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Statement of the Central Council of the Left Party of Iran: Evaluation of the Political Situation, Our Policies!

Statement of the Central Council of the Left Party of Iran: Evaluation of the Political Situation, Our Policies!

May 4, 2024

The main earmark of the current developments is the continuous increase in economic, political, social and environmental crises of the country and the inability of the Islamic Republic to solve them. Throughout its life, the Islamic Republic has always added to the problems of the people in all fields and has been an obstacle to any changes and developments in various economic, political and social aspects.

During the past year and a half, the Islamic regime has put all its power in the service of continuing the suppression of the "Women, Life, Freedom" movement and expunging its effects in the society and has prioritized it within the power structure.

The main concern of the regime is not to address the needs of the society, but how to deal with the people, especially the women's movement, and exert pressure on half of the country's population by any means possible.

Civil movements in recent years have shown that the general direction of the society is to get rid of this corrupt and anti-people system. The developments of our society during the last year and a half have been in this direction.

1- The dire economic situation

The situation in the country is getting worse day by day. The class division in society has deepened. The people of Iran, especially the workers, indigents and other wage and salary earners, have buried under the rubble of economic problems. Even now, inflation and soaring prices and the fall in the value of the Rial against foreign currencies have reduced people's purchasing power even more. Millions of people have been pushed below the absolute poverty line. This process is still going on. According to the statistics of the International Monetary Fund, Iran's gross domestic product will not have the level of growth of even last year. If the Islamic Republic is dragged into a military conflict in the region, the country's economy will seriously suffer.

While the government is unable to control inflation and soaring prices, at the same time, to finance its budget, it has turned to increasing the price of energy carriers and tax revenues. On the one hand, it has raised the price of electricity, water, gas, fuel, medicine and health care, and increased taxes and transportation fares. On the other hand, it refuses to increase the wages and salaries of workers and government employees and the pension of retirees in accordance with the inflation rate. While the official inflation is at least forty percent and more, workers' wages are increased by 22 percent; The poverty line is twenty-five million tomans (~ $400), but the minimum wage is set at seven million two hundred thousand tomans (~ $115); A salary that is not even able to provide fifty percent of the livelihood of a family of four. With this action, the government reduces the average purchasing power of people by about 20% and pushes more people below the poverty line. The parliament Research Center has announced that half of the country's population was eating less than the standard of 2,100 calories per day, and not only the lower deciles, but all the deciles have reduced their calorie intake. This reduction in calories has been more intense in the middle deciles. The estimate of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that the consumption of all types of meat in Iran during 2023 continued to decline, and the per capita consumption of meat in Iran is one third less than the global average and 50% less than that of in Turkey. Iran's economy has fallen behind in most global indicators. Our country ranks 126th among 167 countries in the Legatum index.

Today, it can be safely said that due to the exponential growth of the price of general necessities and housing, nearly 70% of Iranian people live below the relative poverty line. Over the past 40 years, housing prices have increased more than 3,000 times. In 2022, the average price of one square meter of housing in Tehran was about 30 million tomans (~ $480), this year this average has reached 90 to 100 million tomans (~ $1,440 to $1,600) and more. The high cost of housing is one of the important factors of the urban middle class spilling over to the outskirts of the cities and mixing it with the poverty of the society, the prevalence of sleeping in graves and in cardboard boxes, etc. in big cities.

Economic and political hopelessness, chronic unemployment and discrimination against women are important factors that cause population displacement in the country as well as the migration of elites abroad. According to experts, immigration has taken a massive form due to various economic and social reasons. Within the country, population displacement has increased due to reasons such as environmental degradation, water scarcity, dehydration and drying up of rivers, etc. Also, the emigration of the elites and the migration of the young generation from the country is constantly increasing. Our country was ranked 112 among 134 countries in terms of competitiveness in attracting talents in 2022, but it has reached the 116th rank in 2023.

The Islamic Republic is not only unable to contain the country's economic crisis it also has no plan to get out of it. The destructive economic policies and corruption of this regime are the main obstacles against any opening in this field. Over the past year, more than two thousand strikes and protests have occurred in Iran. During the last decades, the continuous and energetic presence of civil movements of workers, pensioners, teachers and students have been part of the effort for change. The announcement of the charter of minimum demands of twenty organizations during the "Women, Life, Freedom" movement was an action in this direction. The only response of the Islamic Republic to the demands of workers, teachers and other wage and salary earners regarding the increase of their wages and salaries has been to suppress and arrest the activists of the labor organizations and the members of the teachers’ union. It is on the basis of this situation that social protests and civil movements are always expanding step by step with economic and political crises.

