Iran

Targetting Tehran: the case of the missing Iranian general

By Peter Symonds, 14 March 2007

Very little of the detail appearing in the media about the recent unexplained disappearance of a top Iranian general, Brigadier General Ali Reza Asgari, including his age, can be taken at face value. But all the accounts point to the involvement of the US, Israeli and/or other Western intelligence agencies in the defection or abduction of Asgari, a former deputy defence minister, who is currently being interrogated or tortured to obtain Iranian defence secrets.

No easing of US-Iranian tensions after Baghdad conference

By Peter Symonds, 12 March 2007

The much-vaunted international conference on Iraqi security took place in Baghdad on Saturday without any diplomatic breakthrough or thawing of relations between the US and Iran. Despite the urging of the Iraqi government, no direct talks took place between American and Iranian officials. Nothing was announced beyond the formation of several low-level regional working parties and confirmation that a further conference would be held at the foreign minister level at a date and place yet to be decided.

Under pressure from Washington, IAEA votes to penalise Iran

By Peter Symonds, 10 March 2007

Amid mounting US military and political threats against Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meeting in Vienna this week provided another display of political cynicism and cowardice on the part of the so-called international community.

World Socialist Web Site publishes antiwar statement in Farsi

8 March 2007

The World Socialist Web Site is publishing today the Editorial Board Statement “Stop the US war drive against Iran!” in Farsi, or Persian. Farsi is the official language of Iran, where it is spoken by more than half the country’s population of 70 million, as well as a significant Iranian diaspora around the world. Farsi dialects are also spoken in neighbouring Afghanistan and Central Asia. The dialect known as Dari is an official language in Afghanistan, where it is spoken by about a quarter of the population.

US to join Iran at international talks: another round of threats and ultimatums

By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2007

Despite widespread media speculation of a “shift” in US policy toward Iran, the announcement this week that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will take part in a regional conference with her Iranian counterpart does not represent any softening of the US stance. Amid a mounting confrontation with Iran, the US will undoubtedly use the forum to heighten, not lessen, the tensions with Tehran.

The Bush administration’s new strategy of setting the Middle East aflame

By Peter Symonds, 28 February 2007

A lengthy article in this week’s New Yorker magazine by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh provides further evidence that the Bush administration has not only set course for war against Iran, but has over the past few months embarked on a reckless and incendiary strategy that has the potential to unleash sectarian Sunni-Shia conflicts throughout the Middle East.

US war drums beat louder after Iran fails to meet UN deadline

By Peter Symonds, 26 February 2007

The Bush administration is intensifying the pressure on Iran following its refusal to abide by last week’s UN deadline to suspend its uranium enrichment and other nuclear programs. While publicly pushing for a new UN Security Council resolution with tougher economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran, the US is also pressing ahead with preparations for a military attack on Iran.

US Vice President Cheney menaces Iran with military aggression

By Peter Symonds, 24 February 2007

Military action against Iran may not have featured in US Vice President Dick Cheney’s keynote speech in Sydney yesterday, but it is certainly on his mind. In two interviews published today—in Murdoch’s Australian and on the US-based ABC News website—he confirmed that the Bush administration was willing to go to war against Tehran on the pretext of halting its nuclear programs.

What is behind Russia’s delay of Iran’s nuclear reactor?

By Peter Symonds, 22 February 2007

Russian officials suddenly announced on Monday that work on Iran’s nuclear power reactor at the southern port of Bushehr would be slowed due to Tehran’s failure to make scheduled payments on the construction contract. Far from being an ordinary commercial dispute, the delay is another pointer to the extreme tensions produced by the Bush administration’s military threats against Iran.

BBC reports on US military plans to strike Iran

By Peter Symonds, 21 February 2007

Despite its menacing naval build up in the Persian Gulf, the US has repeatedly denied any plans for war against Iran. Last Thursday Defence Secretary Robert Gates brazenly told a Pentagon press conference: “For the umpteenth time, we are not looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran. We are not planning a war with Iran.” The statement is another of the Bush administration’s lies.

