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Digital Archive International History Declassified

February 21, 1983


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    Report and analysis of arrests of Tudeh (People's Party of Iran) leaders and other forms of repression against the Tudeh Party.
    "Information about Anti-Communist Activities in Iran ," February 21, 1983, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, BStU, MfS, HVA, Nr. 24. Obtained by Roham Alvandi.
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[letterhead] Ministry for State Security

Strictly Confidential!
Return requested!

Berlin, the 21st of February, 1983
4 Pages
7th Copy



anti-Communist activities in Iran

According to initial internal indicators the action taken on 6.2.1983 against the Tudeh Party affected a large number of leading functionaries, among them the Secretary General of the Central Committee, Comrade Kianouri.

The Tudeh Party's inner circle assumes that all Central Committee members will soon be arrested.

At the time of the action against the Party leadership 300 members had reportedly been arrested. The measures against the Party, which currently around 1000 members and sympathizers are reportedly affected by, have not yet ended. During the arrests some comrades were reportedly killed. The action is led and implemented by the Pasdaran Corps. The arrests were done primarily in people's homes, which allows for a comprehensively prepared action taking advantage of the element of surprise.

The action until now is directed only at the Tudeh Party. Members of the Fedayin-e-chalk (majority) Organization, which works with the Tudeh Party, are not affected. With the arrests rightist leadership circles are reacting to a speech by Comrade Kianouri in which he accused them of taking away the anti-imperialist character of the Islamic revolution. The Tudeh Party functionaries were arrested under accusations of espionage for the USSR.

Internal estimates indicate a connection with the betrayal of the 3rd Secretary of the USSR Embassy, Kouzichkin, in Tehran, whose supposed exposure through the British secret service benefited the Pasdaran leadership.

Diplomatic representatives from Yugoslavia estimate that other Socialist countries, such as the GDR and Bulgaria are also involved in the accusations against the Tudeh Party. As the diplomatic circles in various non-aligned countries observe the events with a certain concern over the growing influence of rightist forces in Iran, they are viewed by Western diplomatic representatives with satisfaction.

With the measures against the Tudeh Party a new level has been reached in anti-Communism/anti-Sovietism in Iran, which had increasingly strengthened in recent time.

According to estimates in leftist circles the Tudeh Party has counted on actions against the Party and prepared for illegal fighting conditions. Comrade Kianouri is said to have refused to leave the country.

Leftist circles hold various understandings of the reasons for the present actions against the Tudeh Party.

For instance, the action against the leftist forces was supposedly started by certain parts of the ruling clergy in order to cover up possible measures against conservative right-wing clerical and pro-Western civilian circles.

On the other hand, others say the measures in connection with the Iran-Iraq war are an immediate reaction to the positive position of the Soviet Union in relation to Iraq. In this view, the measures are an attempt to weaken the role of the Tudeh Party and the working class in order to prevent resistance to a renewed strengthening of the private economic sector in Iran. According to Indian diplomatic circles the actions against the Tudeh party are connected to a possible end to the war against Iraq, in which an attempt is being made to exclude the Party from the social disruptions to be expected in the post-war period.

The domestic political situation is currently characterized by an increasing influence of right-wing conservative clerical and pro-Western civilian circles. In the disruptions of power politics within the clergy the extreme anti-communist forces, particularly the adherents of the Hoyathie Movement, (an organization of religious fanatical forces traditionally directed against the Bahai sect) are strengthening their activities against the representatives of the present political-clerical leadership, which is based on limited socio-economic reforms (economy, foreign trade). These forces have succeeced in halting the implementation of acts confirmed by Parliament. Political circles in Tehran estimate that those who support the regime that those who support the regime are forced into a defensive position around Khomeini, Rafsanjani, and Mousain and yielding to pressure from right-wing forces. Their tactical reservations in relation to the anti-Communist/anti-Soviet activities are supposedly being more and more strongly pushed back, and the action against the Tudeh Party shows that a rapprochement with right-wing circles has occurred. The Iranian bourgeousie expects a further opening of Iran to the West.

The increasing influence of right-wing conservative clerical and pro-Western bourgeois forces is connected with a strengthened pragmatism in terms of foreign policy. The basis for the foreign political actions toward other countries is their position on the conflict with Iraq, and their preparedness to support Iran with military supplies. Because of the support of Socialist countries for Iraq and an increased hesitancy regarding Soviet policy toward Afghanistan, anti-Soviet views are gaining strength in Iranian foreign policy. Western countries are anxious to use Iran's economic and military dependence to strengthen pro-Western forces in Iran. Particularly through the cooperation of Turkey and Pakistan with Iran they are trying to expand the West's influence on Iran and to bring about the country's anti-Soviet orientation. In this, despite tense American-Iranian connections even a more flexible approach from the USA is recognizable.

Various internal signs indicate that targeted anti-Soviet activities have been undertaken in recent times from the Western side, in order to disturb Iran's relationship with the Soviet Union. Through hints of Iran's supposed threat by the Soviet Union an attempt is being made to strengthen enemy positions towards Iran among its neighbors and to stoke the anti-Communist atmosphere in Iran. A connection in this with the apparent revelations of the traitor Kouzichkin cannot be excluded. In connection with these activities the Syrians hypothesize that the notion is circulating in Tehran that the Soviet Union would not allow changes in the domestic political situation in Iran, to say nothing of the fall of the current regime, and has concentrated 24 divisions on the Iranian border for a military intervention. According to internal signs US Secretary of State Schultz has also operated under this theory in his recent talks in Beijing. He is said to have declared that, depending on the domestic political development of Iran in the near future, the Pentagon is counting on a attempt by the Soviet Union to push back the USA's positions in the Gulf region through active measures. This argumentation was bound together with the American intention of strengthening the Chinese leadership in its conception of the Soviet Union's likely efforts at establishing hegemony.

The Western thesis of a possible "threat" from Iran through the Soviet Union is seized upon in certain circles in Iran and used to advocate a stronger anti-Soviet orientation for Iran. Foreign policy circles in Turkey hypothesize on this point that the impression that Iranian leadership would not recognize a Soviet threat is incorrect. During talks between the Turkish and Iranian foreign ministers is was reportedly clear that the Iranian government takes this question very seriously. There the worsening of Iranian-Soviet relations, as well as through various actions by the regime against the Tudeh Party, this hypothesis is said to be confirmed.

This information may not be evaluated in print in the interest of the security of the sources.