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New Sources on Iran’s Tudeh Party, 1978-1988

Avital Smotrich-Barr

CWIHP announces the launch of new records on the Tudeh Party, Iran's largest communist party, from 1978-1988.

A Stasi report on the failed mission to rescue American hostages during the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1980

The Cold War International History Project, part of the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program, has just published translations of 31 documents from the Stasi Records Agency, officially known as the Federal Commissioner for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic (BStU).

The records concern communist and anti-communist activities in Iran during the 1970s and 1980s, as well as Iranian activities in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The new sources deal primarily with the Tudeh Party (People’s Party of Iran), but they also encompass subjects such as the Iran hostage crisis and the role of Islam in Iran.

A full list of the new translations available on DigitalArchive.org is provided below. The documents are part of a new collection on the Tudeh Party.

July 26, 1978 -- On the report from informal collaborator (IC) "Reza" from 26.7.78. (BStU, MfS, AIM 14683/84, Teil II. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Report from informal collaborator on personal conflicts among Tudeh Party leaders in Leipzig.

November 24, 1978 -- Information: The IC "Reza" reported about a conversation with Prof. ALAVI on 23.11.78. (BStU, MfS, AIM 14683/84, Teil II. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Report on conversation between an informal collaborator "Reza" and Professor Borzorg Alavi on his waning involvement with the Tudeh Party and isolation from Iranian emigres in the GDR. The report also details the political outlook and West German connections of another Iranian professor in Germany whom "Reza" knew well.

January 21, 1979 -- Copy of report from IC "Reza." (BStU, MfS, AIM 14683/84, Teil II. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

The Executive of the Tudeh Party's Central Committee discusses appointments of Tudeh Party of Iran Central Committee leadership in violation of the statutes and norms of the Party.

May 11, 1979 -- Meeting Report on meeting with informal contact "Reza" about the situation among Iranian emigres. (BStU, MfS, AIM 14683/84, Teil II. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

An informal collaborator reports that Tudeh Party functionaries in the GDR have largely returned to Iran and discusses the possibility of his own return to Iran.

October 16, 1979 -- Report: About a meeting with informal collaborator "Reza." (BStU, MfS, AIM, 14683/84, Teil I. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Meeting with an Iranian-born informal collaborator in East Germany on the activities of Iranians in the GDR, the Tudeh Party, and members of the Iranian Embassy.

October 22, 1979 -- Information about a Conversation with Eskandary, Iradj, Member of the Executive of the Iranian Tudeh Party's Central Committee. (BStU, MfS, AIM 14683/84, Teil II. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Report on conversation between an Iranian-born informal collaborator and Dr. Eskandary about the Tudeh Party and Khomeini's anti-Communist propaganda.

November 8, 1979 -- Information about a Conversation of Comrade Hermann Axen, Member of the Politburo and Secretary of the Central Committee, with Comrade Nureddin Kianouri, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran. (BStU, MfS, HA II, 29577, 5-16. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

East German Politburo member Hermann Axen and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran Noureddin Kianouri discuss the Iranian revolution and the place of the Tudeh Party within Khomeini's Iran.

1980 -- About the role of Islam in Iran. (BStU, MfS, Abt. XII, 2811. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Carla Fischer.)

Stasi report outlines the history of Islam in Iran as well as Ayatollah Khomeini's personal history and foreign policy statements in an attempt to better understand the Iranian government and its likely foreign policy.

June 14, 1980 -- Information about the USA's failed military operation in Iran. (BStU, MfS, ZAIG, Nr. 11586. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Detailed report on the failures and proposed outline of an aborted American mission to free hostages held in the American Embassy in Tehran.

October 21, 1980 -- Role of the political organizations in the Islamic Republic of Iran. (BStU, MfS, AIM 14683/84, Teil II. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Report on the rise of political parties after the fall of the Shah, including many that claim some connection to Islam.

October 28, 1980 -- Information for the Politburo: General communique of the Central Committee of the Tudeh Party of Iran and the Central Committee of the Iraq Communist Party. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 32620. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

The Central Committees of the Iraqi Communist Party and Iranian Tudeh Party condemn Iraqi aggression against Iran, support Palestinian rights against what they view as "Zionist aggressors," and criticize American imperialism in the region.

1981 -- 'About the last operation/ operational mission of comrade [redacted].' (BStU, MfS, Abt. X, Nr. 558. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Carla Fischer.)

Description of the work of an East German agent in Iran who worked with the Stasi (MfS).

February 12, 1981 -- GDR-Iran Exchange of Opinions. (BStU, MfS, HA II, 29577, 18-19. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Representatives of the German Democratic Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran discuss the arms race, the presence of superpowers in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean, the Iran-Iraq conflict, and the potential for bilateral cooperation between East Germany and Iran.

May 4, 1981 -- Information about the activity of leftist organizations in Iran. (BStU, MfS, HVA, Nr. 6. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Report on leftist groups under attack by the central clerical leadership of Iran and particularly the Tudeh Party.

