Do not let the Iranians struggle for a free Iran be compromised
By Mohammad Parvin (11/2/04)

Based on the positions taken by both presidential candidates before and during the presidential debates, the US conditions to re-establish open relations with the Islamic Regime of Iran has been reduced to one single demand from the Mullahs:

 “To join the world community you must give up your nuclear ambitions and comply with IAEA”

 The murderous regime of Iran is welcome to the world community and is offered lucrative incentives to accept this offer. Their message for the Iranians who cannot live under such a reactionary religious dictatorship, and believe that they deserve a democratic government, is very clear: “Forget about the axis of evil. Forget about the most active sponsor of terrorism, and forget about 25 years of human rights violation. If we start a dialogue with the terrorists, we can finally convert them and bring them into the civilized world! “

 If nothing drastic happens, the future is going to be even harder for those who struggle for freedom and secular democracy in Iran . Iranians will be facing not only the Islamic Regime of Iran to deal with, but the entire world that has forgotten about them and only cares about its own interests. Freedom loving Iranians will have only two options:  

1-     Put their future in the hands of the ruling interest driven politicians in the hope that someone would stand for their human rights and dignity instead of serving their own interest, or  

2-     By creating a strong voting bloc have some impact on the policies made towards Iran based on the rights and will of its people, and in doing so, guarantee the stability of the region and perhaps the entire world.  

Regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election, the formation of a nonpartisan voting bloc is the only way that Iranians abroad can stop the legitimization of the Islamic Regime and help the movement towards democracy in Iran that is determined to change the regime of terror. We need to put ourselves in a position to demand the respect for our human rights and ask for expulsion and isolation of the Islamic terrorist regime form the world community rather than begging the world for action and be ignored.  

The following compilation of the positions taken by Democrats and Republicans over the last two years should further motivates the freedom loving Iranian American to make a difference by forming a nonpartisan voting bloc with clear demands from the US government that may include:  

·        Do not legitimize the Islamic Regime of Iran even if it complies with IAEA.

·        Reduce your relations to the lowest diplomatic level.

·        Impose a real sanction against the Islamic regime.

·        Show moral support for the Iranians and their struggle to change the regime and establish a secular democratic government. Expose the human rights violation in Iran through the Voice of America and Radio Farda.

·        Form a tribunal through Security Council to try those who have committed crimes against Iranians and support the efforts of the Iranian individuals and groups who are seeking justice for the victims of the Islamic Regime through International avenues.  

Democrats Position on Iran  

Senator Kerry: Question and Answer with the Los Angeles Times, June 15, 2003

Q: How would you try to stop the development of nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran ?

A: First, we must ensure that Iran scrupulously adheres to all of its nonproliferation obligations and work internationally to respond to any violation. But we must do more. We should be prepared to engage with the current regime in areas of mutual interest, such as terrorism and the drug trade, if that government takes real steps to address our security concerns. At the same time, we must work to support the active and legitimate reform movement that has overwhelming support of the Iranian people.... North Korea is a failed state that survives on subsidies and blackmail.... We need a comprehensive solution with core elements: no nuclear weapons in North Korea ; a broad-based strategy that talks to economic and other issues, as well as military. We need to do all this in lock step with our allies.

Senator Kerry’s response to MEHR’s letter, 12/1/03:  

“We must continue to pursue a policy of engagement with reformers within Iran , including President Mohammad Khatami. By working multilaterally and with moderates in Iran , the United States will pave the way for a decreased nuclear threat to the world and a greater respect for human rights to the Iranian people.  

Senator Kerry’s speech at Council on Foreign Relations, 12/3/04:

“As president, I will be prepared early on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran , just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago. Iran has long expressed an interest in cooperating against the Afghan drug trade. That is one starting point. And just as we have asked that Iran turn over al Qaeda members who are there, the Iranians have looked to us for help in dealing with Iraq-based terrorists who threaten them. It is incomprehensible and unacceptable that this administration refuses to broker an arrangement with Iran for a mutual crackdown on both terrorist groups.”

