Time for Regime Change in Iran
by Hedayat Mostowfi
13 April 2004
The road map to democracy in Iraq passes through Tehran and not the other way around.
After two decades
of pursing the policy of critical dialogue, the international community has
exhausted all diplomatic channels to deal with the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The time has come to make a strategic decision about the Iranian regime.
Given that any hope of democratic change in Iran within the regime itself
turned out to be a mirage, picking business over human rights can no longer
be justified. Engaging Tehran has only prolonged the mullahs’ grip on power.
The Iranians’ boycott of the parliamentary election farce last February made
it palpably clear that the clerics lack any legitimacy at home. As the leading
state sponsor of terrorism, the prospects of a nuclear armed regime should
sound the alarm bells in Western capitals.
International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in Iran recently discovered
a blueprint of a much more sophisticated centrifuge for uranium enrichment.
They have also found traces of plutonium isotope, which is used in making
The Los Angeles Times on March 27, 2004, reported that "Iran set up
a committee late last year to coordinate the concealment efforts after international
inspectors uncovered evidence that the Islamic Republic had tried to hide
aspects of its nuclear program, including secret research on advanced centrifuges
that can produce weapons-grade uranium, according to the diplomats….. The
committee's most pressing tasks include trying to hide nuclear evidence at
nearly 300 locations around the country."
According to the Iranian opposition, 2005 is the year that Iran will have
enough material to make a nuclear weapon. The Iranian opposition was responsible
for disclosing Iran's uranium enrichment facilities in Natanz for the first
time. Ironically, were it not for the revelations of this group about Tehran’s
extensive secret nuclear program, the world would not have known what it
knows today about the advanced nuclear weapons program in that country.
Each year, Tehran funnels millions of dollars to Islamic fundamentalist groups who simply murder civilians and innocent people.
The U.S appointed civil administrator of Iraq, Ambassador Paul Bremer, has
expressed his grave concerns about Iran's interference in Iraq. In a letter
to Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) expressed his deep concerns about the Iranian
interference in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iran’s mullahs are bent on preventing a stable and democratic Iraq from taking
shape. In the aftermath of the war in Iraq, Tehran has dispatched thousands
of its well-trained agents to that country to undermine the efforts of the
coalition forces to restore calm and security in Iraq.
With the heavy US military presence in the west and the east, Tehran is feeling
the pressure. The State Department, a longtime proponent of conciliation
with Tehran, has failed to use that presence as leverage and get tough on
Iran. In many ways, it has been co-opted by the ever-shrewd Europeans, who
only look after their short-term business interests.
In the run-up to the Iranian parliamentary elections, the United State Senate
passed a resolution drafted by Senator Sam Brownback and his colleagues --
Senators Ron Wyden, Norm Coleman, Evan Bayh, Jon Kyl, Mary Landreiu -- condemning
the charade and endorsing a democratic referendum in Iran. In his message,
Senator Brownback added: "By their defiance and despite a tremendous price
so far, the Iranian people have rejected hollow promises of reform.
Their message to us is that Iran's ruling theocracy can not be reformed from
within and that instead of engaging Iran's so-called moderates or any other
faction, we must engage the Iranian people and their democratic opposition
by fully supporting the call for an internationally monitored referendum
for democratic change to determine the fate of the fundamentalist regime
in Iran. There is hope for internal change by relying on the organized
opposition, where there was none in Iraq or Afghanistan."
Some 750 parliament deputies from nearly a dozen countries in Europe have
also backed the call for a United Nations-supervised regime change referendum.
Certainly, as much as a free, democratic and secular government in Iran would
discourage the fundamentalist elements in Iraq, it would inspire the democratic
forces in that country. The road map to democracy in Iraq passes through
Tehran and not the other way around. The U.S. could help its own cause by
supporting the democratic opposition to Tehran and the call for a referendum
Hedayat Mostowfi is the Executive Director for nationwide Committee in Support of Referendum in Iran.
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