Is the Bush administration behind the bombings in Iran?

By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2007

Two bombings this week in Zahedan in southeastern Iran are the latest in a series of incidents involving armed opposition groups based among the country’s ethnic minorities. The most recent attacks again raise questions about the activities of the US military and CIA inside Iran as the Bush administration intensifies its preparations for war.

The Bush administration prepares for war against Iran

Part two

By Peter Symonds, 17 February 2007

The following is the second part of a report delivered by Peter Symonds to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Symonds is a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and of the SEP central committee. Part one was posted on February 16.

The Bush administration prepares for war against Iran

Part one

By Peter Symonds, 16 February 2007

The following is the first part of a report delivered by Peter Symonds to a membership meeting of the Socialist Equality Party (Australia) from January 25 to January 27, 2007. Symonds is a member of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site and of the SEP central committee. Part two will be posted on February 17.

At White House press conference, Bush escalates war threats against Iran

By Joe Kay, 15 February 2007

At a White House press conference Wednesday morning, President George Bush laid out the administration’s pretext for military action against Iran. He did so while making clear that the administration is proceeding with its military escalation in Iraq in defiance of popular opposition and the likely passage in the House of Representatives of a Democratic-sponsored non-binding resolution criticizing the increased troop deployment.

US “diplomacy” on Iran: thuggery and threats of military aggression

By Peter Symonds, 15 February 2007

Despite the continuing American military build up in the Persian Gulf, President Bush and his officials insist the US is not planning a military strike against Iran. In an interview with C-Span on Monday, Bush repeated what has become a mantra. He dismissed warnings of war as “people speculating” and declared that the US seeks to “solve the issue diplomatically”. Nevertheless, he reiterated that “the military is the last resort”.

Stop the US war drive against Iran!

the Editorial Board, 14 February 2007

This statement is available for download as a PDF 4-page brochure in both US Letter format and A4 format

Bush administration concocts a “dossier” for war against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 13 February 2007

The Bush administration stepped up its propaganda war against Iran with a press briefing in Baghdad on Sunday, setting out claims that the Iranian regime is supplying arms to anti-US militias in Iraq. While the “dossier” fails to prove a case against Tehran, its release demonstrates that the White House is intent on manufacturing a justification for a military confrontation with Iran.

The Bush administration’s economic war on Iran

By Peter Symonds, 12 February 2007

Amid the continuing US military build up in the Persian Gulf, the Bush administration is already conducting an economic war against Iran aimed at bringing the country to its knees. The most overt element of this campaign is the attempt by the Treasury Department and other US agencies to force governments, major banks, oil corporations and other businesses in Europe and Asia to cut off investment, loans and financial arrangements with Tehran.

The Bush administration’s campaign of lies and misinformation against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 6 February 2007

As it prepares for military aggression against Iran, the Bush administration is once again resorting to a concoction of lies, misinformation and half-truths to provide the pretext. In his January 10 speech announcing an escalation of the war in Iraq, President Bush denounced Syria and Iran for backing anti-US insurgents and declared the American military would “seek out and destroy” these networks. He has since confirmed ordering US troops to “capture or kill” Iranian agents in Iraq.

Stepped up US preparations for war against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 1 February 2007

A relentless and unmistakable American buildup for war against Iran is currently underway. Military preparations are being accompanied by a daily barrage of propaganda against Tehran issuing from US sources and relayed uncritically via a compliant media. The chief accusation currently being levelled against the Iranian regime is that its agents are supporting and arming Shiite militias inside Iraq to attack US troops—a charge that has yet to be substantiated with concrete evidence.

Iranian president faces mounting internal opposition

By Peter Symonds, 24 January 2007

As the US administration intensifies pressure on Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is facing growing criticism at home from sections of the country’s ruling elite over his uncompromising statements on Iran’s nuclear programs as well as over his populist economic measures.

