Bani-Sadr warns Iranians that fascism undercuts their revolution
President Abolhassan Bani-Sadr is showing increasing signs of disillusionment with the direction of Iran's revolution. In particular, he has repeatedly warned in public addresses of growing fascism in the country. Things have become so bad, he says, that no one offered a government job today is ready to accept it.
That may explain why he has been finding it so difficult to nominate a premier. One oft-mentioned candidate for the post, Defense Minister Mostafa Chamran, for instance, said Aug. 7 he would not accept the job under any circumstances.
President Bani-Sadr's complaints about growing fascism follow incidents in which the offices of several political parties in Tehran and other cities have been occupied by the street mob of the Hizbollahi or "Party of God."
The Hizbollani usually begin their attacks by raising the slogan "only God's party." The fundamentalist Islamic Republican Party denies the slogan refers to them. But analysts note the Hizbollani invariably get the support of the Pasdars (Revolutionary Guards).
Among the parties whose offices have been closed down are the National Front (a group of moderate, secular parties), the Tudeh (Communist) Party, the Democratic Party, and the Ranjbar (Toilers) Party.
An Islamic leftist group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq (People's Holy Warriors), has played safe by announcing the closing of its offices around the country. This has prevented attacks on Mujahideen centers, though some bookstores owned by Mujahideen supporters have been destroyed.
Also attacked were the offices of several newspapers, including the popular morning paper, Bamdad, perhaps the only really independent paper in the country. Bamdad stopped appearing July 23, when its offices were occupied by about 200 Hizbollahi.
The occupation occurred in the presence of Pasdars. When asked why they did not interfere, the Pasdars said they had appeared on the scene after being told of the possibility of a clash. Since there had been no clash, there was no need for them to interfere.
Normally, the Hizbollahi hand over the premises to the Pasdars a few hours after they have occupied it, and the Pasdars simply do not return it to the original owners.
The occupations have occurred in rapid succession, lending credence to speculation that it is a single group of 200 to 300 young ruffians who act as unofficial storm troopers for the fundamentalists. Also supporting this theory is that each attack has been preceded by a speech by an IRP member sharply critical of the party that became the next target.
"The most dangerous groups are those who are crippling the state from the inside," Bani-Sadr said in a recent speech. Although he did not mention any group by name, the President was believed to have been referring at least partly to the Hizbollahi and the Revolutionary Guards who support them.
The President said other parties have a constitutional right to open offices and publicly express their views. Meanwhile, the fundamentalist charges against opposition parties -- whether justified of fabricated -- continue.
An Islamic judge trying the men involved in the July 10 conspiracy to overthrow Ayatollah Khomeini says that interrogations have proved almost all political parties in Iran were involved or knew about the conspircy. (The implication was that the fundamentalists were the exception.)
Although there is no way of checking the accuracy of the judge's remarks, if true, they would indicate that most of Iran's secular political parties have lost hope of getting anywhere as long as the fundamentalists hold sway.