What’s happening in Iran?
Interview with Iranian activist, who for obvious reasons shall remain anonymous.
1. Does the Iranian President have the people’s support in ‘standing up to the West’ and the USA in particular?
Really the question here is who is the President and who does he represent? Is he elected or selected?
Iran is unlike France and America where people elect the President. Elections are not real. Governments are imposed on people and they only use the democratic tool to legitimise themselves. There has never been a free and democratic election, either to establish the Islamic Republic of Iran or to legitimise any of its actions. As result, if we say people’s support?? Certainly not, but the regime does have a small and well-organised group of followers that include mercenaries.
2. Do people believe that military action may be imminent?
That’s hard to answer. People wish for fall of this regime, but at what price? War helps them to stay in power even longer. Bluffing is part of the regimes propaganda and they really want to provoke an attack on Iran.
3. I gather you are concerned at the increasing drug trade, especially in the Kurdish regions of Iran. Can you explain?
Yes this is correct. The Iranian regime uses three main elements to strengthen their position within or even outside of Iran.
* Religious propaganda: to keep people in idiocy.
* Military: which is more against its own people rather than outside threats.
* Drugs: both inside and outside of Iran. It is not only exclusive to Kurdistan (Iran or Iraq), but to other regions as well. However it has been one of the regimes policies in the Kurdish regions, where there is always more resistance to central governments actions.
4. Is there any indication that workers are organising themselves within unions to push up wages and play a part in the political process in Iran?
No, there are not any real worker syndicates or unions. The regime controls and monitors the real workers, exerting constant pressure on them. Many workers are sacked or even imprisoned. Many factory employees have not been paid for months or in some cases even for years and factories are closing down. Yet on the other hand Chinese goods are being heavily imported to Iran.
5. Iran is developing links with China. Why is this important to the current regime?
Two reason. First, to secure China’s backing in international affairs and secondly, China is a big oil market and while many European nations have sanctioned dealings with Iran, China is currently willing to exchange goods for oil.
6. Are those opposed to the current regime being politically persecuted? [
They are, and many influential members of past governments have been imprisoned, some of them even without legal trials. Within this group are the Prime Minister of Iran during the Iraq war in the 1980s, a parliamentary speaker and many members of previous parliaments and government ministers.
Many students, workers, intellectuals, white-collar workers and minority national front groups at first were fooled by the regime and collaborated with them. They were hoping to witness reform from within, something that never happened. Now they are considered as opposition too. The regime does not accept any sort of objections even from people close to the regime itself. There are many recent cases and frame ups are so normal that people no longer believe in media shown confessions, as they know of the brutal conditions under which people are held in prisons.
The worst part is that no human right groups can defend those arrested as even well-known lawyers are now in prison. In the Iranian judicial system they arrest people for unfounded and baseless crimes. One recent one was “crime against god”. Public protest is stamped on harshly.
7. How have the Iranian people – and the regime in charge - viewed ‘the Arab Spring revolt’?
Differently. For the vast majority of people it is the Arab revolt against dictatorship. However the Iranian regime sees and calls it an Islamic Awakening and the result of Iranian revolution. However because of the close ties with Syria the regime in Iran prefers to regard this as interference by outside forces rather than a people’s uprising.
8. With the world economic crisis then has the standard of living of ordinary Iranian’s been affected?
It has. There are three different numbers of inflation in Iran. The Government’s: at 12%, financial institutions at 20% and others who have estimated it at 40%.
The gap between rich and poor is widening more and more. The Iranian currency has lost its value in recent weeks and it means even more pressure for people. The West expects and hopes this pressure results in more objections from people, but one should remember any mass protest and revolt from the people is because of an objection to the regime and not because of the needs of outside forces.