Created: 2/1/1979

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Iran: Views on



The Soviet-supported coup in Afghanistan has further damaged (he already badly strained relations between Tehran and Kabul.wo-monlh hiatus, Iran has resumed its propaganda attacks on the Kabul government, which it seesuppet of the Soviets and an anti-Islamic force in the region. Soviet efforts to allay Iranian concern about the coup apparently have failed: the Iranians have formally condemned the Soviet military interven "

Iran's pro-Soviet Communist Tudeh Parly, on the other hand, is pleased by the changes in Kabul and hopes thai the Soviets and Afghans will give greater support to the Tudeh^^A

The secular leadership of the Iranian Government is unlikely in the near term to shift from its policy of not supporting the Afghan insurgents. Over time, however, it will be pressed to give more support to the insurgents by Iran's religious leadership. The religious leadership is already providing some (raining and arms support for the rebels, and this is likely to increase.

The Soviet-inspired coup and (he Soviet military intervention will increase Iran's concern about Soviet activities and intentions in Iran. Tehran willerious strain in relations, however, because it needs Soviet support

Il is unlikely that the recent events in Afghanistan will encourage Iran to be mor= forthcoming with the United Stales on the hostage issue. Although some of Ayatollah Khomeini's advisers may be inclined toace-saving way out of Ihc crisis because of the Soviet action, Khomeini views boih superpowers as anti-Islamic, expansionist forces and will probably see little reason why the coup in Afghanistan should require him to be less hostile to the United Statcs^B

Iran: Views on Afj:li:inr,lnnM

Soviet mililary intervention in Kabul lias ledurther dclcrioration in Iran's already strained relations with Afghanistan and wiih the USSR as well. The coup and the Soviet role in Afghanistan have reinforced the view among most Iranian political and religious leaders that the Afghan Governmentuppc* of the USSR and that Moscow is following an acX'Cssively anti-Muslim and expansionist policy in southwest Asiai^H

relations with Afghanistan have been strained since the8 coup thaiarxist government 'o power inove that the Shah's government interpreted as Soviet inspired. The assumption of power by Ayatollah Khomeini's militarily Islamic government in9 ledurther deterioration in relations. Khomeini's Islamic Republic was quick to denounce the regime in Kabul as an anti-Islamic, atheistic govcrnmcnt^^B

Sinceoth grwernmenis have accused each other of interfering in the internal affairs of the other. Tehran radio has often broadcast allegations of Afghsn subversive activities inexample, onctober the Iranians accused the Afghan Government of trying to assassinate Ayatollahersistent critic of the Afghan rcgimcT

JFor its part, Kabul has accused Tehran of fomenting unrcEt, most notably during the uprising in Herat last

Iranian criticism of the Afghan regime declined significantly- -although notthe seizure of the US Embassy in Tehranovember. There is no good evidence to substantiate claims that this decline represented an explicit deal between Moscow and Tehran inoscow offered to back Iran against the United Slates in exchangeeduction in anti-Afghan propaganda. Rather, the decline probably reflected both Iran's preoccupation with other issues end its desire to secure worldwide backing for its struggle with the United SiiUcs.^M


immediately followinu the coup in Kabul the Soviets tried to allay Iranian eonccrnsabout ihc chances in Afghanistan.mbassador to Iran Vinogradov made he first vs.Uocsidcncc in Qom since the start ofthe hostage crisis, apparently to present

oviet case Th* Soviet-controlled clandestine National of Iran radio based in Baku,ommentary onMDocombcr urging Iranian leaders to improve tics with Afgnanis'-

iuo thrSoviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and warning Moscow thatrisked aLating the entire Muslim world.oques from Afghan insurgents vowing to continue the cm Smmeniaries suggested that the United State, hadove in advance in return for Sovici support againsurar

This suggestion of US-Soviet collusion is consisteni with Khomeini's longstanding belief that both superpowers are enemies of Islam. In his eyes neither superpower can be trusted and both desire to subjugate Iran. The Government's reaction is widely shared in Iran. The grrup occupying the US Embassy condemned the Soviet intervention as ihe equivalent of US "aggressions" against Iran. Iranians participated in an attack on the Soviet Embassy in Tehrananuary by Afghan studcnlsfl|R

