The Communist Party of Britain strongly condemns the mass arrests in Iran, now estimated at over 2,000, and expresses grave concern at the reported torture of detainees. The party’s general secretary Rob Griffiths has lodged an official protest with the UK Representative of the Islamic Republic. The British party sends its solidarity to the Tudeh Party of Iran, the country’s party of working people.

According to reports reaching the British party, the protests that developed during the week before New Year represented a spontaneous upsurge of popular anger against spiralling prices and growing unemployment.  Over the past months the prices of some staple foods have more than doubled and youth unemployment reached 28 per cent.

These protests are therefore distinct from those that occurred after the 2009 elections which were confined to the main cities and were primarily political, a protest against perceived electoral fraud. On this occasion the protests have been across all urban centres, involved those most exposed to economic hardship and developed slogans that attacked blatant economic injustice and social inequality. The luxuries of the ruling elite, of leading clerics and the Islamic Guards, have been contrasted with the impoverishment of working people.

At the same time the Communist Party of Britain notes the warnings given by the Tudeh party against the hi-jacking of the protests by reactionary elements.

‘It is total hypocrisy for the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia to issue warnings to the Iranian government.  These are the countries that have imposed the economic boycotts on Iran which bear direct responsibility for the inflation and unemployment. They also countries that are currently seeking to impose, by force, a deeply dangerous and reactionary agenda on the Middle East – from Palestine to Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It is, as the Tudeh Party argues, for the Iranian people themselves to recover their freedom, to redevelop their past heritage of progressive, class-based organisation and to oppose all imperialist intrigues.’