“And as president, I will engage Iran and I will renew bilateral negotiations immediately with North Korea , and I will seek a new international protocol to track and account for existing nuclear weapons and to deter the development of chemical and biological arsenals in the future.”

Task force Report, July 19, 2004 headed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to the President :  

Full text: http://mehr.org/Task_Force_Report.pdf

·         Selective political engagement. The United States should not defer a political dialogue with Iran until deep differences over its nuclear ambitions and involvement in regional conflicts have been resolved. "Just as the United States has a constructive relationship with China (and earlier did so with the Soviet Union) while strongly opposing certain aspects of its internal and international policies, Washington should approach Iran with a readiness to explore areas of common interests while continuing to contest objectionable policy."

·         Incremental progress vs. 'grand bargain.' "A 'grand bargain' that would settle comprehensively the outstanding conflicts between Iran and the United States is not a realistic goal, and pursuing such an outcome would be unlikely to produce near-term progress on Washington's central interests." Instead, the Task Force recommends "selectively engaging Iran on issues where U.S. and Iranian interests converge."

·         Fewer sticks, more carrots. " U.S. reliance on comprehensive unilateral sanctions has not succeeded in its stated objective to alter Iranian conduct and has deprived Washington of greater leverage vis-à-vis the Iranian government apart from the threat of force." Given the increasingly important role of economic interests in shaping Iran 's policies at home and abroad, "the prospect of commercial relations with the United States could be a powerful tool in Washington 's arsenal."

·         Promote democracy, not regime change. "The United States should advocate democracy in Iran without relying on the rhetoric of regime change, as that would be likely to rouse nationalist sentiments in defense of the current regime even among those who currently oppose it." The United States should focus instead on promoting political evolution that would lead to stronger democratic institutions internally and enhanced diplomatic and economic relations abroad.  

Senator Edwards: September 2004  

A critical review of his comments is given at : http://mehr.org/you_gave_your_words.htm  

“The Washington Post” that if Iran did not accept this "great bargain," this would confirm that the Islamic state was building nuclear weapons under cover of a nuclear power initiative.”  

"If we are engaging with Iranians in an effort to reach this great bargain and if in fact this is a bluff that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons capability, then we know that our European friends will stand with us.:


"A nuclear Iran is unacceptable for so many reasons, including the possibility that it creates a gateway and the need for other countries in the region to develop nuclear capabilities-- Saudi Arabia , Egypt , potentially others.”  

Republicans Position on Iran  

President Bush: First State of the Union Speech, 31 Jan. 2002:  

“State like these ( Iran , Iraq , and N. Korea ) and their allies constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

 “ Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while un-elected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom.”  

President Buss: Statement, July 12, 2002:

We have seen throughout history the power of one simple idea: when given a choice, people will choose freedom. As we have witnessed over the past few days, the people of Iran want the same freedoms, human rights, and opportunities as people around the world. Their government should listen to their hopes.

In the last two Iranian presidential elections and in nearly a dozen parliamentary and local elections, the vast majority of the Iranian people voted for political and economic reform. Yet their voices are not being listened to by the unelected people who are the real rulers of Iran . Uncompromising, destructive policies have persisted, and far too little has changed in the daily lives of the Iranian people. Iranian students, journalists and Parliamentarians are still arrested, intimidated, and abused for advocating reform or criticizing the ruling regime. Independent publications are suppressed. And talented students and professionals, faced with the dual specter of too few jobs and too many restrictions on their freedom, continue to seek opportunities abroad rather than help build Iran 's future at home. Meanwhile, members of the ruling regime and their families continue to obstruct reform while reaping unfair benefits.

Iran is an ancient land, home to a proud culture with a rich heritage of learning and progress. The future of Iran will be decided by the people of Iran . Right now, the Iranian people are struggling with difficult questions about how to build a modern 21st century society that is at once Muslim, prosperous, and free. There is a long history of friendship between the American people and the people of Iran . As Iran 's people move towards a future defined by greater freedom, greater tolerance, they will have no better friend than the United States of America .