2- Intensification of the war against women

Suppression of women and the revolutionary movement "Women, Life, Freedom" is still the most important concern of the regime to maintain the system based on discrimination. The war against women these days has intensified with Khamenei's decree to implement the reactionary law of compulsory hijab and push women back to before the start of the revolutionary movement. Repressive forces and morality police vans have been stationed in the streets without signs this time. However, they are facing the widespread resistance of women and the opposition of the majority of the society with the repressive actions of the regime. The women of our country were not only at the height of the revolutionary movement "Women, Life, Freedom", but also during the past year and a half, they were always in the forefront of the movement against the Islamic Republic and against its struggle to return to the era before this movement.

Repressing women and discriminating against half of the country's population has been the fundamental principle of the Islamic Republic's identity and a sign of its authority since the beginning. The organized discrimination of the Islamic Republic has deprived women of the possibility of having a job and adequate income and has diminished their role in the labor market. This deprivation imposes multiple oppression on them, especially in more traditional areas. While about 60% of the country's university student population are women, the share of women in Iran's labor market is slightly more than 14%, and this share is generally jobs that are not covered by the labor law. This inequality and economic discrimination is definitely one of the most important reasons for women's persistent struggle, along with their other demands such as equal rights, elimination of discrimination in all aspects of political and social life and freedom of clothing.

Accepting the abolition of the compulsory hijab for this regime will mean breaking a part of its inhumane authority against half of the country's population, and the leaders of the Islamic Republic announce this fact in various ways, and their hostility towards women and the "Women, Life, Freedom" movement as well is rooted in this fact. But so far, this movement has imposed a terrible defeat to the regime's authority.

The regime's plans for the "Hijab and Chastity" bill, which has not yet been approved, will be implemented by the police force, the establishment of "hijab guards" and the arrest and imprisonment of women activists in all parts of Iran, heavy fines, sentencing the activists of the women's movement to long-term prisons, closing places and the centers that do not give in to the imposition of compulsory hijab have not reached anywhere. The women of our country have achieved achievements during more than forty-five years of fighting with this medieval regime, which they will not lose easily.

3- A transformation that is the vanguard of change

One of the most important developments in this period was the rigged election of the regime's parliament, which faced the most widespread sanctions during the regime's lifetime and resulted in a referendum against the regime. The result of the election of the Islamic Republic, with all frauds, was a sign of the regime's complete bankruptcy against the will of the people's revolutionary movement. This election, as the first election after the revolutionary movement "Woman, Life, Freedom", made the internal collapse of the regime more obvious. For the first time, some of the most loyal forces affiliated with this regime also accompanied the people's general boycott.

The boycott movement showed that the transformation that started one year and six months ago with the revolutionary movement "Women, Life, Freedom" is still ongoing. A movement whose main goal is to restore the normal life of the people, to end the imposed coercion, to restore the civil rights of everyone with any belief, creed, religion, ethnicity and equality based on human dignity; A movement that gained worldwide recognition and was on the streets for months, and despite the brutal repression and violence of the regime against its activists, it changed the face of our society; It changed the balance between the regime and the people in an obvious way; It made the public atmosphere of the society more out of the monopoly of the regime and brought about a revolution in the culture and behavior of the society with its slogans and orientations. Although the street presence of this movement has subsided over the past year and a half, its social presence has become wider, more inclusive and diverse. The behavior of people during the month of Ramadan, breaking fasting in public and the movement that has been created in the society is much more widespread than it was imagined, and the regime is too weak to stand against the transformation that has occurred. Now, the fight against the regime in the field of environmental protection, which manifests itself in opposing the construction of mosques in parks and public places, and protesting against air pollution and against the establishment of industries which cause pollution, including petrochemicals, has revived and shows that action and reaction of Civil society can prevent the implementation of anti-environmental projects that are bread and butter for the ruling mafias.

4- Developments in the region and the world

Developments in the region and the world have accelerated and with the continuation of the war in Ukraine and the beginning of another war in Gaza, the tension and conflict in the world and the region have increased. The relationship of the Islamic Republic with its neighbors and with Western countries is unfriendly at best. Anti-American slogans and hostile treatment of Israel have made it difficult to normalize relations with most of these countries. The Islamic Republic generally has relations with countries that either benefit financially from the regime or are close to powers such as China and Russia, which use the Islamic Republic as a tool to secure their interests in competition with the West. However, even these two countries have aligned themselves with the West against the Islamic Republic, wherever their interests have required it.