The Bush administration’s committee for regime change in Iran

By Peter Symonds, 5 January 2007

An article published in the Boston Globe on January 2 has provided a glimpse into the preparations of the Bush administration for political provocations and a military attack against Iran. While the White House continues to maintain that it intends to resolve the ongoing confrontation with Iran diplomatically, a team of top officials from the Pentagon, State Department, Treasury, CIA and National Security Council has been working to strengthen US military alliances against Tehran, covertly finance Iranian dissidents and oppositional groups, and isolate Iran economically.

US-backed UN resolution heightens tensions with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 29 December 2006

Months after the expiry of a UN deadline for Iran to suspend its nuclear programs, the US finally pushed a resolution through the UN Security Council on Saturday imposing a series of sanctions on Tehran. While the resolution represents a compromise, there is no doubt that the Bush administration will exploit it to the hilt to fuel tensions with Iran.

Iran’s Holocaust conference and the dead end of bourgeois nationalism

By Bill Van Auken, 23 December 2006

In his year-end press conference, President George W. Bush once again condemned the Iranian government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the officially sponsored conference of Holocaust deniers convened in Teheran earlier this month, declaring that it “heralded a really backward view of the history of the world.”

IAEA exposes US committee’s lies on Iran’s nuclear programs

By Peter Symonds, 19 September 2006

Four years ago, President George Bush appeared before the UN General Assembly and demanded that the UN rubberstamp a war against Iraq that was based on flagrant lies about Saddam Hussein’s so-called weapons of mass destruction. Today, as Bush goes to the UN to demand tough action against Iran, American claims that Tehran has a nuclear weapons program have been exposed as fabrications.

Murdoch’s media empire girds up for a war against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 9 September 2006

An editorial in Monday’s Australian entitled “Endgame for Iran” is another sign that the vast resources of the Murdoch global media empire are being mobilised to support a new US war of aggression against Iran. A similar editorial headed “A nuclear Iran is not an option” appeared in the same newspaper last week, along with an opinion piece in the London-based Times entitled “What a shambles over Iran” and continuing agitation by Fox News commentators in the US.

US prepares to escalate conflict with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 2 September 2006

The Bush administration has reacted aggressively to Iran’s refusal to halt its nuclear activities, with threats of punitive sanctions and an escalating, open-ended confrontation. A UN Security Council resolution passed on July 31, under pressure from Washington, set August 31 as the deadline for Tehran to shut down its uranium enrichment facilities and comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolutions.

US spy agencies pressed for “intelligence” to justify war against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 28 August 2006

With the clock ticking to an August 31 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution demanding that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program, a section of the American ruling establishment is pressing US intelligence agencies to produce “evidence” that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose an imminent nuclear weapons threat.

US administration rejects Iran’s offer of “serious negotiations”

By Peter Symonds, 24 August 2006

The Bush administration yesterday signalled its rejection of Iran’s offer of “serious negotiations,” setting the stage for punitive economic sanctions and an escalating confrontation with Tehran.

Bush administration reverses US ban on talks with Iran

By Patrick Martin, 5 June 2006

The announcement by the Bush administration Wednesday that it is reversing a 27-year US ban on direct talks with Iran is a political retreat, one that reflects a weakening in the world position, both military and economic, of American imperialism.

US administration slams door on negotiations with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 16 May 2006

The Bush administration has emphatically ruled out any direct talks with Tehran, despite an overture from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, an open letter from top Iranian official Hassan Rohani and an appeal by the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan over the past week.

Bush administration demands UN action against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 2 May 2006

The Bush administration has seized on last Friday’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear programs to issue a new round of demands and threats, directed as much against its European and Asian rivals as against Tehran.

US threats against Iran—the specter of nuclear barbarism

WSWS Editorial Board, 13 April 2006

The revelation that the United States government has conducted advanced planning and preparation for a bombing campaign against Iran that includes the possible use of nuclear weapons represents the most serious threat posed in an increasingly unstable international situation.

Washington considering nuclear strikes against Iran

By Bill Van Auken, 10 April 2006

The Bush administration is in the advanced stages of the planning and preparation for a full-scale air war against Iran, including the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons against selected targets, according to reports published this week.

