The following is the text
of the speech made by Mohammad Parvin, MEHR’s representative, at the
University of Washington, Seattle on May 17, 2003.
Relations From Containment to Empowerment
normal conditions, I believe that Iran, as a nation, should have
friendly social, economical, and cultural relations with all other
nations. The true representatives of Iranians should also have just and
fair relations with the world community. Iranian people have expressed
their will to establish relations with the U.S., and I believe the
overwhelming majority will respond positively if they are asked the same
regime has failed because in spite of its brutality, and repressive
methods of imprisonment, torture, and killing, people have not complied
with their reactionary and medieval system of thinking and governing. Iranian
people are using every opportunity to show their hatred for the regime.
They showed in recent elections that they no longer have any faith in
the so-called reformists within the Islamic Regime. They want a secular,
power of a regime can only be measured in terms of the degree of the
obedience of the people. Without obedience, power does not mean
anything. If you don’t submit, don’t yield, and don’t obey or
follow regime’s rules and regulations, then you have denied its power.
This is how our people will topple the Islamic Regime of Iran.
a side note, since there are a lot of discussions about referendum in
Iran, I should indicate in passing that it would be very naïve to
assume that this regime will yield to a referendum and submit its power
to the will of the people. A call for a referendum is an excellent tool
to challenge the legitimacy of this regime. It is a challenge to all
those who still want to portray this regime as the representative of
Iranians. Non-violence struggle is the method chosen by our people. This
certainly would not be honored by the Islamic regime. The regime will
attempt to change such effort to make it violent and bloody on its own
terms. That is the time when the determination of non-violence advocates
and hopefully millions of its followers will be tested. It will take
much more than a referendum to get rid of IRI.
the Islamic Regime is not the only obstacle against the struggle of the
Iranian people for freedom and democracy. Outside Islamic Regime,
Iranians must face interest-driven governments, lobby groups with shady
funding, and an American journalistic and academic community that lack
honest reporting and scholarship. These individuals and groups
legitimize Iranians’ oppressors.
“interest” factor has made the European countries eager to establish
relation with the IRI. Disregarding the human rights violation in Iran,
they have escalated their fierce competition as to which one will take a
bigger portion of the lucrative one-sided deals with IRI, a regime
desperate to survive.
US, lobbied strongly by the financial institutions and especially oil
companies, is pursuing a dual policy towards the Islamic Regime. One
day, it becomes the axis of Evil, and the other day it is portrayed as a
democracy, as was done recently by Mr. Armitage at the State Department.
I have a question for Mr. Armitage and all others with similar views:
only priests approved by Vatican were allowed to run for the U.S.
presidency, could anyone in their right mind call the United States a
US position with respect to IRI is quite unstable and can make a drastic
shift overnight. One day, we hear the emphasis on the terrorist nature
of this regime and next day we hear about the secret negotiations
between the US/IRI representatives.
IRI to qualify itself for help, and for the West to justify relations
with one of the most brutal regimes of all times, both needed and still
need a wide spread cover up. While human rights abuses escalated in
Iran, conference after conferences were held in Iran and abroad on
issues like human rights, civil society, dialog among civilizations,
women rights, and child abuse. Western media and government authorities
publicized these events, and participated in them and argued that they
should support the so-called “reformists”
vs. “radicals” knowing well that all real reformists are in jails.
you know that as we speak, a conference is in session in Iran sponsored
by the Sheikh Mofid School in the City of Qom under the title of
“Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights? Sheik Mofid is a state run
religious school that trains military seminaries. Can you imagine that
this conference is held with the cooperation of the United Nations and
the International Center for Dialogue among Civilizations?
argue that even if it is for window dressing, it is still good to have
these relations. They argue that the people will be exposed to the principles
of the human rights and will be more demanding. I believe, they are
underestimating our people. Our people know their rights and know that
they are violated by the Islamic Regime and don’ t need these
disgusting shows that are mockery of the human rights.
