Interview with Dr. Anvar Khamei

About the establishment of Tudeh party, I assume it was on September 29th 1941 when some people gathered in Suleiman Mirza’s house and founded this party. At that time I was in prison and what I tell you now is quoted from the people present in that meeting...

By: Morteza Rasoulipoor


□In what circumstances did the Iran Tudeh Party establish and what was the role of foreign governments in its establishment?

About the establishment of Tudeh party, I assume it was on September 29th 1941 when some people gathered in Suleiman Mirza’s house and founded this party. At that time I was in prison and what I tell you now is quoted from the people present in that meeting, people like the late Abdolhussein Noushin and Ehsan Tabari. It was such that when Mr. Iraj Eskandari and Noushin were released on September 16th, they contacted the Soviet Union’s authorities in order to found the communist party because the 53 people establishment was a communist establishment and also related to the committee.* So after their release, when half of the country was occupied by the Red Army and the former Shah was dethroned and evicted and it was said that freedom rules; they contacted the authorities in Soviet Union to establish the communist party. Later Iraj Eskandari said: “since it was not possible to go to the Soviet Union embassy, they went to the Soviet trade representative office in Pamenar and contacted them.” Rousta who was also in exile, came from Savehand was involved in this process too. Anyway the Soviets told them they don’t have the right to form the communist party and they must establish a so called national party in which national agents are present as well as themselves; the object of this party must be to accept the constitution and the monarchy meaning Iran constitutional government and they must not oppose the constitution, at the same time they must try to fight Fascism which was the main aim of the allies’ campaign. They also maintained other limitations for the foundation of Tudeh party including: they must not have an institution or even a syndicate in the south of Iran; they must not campaign against the allies including Britain and later the US. In this way and with these limitations the party was established and its activities continued as such for two to three years.

So the party was managed and supervised by agents from the Soviet who were here and there’s no doubt about that. It was their opinion that counted in small matters and the big; for example in participation with Ghavam-al-Saltaneh or opposing Sayyed Zia. Nothing happened without the agreement and opinion of the Soviet agents. If by any chance they said something which was not according to the Soviet’s policy, they had to do otherwise without reliance on the previous statement. An obvious example was about the oil concession, since in the party’s statement of beliefs and objectives opposition with any kind of license to foreign countries was stated, they opposed that but didn’t know that the Soviet was going to request it and as soon as they found out they changed their position and defended Kaftaradzeh’s request.  It was the same in other matters too. Some who have recently written their memoirs like Ardashes have said that they were in contact with the committee meaning that they accept the relation with Soviet and these events but they wanted to say their counterparty was the committee. As we know the committee’s activities practicallyceased after the war. Also two years later in 1943 the Soviet government officially dissolved the committee. When the Germans came and occupied half of Soviet and Moscow was sieged by the German army, the question was how could they go there and contact the committee? There was a person here named Rostam Aliev whose name was heard a lot and I heard his name from Dr. Rezafor the first time. Eskandari and others have mentioned his name in their memoirs. Also Mr. Ehsan Tabari mentions two Alievs, one in the Soviet embassy and another in the Soviet trade representative office. Of course his first name wasn’t known to anyone at that time and he was famous as Aliev. The reality is that Mr. Aliev was an agent in the Soviet embassy with a diplomatic appearance and he was a member of the Soviet security organization and the party; he had two positions in here and he managed the espionage and the party’s network. I heard from others including Mr. Makinezhad who was present at the meeting in Suleiman Mirza’s house who said: “in the meeting there was a person sitting in one corner saying nothing and later we found out it was Aliev.” I was not yet released from prison at that time. I think at that time, it was not possible to contact the committee and it was Aliev who dictated the Soviet policy to them and requested exact performance.

But about the foreign policy of Britain it must be noted that: the Tudeh party was not directly related to them but after the establishment or at the same time, the soviets said that you have to have an antifascist organization and advertisement and participate with the English agents and anyone else who is also antifascist (against Germany); their most prominent person was [Mostafa] Fateh. Fateh was in contact with these people from the beginning of the Tudeh Party foundation and I don’t really know whether he was in contact with Suleiman Mirza too or not. Anyhow he was related to Iraj Eskandari and Radmanesh and what I witnessed myself was that Fateh regularly visited Bozorg Alavi once a week after September and brought him foreign newspapers in English and French while bringing newspapers to the prison was forbidden before that!