Iran's pro-Soviei Communist party, Ihe Tudeh, has praised the coup asriumph of revolution overudeh leaders are reportedly pleased with ihe change in regimes in Kabul and the Sovietudeh official in Western Europe commenced lhat the Tudcliontact with President Babrak Karmal during his exile in Eastern Europe and said lhat the Tudeh hopes ihc new Afghan regime will be ablessist ihc Tudeh in ils efforts to gain greater influence in


The Tuuch's posilioii reflects its policy of publicly supporting Khomeini's government while privately working totrong enough base lo overthrow him. The Tudeh has been the only leftist party to support Khomeini's Islamic constitution and has said it will support his candidate for president. The Tudeh has long and close tics lo Afghan Marxists- however, and doubtless hones thai boih Kabul and Moscow will slcp up their support for the party]

Support for Afghan Insurgents

Iranian Government has criticized ihe Soviets for their involvementDecember coup, but has shown no sign of changing its policy ofany official support to the Afghan insurgent movement.leaders have repeatedly said that Iran will not interfere inaffairs of Afghanistan. Former Foreign Minister Ibrahimwith Afghan officials during the Havana Nonaligncd Summitand later publicly confirmed that he told the Afghans thainot

Ya7di also pointed out. however, that the Iranian Government would not and could not slop Iranian religious leaders from voicing their support for the insurgency. Yazdi's remarks seem to imply that although ihc government has nol supported ihe Afghan dissidents, ihc Iranian Shia Muslim clergy (the ulema) has^^^

Numerous Iranian religious leaders have publicly backed ihe rebels. Ajatollah Khomeini in August called upon the Afghan people toesson from Iran" and "kick out" its Communist rulers. Afghan insurgent leaders have been frequent participants at Iranian political rallies, and several of the various Afghan rebel groupshavc offices in Tehran and in Iran's iwo holy cities, Qom and Mashhad^|

who arc training insurgents

Tlic ulcma is also involved in providing humanitarian support to the several thousand Afghan refugees in camps along Iran's eastern border (reports on Ihc number of refugees vary. According to one Afghan source, some of these refugees arc former Afghan military personnel

The December coup in Afghanistan is likely to increase the Iranian leadership's concern about Soviet intentions in the area. The Iranians will probably continue to monitor events in Afghanistan closely from their Embassy in Kabul and Consulate in Herat. Foreign Minister Ghoibzadch has already hinted that the events in Afghanistan will encourage Iran to improve iis tics with Pakistan^^l

The Iranians will be particularly rrcrvous about aviy indication that the Soviets archeir strengthened position in Afghanistanase for subverting Iran. Tehran has been concerned for some time lhat the Afghan Government may support Baluchi tribal unrest. Serious rioting by the Sunni Muslim Baluchis in early December illustrated the potential for unrest in the area, and ihc Iranian authorities are well aware of Kabul's traditional tics to the tribes tiM

Tehran will also be concerned lhat the Afghans and Soviets will step up their aid to Iranian leftists, especially to the Tudeh. Nonetheless. Khomeini may-continueolerate ihcctivities in Iran if ihc party maintains its policy of backing him on key issues. J|

Iranian religious leaders may decide to step uppcrt tor ihc Afghan rebels. In view of the central government's weaknesses, the religious leaders will probably have little difficultyraining rebels. It is less likely thai the Iranian Government itself will openly back the insurgency in ihc near termove would riskniilitary re'alintion along Iran's weakly defended northeastern

The religious leadership may urgegovernment to lakeore active role over ihc long run.Thculcn-.u'spressurcwill grow more intense if ihc Soviets appeare defeating the insttrgcuts.^H

nlikely lhat the recent events in Afghanistan will encourage Iran to be more forthcoming with thr. United States in the hostage crisis. Although some ofdvisers may be inclined toace-saving way out of the crisis because of the Soviet action, Khomeini is not likelyhe Soviet intervention as requiring him to abandon the struggle against "satanic" America. In his eyes both superpowers arc equally evil, nnd both must be resit flH|

The Iranians will probably seek to prevent their relationship wiih Moscow from deteriorating too sharply because of events in Afghanistan. Tehran still hopes that the USSR will use its veto in the United Nations' Security Council debate on economic sanction, Forpokeman for the Revolutionary Council said in late Decemberside from Afghanistan. Iran has no serious differences with Moscow. This desire to avoid lootrain in ties with Moscow may also explain why Khomeinioi spoken out publicly as yet on the Afghan issue.

The Soviets continue to court the Iranians as well. Ambassador Vinogradovecond visit to Khomeini in Qomanuary. They doubtless discussed both the Afghan and hostage kssuca^^H


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