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Soviet Sources on Iran’s Tudeh Party, 1976-1986

Kian Byrne

More than two-dozen newly translated documents provide a rare insight into the nature of Tudeh-Soviet cooperation.

The History and Public Policy Program and Cold War International History Project are very pleased to announce the release of new documents to the Iran’s Tudeh Party Collection on DigitalArchive.org.

The more than two-dozen documents from the Russian State Archive of Contemporary History (RGANI) provide a rare insight into the nature of Tudeh-Soviet cooperation.

Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman, the latest additions to the Tudeh Party Collection cover ten years of interchange between the Iranians and Soviets, beginning in 1976 and moving into 1979 with the rise of Khomeini and the pressure he exerted on the communist parties of Iran, and ending in 1986, in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War.

Among the most fascinating documents in this collection is one, from December 26, 1985, in which M. Rajavi, leader of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People (OMIP) requests a loan of $100 million from Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to support an uprising against the government of Ayatollah Khomeini. Just a month later, in January 7, 1986, the OMIP request $300 million for “a worldwide struggle to overthrow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.” The requests come on the heels of a harsh crackdown by Khomeini against the leftist forces in Iran.

Document List

Letter, Iraj Iskenderi to L.I. Brezhnev via the General Consul in Leipzig, 26 November 1976

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.26, ll. 7. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated for CWIHP by Richard Iserman.

Translation of a request from Iraj Iskenderi of the People's Party of Iran to General Secretary Brezhnev. Bulgaria had alerted Iskenderi that they must stop their radio broadcast; Iskenderi turned to Brezhnev to help resolve the issue.

Memorandum from the Minister of Communications N.V. Talyzin to the CPSU Central Committee, 30 November 1976

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.26, ll. 8. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum from Minister of Communications N. Talyzin outlining the requirements for transmitting radio broadcasts from Mongolia into Iran.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee V. Bagladin, 'Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 6 December 1976

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.26, ll. 4-6. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum on the cooperation between the People's Party of Iran and the Bulgarian Communist Party to broadcast illegal radio transmissions into Iran.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'Request from the Leadership of People's Party of Iran,' 7 December 1976

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.26, ll. 1-2. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat re a request from the People's Party of Iran that the central committee, either of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party, or the Romanian Communist Party, provide illegal radio broadcasting to Iran for three hours a day.

Extract from Minutes No. 36 Para. 64gs from the Central Committee Secretariat, 'Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 14 December 1976

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.26, ll. 3. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

The Central Committee resolves to have the Central Committees of SED, CPC, HSWP, and RCP determine who will send illegal, short-wave radio transmissions into Iran, and to have the chosen group send a representative as well as two technical specialists to consider the requirements for said transmissions.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'Request from Comrade N. Kiyanuri,' 16 January 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.45, ll. 1. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat re a request from N. Kianouri, Secretary of the People's Party of Iran (PPI) to exchange 15,000 Soviet rubles for German marks and transfer the money to the PPI.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee R. Ul'ianovskii, 'Request from Comrade N. Kiyanuri,' 16 January 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.45, ll. 3.Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Ulianovskii reports PPI request to exchange 15,000 rubles collected by PPI members in Moscow into FRG Marks for "Party needs."

Extract from Minutes No. 143 para. 63gs of the Secretariat of the Central Committee, 'Request from Comrade N. Kiyanuri,' 23 January 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.27, d.45, ll. 2. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

USSR Central Committee resolves, due to a request from N. Kiyanuri, to exchange 15,000 rubles for FRG Marks for the CPSU Central Committee Administration of Affairs.

Letter, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran N. Kianuri to the Central Committee of the CPSU, 1 August 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.34, d.10, ll. 4. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum from N. Kianuri, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran, outlining the possibility of open civil war in Iran. To prepare for this possibility, Kianuri requests the Central Committee of the CPSU to sell arms to the PPI.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee V. Zagladin, 'On a Request from the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran,' 27 August 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.32, d.10, ll. 3. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum from Zagladan reporting PPI request for "non-Soviet" weapons in case of an open uprising in Iran.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On a Request from the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran,' 30 August 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.32, d.10, ll. 1. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat ordering that the Committee for State Security (KGB) and the General Staff of the Soviet Armed Forces consider the possibility of delivering non-Soviet weapons to the People's Party of Iran (PPI).

