This is the www representation of IAUT, an independent Iranian student group at University of Toronto.


o  Talks

o  Classes

o  Movies

o  Cultural Exchange

o  Concerts

o  Entertainment

o  Library


o  Letters

o  Brochures

o  Reports


o  Agora Lecture Texts

o  Conatct Agora

The History of the Iranian Left Political  Movements

Since its emergence in the early twentieth century, the Iranian left has been confronted with the double task of defending the rights of the dispossessed and the voiceless as well as representing the radical version of Iranian nationalism. The appearance of social democrats on the Iranian political scene in the second phase of the Constitutional Revolution signals in a critical way the birth of the Iranian left. Its victory, though short lived was essentially one of radicalizing the very notion of the constitution by taking aim to enfranchise the socially underprivileged.

The division of Iran into the spheres of influence following the Anglo-Russian invasion of the country in 1911 and throughout the First World War period brought into play an array of radical forces who took the initiative to establish an independent and centralized state in Iran. This coincided with autonomous local governments (separatist movements as officially described) in three Iranian provinces almost simultaneously towards the end of the war and beyond, which was above all a consorted effort in this nationalist direction. The conflict between the left and the right in this period was thus over varying perception of Iran as a nation-state. This phase of Iranian left was terminated in the early 1920s with the ascendance of Reza Shah to power. The alliance between the domestic forces both liberal and conservative, together with foreign intervention may account for the defeat of the Iranian left in this period.

With the forced abdication of Reza Shah by the allied forces a new phase of left politics dominated the Iranian political scene. The Tudeh part of Iran which initially acted more like a national front than a socialist party now the embodiment of the Iranian left politics. The level of support it enjoyed among masses of people and radical intellectuals was in line with its political strategy of building an independent and democratic society, an strategy that earned the party a prominent political status in the country. Yet, its political manipulation by the Soviet Union in later years considerably weakened the position of the party, which was already under attack by right-wing elements for its political stance. In post-Mussadeq era until the 1979 Iranian Revolution the Tudeh party effectively disappeared from the Iranian political scene. If anything it was reduced to a bureaucratic political trend, with the aim of infiltrating and influencing the state apparatus.

The emergence of the populist guerilla organizations during the 1960s of both Marxist and Islamic persuasions was primarily a reaction to this bureaucratic tendency. But the new trend unlike the earlier one targeted the state apparatus in a defying manner. In both cases what was lacking was the absence of any effort at making connection to the disconnected masses of people. This new wave of left politics marked a movement of  the discontented intellectuals against the existing regime for its repressive nature and its status as a U.S. satellite state. Yet, the new left movement was itself the product of the modernizing Iranian society that remained almost detached from the traditional masses. This feature of the new left in Iran ultimately paved the way for the majority of people to be taken away by the rising Islamic radicalism. Being socially and politically marginalized and detached from the existing social and political realities, the new Iranian left both during and after the revolution was neither successful in providing an alternative to the Shah's regime, nor effective in promoting a democratic tradition in Iran. This failure rasises many theoretical considerations, which could well be examined against the backdrop of Iran's socio-cultural, political and historical uniqueness. Such considerations mark a point of departure from the earlier explanations which tend to view the problem within the matrix of modernity versus tradition.


Mehrdad Samadzadeh’s Biography:

“I left Iran for India in 1979 to pursue my post-secondary education. Being influenced by the revolutionary upheavals of the time both at home and globally, I chose to study social sciences. I did my bachelor degree in Sociology the University of Delhi, and thereupon I did my Master and Master of Philosophy degrees in Modern History both at Jawahar Lal Nehru University in New Delhi. I was also enrolled as a Ph.D, candidate from 1986 1989. My Master of Philosophy thesis was: "The Rise of Iranian Right-wing:1905-1953", which was evaluated at George Mason University in 1986. My Ph.D. thesis was: "The Changing Nature of Conservatism and Right-wing Radicalism: 1905-1979". As I migrated to Canada in 1989 my Ph.D. thesis remained unfinished; but part of it was published in the same year in the academic Journal of Studies in History, entitled : The emergence of Iranian Bonapartism: 1905-1921". In the last year of my stay in New Delhi, I also worked as a freelance writer for the Times of India.


In 1990 I was enrolled at the Department of Middle East and Islamic Studies, University of Toronto. Upon finishing the two years of my residency I however discontinued the program, as I was not intellectually satisfied  with the Department. I am currently working towards the completion of my doctoral thesis in History and Philosophy of Education at OISE/UT. I have shifted to a new thesis topic entitled: "The Political Socialization of Children Through Fairy Tales in the Nineteenth Century European Context". The thesis also takes a philosophical view of children as proper historical subjects. “

o   Home


o  Constitution

o  Executive Committee

o  Contact Information


o  Membership Application

o  Organizations

o  People

External Links and Rsources

o  Weblogs

o  Websites

o  Newspapers

We thank and acknowledge University of Toronto Student Services for their support on this website. Webpage designed and occasionally tuned by Kaveh Khodjasteh.