Mehdi Samǽ replies to questions raised by “Crises Bulletin”
Crises Bulletin: With the warmest greetings, and thanks for providing answers to questions raised by “Crises Bulletin”. Please introduce yourself.
Mehdi Samǽ: I’ve been a political activist for 46 years and have been involved with the forerunner movement of Fadaii for the past 40 years at organisational levels. I am a member of the Central Committee of this organisation and its representative within the National Council of Resistance at the moment. I was a political prisoner during the previous regime for a collective number of eight and a half years.
Crises Bulletin: The United Nations is still undecided whether or not it should impose serious sanctions against the Islamic Regime. In your opinion, if the economic sanctions gather pace and step into a serious phase, would it exacerbate the present economic crisis? Would the deepening of the economic crises, contribute to the downfall of the regime or not? How?
Mehdi Samǽ: The economic crisis in Iran, under the rule of Supreme Leader, is deepening rapidly even without imposing more serious sanctions on the regime. In addition to such crises, which are a typical characteristic of any periphery economy within the global capitalist system, the political structure crises within our society exacerbate the economic crises. In other words, the contradiction between the political essence of the regime, i.e. the clerical Supreme Leader’s dictatorship, and the economic structure, i.e. periphery capitalist system, deepens the economic crises on a daily basis. During the past 18 years the rulers of Iran have taken considerable economic steps to bring themselves in line with the global neoliberal capitalist system. Within the recent 2 years only, during which the Supreme Leader’s servant has been in charge, more tangible economical steps have been taken in order to adapt the economy with the global capitalist economy than the previous 16 years during which Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami were in power. However, the important point is that, in order to preserve itself, the Supreme Leadership System has to mainly re-invest its economical gains in areas which don’t necessarily, from an economical point of view, follow any logical concept.
Disbursements imposed by the various dedicated Supreme Leadership Institutions over Iran’s economy, the overheads to finance suppression and to deploy fundamentalism and terrorism, the costs involved in running amphibious institutions and corporations such as “Indigents’ Foundation” which is financed by the State budget while not answerable to any authorities other than being under the direct supervision of the Supreme Leader’s Office and hundreds of other overheads, prevent any economic programme based on today’s global capitalism principles.
I shall refrain from making any reference to statistical figures concerning the levels of present economic crises, as we can discuss this in another opportunity.
In addition to the above, I’d like to add that the State run economy aside, the traditional commercial capitalism in the form of merchant trade, plays a key role in Iran’s economy and hence inducing economic crises. Therefore, either imposing economic sanctions or not, the most effective of which being oil sanctions, the economic crisis continues and reaches deeper levels.
Having said that, imposing oil sanctions upon the regime could hinder the achievement of its objectives tremendously and this could weaken the regime. The lesser the opportunities for the regime, the more serious problems in financing suppression and exporting terror and fundamentalism and this could only contribute to the weakening of the regime.
This weakness would give rise to the social movements and exacerbate the piled up social demands.
Crises Bulletin: Bearing in mind the banking affairs, dealings and the international trade and its relation with globalisation, could the regime find a way out of its present economical crisis?
Mehdi Samǽ: Not at all. The economic crisis in Iran has a bilateral nature. On the one hand it reflects the common aspects of crisis within capitalism, particularly that of a periphery capitalist system. On the other hand, which relates to the present status quo, has its roots in the contradiction between the essence of the political structure and the economic infrastructure. This is the main contradiction at present which can only be resolved by the downfall of the political system based on the Supreme Leadership system. Until such time, there will be no prospect to end the crises. The political system In Iran as a whole differs from those in other periphery countries. Here, the argument is not about the similar natures of the economy. The point is about Supreme Leadership system and its functionality within Iran, the region and at international levels. It is due to this functionality within the Iranian system that exacerbates the economic crisis at higher levels than those countries whose political systems conform to the economical structure.
I must add that, in my opinion, although the first step to conquer the economic crisis will only be achieved by the annihilation of the clerical dictatorship based upon the Supreme Leadership system and the establishment of a democratic regime (Political revolution), but the ultimate prevalence over economic crises both on a national and international level will necessarily be achieved through socialist revolution and the establishment of socialism throughout the world.
Crises Bulletin: The Islamic Republic Regime plays a major role in the region to create convulsion and promote terrorism, particularly in Iraq. Would you agree that in order to rid itself of its internal crises and to minimise external pressures, they have attempted to export these crises? If this is so, where does the main contradiction lie; the occupation of Iraq by the coalition forces or, the influence of the Quds Corps and the regime’s elements within the different ranks of the Iraqi ruling power? Would the American withdrawal from Iraq benefit the people, or does the withdrawal of regime’s elements from Iraq take priority? In the absence of a popular and pro nation government in Iraq, wouldn’t the evacuation of coalition forces from Iraq exacerbate convulsion at this point in time?
