Your tireless work as a Member of Parliament for over thirty years includes supporting many causes that go unreported by the capitalist media or are not supported by other politicians, groups or organisations.
In this context some of our members came into contact with you in the late 1980s as part of Campaign Against Repression in Iran (CARI), when your support in publicising the plight of the Iranian masses, particularly workers, women and national minorities, and the continuing repression by the Iranian regime, drew others among the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs into our solidarity work.
Later, as part of Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network (IWSN), we also received some help and solidarity from you in regard to campaigns about the repression of independent labour organisations and the jailing and torture of labour activists trying to set up independent trade unions. We are sure there are many exiled activists like us from various parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East who have been receiving your assistance and solidarity in progressing their causes.
It therefore comes as a great shock to us to find that your appearances on Press TV, the propaganda mouthpiece of the blood-soaked clerical-capitalist dictatorship in Iran, which first came to light during your 2015 leadership bid, were not only a misguided move that went against the general trend of your activities in regard to repression in Iran, but that you were paid thousands of pounds for making them. In short, it was paid work.
Furthermore, it appears that some of the £20,000 that you were paid by the Iranian regime – which just in September 1988 executed an estimated 2,500-30,000 political prisoners – was for an appearance six months after the network had its broadcasting license revoked by Ofcom for airing a forced confession by Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari!
We fully understand that you are currently trying to ward off an effective coup by the rightwing of your party and the Press TV payments have probably been publicised by these plotters. However, we believe that in the interest of at least slightly defusing these negative manoeuvres of the rightwing MPs, and to show your solidarity with Iran’s struggling workers, that you acknowledge the following:
1- That your appearances on Press TV, the English-language propaganda channel of the Iranian regime, were a grave error of judgement.
2- That, in particular, to appear on this channel after the network had its broadcasting license revoked by Ofcom for airing a forced confession by a journalist, went against your own record of defending human rights, the freedom of speech and journalistic freedoms for over three decades.
3- That to have received any payment from this dictatorial regime, especially as much as £20,000, is also a serious mistake. This can be seen clearly now that the rightwing of your party and their media friends are using it to make you seem like yet another greedy Westminster politician.
4- That by donating a significant portion of the £20,000 to jailed labour activists in Iran you will both neutralise this particular manoeuvre by the rightwing MPs and send a positive message of solidarity to the whole Iranian workers’ movement. The only ‘crimes’ of the jailed labour activists in Iran are to try to organise their workmates, to try to set up independent labour organisations and trade unions, and to achieve the basic right to strike. Instead they are accused of plotting against the regime, being the enemies of God, foreign spies and so on. Those who do not compromise with the dictatorship are killed – as Shahrokh Zamani was while in prison. Meanwhile, the fate of their families goes from bad to worse!
The recent rapprochement with the imperialist countries, including US imperialism, has finally clarified the true nature of this regime for many who had doubts about our analysis dating back to its inception. Since then this regime has helped the imperialist countries in attacking and occupying Afghanistan in 2001, and then Iraq in 2003, and is positioning itself to play a similar role to that of the Shah in the 1970s – but with an ‘Islamic’ exterior.
Gone is its supposed ‘anti-imperialism’. The proposed trade deals with GM and Boeing are only an early indicator of lucrative deals where the old rhetoric is going to be replaced by nothing other than the pure pursuit of profit on both sides – with Iranian workers paying the price. The workers will pay by being squeezed more by American or European companies as well as Iranian capitalists and functionaries. They will bear witness to how the new ‘Islamic’ rich become even richer than the Shah’s courtiers.
We hope that you will take this opportunity to stand together with Iranian workers and condemn the Iranian regime’s treatment of workers, women, national and religious minorities, the youth, the disabled, LGBTQ people, journalists and writer, artists and all dissidents.
We look forward to your positive response to the points mentioned above.
For and on behalf of Iranian Revolutionary Marxists’ Tendency
10 July 2016
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