The Islamic Republic of Iran IS NOT “Anti-Imperialist” It’s a Dark Ages Capitalist Nightmare!

به اشتراک گذاشتن
زمان مطالعه: ۴ دقیقه

Iran is a country of nearly 90 million people in the Middle East region. Today some activist groups promote it as an “anti-imperialist” front of “resistance” because it is clashing with the U.S. and Israel, and claims to support the Palestinian people. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Clashing with one or another imperialist power doesn’t mean you’re “anti-imperialist.” Anti-imperialism means opposing the system of capitalism-imperialism—the crimes it commits and the economic, political and social relations it rests on. 

The Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) isn’t against imperialism—and it’s not “resisting” the capitalist-imperialist system. 

The IRI came to power in early 1979. It came to power in opposition to the U.S.-backed regime of the Shah of Iran, which was a regime of terror and oppression for the vast majority of the people in Iran. The IRI claimed to free the Iranian people from the dominance of “the West” by instituting a state power based on theocratic rule. But Iran remained dominated by the system of imperialism, especially in the economic sphere—controlled by the U.S. and other imperialist powers. 

The Islamic Republic consolidated and maintained its stranglehold on power over the broken bodies of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of communists, revolutionary nationalists, members of oppressed minorities struggling for equality, women and intellectuals. Iran’s recently deceased president Ebrahim Raisi began his climb to power in 1988, when he helped oversee the massacre more than 5,000 political prisoners, including revolutionary communists, within the space of a few months. 

The IRI Has Not Uprooted Iran’s Dependence on Imperialism, It Has Maintained It

Iran’s capitalist economy depends on exporting oil and natural gas to the capitalist-imperialist world market. This is the government’s main source of revenue. 

Iran is increasingly allied with China and Russia—two major imperialist powers contending globally with U.S. imperialism. It is supplying thousands of drones and missiles to Russia for its war in Ukraine, which is actually a proxy war between Russian imperialists and the U.S./NATO imperialists.

During the Syrian civil war (2011-2018), Iran supported Syria’s murderous Russia-backed regime.

Iran heads an alliance of reactionary forces in the Middle East which are clashing with the U.S. and Israel. Iran calls this alliance the “axis of resistance.” In fact, it is an alignment of reactionary forces looking for a better position in the global pecking order, and the advancement of global Islamic fundamentalist holy war. Standing behind them is Russia.۱

The Islamic Republic is an extremely reactionary theocracy using the cover of an “Islamic based democracy.” Religious leaders (ayatollahs) rule. They enforce capitalist exploitation and impose fundamentalist Islam as the law of the land. 

The IRI Was Founded on Brutal Male Domination and the Suppression of Women

Women are forced to conceal their hair and bodies in public or face fines, up to 10 years in prison, or floggings, even death. Men have no dress restrictions.

Male domination is written into laws concerning marriage, divorce, child custody, travel, and the court system. In divorce, men get care of children over seven years old. Women can’t travel outside Iran without their husband’s permission. In court, a woman’s testimony is worth half a man’s. A girl as young as nine can be criminally charged in Iran! Criminal responsibility begins at 15 for boys.

Sexual harassment and domestic violence by men are not forbidden by law or in practice. One of every three urban women and two of every three rural women are victims of domestic abuse. Rape is rarely punished and girls can be married at age 13.

Men can legally forbid their wives from working and women are discriminated against in the workplace. 

Women are prohibited from singing and dancing in public. Mixed gender parties are illegal.

The Islamic Republic Rules by Violently Suppressing Protest, Speech, and Dissent

Millions of Iranians have protested against the Islamic Republic since its founding in 1979. They have faced brutal repression, often prison, and sometimes death. This year a UN investigation found that the Islamic Republic likely committed “crimes against humanity of murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, torture, rape and sexual violence, and persecution” to suppress the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising of 2022 in which over 500 protesters were killed. Artists and intellectuals are regularly forced to flee Iran to avoid harsh imprisonment or death for criticism of the Islamic rule. 

Iran’s Prisons: Torture Chambers and Death Camps 

The Islamic Republic carries out widespread arrests, torture, and executions to suppress opposition:

Torture and other ill-treatment is systematic in Iranian prisons, including beatings, floggings, electric shocks, mock executions, denial of food and water, and prolonged solitary confinement. 

The rape of women in prison and detention centers has been documented by Amnesty International.

This spring, a prisoner was executed every 5 hours in Iran. In 2023, the IRI executed some 850 prisoners! 

The Bitter Oppression of Minority Nationalities and Religions

Ethnic minorities (such as Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen) and religious minorities (including Baha’is, Christians, Jews, and Sunni Muslims) are discriminated against in housing and education. Minority areas are impoverished and face brutal repression. Persian (or Farsi), the majority language, is the only language that can be used in primary and secondary education.

LGBT People Suffer Systemic Discrimination and Violence

Same-sex sexual relations are a crime which can be punished by flogging, even death.

The Terrible Mistreatment of Refugees 

The estimated five million Afghan refugees in Iran face rampant discrimination in education, housing, employment, healthcare, and freedom of movement. More than 400,000 were forcibly expelled last year.۲

No to the Islamic Republic, No to U.S. Imperialism and Israel 

The brutally oppressive nature of Iran’s Islamic Republic does NOT mean that anyone should support the U.S. and Israel’s murderous campaign against the Islamic Republic. We in the U.S. have a special responsibility to unite very broadly to support the just struggle of the people of Iran against the IRI and to actively oppose any war moves by the U.S. government that would bring even more unbearable suffering to the Iranian people.

Go to to learn more about Iran—and U.S. imperialism’s reactionary clash with the Islamic Republic and efforts to maintain U.S. domination of the entire Middle East region.


۱.  These forces include Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine. For a concise exposure of the reactionary outlook and agenda of Hamas, see What Is Hamas? at Other Iranian-backed forces include the Houthi government of Yemen that has launched missile attacks on ships in the Red Sea, and powerful Hezbollah militias in Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border. Escalation of Genocidal Ethnic Cleansing, Heightening Danger of a Larger War: Israel Assassinates International Aid Workers in Gaza, Bombs Iranian Consulate in Syria,, April 8, 2024.  [back]

۲.  Expulsion of Afghans from Pakistan and Iran, House of Commons Library, December 8, 2023.  [back]