July 7, 1981 -- Information: Activities of counterrevolutionary Iranian forces in connection with the American and West German secret service. (BStU, MfS, HA XX, Nr. 1457. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Reports from informal collaborators and other reliable sources on attempts by American and West German secret service operatives to support counterrevolutionaries and left extremist groups in Iran.

August 13, 1981 -- Activities of Iranian Left Extremist Groups in West Berlin. (BStU, MfS, HA XX, Nr. 1457, 33. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

A report from a "trusted informal collaborator" claims that Iranian leftist groups will seek to enter East German to protest or attack the embassy of Iran.

July 9, 1982 -- American Secret Service Introduces Former Highly Placed Officials from the Iranian Secret Service SAVAK in West Berlin. (BStU, MfS, HA XX, Nr. 1457, 128. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

A source claims that a former employee of the Iranian secret service is cooperating with the United States and is "active in West Berlin."

January 21, 1983 -- About Activities of the Political Police and the Office for Protection of the Constitution against Iranian Citizens in the GDR and West Berlin. (BStU, MfS, HA XX, Nr. 1457, 146-147. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

A report on surveillance activities of members of the Tudeh Party living in West Berlin.

February 21, 1983 -- Information about anti-Communist activities in Iran. (BStU, MfS, HVA, Nr. 24. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Report and analysis of arrests of Tudeh (People's Party of Iran) leaders and other forms of repression against the Tudeh Party.

April 25, 1983 -- Information of the Security agencies of the VRB About activities of the Iranian government against the Iranian people’s party (Tudeh). (BStU, MfS, AS 144/86. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Carla Fischer.)

Report attempts to analyze the internal and external factors influencing the arrest and trial of members of the People's Party of Iran (Tudeh).

May 1, 1983 -- 'Iranian Intelligence Service IRNA: "More on Espionage Confession from Leaders of the Tudeh Party"' (BStU, MfS, HA II, 29577, 27-28. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

The leader of the Tudeh Party, Noureddin Kianouri, confesses to sharing information with the Soviet Union and using his Party to aid in Soviet espionage.

1984 -- About Iran’s approach against the Tudeh-Party. (BStU, MfS, AS 142/86. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Carla Fischer.)

The Stasi expects harsh sentences for People's Party of Iran (Tudeh) members being tried by the Iranian regime and suggests that the trials will lead to repression of other leftist groups.

April 11, 1984 – Letter, Major General Kienberg to Major General Kratsch. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 285. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Correspondence requesting Stasi (MfS) support for the Communist Party of Turkey and People's Party of Iran (Tudeh).

April 11, 1984 -- Memo: Support measures for the activity of the Communist Party of Turkey, as well as the Tudeh Party of Iran. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 286. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Memo requesting Stasi (MfS) support for the Communist Party of Turkey and People's Party of Iran (Tudeh) through consultations, inspections, and political security investigations.

May 7, 1984 -- Conversation Memo: In connection with the notes by the Director of the Main Department XX and with the request submitted by Gen. Umbreit to support the leadership of the Turkish CP and the Tudeh Party (Iran). (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 287-288. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Notes on a conversation about Stasi (MfS) support for the Communist Party of Turkey and People's Party of Iran (Tudeh) through consultations, training, and protection for leaders living and operating in East Germany.

May 17, 1984 -- Colonel Schenk to Major General Kratsch. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 289. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Note to Major General Kratsch with a model for a resolution requesting Stasi (MfS) assistance for the Communist Party of Turkey and the Tudeh Party of Iran.

May 17, 1984 -- Model: For a resolution for the operative responsibility in the support of the leadership of illegally fighting Communist and Workers’ parties currently staying in the GDR. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 290-291. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Resolution requesting Stasi (MfS) support for the Communist Party of Turkey and People's Party of Iran (Tudeh) through various protective measures aimed at overseeing and assisting the two parties with covert work, as well as training for foreign functionaries.

July 24, 1984 -- Colonel Schenk to Major General Kratsch on draft order. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 293. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Colonel Schenk requests approval for a draft order aimed at educating Turkish and Iranian political operatives in covert work and suggests an MfS employee with knowledge of Turkish to Major General Kratsch.

August 28, 1984 -- General Major Kratsch to Army General Mielke. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 292. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Note on draft order for the Stasi (MfS) to provide support to the Turkish Communist Party and the Tudeh Party of Iran.

August 29, 1984 -- Political operative security of the leadership of illegally fighting Communist and Workers’ parties staying in the GDR, as well as their covert activities. (BStU, MfS, HA II, Nr. 28586, 295-297. Contributed by Roham Alvandi.)

Head of the Stasi (MfS), Erich Mielke, orders the Main Department II of the MfS to support and monitor political operatives of Communist and Workers' parties forbidden in their home countries and staying in the GDR.

December 1988 ­-- Information by the security agencies of the VRB About the mass executions of the leaders of the Tudeh- Party and the political authorities of the Left in Iran. (BStU, MfS, Abt. X, Nr. 562. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Carla Fischer.)

Report on the execution of incarcerated Iranian People's Party (Tudeh) leaders and other political prisoners. 

About the Author

Avital Smotrich-Barr

Avital Smotrich-Barr

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