Where do we stand?

Published by

Iran Freedom and Revolution Watch

(IranFRW) March 2023 


Part one: What is going on in Iran today?

Part two: Revolution and counter-revolution.

Part three: What is our stance?


Part one: What is going on in Iran today?


Introduction: What is going on in Iran today is a revolution. A feminine revolution, which is the third people's revolution in the past 117 years.

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa (Zhina) Amini on 16 September 2022 while in custody of the Moral Police in Tehran shook the whole country, and very soon put the Iranian women's situation before the conscience of the whole world.

The death of this young woman, who was arrested like millions of other Iranian women under the ruling of The Islamic Republic because of not wearing her scarf based on their Islamic regulations, was immediately declared as "state murder" by the eighty-million-people society of Iran.

Since the very first days, millions of people in the cities and villages of Iran and millions of Iranians in Diasporas in more than 150 cities, took to the streets against the oppression of women (the women's disenfranchisement), poverty and tyranny and attacked the Regime in its totality. Protests that, despite oppressions, executions, stealthy murders of the youth, and the confrontation of the official military armed forces and the vassals and thugs of the regime, have been going on unstoppably.

This is the beginning of the feminine revolution in Iran, and the first women-led revolution in history, that has challenged a ruling power as whole and not just some parts of it and has defied it totally.

But this revolution is not a “bolt from the blue”! This is a revolution the first steps of which were taken five years before the uprising against the whole regime and all its wings and fractions, from reformists to the conservatives.


First: Iran, before the Feminine Revolution

The first seeds of this revolution were sown immediately after The Islamic Republic seized power, in a society that had not lost its hope in its cause of liberty and equality. This tree grew for more than four decades and in the past few months blossomed its flowers of Iran’s third revolution in an atmosphere full of nation-wide solidarity and optimism for a bright future.

But these flowers began to open five years ago. Looking back at the six years before this feminine revolution clearly shows the different phases of this growth.

Five years before this revolution, in January 2018, spontaneous uprisings began in many cities and villages against poverty, among the big marginalised sections of society. These uprisings, which were known as ‘The Uprising of the Hungry Masses’ were brutally suppressed by the government and many people were murdered and thousands imprisoned. One year later, in 2019, Iran witnessed a rise in the number of organised workers’ protests, led directly by the workers themselves, which began in the southern parts of the country, in industrial centres such as ‘Haft-Tapeh’ sugar cane and ‘Foulad’ steel group, and lasted for three years. Protests and strikes brought different group of workers to the streets. Teachers, pensioners, students and other parts of the workforce rose up in big and small industrial centres, to achieve their demands and fight the rulers, and challenged the government by their strikes and gatherings and demonstrations.

Protests for economic equality and the right to gather, organise and strike often grew bigger by referring to the general assemblies of the workers. These protests managed to, at certain times, gain some southern cities’ support and affected the whole country for three consecutive years (2019 till 2021) by its days of strike and protest, the most important of which was the seventy-day strike of the Haft-Tapeh sugar cane workers, that gained international support. 

The Iranian society at this point showed significant support for the workers, activists and leaders as important political figures and managed to get the imprisoned workers, leaders and activists out of jail. The flames of these protests were never extinguished. The government was never able to make the protesting people and workers surrender, and made some inevitable retreats.

One year after the start of the workers’ strikes, in October 2019, huge spontaneous uprisings began in big cities as a protest against the increase in the fuel prices, “The Aban Uprising”, which was again wildly and brutally oppressed after a nation-wide internet blackout that is known as ‘The Big Darkness’. Again, many protesters were killed and many more imprisoned.

Both the ‘Uprising of the Hungry Masses’ and the uprising against the increase of fuel prices, as well as the workers’ and people’s strikes in all these years, were continuous fights against the totality of the government and all its wings and fractions.



Second: From the protests and strikes to the third revolution.

Less than three years after oppressing “the Aban Uprising”, while the society was still in protesting mode, in September 2022 the feminine revolution was started and very soon reached the farthest and smallest corners to the biggest cities of the eighty-million-people society of Iran. A revolution that has been going on every day during the past six months and has challenged the government to its death duel. A revolution the future of which is still beyond judgement although one can distinguish clearly between the revolutionary and counter-revolutionary forces at its heart! One can clearly see the black and white forces in this change. A revolution that has been able to inflict many defeats on the government despite all the killings, imprisonments and executions.

In the Iranian people’s third revolution the majority of the society is taking part with a united voice. People are united in their freedom-seeking demands to achieve women’s emancipation, discarding all Islamic laws and regulations in people’s and women’s social, private, familial and working lives. People are united in abolishing gender apartheid, cutting the hands of Islam and all religions from women’s and people’ lives, for welfare and economic equality, against poverty and oppression, for liberating political prisoners and against executions.

