Monday, June 06, 2005

Regime Change Irans Tells How America
Can Help Iranians
Overthrow Their Government

Regime Change Iran says that for the first time, Iranians are looking abroad for assistance in ending the tyrannical government of the Ayatollahs. Here's what the United States can do to help:

When President Khatami was elected eight years ago, he ran on a platform of democracy, human rights, civil society, and engagement with the international community. The failure of reform since 1997 has led to a political depression in Iran. Iranians need a renewed sense of hope. In this respect, the West has an important, even crucial, role to play.

For the first time, Iranians are looking abroad for assistance. Specifically, the United States can do three things to signal its support for the promotion of democracy in Iran:

1. The U.S. government could announce that it will not recognize the results of the June 17 elections or any future elections held under the current Iranian constitution, because any contest organized under its terms is certain to be neither free nor fair.

2. The United States could put the spotlight on the human rights situation in Iran. This can be accomplished by, for example, supporting the government of Canada in its investigation of the death of Iranian-Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi and calling for a trial for Saeed Mortazavi, the Tehran prosecutor responsible for her murder. He is responsible for the closing of more than one hundred journals and the imprisonment of several journalists and politicians.

3. The United States could focus on Iran's role in sponsoring terrorism, which has blackened the name of the Iranian people as well as those officials within the regime who genuinely strive to serve their country. The United States could, for example, launch an international investigation into the regime's support of terrorism against Iranians and foreigners, which would serve to inform the Iranian public of the regime's abhorrent policies while concurrently showing the rest of the world that those policies are in no way indicative of the attitudes of the Iranian people.

These policies, if implemented, would serve to convince ordinary Iranians that the United States is genuinely interested in promoting democracy in their country, and that there will be no deals behind the curtain with the current regime. (The Iranian government is trying to convince Iranians that commercial interests will force the United States to strike secret deals with the current regime, as some Western government have already done.)

None of these proposals involves financial assistance, which is not necessary and could in fact be harmful to those advocating political change in Iran. As Iran stands at a political crossroads, America's words and actions -- not its money -- can best serve the cause of freedom and democracy.