UN Security Council bows to US pressure for a statement against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 31 March 2006

After three weeks of behind-the-scenes US bullying, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a statement on Wednesday calling on Iran to halt its uranium enrichment program and giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 30 days to report back. Although amended at the insistence of Russia and China, the statement provides Washington with the pretext for escalating the confrontation with Tehran and its threats of punitive sanctions and military action.

Washington seeks to bully UN Security Council over Iran

By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2006

Having pressured the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) into referring Iran to the UN, the Bush administration is engaged in a new round of diplomatic thuggery aimed at obtaining a UN Security Council statement as the fig leaf for aggressive action against Tehran.

US drumbeat against Iran threatens new war of aggression

By Bill Van Auken, 11 March 2006

With the US war and occupation in Iraq fast approaching its third anniversary, those in the Bush administration responsible for launching this unprovoked aggression based on lies about weapons of mass destruction and through intimidating the American people with fabricated threats of terror are once again beating the same war drums, this time against Iran.

An exchange with readers on Iran’s nuclear programs

8 March 2006

The following correspondence was sent in response to the World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board statement on January 21 entitled “The political issues behind the Iranian nuclear confrontation”.

US ambassador to UN warns of “painful consequences” for Iran

By Peter Symonds, 8 March 2006

In a provocative speech to an influential pro-Israeli lobby group on Sunday, US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, bluntly threatened Iran with “painful consequences” if it failed to accede completely to Washington’s demands to shut down its nuclear programs.

Bush administration seeks funds for regime change in Iran

By Peter Symonds, 18 February 2006

The Bush administration took a further step on Wednesday in its campaign against Iran by requesting a large increase in funding for the political destabilisation of the Tehran regime.

Pentagon prepares for military strikes against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 14 February 2006

An article in last weekend’s edition of the Sunday Telegraph in Britain confirms that the US is drawing up plans for air and missile strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. Long-distance B2 bombers, each carrying up to 20 tonnes of precision bombs and flying from bases in the US, would “most likely” be involved.

US bullies IAEA into reporting Iran to the UN Security Council

By Peter Symonds, 6 February 2006

In a decision that lays the basis for sanctions and future military action against Iran, the governing council of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) caved in to US pressure and voted on Saturday to report Tehran to the UN Security Council.

The political issues behind the Iranian nuclear confrontation

the Editorial Board, 21 January 2006

The escalating confrontation between Iran and the major powers over Tehran’s nuclear programs raises crucial political issues.

US, EU set to refer Iran to the UN Security Council

By Peter Symonds, 13 January 2006

The US and European Union (EU) have set course for a full-scale confrontation with Iran, following steps by Tehran on Tuesday to restart its uranium enrichment facilities. The foreign ministers of the EU-3—Britain, France and Germany—met yesterday in Berlin and called for an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to discuss referring Iran to the UN Security Council for possible punitive sanctions.

European media report US plans to strike Iran

By Joe Kay, 5 January 2006

German and Turkish media have reported that the US government is planning air strikes against Iran. The reports suggest that the attacks could take place in early 2006.

Historical and political issues behind Iranian president’s anti-Semitic campaign

By Justus Leicht and Stephan Steinberg, 30 December 2005

In recent months, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly gone public with anti-Semitic declarations. He has described the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during the Second World War as a “myth” concocted to justify the existence of Israel, refused to accept the claim that “Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews,” called for the state of Israel to be “wiped off the map” and demanded that Jews currently living in Israel be moved to Canada or Alaska.

US and EU-3 make another provocative move against Iran

By Peter Symonds, 29 September 2005

The Bush administration and its European allies moved one step closer to an open confrontation with Iran, following last Saturday’s decision by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board to declare Tehran in breach of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The resolution sets the stage for Iran to be referred to the UN Security Council for punitive sanctions if it fails to shut down its uranium enrichment program, to allow intrusive new inspections of its nuclear facilities and “reconsider” the construction of a heavy water research reactor.