Extract from Minutes No. 174 Para. 47gs of the Secretariat of the Central Committee, 'On a Request from the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran,' 30 August 1979

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.32, d.10, ll. 2. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Central Committee of Iran requests, and receives approval for, the USSR Committee of State Security and the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces to ‘study the question’ of potentially providing the Tudeh Party with non-Soviet weapons.

Deputy Director of the International Department CPSU Central Committee R. Ul'ianovskii, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 30 May 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.32, d.33, ll. 4. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

R. Ulianovskii requests payment for the travel of 10 PPI members to the USSR for "Party business."

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 3 June 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op. 32, d. 33, ll. 1-2. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Central Committee of the Soviet Union agrees to pay for the travel of 10 Tudeh Party members to come to the USSR for ‘party business.’

Extract from Minutes No. 214 Para. 73gs of the Secretariat of the Central Committee, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 9 June 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op. 32, d. 33, ll. 3. Obtained by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Central Committee of the Soviet Union agrees to pay for the travel of 10 Tudeh Party members to come to the USSR for ‘party business.’

Letter, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran Kiyanuri to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 12 June 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.39, d.22, ll. 3. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Request from First Secretary of the People's Party of Iran, Kianuri, to send several PPI members to the USSR for training.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee R. Ul'ianovskii, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 4 July 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.39, d.22, ll. 2. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum from R. Ulianovskii on Kianuri's request to the CPSU Central Committee to send 3 PPI members to the USSR for training in "conspiratorial work."

Iu. Andropov and B. Ponomarev, 'On a Request from the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the People's Party of Iran Comrade Kiyanuri,' 6 July 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op. 32, d. 10, ll.5-6. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Iu. Andropov and B. Ponomarev give their opinion on Tudeh Party First Secretary Kiyanuri’s request for weapons from the USSR.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 7 July 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.39, d.22, ll. 1. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat approving the request from N. Kianuri, First Secretary of the People's Party of Iran (PPI), to admit three PPI members for training in clandestine work (training, transportation, housing, and food be paid)

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On the Strengthening of Informational and Propaganda Work in Iran,' 8 July 1980

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.39, d.6, ll. 1-3. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

The CPSU Central Committee resolves to increase support for propaganda activities in Iran following the increase of Western radio transmissions into the country.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 17 January 1984

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.14, ll. 1. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS approving the request of the leadership of the Communist Party of Iran (CPI) (Tudeh Party) to admit H. Forugian, member of the Politburo of the CPI Central Committee, for special training by the Committee for State Security (KGB) in organizing underground party work.

Letter, Ali Khavari to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 7 May 1984

Source: RGANI, f. 89, p. 15, d. 12. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum from First Secretary of Iran’s Tudeh Party requesting admission to a training program in Moscow on questions of organizing illegal party work.

R. Ulianovskii to the CPSU Central Committee, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People’s Party of Iran', 16 May 1984

Source: RGANI, f. 89, p. 15, d. 12. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memorandum from R. Ulianovskii regarding a request from First Secretary of Iran’s Tudeh Party A. Khavari for his reception for special study on questions of organizing illegal party work. Uliyanovskii recommends Khavari be accepted for a period of one month.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People’s Party of Iran', 22 May 1984

Source: RGANI, f. 89, p. 15, d. 12. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS approving the request of the leadership of the Communist Party of Iran (CPI) (Tudeh Party) to admit into the Soviet Union Ali Khavari, First Secretary of the TsK CPI, for special training by the Committee for State Security (KGB) in underground party work.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee R. Ul’ianovskii, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 14 January 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.14, ll. 3. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Memo from R. Ulianovski on A. Khavari's request to the CPSU Central Committee for support for Kh. Forugian to take a month-long special study course.

Extract from Minutes No. 181 from the Session of the CPSU Central Committee Secretariat from January 17, 1985, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 17 January 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.14, ll. 2. Obtained by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

The CPSU Central Committee agrees to a request for Tudeh Party Politburo member Kh. Forugian to come to Moscow for a month-long training course on ‘organizing illegal party work.’

