January 20, 2018

The Time Has Come: Democratic Regime Change by Iranian people

By Majid Sadeghpouri

Reaffirming a strategically formulated policy, Iran’s newly installed president Ahmadinejad recently delivered yet another defiant speech against the European nuclear stakeholder which his like would usually reserve for the U.S. Among other remarks, Ahmadinejad had previously commented on his view that the Israeli nation should be “wiped off the map”. In his recent speech, he denounced 16 years of ‘appeasement’ and added that there was, in his view, no virtue in negotiating with the Europeans. To veteran Iran watchers, however, there never was and will never be any true ambiguity in the mullah’s deliberate and calculated strategy.

The undeniable confirmation of Ahmandinejad’s political disposition was actually documented by his remarks earlier this week. Addressing a group of Islamist student activists, Ahmadinejad noted, “Some in Iran and abroad thought that we were making these speeches without a specific plan and policy, but we have been pursuing a deliberate strategy in this regard”.

Although it is difficult for some in the west to fathom, he has clearly articulated regime’s fundamentalist views to all who wish to listen. “Our interpretation is that the hand of the Almighty is putting every piece of the jigsaw puzzle of the future of the world in place in line with the goals of Islam”, this former revolutionary guard commander said. “We must prepare ourselves to rule the world and the only way to do that is to put forth views on the basis of the Expectation of the Return”, Ahmadinejad said, referring to his distorted version of the Shiite Muslim belief that Imam Mehdi, on his return, will establish justice in a world consumed by chaos and corruption.

Perhaps, such fundamentalist longing and his stone-age interpretation of one of Islam’s most progressive pillars serves to explain his policy choices. These policies include a well thought out agenda aimed at producing chaos and corruption in Iraq, instability and danger via nuclear weapons projects, and the inhumane oppression of all internal opposition.

Ahmadinejad’s comment of “16 years of appeasement” is perhaps the only factual assertion he has so far made. The flawed appeasement policies in addition to the “stymied” voices of the dissidents are not actions perpetuated by the mullah’s, but unfortunately represent policy choices based on our own naïve underestimation of the fundamentalists in Iran. Concerned and fair proponents of secular democracy would agree that these policies have at least partly contributed to Iran’s present stature in Iraq as well as its defiant nuclear stance.

On the nuclear front, mullahs last have started uranium enrichment activities hopefully, the world has finally begun to acknowledge that Tehran never had any intention of halting efforts to enrich uranium and build a nuclear bomb. Mullahs cunning tactics should thus serve to drive home the point that nuclear weapons in the hands of such a regime would be dangerous, not only to Iran’s neighbors, but to the security of the entire region.

Meanwhile in Iraq, and just a day before the recent Iraq’s elections, U.S. trained Iraqi border patrol officers seized a tanker trying to cross from Iran loaded with forged ballots. Last week, the American ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad noted: “Iraq is in a particularly difficult neighborhood…. There are predatory states, the hegemonic states, with aspirations of regional hegemony in the area, such as Iran. There are states that fear success of democracy here… that it might be infectious and spread.”

In a recent interview with United Press International, Mr. Raymond Tanter, a Reagan era National Security Council senior staff member eloquently characterized Iranian Regime’s strategy as a “a race of three clocks”. First, the now exhausted European-led negotiations aimed at persuading Iran to give up its complete nuclear fuel cycle. Second, Tanter correctly asserts, is Iran’s effort to develop The Bomb. This, is the pivotal issue, explaining why Admadinejad, a Revolutionary Guards Commander was selected to lead the executive branch. Since his appointment and with the backing of the ruling mullahs, he has moved to consolidate the power structure, placing the sensitive nuclear development project in the hands of the Revolutionary Guards. And, “the third clock is regime change in Tehran,” considering that “diplomacy is slowing down, Iran’s bomb making is accelerating, and regime change is stymied so long as Iranian exiles and dissidents are considered terrorists rather than freedom fighters.” Here, he is presumably referring to the Iranian dissidents groups currently on the State Department list of terrorist organizations.

The long awaited, though late blooming, efforts led by the United States and its allies, aimed at referring Iran to the United Nations Security Council is surely welcomed news to the ears of the Iranian people and their organized resistance. We must be aware, however, that even if the referral is made to the Security Council, it is not clear how quickly the United States could gather support for the much need yet politically difficult actions to follow. Accordingly, additional bold policies must be evaluated, formulated and enacted now.

To that end, Iranian dissidents from across the United States held a large rally in Washington on January 19 at Lafayette Park (www.cdc-iran.org), across from the White House, so as to express support for the Iranian Resistance and its elected President Mrs. Maryam Rajavi. Our struggle with mullahs in Iran has now matured to where our actions should be consistent with our stated intentions regarding Iran. Accordingly, the time has come for decisive, though initially symbolic actions. As Mr. Tanter puts it, “regime change from within, not military strikes from outside Iran. In order to achieve that you need to empower and support regime change by supporting Iranian exiles and dissidents operating inside the country.”

Majid Sadeghpouri is a human rights activist. He works with the National Coalition of Pro-Democracy Advocates (www.ncpda.com).