A society that has imposed a de facto abolishment of the Islamic Hijab and segregation laws, a de facto right to strike and gather and protest, which have all been “illegal” in the past forty years, have shown that they not only know what they don’t want, but also know what they want! They not only demand the abolition of the Islamic Republic, but also ask for a system in which the state is totally separate from religion, a system based on the removal of all forms of discriminations and inequalities based on gender, religious, ethnic and national backgrounds, sexual orientations, and an economic system based on providing the society with welfare, preserving the environment and a political structure based on people’s organised power in their living and working spaces.

Despite this, on this revolution’s path that is going to overthrow the Islamic Republic, two main opposition groups that go against each other, are active. Ever since the very first days of the revolution, two solutions, two forms of overthrowing the Regime were proposed by these opposition groups.


Part two: Revolution and counter-revolution.


In Iran, it’s a known fact that for the bottom-up movements, neither the Islamic Republic or the hereditary monarchy have had public acceptance. One revolution overthrew the monarchy. A revolution after which the West Block established the ‘Political Islam’ as an opposition to the East Block and preserving the ‘Green Belt’ in the middle of the Cold War. The other revolution is the one that is going on and wants to overthrow the Islamic Republic by demanding liberty, welfare and equality. These facts describe a society that has never wanted either of these two systems; not the hereditary monarchy, nor the Islamic republic.

These two systems have kept the Iranian people under oppression, by the use of military force, prison, and social laws depriving people of their freedoms. Neither of these superstructure governments had/have roots in Iranian society.

The compatibility of these oppressive systems, be it in the form of a hereditary monarchy or an Islamic republic, with the political and economic interests of the international powers has been the main factor in their preservation.

In the 1979 revolution, which was against dictatorship and for political liberties, the benefits of the West were guaranteed by putting the “Islamic Republic” in power. This way, that revolution was defeated and didn’t achieve its goals.

The third revolution, on the other hand, is a revolution of the new era that has risen from a society that has learned from the experience of the previous revolutions and at the same time has pushed back the regressive obstacles such as nationalism, religion, “orientalism”, racism and cultural relativity. Moreover, it has formed at a time that has all other revolutions behind it, from the revolutions in Iran and the world, to the revolutions in the Post Cold War world and the polarised world of today.

It has the “regime change” destructive experiences and proxy wars, as well as military and political conflicts between the international and regional super powers, behind it and has learned from them. This is why this revolution has surprised not only the ruling power in Iran, but also all the international powers with uncalculated equations that are beyond the previous frameworks.

The revolution has grown out of forty years of nation-wide and constant resistance, through generations. The whole world is surprised by this form of resisting, due to the novelty and the historical differences this revolution has with the current understandings of the power equilibrium in the region and in the world. A revolution that, if not hindered, can be a model for all uprisings and protests in the region and in the world.


First: Revolution and counter-revolution, two fronts in the opposition against the Islamic Republic.

This revolution, aiming at overthrowing the Islamic Republic has not just one but two solutions before itself to realise this goal. Two solutions, two futures, two opposition groups and two forms of overthrowing the Islamic Republic, that have obviously stood sometimes next to each other, and sometimes against each other, with each one trying to lead the revolution in the way it thinks is the best! Two alternatives, left and right, popular and anti-people, that each has its own regional and international allies and supporters.


Second: The Right-wing alternative

The ‘Right’, before this revolution, tried to “scare” people from any sort of revolution. It had hope in reforming the Islamic Regime. However after the birth of this third revolution, it opportunistically became a very active ”revolutionary” body to turn it into a collapse like that of Iraq, Libya or Syria. In the best-case scenario, it wishes to turn Iran into a battlefield for the proxy wars between the United States and the West with Russia and China, like the current battlefield in Ukraine.

At the head of this Right-wing force there is the son of the last Shah, Reza Pahlavi and the lobbies of the Pahlavi family among the American and European far-right forces. A part of the opposition that seeks ‘Regime Change’ through military, political and economic intervention of the Western powers. This Right force, despite huge propaganda in the far-right Western media and among the governments of Saudi Arabia and Israel and other opponents of the Islamic Republic, doesn’t have a deep-rooted social public acceptance in Iran. The protests in Iran have never been under the leadership or organisation of these Right-wing opposition forces.

Mr Pahlavi’s think tanks and the Right-wing opposition clearly believe in “Regime Change” with the NATO’s power and support, and collaboration of the military forces and destructive bands inside the Islamic Republic. This opposition has clearly declared that it gets its power from the shift of the political, military and intelligence forces of the Islamic Republic, rather than supporting the people’s fight and helping them in their struggle.

