Peykar

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Organization of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class
LeaderAlireza Sepasi-Ashtiani, [1]

Hossein Rouhani [2]
Majid Sharif Vaquefi
Taghi Sahram
Baram Aram

Rahman Vahid Afrakhteh.

Contents

[3]
Founded1975
Dissolved1983 [4]
Merger ofSome small Maoist groups and Marxist Mujahedin [5]
Split from People's Mujahedin of Iran
Merged into Communist Party of Iran [6]
Newspaper Peykar
Membership (1980–1982)Maximum 3,000 equipped with light weapons [7]
Ideology Marxism–Leninism [6]
Trotskyism [8]
Maoism [9]
Political position Far-left [6]

Organization of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class (Persian : سازمان پیکار در راه آزادی طبقه کارگر, translit.  Sāzmān-e peykār dar rāh-e āzādī-e ṭabaqa-ye kārgar) or simply Peykar (Persian : پيکار, lit.  'battle'), also called the Marxist Mojahedin, was a secular splinter group from the People's Mujahedin of Iran (PMoI/MEK), the largest of Iran's guerrilla groups. Its members broke away from the MEK to support secular Marxism Leninism, rather than the Leftist Islamist modernism of the People's Mujahedin. Originating in 1972 and officially founded in 1975, by the early 1980s Peykar was no longer considered active. [10]

Persian language Western Iranian language

Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is one of the Western Iranian languages within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is a pluricentric language primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and some other regions which historically were Persianate societies and considered part of Greater Iran. It is written right to left in the Persian alphabet, a modified variant of the Arabic script.

Romanization of Persian or Latinization of Persian is the representation of the Persian language with the Latin script. Several different romanization schemes exist, each with its own set of rules driven by its own set of ideological goals.

Literal translation, direct translation, or word-for-word translation is the rendering of text from one language to another one word at a time with or without conveying the sense of the original whole.

Marxist Mojahedin emblem eliminated the Quranic verse and olive branch from the original symbol of the People's Mujahedin of Iran Marxist Mojahedin.gif
Marxist Mojahedin emblem eliminated the Quranic verse and olive branch from the original symbol of the People's Mujahedin of Iran
Taghi Shahram, one of the senior members behind adoption of Marxism Taghi Shahram.gif
Taghi Shahram, one of the senior members behind adoption of Marxism

Foundation

In 1971, SAVAK arrested and executed most of members of the MEK, including senior members and co-founders. [11] [12]

SAVAK

SAVAK was the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi dynasty. It was established by Mohammad Reza Shah with the help of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Israeli MOSSAD. SAVAK operated from 1957 until the Iranian Revolution of 1979, when the prime minister Shapour Bakhtiar ordered its dissolution during the outbreak of Iranian Revolution. SAVAK has been described as Iran's "most hated and feared institution" prior to the revolution of 1979 because of its practice of torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime. At its peak, the organization had as many as 60,000 agents serving in its ranks according to one source, and another source by Gholam Reza Afkhami estimates SAVAK staffing at between 4,000 and 6,000.

This led to Marxist members joining the organization, including Majid Sharif Vaquefi in 1972, and Taghi Sahram in 1973. Other Peykar leaders included Bahram Aram, Torab Hghshenas, Aireza Sepasi Ashtiani, Rahman Vahid Afrakhteh, Foad Rohani, Hasan Alapoush, and Mahboobeh Mottahedin. [13]

Reforms within the MEK started at this time, with Taghi Shahram, Hossein Rohani, and Torab Haqshenas playing key roles in creating the Marxist-Leninist MEK that would later become Peykar. By 1973, the members of the Marxist-Leninist MEK launched an “internal ideological struggle”. Members that did not convert to Marxism were expelled or reported to SAVAK, and Majid Sharif Vaqefi, the only Muslim left in the Central Committee, was executed. [14]

Muslim MEK members that did not convert to Marxism were expelled or reported to SAVAK. [15] Between 1973 and 1975, the Marxist-Leninist MEK increased their armed operations in Iran. In 1973 they engaged in two street battles with Tehran police. Also in 1973 they bombed ten buildings including Plan Organization, Pan-American Airlines, Shell Oil Company, Hotel International, Radio City Cinema, and an export company owned by a Baha’i businessman.