spite of the fact that IRI has been placed on the top of the State
Department list of Terrorist Regimes, many groups, led by the American
Iranian Council (AIC), with the support of some American financial
institutions and lawmakers are vigorously lobbying for the Islamic
Regime. I am wondering how some American lawmakers including Senators
Biden and Hegel, and congressman Bob Ney can openly appease the most
active sponsor of terrorism while the USA Anti Terrorism Act prohibits
any association with terrorists.
examine the intention of those who lobby for establishing relations with
the IRI and argue that it will be for the
benefit of Iranian people. And
who could be a better candidate than Gary Sick for this study. Gary Sick
is one of the AIC’s Board members, the leading lobby group for IRI, as
well as the Director of Gulf 2000, an International Research project on
policy developments in the Persian gulf. He was National Security
Council Staff, with Carter Administration. He has been
vigorously lobbying for the relations with the Islamic Regime for years.
an article about Iran under the title of: The Stalemate in US-Iran
Relations” , and in an attempt to correct the US policy towards Iran,
he writes in part:
US policy calls for Iran to change its behavior in six different areas
(active opposition to the peace process, fishing in troubled water in
other countries, terrorism, purchases of conventional arms, acquisition
of weapons of mass destruction, and human rights). If the Iranians were
miraculously to comply, our policy statements mention no benefits that
they could anticipate because of their newfound enlightenment.
a dialogue were to begin, the US would have to (1) define more clearly
which of these behaviors are more important, (2) offer a more precise
definition of what we would expect from Iran, and (3) give some
indication of what we might be prepared to offer in return.”
Sick has outlined the US conditions for relations with IRI and suggests
that we should define which of these behaviors are more important.
Let’s find out which conditions are un-important! He continues:
…. In reality, we might have to settle for something less.”
then states that “ A
realistic negotiating objective might incorporate the following
what follows in his article, we see that one of the conditions just
vanishes! Can you guess it? It is the condition of human rights in Iran.
This is the un-important area that he was trying to take out of the
conditions set for re-negotiation with the regime.
then elaborates on this and writes:
revolution is over, and the fiery slogans have a hollow ring. Khomeini
said the revolution was not about the price of melons, but it turns out
that it is! The demonstrations in Iran are not about clerical rule or a
return to the monarchy or even about democracy and human rights.
They are about quality of life, drinking water, inflation, housing, and
jobs. The demonstrations are serious—not because they threaten to
overturn the government but because they force the government to
confront its failure to keep promises and to deal with fundamental
is the only benefit that Iranian will get out of US/IR relation. Their
human rights will be compromised and sacrificed as a pretext for the
Sick, AIC, and their other proxy organizations, along
the activist and lobbyist of the Islamic Regime, are advocating for the
unconditional resumption of relations with the U.S.
An orchestrated effort has been underway for years to pressure
Congress and the Administration to lift the sanctions unconditionally
and re-establish relations with IR.
should emphasize that our desire is by no means any sort of sanction
against Iranian people who are the victims of this regime. We just
believe that this murderous regime must be sanctioned and that the US
must not deal with the Regime's owned financial institutions and
individuals that have been robbing the Iranian people for the last 24
years and have created hunger, unemployment, and misery for the people
regime does not represent Iranians and does not protect their interests.
Iranian people and their independent financial institutions would have
been capable of entering into genuine and constructive cultural and
commercial and educational relations with the U.S. if the regime and its
financial institutions had not monopolized trade and other relations.
to the statistics published by Oxford Analytica and reported in the
Iranian press (Payam-e Emrooz), more than %50 of Iran's economy is run
and owned by an organization called "the Deprived Foundation "
(Bonyaad-e Mostaz-afaan) that is fully exempted from audit and taxation.
This organization has 7 branches in the areas of Trade, agriculture,
Industry and mines, Transportation, Import and export. Each of these
branches acts like a ministry.
A 1986 statistics indicates that the assets of this foundation includes 140 industrial complex, 64 mines, 2786 pieces of agricultural land, 230 import and export companies, 90 movie theaters, 3 newspapers, 200 loan offices, 2 insurance companies and several shipping and airplane companies. It has 150,000 employees. 22% of concrete 28% of textile, 45% of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, 28% of the plastic products, and 25% of the sugar production are controlled by this foundation.
the other hand, any direct deal with the so-called "private
is to be done?
