Iranians Want And Deserve A Secular Democratic Regime
By Mohammad Parvin (08/10/2004)

After the release of the Task Force Report by the Council on Foreign Relations in which Zbigniew Brzezinski, et al had provided a blue print for warming up with the terrorists who are governing Iran, it came as a relief to hear that two US senators have introduced “Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2004 (S. 2681)” in the US Senate to establish a program to support a transition to democracy in Iran. Too bad that the feel of relief was too short, and its bitter aftermath is going to last a long time.

This Act is very wrong in its analysis and conclusion, and in its proposed strategy and tactics. Even if it was written with good intention, it would not serve the Iranian people and would not help the freedom movement in Iran for the following reasons:

1. The Act has repeatedly referred to Mohammad Khatami as an elected body and has portrayed him as the symbol of Iranians desire for freedom who have been victimized by the so-called “hardliners.

The Act ignores the fact that there are no democratically elected elements in the Islamic Regime of Iran. Mr. Khatami, the darling of some in the US and Europe , was among four selected candidates by the Guardian Council after 234 candidates were eliminated. All the so-called reformists who were “elected” in the previous parliament were first selected by going through the same filtering process. The Iranian participation in the 1997 “election” was due to the special circumstances in which the Supreme leader came out strongly in defense of one of the four hand-picked candidates, and Iranians found a clever way to say NO to him by voting for Khatami.

Soon after the so-called election, the Iranian used every opportunity to show their hatred for the system of terror of IRI. They know that the act of terrorism and all atrocities committed by this regime are not the arbitrary act of some hard liners within the regime. It is the law of the land written into the constitution of this regime, and obeyed by all elements including the President of this regime, Mr. Khatami. They know this and they want a secular democratic system.

Senator Santorum has probably not heard the Iranian peoples’ slogans in recent demonstrations, reported by many Western correspondents: "Shame on Khatami" and "Death on Khatami." And, he most probably does not know the fact that the majority of Iranians stayed away from the recent elections in Iran , in spite of fierce campaign and constant appeals by Khatami.

2. Along the promotion of Khatami, the Act advocates for “a democratic form of government” in Iran . Although there is a good and natural harmony between these two, this is not compatible with the desire of freedom loving Iranians. They are fighting for a SECULAR DEMOCRATIC government, not just a “form of democracy.” Does Senator Santorum believe that the Iranians are going to accept a modified, “reformed” Islamic Republic, or anything of that form?

When asked to clarify the meaning and purpose of “a democratic form of government,” during a telephone conversation with Mr. George Vernier at Senator’s office, he responded by referring to Iraq and that like Iraq , a new regime in Iran cannot be a secular one. When reminded that most Iranians want a secular government, he said “you should first learn how to walk ….”

You are underestimating our nation, Senator. The Iranians have resisted a brutal religious dictatorship for twenty five-years with the hope of freedom and democracy. Not “a form of democracy,” but the same type that Americans are enjoying. We deserve what Senator Santorum deserves, and we would not compromise it.

3. Based on these two factors signified in the Act, the “regime change” advocated by the Act could mean changing from the Islamic Regime dominated by the “hard liners” to the one ruled by the “reformists” lead by Khatami.

NO, Senator. That is not what our nation is fighting for. They want a secular democratic system, not a watered-down theocracy.

4. According to the Act, the President of the US will designate one democratic opposition (that can, of course, include Khatami’s victimized faction) as eligible to receive assistance. Having considered the Iranian culture, allowing the Iranian opposition group to be designated by the US President is a very dangerous proposition that would play into the hand of the regime and its supporters to destroy the credibility of, not only the designated group, but the entire opposition.

Dear Senator Santorum: Please revise your Act. Please make it simple and straightforward. An Act that would have the support of freedom-loving Iranians inside and outside Iran would be the one that respects the desire of Iranians for a secular democratic regime and rejects the Islamic Regime in its entirety. Providing funds to the oppositions that have plans for the regime change through civil disobedience and nonviolent actions is welcome. The selection process should be competitive, and through written proposals to plan a strategy to advance the non-violent actions in Iran . Only the opposition groups and individuals that have a solid plan for a regime change should be funded.

The strong points in the Act are the termination of the meetings with the representative of the Islamic Regime (that must include all factions) and the challenge of a referendum, a referendum between the current regime and a secular democratic regime in which ideology has no role. This is a challenge to everyone including Senator Santorum, who may doubt the Iranian desire for a real democracy in Iran .

Mohammad Parvin is an adjunct professor at the California State University and director of the Mission for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR) - http://mehr.org

 

 Back to MEHR Home Page

MEHR IRAN
P.O. Box 2037
P.V.P., CA 90274

Tel: (310) 377-4590
Fax: (310) 377-3103
E-mail: mehr@mehr.org
URL: http://www.mehr.org