Saturday, March 3, 2007

Iran: Left Opposition Speaks

IRAN: THE LEFT OPPOSITION SPEAKS. An Interview with Bina Darabzand of Salam Democratby Bill Weinberg, WW4 REPORT

On December 12, 2006, as the Holocaust revisionism conference called by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad opened in Tehran, small but angry groups of students held protests—against both the conference and Ahmadinejad, burning his picture and chanting "down with the dictator." Scores of students marched at the Amir Kabir University of Technology (formerly Tehran Polytechnic), Tehran University and Sanandaj University in Kordistan province.

Among the organizers of the protests was Bina Darabzand, a leftist thinker and longtime veteran of Iran's student movement. Born into what he calls a "left-oriented political family" in Tehran in 1957, Darabzand was involved in protest movements against the Shah from his youth. In 1978, he returned home from studies in the US and UK—where he was a representative abroad of the Confederation of Iranian Students—to participate in the Iranian revolution. After Ayatollah Khomeini took power, he was forced into exile, but returned to Iran again in 1986, and has since been working to build a radical left opposition. Since 1997, when the election of President Mohammad Khatami brought a supposedly more open atmosphere, he has been arrested four times—most recently in July 2004, when he was imprisoned for two years on fabricated charges of slandering governmental officials and organizing underground cells.

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