Schism

Mojahedin (Marxist-Leninist) became an official organization on October 1975. At this time the group continued to call itself People's Mujahedin. [16] Their position was laid out in a pamphlet entitled Manifesto on Ideological Issues, where the group's central leadership declared "that after ten years of secret existence, four years of armed struggle, and two years of intense ideological rethinking, they had reached the conclusion that Marxism, not Islam, was the true revolutionary philosophy."

Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, viewed by Muslims as the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.

This meant two rival Mujahedins, each with its own publication, its own organization, and its own activities. This continued just before the 1979 Iranian Revolution when the Marxist Mojahedin changed its name to Peykar (Organization of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class) on December 7, 1978. This name later became the "St. Petersburg League of Struggle for the Emancipation of the Working Class", which was a left wing group in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was founded by Lenin in the autumn of 1895. [17]

Mujtabi Taleqani, son of Ayatollah Taleqani, was an MEK member who "converted" to Marxism. Hossein Ruhani was another prominent Peykar member. He ran for Majles candidate in Tehran, and caused a major scandal in 1980 by divulging for the first time secret PMoI negotiations with Ayatollah Khomeini. Ruhani also made Peykar "the first left-wing organization to personally criticize Khomeini", when he called Khomeini a "mediaeval obscurantist" and his regime "reactionary" and "fascistic." Later Ruhani was arrested and imprisoned. In May 1982 he appeared on television as one of the first of numerous opponents of the regime to recant their opposition in what is widely thought to have been the work of prison torture. Ruhani denounced his membership in Peykar, praised "the Imam" Khomeini and proclaimed that he felt freer in prison than "in the outside world." [18]

After 1980's

Peykar was operationally active in the early 1980s, mostly conducting small-scale insurgency-style raids in Northern Iran, though the group was also responsible for one hostage situation at the Iranian consulate in Geneva in 1982. [19] Peykar suffered after the Mujahedin June 1981 uprising, which it did not support but whose members were "arrested and executed en masse" afterwards nonetheless. [16]

Assassination of Americans

In May 11, 1976, the Washington Post reported that in January of that year, “nine terrorists convicted of murdering the three American colonels… were executed. The leader of the group, Vahid Afrakhteh stated that he personally killed col. Lewis Lee Hawkins in Tehran in 1973 and led the cell that gunned down Col. Paul Shafer and Lt. Col. Jack Turner.” (p.A9) In November 16, 1976, a UPI story reported that the Tehran police had killed Bahram Aram, the person responsible for the killings of three Americans working for Rockwell International. [20] [21]

In 2005, the Department of State attributed the assassinations of Americans in Iran to Peykar. The Country Reports issued on April 2006 stated that "A Marxist element of the MEK murdered several of the Shah´s US security advisers prior to the Islamic Revolution". [22] [23]

See also

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References

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  14. Vahabzadeh, Peyman (2010). Guerrilla Odyssey: Modernization, Secularism, Democracy, and the Fadai Period of National Liberation In Iran, 1971–1979. Syracuse University Press. pp. 100, 167–168.
  15. Vahabzadeh, Peyman (2010). Guerrilla Odyssey: Modernization, Secularism, Democracy, and the Fadai Period of National Liberation In Iran, 1971–1979. Syracuse University Press. pp. 167–169.
  16. 1 2 Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, University of California Press, (1999), p.151
  17. Iran Between Two Revolutions by Ervand Abrahamian, Princeton University Press, 1982, p.493-4
  18. Abrahamian, Ervand, Tortured Confessions, University of California Press, (1999), p.151-2
  19. MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base. Peykar
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