Letter, First Secretary of the PPI Central Committee A. Khavari to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 8 April 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.14, ll. 4-5. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Official Request from PPI First Secretary Ali Khavari to allow Forugian to take a special study course.

Letter, First Secretary of the People's Party of Iran Central Committee A. Khavari to the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee, 16 October 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.22, ll. 4-5. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Request from Ali Khavari to send PPI members to USSR for training in propaganda strategy.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee R. Ul'ianovskii, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 6 December 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.22, ll. 3. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

R. Ulianovskii reports to the CPSU Central Committee Ali Khavari's request for 10-15 PPI members to receive training in the USSR

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 12 December 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.22, ll. 1. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat assigning the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the USSR to plan the secret crossing of 10-15 members of the Communist Party of Iran (Tudeh Party) from the Soviet Union into Iran.

Extract from Minutes No. 215 of the Session of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee from December 12, 1985, 'On a Request from the Leadership of the People's Party of Iran,' 12 December 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.22, ll. 2. Obtained by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Resolution of the TsK KPSS Secretariat assigning the Committee for State Security (KGB) of the USSR to plan the secret crossing of 10-15 members of the Communist Party of Iran (Tudeh Party) from the Soviet Union into Iran.

Letter from the Leader of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People to the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee Comrade M.S. Gorbachev, 26 December 1985

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 11-38. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Letter from M. Rajavi, leader of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People (OMIP) to M. Gorbachev. Rajavi requested a loan of $100 million to support an uprising in Iran against the regime of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini. Rajavi also invited representatives of the Central Committee of the CPSU to come to Paris to meet with him and participate in an "unofficial exchange of ideas."

Letter, Farhad Olfat to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 7 January 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 40-42. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Farhad Olfat request in the name of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People (OMIP) for $300 million to support a worldwide struggle to overthrow Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Olfat argues the OMIP is in desperate need of the funds and they would have "actual, decisive significance" for plans moving forward.

Letter, Farhad Olfat to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 7 January 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 43-33. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Olfat requests refuge for Oranization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People in the USSR following the harsh crackdown on communist parties by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

Note about Attachments to the Letter from M. Rajavai to M.S. Gorbachev, 23 January 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 39. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Note with information on the collection of documents attached to Rajavi of Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People to M. Gorbachev.

Deputy Director of the International Department of the CPSU Central Committee R. Ul'ianovskii, 'On an Answer to a Message from the Leadership of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People,' 12 February 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 9-10. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

R. Ulianovskii, Deputy Chief of the International Department, reports the receipt of a request from M. Rajavi, leader of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People (OMIP). Rajavi requested a loan of $100 million to support an uprising in Iran against the regime of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini. Rajavi also invited representatives of the Central Committee of the CPSU to come to Paris to meet with him and participate in an "unofficial exchange of ideas."

Message to be Communicated to M. Rajavi, 16 February 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 2-4. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

A message to be communicated orally by the recipient, ‘Sofia,’ in response to M. Rajavi’s request for the USSR to announce their solidarity with the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People (OMIP). The message declares that the USSR is undoubtedly supportive of the ‘progressive forces’ in Iran, but that declaration of support will take shape in the manner that best suits the moment.

Resolution of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, 'On the Answer to a Message from the Leadership of the Organization of Mujahadin of the Iranian People,' 18 February 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 1. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Central Committee of the CPSU voted to answer a letter from M. Rajavi, leader of the Mujahadin of the Iranian People requesting support for conducting activities in Iran.

Extract from Minutes no. 222 from a Session of the Secretariat of the CPSU Central Committee from February 18, 1986, 'On an Answer to the Message from the Leadership of the Organization of Mujahidin of the Iranian People,' 18 February 1986

Source: RGANI, f. 89, op.15, d.24, ll. 5. Contributed by Roham Alvandi and translated by Richard Iserman.

Central Committee of the CPSU voted to answer a letter from M. Rajavi, leader of the Mujahadin of the Iranian People requesting support for conducting activities in Iran.

About the Author

Kian Byrne

Kian Byrne

Program Assistant
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