The war in Ukraine put the Islamic Republic in a new situation. Although the regime declared a neutral position after Russia's attack on Ukraine, in practice it sided with Russia and made the West and America more sensitive by selling drones to that country. In the illusion of creating a new world order, the Islamic Republic has always involved itself in a one-sided alliance with Russia and China. The regime's stance after Ukraine war has changed the relations with the West and made the resolution of the nuclear conflict practically out of order.

Israel's war in Gaza, however, has made the situation of the Islamic Republic even more complicated. From the very beginning, the Islamic Republic tried to say that it was not involved in this war and that it did not know about the attack by Hamas. But The attack on the consulate in Damascus and the killing of IRGC commanders put the Islamic Republic against the hard test of starting an open conflict with Israel or remaining silent. This attack happened when the prolongation of the war in Gaza and the brutal killing of the people of this land by the government of Netanyahu fueled the growth of the crisis inside Israel. The failure of the Israeli government to achieve its two stated goals, the release of the hostages and the complete destruction of Hamas on the one hand, and the increase in international pressure for a ceasefire on the other hand, isolated Netanyahu's right-wing government more than before. It was in this situation that the public presence of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the political bureau of Hamas, and Ziad Nakhale, the secretary general of Islamic Jihad, in Tehran, and their meeting with the leader and officials of the Islamic Republic, became a stimulus for the attack of the Israeli army, the killing of the commanders of the Revolutionary Guards in Syria and the spread of conflicts.

Israel's attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus forced the Islamic Republic to react against this action. This attack was different from the previous attacks on IRGC commanders in Syria and was carried out on a diplomatic location. The response of the Islamic Republic was to fire more than three hundred missiles and drones at Israel and publicly announce this attack a few days before it was carried out. The announcement of this attack made the region face the risk of expanding the scope of military conflicts. Although the destruction of most of the missiles before they reached the target by Israel, its Western allies and several Arab countries, as well as Israel's low-profile response to the attack, eliminated the threat for the moment, but reduced international pressure on the Netanyahu government. The fact is that despite the desire of the Israeli government, in the current conditions, neither the American government nor the Islamic Republic, each for different reasons, wants another war in the region.

The Islamic Republic's attempt to avoid getting involved in the Gaza war or any other military action is, first and foremost, due to the regime's fear of the possible emergence of a revolutionary movement of the people inside and jeopardizing its existence. This fear has ruled out any movement to advance the slogans of the regime in the region. The proxy forces of the Islamic Republic, except for the Houthis in Yemen, have practically been forced to remain silent after several maneuvers in Iraq and America's response.

5- The state of the Regime

This regime came to power in 1979 with the broad support of the masses, but today it has the least popular support. Its current supporters mainly do not believe in the Velayat-e Faqih system (The Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist), but through this dependence, they have benefited financially and still have a hand in looting people's properties. Along with the expansion of the scope of protests and opposition, the social base of the regime has also become much smaller. The continuation and expansion of the people's struggle will wear out the suppression system and the fear of the collapse of the regime will weaken their determination to suppress.

From the beginning, the Islamic Republic has always eliminated layers of its forces in the power struggle of internal gangs. In this regime, important officials have an expiration date, and after the expiration of that date, they are not only discarded, but also suppressed and rejected in a way, and their freedom of action is also taken back. In the recent elections, the purge of many submissive officials was also included. These monopolistic behaviors and policies within the scope of regime insiders have rotten the body of the ruling system from the inside and by expanding the exclusions to those close to the circle of power, it facilitates the bankruptcy of the entire regime. Ideological institutions related to the Velayat-e Faqih system have lost their effectiveness and are hated by the people. Their advertisements have the opposite effect on large sections of society.

The issue of Khamenei's succession, due to his age and health condition, has deepened the rift within the regime and has developed a conspiracy to remove the desired successor, among different categories, and has made them compete with each other. Therefore, today the main concern of the regime is not only today, but the future of the Islamic Republic and trying to manage the situation after Khamenei's death and solving the issue of succession, even before his death. In this regard, the uniformity in the previous presidential elections and the purification in the parliamentary elections are more understandable. A matter that has been tested once in the conspiracy to remove Montazeri, this time is going on in another dimension behind the curtain, to purify and sideline the rivals in the last years of the life of the current Supreme Leader.

