Support Iranian Struggle: ISA, RSB Seize Statue to Protest Shah's Repression
The Iranian Student Association (ISA) is rallying--holding numerous press interviews, carrying out demonstrations in more than 8 cities in the US, and staging hunger vigils involving up to 160 members and supporters--to bring to the attention of the American people the continuing struggle of the Iranian people against the reactionary regime and brutal repression b the Shah of Iran. On February 15, six members of ISA and student supporters from the revolutionary Student Brigade took over the Statue of Liberty, chaining themselves to the crown; they hung two large banners which read, "FREE THE 18," And "DOWN WITH THE SHAH." In protest of the most recent arrests of 18 freedom fighters in Iran. The 18 are being held without trial, being tortured, and their names are being kept secret. On this same day an international delegation entered Iran to inspect conditions of political prisoners. The delegations was denied the right to see the prisoners.
These 18 patriots were arrested in several separate street incidents where 13 other Iranian patriots were killed. These latest atrocities of the Shah raise the number of patriots he has had to kill to 200 in the past 18 months. The figures stand at more than 500 murders and over 100,000 people imprisoned since 1970.
The Shah of Iran, an absolute monarch, was installed by a CIA coup which toppled a popularly elected government in 1953. The Shah's regime has no popular base of support and must rely on the most fascist measure to rule. The tentacles of the Shah's secret police, the SAVAK, are seen and felt in every sphere of Iranian society.
In schools and universities, students are frequently stopped and frisked, no one can go in or out of the campuses without proper identification and no one besides students, the faculty, and persons on official business are ever allowed on university grounds.
In factories, the regime has appointed ex-military officers as day-to-day administrators, and each factory has an "internal security" division invariably headed by a SAVAK agent. Workers in Iran are not allowed to form their own independent trade unions. Instead they are forced to join reactionary trade unions formed by and headed up by SAVAK. Strikes are illegal and those taking part can expect 10 to 20 years in prison; strike leaders are given life sentences or executed.
In the countryside, the Shah has his own version of the "strategic hamlet" program that the US tried to use in Vietnam. Peasants are driven out of several small villages and forced to live in a central village so that they can be better controlled by the army. Special identification cards keep villagers segregated; migration is strictly limited.
The US ruling class is the main prop of the Shah's regime. According to a report released on August 2, 1976, by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there are 27,000 US military advisors and defense and intelligence personnel in Iran, and the number "will increase to 50,000-60,000 or higher by the end of the decade."
Iran has been a source of high profits for the US capitalists through exploiting the cheap labor of Iranian workers and peasants. The US ruling class uses the Shah as a valuable tool in maintaining and extending US military power in the Middle East. As present there are 30,000 troops of the Shah in neighboring Oman attempting to put down the liberation struggles of the people of that country.
A few days after the takeover of the Statue of Liberty, 100 students held the President of Queens college in New York City in his office for four hours demanding that a contract between Queens College and the National University of Iran be stopped. This contract was set up supposedly to "help" Iranian students get jobs when they returned to Iran. But this computer network was in fact nothing more than an arm of SAVAK for keeping tab on Iranian students in the US.
Out of this confrontation, the President promised a sign-letter declaring Section C (which pertains to keeping lists of dissident Iranian students) null and void. In talking about this action with students on the campus, members of ISA and the RSB made it clear that it was important to get rid of the whole contract and not just this one section, since the whole contract serves to support the Shah. The RSB members also aimed fire at President Carter who preaches about "human rights" in areas under the control of the Soviet Union while at the same time the Us is propping up such fascists as the Shah.
As stated in the press release form ISA and RSB at the time of the Statue of Liberty takeover, "The Iranian students desire a land free of foreign domination and free of the Shah's dictatorial rule, These students are standing up as a part of the broad people's struggle in Iran. The American students are joining in this fight. The American people have no interest in domination other countries as the American rulers do, instead their very interest is in joining with other people to fight against our own rulers who perpetuate the same misery in this country as well as abroad."