State Department Fact Sheet, April 9, 2004

Iran : Voices Struggling To Be Heard

Full text:  http://mehr.org/state_report_iran.pdf 

A critical review of this report is given at : http://mehr.org/Real_Freedom.htm  

Today the courageous voices of the Iranian people are being stifled as they call for their rights, beliefs and needs to be respected. In response, the non-elected elements of the Iranian Government hierarchy are rebuffing these calls and attempting to extinguish the voices.”  

“In June 1997 and again in 2001, a decisive election victory ushered President Mohammed Khatami into office under the auspices of a reformist agenda. The realization of this reform movement has been actively stifled by hard-line elements within the government, most specifically by the un-elected Guardian Council, a board of clerical leaders and legal scholars. Reformist and dissident voices within the government and society have been repressed and harassed by government and quasi-government factions under the influence of the hard-line clerics.”

“In a move to diminish pro-reformist re-election chances, the Guardian Council disqualified approximately one-third of the 8,200 submissions for candidacy, including those of more than 80 reformists currently holding Majlis seats, effectively limiting the democratic alternatives available to Iranian voters.”

“A voice of Hope – Shirin Ebadi”

“Shirin Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2003 for her life-long campaign to protect vulnerable and persecuted groups within Iranian society.”

“Students have mobilized to demand greater freedoms and to support reform efforts by the Khatami Government, the Majlis, and individuals willing to speak the truth.”

Bush: state of the union address: 1/29/03 and 1/20/2004  

Different threats require different strategies. In Iran , we continue to see a government that represses its people, pursues weapons of mass destruction and supports terror. We also see Iranian citizens risking intimidation and death as they speak out for liberty and human rights and democracy. Iranians, like all people, have a right to choose their own government and determine their own destiny and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.

 

First Presidential Debate, 10/30/2004  

QUESTION: Mr. President. What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq ?  

Bush: “A free Iraq will help secure Israel . A free Iraq will enforce the hopes and aspirations of the reformers in places like Iran . A free Iraq is essential for the security of this country.”  

Kerry: No reference to Iran  

Question: Mr. President, Does the Iraq experience make it more likely or less likely that you would take the United States into another preemptive military action?  

Bush: No reference to Iran  

KERRY: Thirty-five to forty countries in the world had a greater capability of making weapons at the moment the president invaded than Saddam Hussein. And while he's been diverted, with 9 out of 10 active duty divisions of our Army, either going to Iraq , coming back from Iraq , or getting ready to go, North Korea 's gotten nuclear weapons and the world is more dangerous. Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons and the world is more dangerous. Darfur has genocide  

Question: Senator Kerry: What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war?  

KERRY: I mean, we can remember when President Kennedy in the Cuban missile crisis sent his secretary of state to Paris to meet with DeGaulle. And in the middle of the discussion, to tell them about the missiles in Cuba , he said, "Here, let me show you the photos." And DeGaulle waved them off and said, "No, no, no, no. The word of the president of the United States is good enough for me."

How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done, in that way? So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world. And Iran and Iraq are now more dangerous -- Iran and North Korea are now more dangerous.  

Bush: : No reference to Iran  

Question: Mr. President. Do you believe that diplomacy and sanctions can resolve the nuclear problems with North Korea and Iran ?  

Bush: On Iran , I hope we can do the same thing, continue to work with the world to convince the Iranian mullahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions.

We worked very closely with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Great Britain, who have been the folks delivering the message to the mullahs that if you expect to be part of the world of nations, get rid of your nuclear programs.

The IAEA is involved. There's a special protocol recently been passed that allows for inspections.

I hope we can do it. And we've got a good strategy.

KERRY: With respect to Iran , the British, French, and Germans were the ones who initiated an effort without the United States , regrettably, to begin to try to move to curb the nuclear possibilities in Iran . I believe we could have done better.

I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together. The president did nothing.  

QUESTION:  Mr. President. Do you believe that diplomacy and sanctions can resolve the nuclear problems with North Korea and Iran ? Take them in any order you would like.

BUSH: And I think this will work. It's not going to work if we open up a dialogue with Kim Jong Il. He wants to unravel the six- party talks, or the five-nation coalition that's sending him a clear message.

On Iran , I hope we can do the same thing, continue to work with the world to convince the Iranian mullahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions.