This part of the opposition has blatantly said that during the process of the overthrowing of the Regime and thereafter, fighting the Left, the Marxists, the socialists and the communists will be one of its political agendas. Whereas keeping the religion’s power bases in Iran and simply curbing it, will be its other agenda! A force that is trying to make use of the international conflicts and confrontations between the Russia-China front, and The US and Europe front and is trying to deviate the Iranian people’s peaceful and freedom-seeking demands toward defending NATO vis-à-vis Russia and China and turning the whole country into a battlefield for their proxy wars.

There’s no doubt that the media’s propaganda, which is monopolised by the Right and also the global far-right’s diplomacy with this counter-revolutionary force, have cast their shadows on the real picture and the feminine, grassroots and left dimensions of this revolution. The Right opposition’s orchestrated propaganda machine and the mainstream Western media have had their influence on the people’s mentalities throughout the world. An influence that has certainly caused doubts among the progressive, left and socialist forces in the Western societies and has created concerns about the possibility that this third revolution in Iran would lead to “proxy wars”, “Velvet Revolutions”, “Iraqising” and “Balkanising” the country.


Third: The Left alternative

The Left, reinforced by the workers’, women’s and the oppressed people’s movements, has been supportive of this revolution and has been a force behind this struggle, demanding women’s rights, liberty, equality and economic justice. This front is trying to curb the forces that try to make Iran a battlefield for proxy-wars, be it from the side of the Islamic Republic, or the regional or international powers, such as The US, Europe, China and Russia. The Left front is against economic sanctions, which have extended the Regime’s survival and impose more poverty and destitution on the people, and is also against any foreign political and military intervention of different powers under any pretext.

One can see this Left’s deep labour and socialist footprints, in the whole history of women and men and workers struggles, in the slogan “Bread, Welfare, Liberty, Council Governance” demanded by workers, students, independent entities and organisations. The history of the workers, students and women’s movements is intertwined with this radical and humane equality seeking; movements that, today, more self-conscious than ever, for regaining control over their future by grassroots organisations and guaranteeing this right, are fighting not only against the Islamic Republic, but also against the counter-revolution right-wing opposition.


Part three: What is our stance?


We, in the “IranFRW” consider ourselves to be a part of this camp and this Left tendency in Iran’s feminine revolution. A Left that, in order to make this revolution happen, stands against not only the Islamic Republic, but also against ethnic, religious, international and regional forces. A Left that alongside fighting the Islamic Republic is fighting all forces that are trying to turn this revolution into a bloodbath. And the forces that are trying to turn the country into a battlefield of wars that are not the Iranian people’s wars. In the same way that the Iranian people do not allow the Islamic Republic to follow its own inhumane goals in the regional and international military conflicts in the name of them, they do not let other destructive forces turn their revolution to their own ends of conflicts and animosity. “IranFRW is trying to help the third Iranian Revolution continue in its feminine, workers, popular, freedom-seeking way and achieve its civilised and equality-seeking goals.

We believe that progressive people around the world, especially in the Western, Left, socialist, workers, women and environmental movements, and all freedom fighting movements and movements against racial, gender and sexual discrimination, support the third Iranian revolution, in the same way that the activists of these movements in Iran have always been historically supportive of the international progressive movements.

We believe that we will be able to protect the truths about the position and the power of the progressive forces in the Iranian people’s third revolution and its humane and progressive goals, from the far-right’s propaganda machine in the West. We believe that this revolution’s chance of success, if united with the progressive and Left movements around the world, is very high.

“IranFRW as one of the Left, workers, women’s, socialist and freedom-seeking umbrellas, considers itself a part of the Iranian people’s fight against the Islamic Republic and tries to realise the goals and dreams of this revolution. We watch over the goals of women, youth, people, workers and all the oppressed peoples in Iran. We support them and we use all our forces to fight against the counter-revolutionary forces and the enemies of this revolution, both on the domestic level as well as the regional and international levels.

This is where we stand! We ask you to stand beside us and the people of Iran! So that we under an equality and freedom-seeking umbrella, help this revolution progress and succeed! So that we neutralise the far-right in all levels from domestic to regional and international, who attempt to defeat this revolution! A revolution that in our opinion will be an onset to great changes in people’s, women’s and workers’ movements around the world.


* The Third Revolution is a term which refers to this current revolution happening now in Iran. The two previous revolutions were:

The Constitutionalist Revolution of 1911 that was defeated by religion and the despotism of the court. The outcome was the revolutionaries were put to death and a despotic monarchy was formed that lasted for over 70 years.

The second one was the people’s united Revolution of 1979 against the despotism of the Pahlavi family. A revolution that, during The Cold War and the superpowers’ competitions, was defeated.  The anti-communist movement of the Political Islam, which was strongly backed by the Western powers, was promoted and took power. The revolutionaries were mass murdered during the first ten years of the ruling of the Islamic Republic.


March 2023