Bush menaces Iran with threat of military attack

By Peter Symonds, 17 August 2005

President George Bush’s inflammatory comments last Friday menacing Iran with military attack have again underscored the lawless character of the US administration. His declaration that “all options are on the table,” that is, including the military one, directly undermines European efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran over its nuclear programs and signals that Washington is moving toward unilateral military aggression.

US and European allies provoke confrontation with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 11 August 2005

The Bush administration with the support of the so-called EU-3—Britain, France and Germany—has seized on Iran’s decision to restart its uranium conversion facility at Esfahan as the pretext for condemning Tehran and threatening UN economic sanctions. Once again Washington and its allies, with the backing of the international media, are conducting a campaign of provocation and lies that will ultimately lead to open confrontation if Iran does not completely capitulate.

Claims that new president was hostage-taker

US prepares new provocations against Iran

By Patrick Martin, 2 July 2005

On June 28, the editorial in the Washington Post, the major daily newspaper in the US capital, turned up its nose at the newly elected Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The editors were irritated that Ahmadinejad had defeated the candidate favored by the US ruling elite, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, and offended that he had done so by appealing to the economic grievances of Iran’s lower social classes. The Post consoled itself as follows: “The new president, after all, is not worth much attention.”

Iran’s presidential election a harbinger of social and political convulsions

By Ulrich Rippert and Keith Jones, 1 July 2005

Iran’s presidential election has exposed a deep-rooted popular antipathy to the country’s business, political, and religious elite—an antipathy born of mass unemployment, mounting social inequality, and opposition to the enormous political and social power wielded by the mullahs. The election has also shown that the Iranian ruling class is bitterly divided over economic policy, the country’s relations with the US, the division of political power, and its methods of rule.

Tense Iranian election goes into second round

By Justus Leicht and Ulrich Rippert, 23 June 2005

The results of the June 17 Iranian presidential elections surprised many commentators and have served to intensify the country’s political crisis. Former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was regarded as favorite to win the election, failed to obtain an absolute majority. For the first time since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979, the election of the president requires a second round of voting.

Rafsanjani favored to win Iranian presidential election

By Justus Leicht, 13 June 2005

Presidential elections have been called in Iran for June 17 and campaigning has been under way for more than two weeks. The poll is taking place under conditions where the reformist wing of the government, under the leadership of the incumbent president, Mohammad Khatami, is thoroughly discredited. Khatami is barred by the constitution from standing again.

US-EU deal on Iran: a step towards confrontation, not a negotiated settlement

By Peter Symonds, 25 March 2005

Far from representing a softer US stance on Iran’s nuclear programs, the Bush administration’s decision earlier this month to “cooperate” in the European Union (EU) negotiations with Iran has only increased the likelihood of a breakdown in discussions and open confrontation.

Despite US pressure, Russia signs nuclear fuel deal with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 2 March 2005

The deal signed last Sunday for Russia to supply Iran with nuclear fuel has highlighted the fact that President Bush has returned empty-handed from his so-called charm offensive in Europe. For all the rhetoric about transatlantic unity, the European powers refused to budge on any major issue. Above all, no European troops were forthcoming to help the US out of the deepening quagmire in Iraq.

Europe alarmed by US threats against Iran

By Peter Schwarz, 25 January 2005

Reports of American war preparations against Iran have provoked consternation within European political circles.

US carrying out acts of war against Iran, magazine reports

By Patrick Martin, 20 January 2005

According to an extensive report by the well-connected journalist Seymour Hersh published in the New Yorker magazine last weekend, US military forces have been staging commando operations in Iran for months, preparing the way for air strikes against suspected weapons facilities or even a full-fledged invasion of the country. The article, titled “The Coming Wars,” cites multiple sources whom Hersh describes as “former high-level intelligence officials”—most likely CIA officials forced out over the last seven months in the Bush administration purge of the agency—as well as Pentagon consultants and others in a position to know.

