Iranians Want And Deserve A Secular
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
, 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
, 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
. 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
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
and that like
, a new regime in
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
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
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
. 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
Dr. Parvin is an adjunct professor at the
and director of the
for Establishment of Human Rights in Iran (MEHR) - http://mehr.org