To the Editors: I would like to give a correct version of the interview I had with Fred Halliday in March 1980, published in MERIP Reports 98 (July-August 1981). Our conversation was not recorded. Halliday occasionally took notes, and errors and inaccuracies have therefore crept into the interview as published.
- At the outset, I should like to mention that for a clear expression of my political views readers may refer to my book, Le petrole et le pouvoir en Iran (Lausanne: Piantanida), “I Accuse the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran,” my two open letters to Khomeini, and my interviews with the French, Swiss and BBC broadcasters.
- Regarding the division of the Tudeh into two groups, one subservient to the Soviet Union, the other comparatively independent: This division developed among the communists imprisoned by Reza Shah. I myself was never in prison. I joined the Tudeh Party in 1941, when it had a completely national outlook. I did not join either grouping, though from the beginning I was against the faction subservient to Russia and sympathized with the independent faction.
- Regarding the evacuation of the Russian army from Iran in 1946, I stated in my speech in the Majles that support for the stationing of foreign troops in Iran is ignoble and without honor. Kianuri and Tabari continued to back the stationing of Russian and even British troops.
- The Tudeh and the Soviet Union never supported Mossadeq, and in fact were opposed to him.
- Anisimov, the Russian representative at the fourth plenum of the Tudeh, did not talk with the two factions. He spoke with Iskandari, encouraging him to seek a reconciliation between Radmanesh, Kambakhsh and Kianuri. We guessed at the objective of Iskandari’s mission when we found that despite his opposition to Kambakhsh, he altered his views in his desire to prevent the breakup of the Tudeh. Anisimov never contacted me or others in the fourth plenum.
- We on the Central Committee and the political bureau had no role in organizing the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan. The ADP, both in Iran and in exile, was invariably backed by the Soviet Communist Party against the Tudeh, and particularly against us who were opposed to the amputation of Azerbaijan from Iran. In 1960 the ADP joined the Tudeh and shared the leadership of the Party under onerous terms. This union contributed to the preponderance of the group subservient to the Soviet Union.
- I opposed Kambakhsh’s group in Iran. My opposition grew stronger in 1951, in exile, when I found that he and Kianuri were carrying out the orders of the Soviet Azerbaijan Communist Party.
- In regard to Khomeini, I noted that he had led the people to throw out the corrupt and dictatorial Shah and for this reason I said I would also display his photograph on my desk if he continued to serve the Iranian people like Mossadeq and Erani. But for some time now Khomeini has been acting treacherously toward Iran and its people.
There are other minor errors in Halliday’s interview which due to lack of space, I refrain from enumerating. In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that I have every respect for Halliday’s journalistic integrity, and I appreciate the great value of his writings.