The Guerrilla Movement
During the early 70's a new wave of revolutionary movement started in Iran against the Shah's regime. This decade witnessed the beginning of the guerrilla movement by the newly-formed Organisation of the Iranian Peoples' Fadaian Guerrillas and Organisation of the Peoples' Mojahedin of Iran and also the emergence and development of the underground organisation of the Tudeh Party of Iran called "Navid". The guerrilla movement started in the woods of Siahkal (Mazandran a northern province of Iran) by disarming a Gendarmerie station. Subsequently army troops and secret police (SAVAK) attacked and crashed their armed uprising.
The mid 70's witnessed a growth of the revolutionary struggle in Iran. Workers' strikes and people's protests reached an unprecedented level and the Shah's regime's crisis were intensifying ever more. The first massive clash of the people with the regime's oppressors took place in Qom on 7th of January 1978.
It was less than a month after the demonstration in Qom, when the people of Tabriz stormed the streets and challenged the Shah. Meanwhile the Tudeh Party of Iran and its underground organisation, "Navid" started to recruit the young people and organize its regional committees.
The people armed struggle and resistance on 8th, 9th and 10th of Feb. inflicted the decisive and final blow to the regime of the Shah and put an end to the 2500 years of monarchy in Iran.
February 11th, 1979 Revolution
The victory of the 11th February 1979 Revolution resulted in the emergence of a political atmosphere in which for the first time, after 25 years political parties and organisations were allowed to organise freely. Tudeh Party of Iran was among those too.
Immediately after the 1979 revolution, all the apparatus of the Shah's regime was abolished, and political power was transferred to religious and civil representatives. The representatives of the left parties were not included in the new leadership. Ayatollah Khomeini and his followers managed to attract the masses by promising them freedom and independence. Ayatollah Khomeini himself succeeded in this manner in becoming the indisputable and unchallengeable leader of the revolution. The first government after the revolution was formed by Mehdi Bazargan as Prime Minister.
The new government took some important measures under the domination of the revolutionary spirit in Iranian Parliament. These measures included: the expulsion of US military and civilian advisers and dismantling of its military bases, nationalisation of 70% of big industries belonging to the big national capitalist and foreign monopolies, taking 600 small industry enterprises into its hands, nationalisation of private banking and insurance firms which were operating with joint national and foreign monopolies' capital, adoption of a land reform known an "clauses J and D", increasing minimum wages by 2.5 times, introduction of government control on foreign trade, abolition of unjust economic agreements with imperialist states, stepping out of the CENTO pact and joining the Non-Aligned Movement, breaking diplomatic relationship with Israel and the Apartheid regime of South Africa and so on. In addition to the above measures the new government also abolished the 1973 agreement signed between an international consortium of oil companies and the Iranian National Oil Company, hence bringing the oil industry into the hands of the latter.
In February 1979, almost one year after the revolution, the first presidential election in the history of Iran took place. The Tudeh Party of Iran according to its policy took part in the election and supported the candidate Hassan Habibi. In this election, Abolhassan Bani Sadr, one of the closest people to Ayatollah Khomeini was elected as the President of Iran. After the presidential election, parliamentary elections took place. The Tudeh Party and the rest of the left organisations after nearly 25 years were able to participate in the Parliamentary election. The Islamic Republican Party under the leadership of Ayatollah Beheshti won the majority of the seats in the election. With the victory of the Islamic Republican Party in the election, disagreements between the government that had been elected by the Parliament and Bani Sadr intensified. This led to a chaotic political atmosphere in the country. With the help of the Iran-Iraq War and mistakes made by the leftists, the right wing forces were able to strengthen and stabilize their positions within the ruling apparatus. Disagreements and clashes between Bani Sadr and the government reached its peak in 1981.
In this year, the Parliament voted for dismissal of Bani Sadr and Ayatollah Khomeini endorsed the decision. This endorsement led to an armed uprising of the people's Mojahedin Organisation and Bani Sadr who represented some sections of the nationalist movement. The political situation of the country turned for the worse, a wave of repression was unleashed throughout Iran. Thousands of young people were tried by semi-military tribunals and were executed.
With the escape of Bani Sadr abroad, and the strengthening of the clergy inside the government, regime was consolidated. The Tudeh Party of Iran held its seventeenth plenum at the beginning of 1981 and decided to take part of the clergy regime and even to some extend collaborated with the security apparatus of the regime in order to expose the organizational structure of those groups. The Tudeh Party saw these attacks on the leftists of Iran as an opportunity to clear the Iranian political arena of other leftist rivals.
After repressing the organisation of the People's Mojahedin, and other left groups, Islamic regime turn its attention toward the Tudeh Party of Iran and the Organisation of Iranian People's Fadaian (Majority). On 6th February 1982 with the help of CIA's list of the Tudeh Party members to the Islamic Republic and information suplied by British government on the party, branding those identified as “Soviet agents”, the Iranian government charged the Party's leadership with "spying", and sent them to prison. In later consecutive attacks, the Iranian government arrested more than 5,000 members and cadres and supporters of the Party, and declared the Tudeh Party of Iran outlaw. The U.S. concern was that a post-Khomeini Iran might move to the left.
The Party confronted grave difficulties; its organisation collapsed, many of its members and cadres were forced to emigrate, and general confusion prevailed. In spite of these problems, the period did not last long, and the Party, convening its 18th plenum in December 1984, succeeded in taking a step in reorganising itself both within and outside the country.
The Islamic Republic started the trials of 101 members of the underground military wing of the Tudeh Party and sentenced 10 of them to death, and the rest to total imprisonment terms exceeding 700 years. But Noureddin Kianouri first Secretary of the Tudeh Party, Ehsan Tabari (The great theoretician) and many other leaders collaborated with the Islamic Republic and lived.
In May 1985, together with the Organisation of the Iranian Peoples' Fedaian (Majority), the Tudeh Party published a joint statement calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.
In the summer of 1989, a committee of Islamic Republic representatives visited the Iranian prisons and tried and sentenced to death thousands of political prisoners. The real number of executed prisoners is still unknown, but human rights organisations such as Amnesty International put the figure at more than five thousand prisoners from various political parties and organisations. Among those executed were 38 members of the Central Committee and the Political Bureau of the Tudeh Party of Iran as well as hundreds of party members and cadres. The blow to the party was tremendous; it destroyed a layer of party leadership and cadres.
On the 1st of October 1991, the Tudeh Party of Iran celebrated its fiftieth birthday and in February 1992, the Party held its 3rd Congress after more than 43 years and reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of Marxism - Leninism. The Tudeh Party elected a new central committee and re-elected comrade Ali Khavari as the chair of the party.