We worked very closely with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Great Britain, who have been the folks delivering the message to the mullahs that if you expect to be part of the world of nations, get rid of your nuclear programs.

The IAEA is involved. There's a special protocol recently been passed that allows for inspections.

I hope we can do it. And we've got a good strategy.  

BUSH follow up:

Secondly, he said -- my opponent said where he worked to put sanctions on Iran -- we've already sanctioned Iran . We can't sanction them any more. There are sanctions in place on Iran .  

KERRY: With respect to Iran , the British, French, and Germans were the ones who initiated an effort without the United States , regrettably, to begin to try to move to curb the nuclear possibilities in Iran . I believe we could have done better.

I think the United States should have offered the opportunity to provide the nuclear fuel, test them, see whether or not they were actually looking for it for peaceful purposes. If they weren't willing to work a deal, then we could have put sanctions together. The president did nothing.  

QUESTION: Senator Kerry, you mentioned Darfur, the Darfur region of Sudan . Fifty thousand people have already died in that area. More than a million are homeless. And it's been labeled an act of ongoing genocide. Yet neither one of you or anyone else connected with your campaigns or your administration that I can find has discussed the possibility of sending in troops.  Why not?  

KERRY: Well, I'll tell you exactly why not, but I first want to say something about those sanctions on Iran .

Only the United States put the sanctions on alone, and that's exactly what I'm talking about.

In order for the sanctions to be effective, we should have been working with the British, French and Germans and other countries. And that's the difference between the president and me.

And there, again, he sort of slid by the question.

BUSH: Back to Iran , just for a second.

It was not my administration that put the sanctions on Iran . That happened long before I arrived in Washington , D.C.

QUESTION: Senator Kerry. If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security to the United States?

KERRY: Weapons of mass destruction, nuclear proliferation.

But again, the test or the difference between us, the president has had four years to try to do something about it, and North Korea has got more weapons; Iran is moving toward weapons. And at his pace, it will take 13 years to secure those weapons in Russia .

I'm going to do it in four years, and I'm going to immediately set out to have bilateral talks with North Korea .  

Bush: : No reference to Iran    

Vice Presidential Debate

Oct. 5, 2004  

Question: Vice President Cheney.
Tonight we mentioned Afghanistan . We believe that Osama bin Laden is hiding perhaps in a cave somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistan border.
If you get a second term, what is your plan to capture him and then to neutralize those who have sprung up to replace him?
 

Cheney: No reference to Iran  

EDWARDS: The vice president just said that we should focus on state sponsors of terrorism. Iran has moved forward with its nuclear weapons program. They're more dangerous today than they were four years ago. North Korea has moved forward with their nuclear weapons program, gone from one to two nuclear weapons to six to eight nuclear weapons. This vice president has been an advocate for over a decade for lifting sanctions against Iran , the largest state sponsor of terrorism on the planet.
It's a mistake. We should not only not lift them, we should strengthen those sanctions.  

QUESTION: Mr. Vice President, in June of 2000 when you were still CEO of Halliburton, you said that U.S. businesses should be allowed to do business with Iran because, quote, "Unilateral sanctions almost never work."
After four years as vice president now, and with Iran having been declared by your administration as part of the "Axis of Evil," do you still believe that we should lift sanctions on Iran ?  

CHENEY:  “No, I do not. And, Gwen, at the time, I was talking specifically about this question of unilateral sanctions.

What happens when we impose unilateral sanctions is, unless there's a collective effort, then other people move in and take advantage of the situation and you don't have any impact, except to penalize American companies.

We've got sanctions on Iran now. We may well want to go to the U.N. Security Council and ask for even tougher sanctions if they don't live up to their obligations under the initial -- International Atomic Energy Agency Non-Proliferation Treaty.

We dealt with Iran differently than we have Iraq partly because Iran has not yet, as Iraq did, violated 12 years of resolutions by the U.N. Security Council.

We're working with the Brits and the Germans and the French, who've been negotiating with the Iranians.

We recently were actively involved in a meeting with the board of governors in the International Atomic Energy Agency. And as I say, there will be a follow-up meeting in November to determine whether or not Iran 's living up to their commitments and obligations.