Iranians and Iranian/Americans who care for the human rights in Iran and
seek a free democratic regime in Iran should help the democracy movement
in Iran. This movement is aimed to undermine the legitimacy of the
Islamic Regime through civil disobedience and non-violent struggle. To
support this movement we should do the same thing outside Iran. We have
to stop the legitimization process of the Islamic Regime. We should not
allow this regime to be recognized as the representative of our nation.
We should not let the western countries help this regime for their own
a shameful reason for making a right decision. We have a message for Mr.
Straw and all those who for their own interests and without any shame
are trying to portray this regime as a democracy:
people don’t need the interference of any foreign government and, we
are absolutely against any military action by an outside power. Just
show some dignity and
don’t support this terrorist regime, don’t recognize it as the
representative of Iranians and let their struggle for freedom and
need to outline and enforce the details of this boycotting policy in
such a way that only the regime is targeted and not our people. In order
to accomplish such thing we need to be in a strong position and become a
believe this is doable and can be achieved through two available
The power of the Iranian-American votes
Bringing to justice those who have committed crimes against
can make it impossible for the US and other countries to host criminals
and deal with them as the representatives of the Iranian people, by
taking legal actions through the international instruments.
An example is the Convention Against Torture to which the U.S. is
a signatory. This is what
we at MEHR have been trying for years and in spite of lack of resources
will hopefully file our first law suite against the Islamic Regime
within the next few months.
can form a strong single issue-voting block that will take part in the
political process of the US and will vote only based on the position of
the candidates with respect to the Islamic Regime of Iran. We believe
this is a very effective way that we can influence the foreign policy of
the US and resolve the conflicting policies in favor of the Iranian
people rather than the Islamic Regime.
my opinion, the coordinated activities of the Iranian oppositions
outside Iran to achieve these two goals that will eventually result in
undermining the legitimacy of the Islamic Regime is along the struggle
of the Iranians inside Iran, and will result in a strong coalition in
its most natural way.
absence of a powerful opposition, the Islamic Regime’s lobby is
seeking to fill the policy vacuum with calls to normalize relations.
now, the battle is moving to the U.S. Congress.
The U.S. House of Representatives is now considering House
Resolution 59, a bill sponsored by Congressman Bob Ney. Behind
all its nice words and alleged good intentions for the people of Iran,
the hidden agenda of resolution 59 is crystal clear! In a
resolution that claims to be in defense of Iranian people, one does not
find a single reference, [directly or indirectly], to the Islamic regime
having abused the Iranian people during its quarter of a century
Year, Ney proposed resolution 505 which urged the United States to support
a Muslim society in Iran with “greater freedom and tolerance.” It
didn’t acknowledge that the Iranian people deserve anything more than
may have the well-financed American Iranian Council on his side, as well
as oil companies like Exxon and Shell, and willing to sacrifice the
human rights of Iranians for their interests, but the vast majority of
Iranians want democracy without compromise on freedom and on human
there are other lawmakers and policymakers who are siding with the
Iranian people. House Resolution 140 introduced by Congressmen Tom
Lantos and identical Senate Resolution 81, introduced by Senator Sam
Brownback are supporting democracy and human rights in Iran. They
recognize that legitimizing the Islamic Regime stifles, rather than
supporting democracy and human rights. They recognize that holding the
Islamic Regime accountable for all its actions and those of its proxy
groups enhances America’s security. Lantos and Brownback recognize
that the U.S. should direct its positive gestures to the Iranian people,
and not to the politicians who exploit their offices for personal gain.
as I have repeatedly indicated, freedom for Iranians is not the
responsibility of the U.S. or any other government.
So far, we have failed to have our voice heard in Washington. We
must form a strong, non-partisan voting block to support those who take
a firm position for human rights and oust those who seek to appease
dictators for short-term financial gain. With more than 1000,000 Iranians in the United States, free
Iranians have a lot to say.
1- Fighting Proliferation, Chapter 13, Edited by Henry Sokolski, Air University Press
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