Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Ms. Shirin Ebadi contains a certain political implication. In order to understand this implication, we must understand the message given to the people of Iran and to the rest of the world by both the Nobel Committee and Ms. Ebadi herself in this relation.
The focal point of their message is clear and that is: under the rule of the Islamic Republic in Iran (and for that matter under any other Islamic regime in the world), the establishment of democracy in society is possible, and that it is possible, with this regime in power, to realise the individual as well as social freedoms stated in the “Charter of Human Rights”. When Ms. Shirin Ebadi states: “it still is possible to stay in Iran and work for the advancement of human rights there”, or “There is no contradiction between an Islamic republic, Islam and human rights”, or when she implies that attaining democracy in Iran is viable via abiding the Islamic Republic’s reactionary laws, and explicitly propounds that “it still is possible to bring reform to the regime”, she, in fact, is proclaiming the very same message which Khatami expounded under the slogan of implementing reforms and the “democratization of the regime” whose deceitful nature, of course, has since become clear to everyone.
Considering the oppression against women in Iran including Shirin Ebadi, and the fact that she has never held an official post nor has she ever played an administrative role in the Islamic regime, certainly draws some differences between her and Khatami. But, whatever these differences may be, what is noteworthy is the unanimity between her message and that of Khatami, and the common aims and objectives between the two. This is the issue which, if not grasped, can, once again, bewilder and deceive the genuine democratic forces of our society vis-à-vis the possibility for carrying out reforms within the Islamic Republic.
Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Shirin Ebadi, as a “reformist” outside the establishment, is taking place under the circumstances when the oppressed masses of Iran have repeatedly poured onto the streets and shouted: ‘Down with the Islamic Republic regime!’, under the circumstances when everyone knows that the majority of the Iranian people are so disgusted and fed up with the regime and are demanding its overthrow that even within the establishment some confess that the regime holds no legitimacy whatsoever. Under such circumstances, in order to counter the demands and the interests of the workers and other oppressed sectors, the search for generating “legitimacy” to the Islamic Republic is a serious concern for both the various factions of the ruling class in Iran and the imperialists who have vast interests in the country (of course, there are contradictions within the imperialist camp regarding the method of dealing with the Islamic Republic. For instance, a part of the US ruling class, unlike others, no longer sees the existence of the Islamic Republic necessary). It is precisely in this relation that the undertaking of the Nobel Committee, as an institution which, in its part, fosters imperialist policies, reveals its political implication. In fact, endeavoring to draw support for reformists outside the establishment (now that the government-related reformists have been exposed), and, in fact, endeavoring to strengthen the illusion that “it still is possible to bring reform to the regime” by giving this award to Shirin Ebadi, entirely serves the legitimization of the Islamic Republic. “Reform is dead, long-live reformism!”* uttered some time ago by Saeed Hajarian; one of the founders of the Islamic Republic’s intelligence agency, more vividly explains the current fraudulent trend behind the recent Nobel Peace Prize.
The struggles of workers, students, women and other militant masses of Iran in the recent years have torn the disguise from Khatami’s deceitful face, and have demonstrated to everyone the impracticality and ambiguity of the “reformist” line. This bankrupt line, which serves nothing other than extending the disgraceful existence of the Islamic Republic regime and that of violence in Iran, is being injected into the minds of people today.
Our oppressed people are seeking economic and social betterment, freedom and democracy. And the truth is that in order to attain these there is only one way and that is to overthrow the Islamic Republic regime, to eradicate the dependent capitalist system and to put an end to all kinds of imperialist domination over Iran. This is certainly a difficult path, no doubt. However, the difficulty of this path must not lead us to delude ourselves about anti-people policies that determine the future of the oppressed people of Iran and to extend the life of our enemies with our own hands.
October 16, 2003
* In “Class Struggles in France”, Marx observed the defeat of the revolution of June 1848 in France as a premise for the victory of the future proletariat revolution in France, and stated: “Revolution is dead, long-live revolution”. Saeed Hajarian has rephrased this statement presenting it as Trotsky’s.