Question: It might be argued that the Iraqi regime, like the Taliban regime, is corrupt, dictatorial and fascist and that its downfall is the desire of all decent people. Why couldn't one be pleased, then, at the USA attack on Iraq and see a positive side to this war, like the war with the Taliban?
Koorosh Modaresi: Certainly, the downfall of the Iraqi regime is the desire of all decent people. The Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) alongside the Worker Communist Party of Iraq has struggled against the Iraqi regime; this battle continues. However, the issue at hand in this attack is not the overthrow of the Iraqi regime; this is the USA's formula on the issue. Saddam Hussein's regime can also be overthrown by dropping a nuclear bomb on Baghdad; must we see a positive side to it? The USA was striving to establish its supremacy in the war on Afghanistan too but the issue at hand there was the overthrow of the rule of political Islam, which with limited casualties and destruction, could guarantee the coming to power of a regime that was nonetheless better. The outcome of the Taliban's defeat was not the USA's triumph as the uni-power of the world, whatever the USA's formula for that war. The result of that victory in Afghanistan from the viewpoint of the world's people was the defeat of political Islam and the triumph of some form of civilisation over Islamic barbarity. In fact, it is for this very reason that the USA has returned to the issue of Saddam. The Afghanistan war did not and could not, because of the nature of the issue, establish the position and law of the jungle the USA wanted. On this occasion though, the outcome of the USA war on Iraq will not be the overthrow of Saddam, but rather the establishment of the USA's domination on the world. This phenomenon will be worse for humanity and the people of Iraq than the Iraqi Ba'ath regime. I think that one must move beyond the formula the USA presents to the world with the aid of lackey journalism and declare that the issue at hand is something else. The USA's attack on Iraq is to establish the USA's supremacy. If there was a civilised and human regime engaged in overthrowing Saddam, then the question would have been fundamentally different. As I said before, we should not accept the account they have placed before us at face value. The issue is something else. It is not the case that we must overthrow Saddam at the expense of devastating the lives of the people of the region, world, including the people of Iraq.
Question: What factors can stop the USA attack on Iraq and what is to be done? What is the WPI's position on the 'anti-war movement', which is taking shape and the groups involved in it? Will the WPI take part in this movement?
Koorosh Modaresi: The actualisation of the USA attack on Iraq depends on various factors, including establishing strategic and logistical facilities in the region and neutralising European countries to accept the USA's new role. One significant and fundamental factor, however, is the protests which can and must be organised internationally against USA militarism. If the USA and Western states face the surge of people's protests, then they will be forced to retreat; consequently, we will strive to constitute a significant pillar of the anti-war movement. In reality, however, this movement attracts various groups to it. As I said before, the outcome of the USA's militaristic policy will be to strengthen political Islam and nationalism. In the process of the shaping of the anti-war movement, this means that these groups will try to present themselves as the representatives and voices of the interests of the people of Iraq and the region, turn their own slogans and perspectives into the perspectives and slogans of the movement's participants and also draw legitimisation from this movement. We must not allow this to happen. This movement must be the movement of the civilised world and humanity against USA barbarity. Its demands must not have any sympathy with Islamists and nationalists. We must enlighten, mobilise, gather sympathy and turn humanity into the banner of this protest. This is a complex struggle but in reality the civilised world and humanity is with us, particularly after September 11. We must use this opportunity. We must utilize this movement as the basis of the emergence of humanity's movement against USA militarism.
Question: What are the main slogans in the context of the activities of the Worker-communist Party of Iran against the probable USA attack on Iraq and what is the WPI position, in particular, on the slogan of 'Neither Bush, Nor Saddam'?
Koorosh Modaresi: Undoubtedly, one slogan cannot capture all this analysis and reality. More than focusing on one slogan, attention must be paid to declarations, resolutions, debating the issue in one's locality and the process of the formation of this movement. As far as the 'Neither Bush, Nor Saddam' slogan is concerned, I think that this slogan accepts part of the USA's account. Clearly, the slogan's elements are not only fine but they express the desires of any decent person. In the current situation, however, placing the two together implies that there is a war between Saddam and the USA and we are saying 'no' to both of them. This is not the case. As I have said, there is no war but an unjustified USA attack on Iraq. The issue at hand is the USA not Iraq and not Iraq plus the USA. If our movement fails to be clearly against USA militarism and begins from a defensive position, it will not succeed. If someone asks my position on Saddam, my reply will be that the issue at hand is not Saddam. I will not accept this deception. You cannot paint a frog in the colour of a canary and then debate the principles of conduct towards canaries with me. The situation is exactly like the Gulf War. Then, too, we did not accept that the issue at hand was Kuwait and its independence.
Question: In the event of a USA attack on Iraq and the presence of USA forces in the region, the region's political geography will be altered and will affect the political situation in Iran as well as the political forces in opposition. What is your analysis of this change in the region and Iran?
Koorosh Modaresi: If the USA attacks and succeeds, then it will become a country residing in the region. Today, if the USA wants to use military force against anyone in the region it must first seek the agreement of several countries, sheikhdoms and emirates. By having a permanent base in an Iraq it has seized, the USA will be placed in a more established position, allowing it to do anything it wants. This is not a bright future. Neither we nor the people of Iran want to go to war with the USA. However, the USA has shown, and today with its 'Pre-emptive Strikes' policy has declared, that if the people of Iran, Saudi Arabia or any other place in the region decide to adopt a policy which is not to the liking of the USA or if any state in any of these countries comes to power that might, by its economic development, limit USA influence, the USA will simply occupy their oil producing regions or devastate the entire country by using its permanent military base. With this policy, the USA is turning the Gulf region into its own backyard. If we have learnt lessons from the past and present, this is a gloomy future for the region. The USA will become the cause of instability and the growth of reactionary groups in the region in the same way that Sharon was the cause of the growth of Hamas in Palestine.
Politically, the presence of the USA next to Iran is not beneficial for the Islamic Republic and will strengthen groups supportive of the USA. As I said regarding Iraq, we are not for 'weakening' the Islamic by at the expense of the people's devastation. One can overthrow the Islamic regime by dropping an atomic bomb on Tehran. This USA policy will bring nothing but devastation for the people.
The above is the translation of an interview first published in International Weekly number 126 dated 7 October 2002. It was first published in English in WPI Briefing number 76, dated 10 October 2002.
WPI Briefing No. 76, 7 October 2002