And if they aren't, my guess is then the board of governors will recommend sending the whole matter to the U.N. Security Council for the application of the international sanctions, which I think would be exactly the right way to go. “

“We've made major progress in dealing here with a major issue with respect to nuclear proliferation. And we'll continue to press very hard on the North Koreans and the Iranians as well.”

EDWARDS: Well, the vice president talks about there being a member, or someone associated with Al Qaida, in Iraq . There are 60 countries who have members of Al Qaida in them.

How many of those countries are we going to invade?

Not only that, he talks about Iran . The reality about Iran is that Iran has moved forward with their nuclear weapons program on their watch. They ceded responsibility to dealing with it to the Europeans.

Now, the vice president, as you pointed out, spoke out loudly for lifting the sanctions on Iraq . John Kerry and I believe we need to strengthen the sanctions on Iraq , including closing the loophole that allows companies to use a subsidiary, offshore subsidiaries to do business with Iran .

I mentioned Halliburton a few minute ago in connection with the $87 billion, and you raised it in this question. This is relevant, because he was pushing for lifting sanctions when he was CEO of Halliburton. Here's why we didn't think Halliburton should have a no-bid contract.

While he was CEO of Halliburton, they paid millions of dollars in fines for providing false information on their company, just like Enron and Ken Lay.
They did business with Libya and Iran , two sworn enemies of the United States .

They're now under investigation for having bribed foreign officials during that period of time.

Not only that, they've gotten a $7.5 billion no-bid contract in Iraq , and instead of part of their money being withheld, which is the way it's normally done, because they're under investigation, they've continued to get their money.

QUESTION: Senator Edwards, as we wrap up the foreign policy part of this, I do want to talk to you about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Edwards: And it's important for America to confront the situation in Iran , because Iran is an enormous threat to Israel and to the Israeli people.  

Cheney: No reference to Iran  

2nd Presidential Debate, 10/8/2004  

Question: Mr. President, yesterday in a statement you admitted that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, but justified the invasion by stating, I quote, He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction and could have passed this knowledge to our terrorist enemies.
Do you sincerely believe this to be a reasonable justification for invasion when this statement applies to so many other countries, including North Korea ?  

Bush: No Reference to Iran  

Kerry: This president rushed to war, pushed our allies aside. And Iran now is more dangerous, and so is North Korea , with nuclear weapons. He took his eye off the ball, off of Osama bin Laden.  

QUESTION: Senator Kerry,
Iran sponsors terrorism and has missiles capable of hitting Israel and southern Europe . Iran will have nuclear weapons in two to three years time.  In the event that U.N. sanctions don't stop this threat, what will you do as president?

KERRY: I don't think you can just rely on U.N. sanctions, Randee. But you're absolutely correct, it is a threat, it's a huge threat. 
And what's interesting is, it's a threat that has grown while the president has been preoccupied with Iraq , where there wasn't a threat.
If he'd let the inspectors do their job and go on, we wouldn't have 10 times the numbers of forces in Iraq that we have in Afghanistan chasing Osama bin Laden.

Meanwhile, while Iran is moving toward nuclear weapons, some 37 tons of what they called yellow cake, the stuff they use to make enriched uranium, while they're doing that, North Korea has moved from one bomb maybe, maybe, to four to seven bombs.

For two years, the president didn't even engage with North Korea , did nothing at all, while it was growing more dangerous, despite the warnings of former Secretary of Defense William Perry, who negotiated getting television cameras and inspectors into that reactor.”  

“I'm going to lead the world in the greatest counter proliferation effort. And if we have to get tough with Iran , believe me, we will get tough. “

BUSH: That answer almost made me want to scowl.

He keeps talking about, Let the inspectors do their job. It's naive and dangerous to say that. That's what the Duelfer report showed. He was deceiving the inspectors.

Secondly, of course we've been involved with Iran .

I fully understand the threat. And that's why we're doing what he suggested we do: Get the Brits, the Germans and the French to go make it very clear to the Iranians that if they expect to be a party to the world to give up their nuclear ambitions. We've been doing that.  

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

 

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