Iranian Opposition Leader Ibrahim Alizadeh : Military Attack on Iran Would Benefit the Regime, not the People
RUDAW 23.11.2012 – In an interview with Rudaw, Ibrahim Alizada, secretary general of the Iranian Kurdish Communist Party (Komala), addresses the possibility of military attacks on Iran. Alizada believes any foreign military attack will benefit the Iranian regime and harm the Iranian people. He also considers the future of leftist ideologies in Iran after the demise of the current Islamic regime.
Rudaw: Iran is in an economic crisis. Do you think the people will pay the price for this crisis, or the regime?
Ibrahim Alizada: The Islamic republic of Iran has always lived in economic and political crisis. However, two points distinguish this latest crisis from its predecessors. The first is the current situation in the Middle East, and the second is the harsher economic embargo on Iran from Western nations.
In the past, Iran tried several methods to overcome economic crises, such as state capitalism, free trade and a combination of the two. But Iran has not been able to overcome these crises. The crises have directly affected the people of Iran. State revenues have decreased. This too has directly affected the people. It has led to poorer public services, a lower value for Iranian currency, high prices and the closure of business centers. The only area where Iran has not cut the budget has been in military and security areas.
Rudaw: Does the economic embargo fuel people’s discontent with the government, or do you think it counterproductively impacts the ordinary people?
Ibrahim Alizada: The Iranian regime’s policy is that it wants the people of Iran to be always in need of the regime’s help. This makes people give up their political strength. Extreme poverty will not lead to an uprising. In such a situation, each individual tries to rescue his or her own family.
Rudaw: What are the effects of Iranian and Israeli threats of war on the people of Iran?
Ibrahim Alizada: People are affected by even threats of an army invasion, beyond an actual attack. Under the pretext of military threats, the Iranian regime is militarizing Iranian society. It tries to blame external actors for the current catastrophic situation that it has created for the people of Iran.
If a military attack takes place, it will greatly benefit the Iranian regime and harm the Iranian people. In the face of such interference, the country will drown in blood and fire. Therefore, not many Iranians wish for an Israeli or American military attack. If only one rocket hits an Iranian army base or atomic center, that will be like a blessing from the skies.
Rudaw: What is the alternative then?
Ibrahim Alizada: Our efforts are to prevent people from lowering their demands and expectations due to the economic situation they are living in now. They should not get accustomed to this day to day living situation.
Then, we are trying to get people and social movements united in unions. For example, the workers unite in the workers’ syndicate, women in the women’s unions, etc. Students need to be rescued from the control of “Islamic reform” groups. We don’t want people to take to the streets and see others killed and go home disappointed. We are suggesting a strike for all the different groups in society.
Rudaw: Do you think after the collapse of Syria, Iran’s turn will come?
Ibrahim Alizada: Iranian society is different from that of Arab countries. But no doubt, the events in the Arab world have had an effect on Iran; but they will not be duplicated in Iran.
The collapse of the Syrian regime will have two effects. First, the Islamic Republic of Iran will be deprived of one of its allies. Second, the collapse of Assad will motivate the Iranian people. But other than that, there is nothing else to it. Iran is boiling for change on its own. It’s the internal factors that are pushing the country to a different destination.
Rudaw: Is Komala thinking about forming a front with the other Iranian opposition parties? Are there any steps towards this?
Ibrahim Alizada: We have had a project for several years. We named it in an attempt to form a “leftist axis” in Iran. Fortunately, the attempts have progressed in the past four or five months. We have managed to meet with 26 other Iranian leftist groups and parties.
Two or three months ago, at a conference in Cologne, Germany, we met. After the conference, a “coordination council” was established. The council will work on paving the way for the second conference which will take place in the current year. We are hoping to reach an agreement in the second conference on a united discourse, to ensure more cooperation among the Iranian leftist groups.
Due to the differences and conflicts among the Iranian leftists and leftist ideology on the international level, this work is not easy. However, the political situation in Iran is in constant change and chances for public uprising and workers’ uprisings are high. This encourages us to solve the conflicts and differences among our leftist parties.
Rudaw: Do you believe leftist ideologies and communism are good alternatives for the future of Iran?
Ibrahim Alizada: After the collapse of the Iranian monarchy, the leftists managed to bring 600,000 people to the streets on Labor Day. Many of the strategic centers of the old regime were controlled by leftists. Why did the leftists fail to prolong this control? That is a different matter. But the leftists managed to bring hundreds of thousands of people to the streets.
This shows how deep leftism is rooted in Iranian society. Leftism has a strong position in the Iran. For example, in Kurdistan in 1979, when the monarchy was abolished, Komala held its first convention where only 11 to 12 cadres participated. But in a very short period of time, Komala managed to replace all the other traditional parties in Kurdistan.
For the future of Iran, I cannot say leftism is the only solution. But in the face of the collapse of the Iranian regime, leftists will be an undeniable force. If the leftists fail to hold the whole authority, they will be an unshakable pillar in the [post-Islamic Republic] power in Iran.
Rudaw: What is the relationship between the U.S. and your party and other leftist parties?
Ibrahim Alizada: We and other leftist parties are not naïve to have hopes in U.S. interference. The leftists in Iran believe that any U.S. or Western intervention in Iran would poison the struggle of the Iranian people and only prolong the life of the Iranian regime. Therefore, Iranian leftists are not pro-America.
Rudaw: It is said that an American delegation visited you and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI). What was the visit for?
Ibrahim Alizada: After the collapse of the Baath regime in Iraq, America became the superpower in the region. As an armed group, we were asked by the Americans to lay down our arms. But only 15 days later, the Americans got in big trouble in Iraq. Therefore, they disregarded their project [of disarmament].
After a while, they came back and said, “You are an active group working to topple the Iranian regime. That is also the American goal. Therefore, we ask you to cooperate with us.” We told them we rejected their interference in Iranian affairs and that their interference would harm the cause. If the Iranian regime failed, it would fail when they stopped saying it had to be toppled. Their slogans were prolonging the life of the Iranian regime. After this conversation, they did not come back. And no doubt they have visited other parties as well.
Rudaw: Do you believe America will create problems for you in the future in Iran?
Ibrahim Alizada: The future of Iran will be determined by the balance of power. If one day the Iraqi scenario repeats itself in Iran, then the situation will be very difficult for us. We have to make up our minds at that moment as to what to do and what not to do. But what’s clear is that in such a situation, we would never leave our people. We would try to adopt policies to suit the political situation at any given time.
What is important is now. Until now, America has not taken serious steps in helping any opposition parties. America just uses the opposition parties as bargaining chips. It just shows these forces to the Iranian regime every now and then. This is how the U.S. has treated the opposition parties so far. Our party has protected our dignity and not accepted this. However, those who unite their parties just to make the U.S. happy, favor U.S. intervention or tie their own strategies to the intervention of the U.S. in the Iranian affairs will receive nothing at the end but ignominy.
Rudaw: Has the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) or the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) made any suggestions to you about uniting yourselves in one front?
Ibrahim Alizada: The PUK has expressed its opinion, as an opinion and not as pressure, about forming a united front. However, we have not waited for their suggestions; we have tried on our own to do so. We and certain other parties believe that if we are united, the people of Kurdistan will have less to worry about in their struggle against the Iranian regime.
We believe we are able to form such a front. We believe we can form a front and that the Iranian regime will not be able to use the differences within this front to harm the struggle of the people of Kurdistan. However, if we are unable to form a front, we will minimize the differences as much as possible.