US-European tensions deepen over Iran’s nuclear program

By Peter Symonds, 20 November 2004

Next week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors over Iran’s nuclear programs is looming as a tense diplomatic battleground between the US and its European rivals.

Bush administration escalates confrontation with Iran

By Peter Symonds, 25 September 2004

Last week’s meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna was one more sign that the US is intent on intensifying the confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program and laying the ground for another military adventure.

Iran: escalating tensions behind capture of British sailors

By Chris Marsden, 24 June 2004

Though it appears that they will be released shortly, the capture and detention of eight British sailors in the southern Shatt al-Arab waterway border with Iraq has focused attention on the sharp tensions that have developed between Iran, the United Kingdom, Europe and the United States.

Iran: Elections show political bankruptcy of the “reformers”

By Ulrich Rippert, 25 February 2004

The most important result of last Friday’s parliamentary elections in Iran was the complete failure of the so-called reformers around President Mohammed Khatami. Seven years ago, Khatami was elected with a great majority, because large sections of the Iranian people rejected the reactionary regime of the mullahs, the religious rulers of Iran. However, at no point has his government been prepared to seriously confront the conservatives in the Council of Guardians, the unelected institution controlling all institutions of state power, and to defend democratic rights.

On the British and US response to the Bam earthquake

By Jean Shaoul, 22 January 2004

The earthquake that struck southeastern Iran on December 26 was one of the most catastrophic in the last 25 years. It killed more than 40,000 people and injured at least 30,000. It destroyed more than 80 percent of the buildings in Bam and the surrounding towns and villages, leaving more 100,000 people homeless.

Eyewitness in Iran: Bam disaster threatens to ignite political powder keg

By Jean Shaoul, 14 January 2004

On a recent visit, I was fortunate to have just left Bam less than 24 hours before the devastating earthquake hit the ancient city and surrounding villages in southeast Iran, killing at least 32,000 people. The terrible force of the quake and the aftershocks woke everyone 120 miles away in Kerman, where I was staying.

Iran earthquake death toll tops 30,000

Poor planning, shoddy construction contribute to catastrophe

By Kate Randall, 6 January 2004

The emergency response in Bam, Iran wound down Monday as most remaining international rescue teams left the devastated city. An earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter scale struck in the early morning hours of December 26, leveling up to 70 percent of Bam’s structures, the majority built of mud bricks. The building collapses trapped the quake’s victims in grey dust. The ancient desert settlement lies about 600 miles southeast of Tehran.

Earthquake kills tens of thousands in Iran

By David Walsh, 30 December 2003

The earthquake that struck the city of Bam in southeastern Iran December 26 is a human tragedy of historic proportions. Estimates of the final death-toll range as high as 40,000. More than 25,000 bodies have already been retrieved, many of those subsequently buried in mass graves dug by bulldozers. Tens of thousands of people were also injured in the quake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale and released energy roughly equivalent to a one-megaton hydrogen bomb. The earthquake was the world’s most deadly in at least a decade.

US pushes through tough IAEA resolution targetting Iran

By Peter Symonds, 6 December 2003

After lengthy and bitter wrangling, the US administration last week forced its European counterparts to accept an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution on Iran’s nuclear industry that provides the framework for tough punitive measures against Tehran.

Mass trial of opposition group in Iran

By Justus Leicht, 20 November 2001

On November 11 and 12, court proceedings began in perhaps the biggest political trial since the establishment of the Islamic regime in Iran in 1979. It is directed chiefly at the “Iran Freedom Movement” (IFM, nehzat-e azadi-ye Iran), a 40-year-old nationalist-religious group which supported the “reform movement” of president Mohammed Khatami, while demanding a more thorough-going liberalisation and pro-western orientation than Khatami himself.