Mehdi Samǽ: Regarding the first part of your question, indeed I agree and without any doubt one of the functions of the Supreme Leadership system is the export of fundamentalism and terrorism. This is directly related to the internal repression, in such manner that the reduction in one side would necessarily weaken the other aspect. The Supreme Leadership system’s rhetoricians and Ayatollah Khomeini himself repeatedly and in many ways expressed that the conservation of the regime through belligerence (Belligerent ecology) with the outsiders of the system, be it its own people or the international community, is achievable. The occupation of Iraq has presented the Islamic Republic with a unique opportunity. The occupation, which in my opinion is the main contradiction in Iraq has been amalgamated with the covert occupation of Iraq by the Supreme Leadership regime which in my opinion is the main threat. If we assume the American evacuation from Iraq, without any doubt the Iranian regime would impose its sovereignty over Iraq by its own elements. On the other hand, should the Americans continue with their occupation, this opportunity would be prolonged for the Supreme Leadership regime. This particular situation has unified the fates of the people of Iran and Iraq. To express my own opinion about this matter, I think that the popular resolve for Iraq depends on the unity of the democratic, independent, progressive and secular forces to end both the rule of Iran’s regime and the occupation of Iraq by the Americans.
But in a real world, this resolve would only work if the democratic forces took control of the power in Iraq and this can only be achieved if the Iranian regime is restrained. Restraining the Iran regime in Iraq would ultimately result in restraining its internal repression and wise versa. From these particular circumstances I can draw the conclusion that whilst the subject of American occupation and the Iranian meddling are entangled, so is the fate of the Iranian and the Iraqi peoples.
Only a solution implemented via democratic, independent, progressive and secular forces in both countries would benefit both nations, which by the way, needs to happen more or less in tandem.
The opportunity for this solution, despite the difficulties involved, does exist. Particularly, considering the levels of unpopularity and the detested position of the clerical Supreme Leader’s dictatorship will play an important role to pave the way for such a solution.
From this point of view, advocating the unilateral withdrawal of the occupying forces in Iraq without pointing the finger at the covert occupation of Iraq and without advocating a democratic alternative would be synonymous with abandoning the Iraqi people in the claws of the rulers of Iran and ultimately, the establishment of another Supreme Leadership system, this time in Iraq. By the same token, opposing the foreign invasion of Iran without any opposition and struggle against the Islamic Republic would mean standing by the side of the regime and collaboration with the Supreme Leadership system.
Crises Bulletin: Is the nuclear technology our undeniable right or not? Why? Had there been a popular government in power, would it have been right to oppose a nuclear Iran? Wouldn’t Iran benefit from nuclear power in the current puissance and hostility era? Should the regime acquire nuclear capability, would it be possible to overthrow such regime armed with nuclear weapons?
Mehdi Samǽ: Firstly, I must say that having a legitimate right does not mean that the use of it is right. There are two well known examples on this topic.
One is the right to divorce. We all know that the Catholics do not recognise this right. However, nowadays this right is recognised within secular systems. In many countries both women and men have equal rights to exercise this. Does recognising this right mean that it ought to be used relentlessly and under any circumstances? The ethical answer is negative.
The other one is the right of disintegration of nations, peoples or tribes resident in a country. This recognition also doesn’t mean that the use of it would be right in principle or warranted.
Having explained this, I shall get back to the first question. Having considered the suppressed rights of the Iranian people, the right to acquire nuclear technology would be the last in their list of priorities. However, we are not discussing energy matters here. The Islamic Republic is after nuclear weapons and this is a serious threat for the Iranian people. With regard to making use of nuclear energy or otherwise, in my opinion demands a democratic platform so that all those in favour or against it could argue it out freely and having considered all the aspects could reach a decision. For various reasons, particularly from the ecological point of view and the dangers involved in a country positioned on a fault line and the uneconomical aspects of nuclear energy for Iran whilst possessing huge reserves of natural gas, I oppose the use of nuclear energy.
However, the way to reach a decision about important and costly matters requires a democratic environment and the freedom to obtain the necessary information. For example, one should have access to reliable information regarding economically viable sources of Uranium. The already discovered sources of Uranium could satisfy the needs of a thousand mega watts power station for a maximum of ten years. However, such amount is sufficient to produce tens of nuclear warheads and this is what the Supreme Leadership system is after, i.e. to manufacture Atomic bomb.
About “Wouldn’t Iran benefit from nuclear power in the current puissance and hostility era”, in my opinion, in order for Iran and its nation to defend itself against “the powerful and the hostile forces” would be to adopt such policies that makes efficient use of its human resources by recognising its peoples’ rights to freedom and sovereignty. Abundance of ballistic missiles armed with nuclear warheads existed in the former Soviet Union. Billions of Dollars were invested for these weapons. Nonetheless, that system collapsed. I have no doubts that this would also apply to the Supreme Leadership system and it would collapse with or without nuclear technology. Nothing can stand in the way of the dynamics of history. The clerical dictatorship based upon Supreme Leadership, is far too outdated to resort to Atomic bomb in order to safeguard its survival.
The difference between acquiring nuclear bomb or not is the price that the people have to pay for freedom. The price to pay for gaining freedom while the rulers of Iran have access to nuclear weapons would certainly be higher. This is why we must endeavour and struggle to prevent this regime from getting its hand on nuclear weapons.
Crises Bulletin: Thank you. We shall continue with this discussion in our next issue.
Our readers could post their questions via bulletin’s e-mail address.