot have been wounded. The wounded in Tehran have been taken to Imam Khomeini’s 1000 bed hospital. In protest to the government’s brutal attacks, the hospital personnel stopped work since last night.
Yesterday, the families of the detained in Tehran marched to the UN headquarters and called for the regime’s condemnation for its brutality by the UN and western governments. Families of the detained are outraged that the regime refuses to provide information on the status of the children. They want to know if they are dead or alive and where they have been detained.
A number of lawyers in Tehran have issued a press release declaring their willingness to do pro bono legal work for those detained during the protests.
Today there will be a march from 7 Tir Square to the Islamic Assembly in continuation of the people’s protests.
Last night, there was a meeting with Khamenei, representatives of the 4 candidates, the Council of Guardians, Ministry of Interior and Expediency Council. At the meeting, Khamenei reiterated that Ahmadinejad remains president. Whilst some votes will be recounted, this will not result in the annulment of the election.
To see Maryam Namazie’s interview with Hamid Taqvaee for WPI’s Press Centre, click here.
Questions he responds to include: was there ‘election theft,’ is this a ‘green’ revolution as the Guardian calls it; what the WPI is calling on the people of Iran to do and what we expect from people across the world.
The WPI’s Press Centre has received news that up to 150,000 people gathered in front of the Islamic Republic’s News Agency headquarters in northern Tehran in protest despite the request by all factions of the Islamic regime of Iran to refrain from doing so. The crowd is still there.
Right now at around 11.30pm Tehran time, shots have been fired by the regime’s security against protestors in Vali Asr, Tehran.
In Kermanshah, at around 9pm the regime’s security forces killed 2 people in Se Rah Javanshir; the protesters are still there.
We have also received reports of confrontations in many parts of Tehran between protestors and security forces of the Islamic regime.
Yesterday, the Islamic Republic’s News Agency headquarters in the northern city of Tabriz was attacked and burned down by the protesters.
To see footage of some of today’s protests and days before, click on the Communist Youth Organisation’s news centre.
Freedom-loving and resisting women
In the ensuing demonstrations and the climate of protest which has engulfed Iranian society, remove your veils and break the walls of gender apartheid.
The hijab is solitary confinement and the most important symbol of the segregation of the sexes and women’s absolute lack of rights.
It is time to effectively declare equality between women and men and liberation from 30 years of humiliation and degradation.
The misogynist regime has to go!
Worker-communist Party of Iran
June 16, 2009