Iranian filmmaker faces death penalty in upcoming trial

By David Walsh, 30 October 2001

Iranian filmmaker Tahmineh Milani faces execution if she is convicted in an upcoming trial. Milani, one of Iran’s best-known women directors (The Legend of a Sigh [1991], What Else Is New? [1992], Two Women [1999]), was engaged in promoting her new film, The Hidden Half —which had been approved by government censors and the Ministry of Culture—when she was arrested in late August on the orders of Iran’s Revolutionary Council. The film, set in the present, depicts in flashback political struggles that took place in Iran in the aftermath of the 1979 coming to power of the Islamic forces. The central protagonist recounts her involvement with left-wing activists, among others.

Iran seeks detente with US

By Justus Leicht, 26 September 2001

There was an outpouring of sympathy from the Iranian people for the victims of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. In Tehran, hundreds of youth spontaneously took to the streets and held candlelight vigils for the victims. Prior to an international match against Bahrain, 40,000 football fans observed a minute’s silence and Iranian sporting associations conveyed their sympathies to corresponding organisations in America.

Iranian court orders arrest of filmmaker

By David Walsh, 1 September 2001

Iranian film director Tahmineh Milani was arrested August 26 (or August 27, according to some reports) on orders of Tehran’s Revolutionary Court and remains in custody, despite efforts to win her release. The detention was reported by several international sources on Wednesday and confirmed in a press release from the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Friday.

Khatami confirmed as president of Iran

Iranian establishment closes ranks against the population

By Justus Leicht, 14 June 2001

The widely anticipated landslide re-election of Iran's President Mohammed Khatami has been hailed by all factions of the Iranian government and the Western media as an expression of the Iranian people's “trust” in his policies and the apparent ability of the Islamic Republic to undertake democratic change.

Iran: political crisis overshadows presidential campaign

By Justus Leicht, 31 May 2001

The campaign for the election of the Iranian president has begun with the vote set to take place on June 8. On May 4, just two days before the expiry of the date for applications and following months of hesitation, the current president and cleric Mohamed Khatami, who has a reputation as a “liberal reformer”, declared he was prepared to run for a second term. His victory is regarded as certain. But it is also certain that his victory will do little to achieve stabilisation of Iran and the region—in fact quite the opposite is the case.

Germany seeks to normalise relations with Iran

By Justus Leicht, 27 February 2001

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi paid a surprise visit to Germany on February 8. During the two-day trip he met with Foreign Affairs Minister Joschka Fischer (Green party), Federal Economics Minister Werner Müller (non-party), the chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Hans Ulrich Klose, as well as Bundestag (parliament) President Wolfgang Thierse and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (all Social Democratic Party—SPD).

Appeals Court upholds guilty verdict in show trial against Iranian Jews

By Justus Leicht, 23 September 2000

On September 21, the Iranian Appeals Court issued its ruling in the case of ten Iranian Jews who last July were given long prison sentences for allegedly spying for Israel. The court felt compelled to drop the charge of espionage, reflecting the contrived character of the case. Nevertheless, it upheld the charge of "cooperation with a hostile state."

Who are the People's Mujahedin of Iran?

By Justus Leicht, 14 September 2000

Over the past weeks, Iranian and Western media have frequently featured articles and broadcast reports on the People's Mujahedin organization, the political core of the National Resistance Council of Iran. This group carries out armed attacks on facilities and members of the security forces in Iran and has organized a number of demonstrations and protest rallies with several thousand participants against the Iranian regime and in particular against Iranian State President Mohammed Khatami.

Renewed clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Iran

By a correspondent, 8 September 2000

The annual conference of the biggest Iranian student organisation, scheduled for August 25 in the city of Khorramabad, triggered violent street battles between demonstrators and government security forces. About 70 people were injured, some so severely they were admitted to hospital. One policeman was killed. On the following weekends administrative buildings and shops in the centre of the city of 400,000 located 400 kilometres southwest of Teheran were attacked with stones and devastated.

Some lessons from the history of the Iranian workers movement

By Justus Leicht, 4 September 2000

The following is a contribution given by Justus Leicht during a recent public meeting in Frankfurt/Main. He put forward programmatic theses arising from a Marxist analysis of Iranian history.