Currently, this regime is facing the opposition and rapid distancing of the majority of the society, a bankrupt economy, extensive international sanctions, political isolation and hostile relations with many powerful western countries, competition and conspiracy of drug cartels against each other.

6- Perspective

Our country is prone to other explosions. Any anti-people action of the regime can be a spark in the people's anger of dissatisfaction. People's protests continue in various forms. Repression is the only means that the regime can use. But a society that has more than eighty million people and is constantly in turmoil cannot be managed with only the repression policy. The pressure and crime of the regime has pushed the people’s struggle back from the street but has dragged it into the workplace and people's lives. The repression of the Islamic Republic has long ceased to produce fear at the level of the society, and the regime that used to suppress to create terror in the heart of the society is now facing the fear of its fall and is taking any action to preserve its existence.

All the evidence shows the instability of the current situation and the fragility of the Islamic Republic. The whole regime is divided into groups with insular interests, who do not have the least ability to run the country, and their connecting points are the common interest in maintaining the ruling system, the fear of its fall and Khamenei's presence. The current government generally lacks a plan and strategy and any vision, except repeating ideological stereotypes for the future. Possibilities in this field cannot be predicted due to the internal diversity of the regime and multiple centers of power. What is clear is that the intensification of political, economic and social crises can intensify the chaos in the ranks of the regime and cause the deterioration of its acute internal conflicts at any time, including during the succession of Khamenei. And by considering the possible role of the foreign factor in such situations, it will make the situation more unstable than before and make the regime more helpless and ineffective.

Considering the current unstable situation, especially the possibility of the internal collapse of the regime, the opposition of the Islamic Republic should plan for possible scenarios in the future of Iran. In this field, alliances, coalitions and wider coordination between different forces are a necessity.

7- The state of the opposition, our duties

In the recent uprisings and movements, people have carried out the organization of the struggle in the workplace, neighborhoods and education institutions, as much as possible. But in order to fight at the national level and increase the pressure on the regime, a strong organized center is needed, which will strengthen the hope in the hearts of the people and draw a clear vision for the people's struggles. In order to create this hope, the opposition should first of all solve its internal problems and win the trust of the people with a reliable result. The trust that can only be the result of the efficiency and capability of the opposition forces.

There are not few people who believe that the weakness and fragmentation of the opposition is one of the factors that work in favor of the regime's longevity. Although the opposition of the Islamic Republic suffers from fragmentation and has been more involved in its own internal issues, at the same time, the efforts for unity and coalition within it have always existed. With its rise, the revolutionary movement "Women, Life, Freedom" forced the opposition to an unprecedented movement. The continuation of this movement and the movement of Iranians around the world in support of this movement made it necessary to pursue coalitions and alliances within the opposition on the basis of these movements. The " Hamgami for the Democratic Secular Republic of Iran" coalition is one of them, which after years of cooperation between its constituent movements, finally announced its existence. In the past weeks, the republican conference was held on its one-year anniversary. In other cases, some efforts and rapprochement have been implemented, the formation of "Solidarity for Freedom and Equality in Iran" is one of them. But with the passage of time and the decline of the street presence of the movement, internal differences became major again, the monopolistic forces, mainly right-wing and including some of the royalists, raised the banner of excluding others and tried to fill the void of a united opposition. In practice, such tendencies became the cause of division, threat and weakening of the movement.
The opposition of the Islamic Republic has no choice but to unite and form a broad coalition in its efforts to strengthen the people's movement, to remove the Islamic Republic and replace it with a democratic and just government. The existence of a united opposition is one of the necessary conditions for the success of the people's movement and the opening of prospects for fundamental transformation in Iran. While strengthening unity in their ranks, various forces and factions need coalition, cooperation and coordination with democratic forces among other factions. This is of primary importance for the opposition to play an appropriate and effective role in the current critical situation.

From our point of view, the formation of different blocs, the cooperation and synchronization of the republican and democratic forces, as much as the commonalities allow, is important and can be effective in the formation of coordination between the democratic forces in Iran and create more strength within the opposition, but not enough. For the time after the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and reaching such a time, a wider preparation should be made right now.

While trying to create a left bloc to defend the interests of workers and other wage earners, to create the broadest coalition around the common points between the republican forces and to reach a greater collective understanding and agreement among the secular and democratic opposition forces, we consider it necessary to create a center for coordination between these forces to strengthen the people's movement. In this regard, we are ready to talk and dialogue about the way forward with all the forces that adhere to the principles of democracy, political pluralism and human rights.

Central Council of the Left Party of Iran
May 4, 2024

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