Fateh’s coming to the prison showed an order from high English authorities. Bozorg Alavi immediately met Middletonthrough Fateh after he was released and actually became his advisor and deputy. I remember that one day Alavi told Tabari and me that I have found you jobs in the oil company and following that he introduced us to Fateh and Fateh said it’s ok, we do journalistic work, they can come. I didn’t accept the reason being that I believed myself to be Marxist and I shouldn’t work in the oil company which is a colonial organization. For these reasons I didn’t jointhe Tudeh party but I was active at the same time. The late Mr. Tabari went there and worked in the English periodicals. The English had an advertising periodical. So cooperation started from here and they later wanted to have a newspaper and so published the people’s antifascist newspaper for which neither Iraj Eskandari nor Fateh accepted its editorship; finally Reza Rousta found a man named Safar Ali and Fateh obtained the concession in his name and so the antifascist newspaper was published. Such cooperation existed at first but to say that these people were really their agents I have no reason to believe so. I assume that even Bozorg Alavi worked there with the Soviets opinion and agreement and not on his own request.

Among the 53 people, the only person who was completely at the service of the English was [Abbas] Naraghi. Bozorg Alavi was there until the Soviets agreed and then he moved to the Fox house and worked in the Soviet culture house. I think that if sometimes they worked in the interest of the English it was due to the Soviets order, meaning that the English explained to the Soviets to ask them to enforce the English policy and not to work on their own. Of course it is possible that the English had more accurate and influential people at their possession.

Stalin’s government really followed a colonial policy in Iran and intended to obtain what they had lost in the October revolution in Iran and other places. In 1907 contract when the north of Iran was divided and part of it was transferred to Russia, they wanted to use all the communication facilities, mines and oil extraction in the region. The south of Iran was controlled by the English. The 1919 contract divided Iran into two parts of north and south one for the Soviets and one for the English. We know that the main policy of the Czars was in the form of Peter the Great’s will and to obtain these areas first and later gain access to the warm waters of the south. They had come near but didn’t want to stop there. After the October revolution the situation changed and the Soviet inevitably lost some regions like the Baltics and Finland and … and the under control regions were lost too. Stalin’s policy during war was to at least regain the under control regions. Obtain the control of Azerbaijan, the north and Kurdistan and gain access to the oil extraction in these regions. So regarding this policy we observe three stages:

First stage was when the Soviet had a critical status and was attacked by the Germans, they and lost most of their munitions and was weak and passive so they approached the English to save itself. At this stage the Soviets did not talk of their main policy and only did what the English asked the, and they didn’t let the Tudeh party to talk of the colonial and imperialistic policy of the English and the American. The Tudeh party’s newspapers during this period are a witness to this point.

Stage two was when the Soviet Union was saved and the danger of Germany was elevated and they also gained some munitions and so they returned to their initial position and wished to at least regain the northern regions. At this stage the leader was Churchill’s government and the conservatives ruled, they had arrogance and wouldn’t surrender. For this reason tension built up between these two and for example the English brought Sayyed Zia to Iran and sent him to the parliament with certain plans. The Soviet ordered the Tudeh party to take positions against them. So little by little one can see attacks on English and world colonialism in the Tudeh’s publications. This stage was the disagreement stage between these two and the surprising point was that the Americans supported the Soviets more than the English for which there are many documents and reasons. Finally at this stage, the struggle continued for some time and during the conservative reign or probably after the change of parties to the labor party, the English consented to grant Stalin the least of his requests.

After that we see that the Soviet’s and the English policies become one again (stage three) and they become synchronized again. An example is the cooperation of Tudeh party with Sayyed Zia in attacking Mosadegh which is a detailed period. There are clear documents showing that the English agreed to give the oil in the north to the Soviet Union…


* Iraj Eskandari and Noushin were both members of the French communist party and they have mentioned this in their memoirs. 

Article ID : 1993|
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