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Time to unite
One issue all Iranians came to agree on over the past couple of years was being firmly against regime change through American military force


December 11, 2006

I just read Ms. Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's response "Blind ambition" to Mr. Reza Pahlavi's address, "Talking to Iran", and if I may, I would like to come to Mr. Pahlavi's defense.

First of all I do not think it is fair to brand Mr. Pahlavi guilty because of his father's actions. As for Mr. Reza Pahlavi making the mistake of being associated with the CIA and the neocon warmongers that can be written off as political immaturity and being a victim of a life long conditioning program so that one day he would be ready to rule as a benevolent dictator.

Breaking free of this programming and finding a way to alter his conditioning will require tremendous will and sincere dedication to finding his real self. And I think this will be a hard struggle for him. Maybe he will succeed in waking up and discovering that in order to be honest with himself and honest with the Iranian people he needs to throw off all the strings that have been attached to him and also break free of the shackles that are around his ankles.

I think the same goes for the MKO and all other Iranians that have acquired a set of ideas about Iran that has stayed fixed since 1979. The fact that Iran finds itself in an entirely new situation requires that we all adjust our thoughts about Iran to fit the new situation. If we continue to look at Iran through old and obsolete thought forms and ideas then we will never be able to be of any help in creating Iran's future. Only by understanding the Iran of today and what the new geopolitical realities are can we make a contribution.

If we continue to point at each other and brand each other as traitor, royalist, Marxist, Arab-parast, terrorist, cultist, and Khomeinist, we will only succeed in staying alienated from each other while claiming we care about Iran and Iran's wellbeing. And as long as we are alienated from each other, don't communicate with each other, and hate each other, we will not be able to work towards Iran's wellbeing.

So what is to be done? How do we find a way to get along? How do we find a way to play a role in Iran's wellbeing and help shape its future and not just be a powerless spectator?

Have you asked yourself what you would have done if the United States had not run into trouble in Iraq and used it as a stepping stone to invade Iran? How would you have reacted if Iranians had resisted the invasion and an insurgency developed and fought the Americans like the Iraqi's are fighting now? Which side would you have been on? Would you have remained an American citizen and supported the Bush Administration as it destroyed our country, bombed wedding parties by mistake, and killed half a million Iranians, mostly civilians?

Fortunately the chance that there will be a military confrontation between Iran and America has greatly diminished. The question Iranians need to ask themselves now is do we continue in our divided, alienated, splintered, and unhappy way or do we come together and organize and play a part in Iran's future. Let us hope it is the latter. The next question is how do we sit around a table and discuss matters of importance in a civilized manner? The answer can be found in many parts of the world where coalition governments have formed and succeeded in administering a country in a peaceful manner.

Can you envision a coalition government that has political parties headed by supporters of Ahmadinejad, Pahlavi, Rajavi, Ganji, Khatami, Montazeri, Hashem Aghajari, Shirin Ebadi, and many other Iranian leaders that have recently come forward?

I can envision such a coalition government --- but first I have to put on my rose tinted glasses. But seriously, shouldn't we come together and put before the Iranian people, a few fundamental questions: Do a majority of Iranians want to continue living in a theocratic state? Should Iran abandon or continue its nuclear activities? Can a secular form of government do a better job?

One issue all Iranians came to agree on over the past couple of years was being firmly against regime change through American military force. This is a good starting point. What else can we all agree on, a true democratic form of government for Iran? I think we can all agree on that, even though powerful unelected institutions would prefer to hold onto their illegitimate power.

The key to any change in Iran is allowing the free flow of information so that Iranians are well informed about the facts rather than what they are told to think by those in power. The next requirement is for Iranians to have the ability to organize, share ideas, and assemble without the fear of prosecution. The third essential requirement is to master and apply democratic principles so that any advances that are made are legitimate and have the support of fellow Iranians. Today's Iran makes taking these three steps very difficult but not impossible thanks to modern technology in the form of the Internet, satellite television, and new communication systems.

Can Iranians living outside Iran form a coalition government in exile? After all they are all living in a democratic system of government and know how things are supposed to work, so they should be able to contribute something of value. By creating such a coalition government in exile they will be showing Iranians living in Iran that there are viable alternative and it is possible to govern even when there are vast differences of opinion.

The days of coming to power and locking up and killing those that don't agree with you has passed. It is time to come together and forge a new Iran that is truly democratic and one that operates under the rule of law, laws written today by Iranians of today, not laws of the past that were relevant for an age where superstition was the driving force.

I will close with a quote by Ayatollah Montazeri so as to show that not all Shiite clergy are close minded: "Either officials change their methods and give freedom to the people, and stop interfering in elections, or the people will rise up with another revolution ... There is no freedom, repression is carried out in the name of Islam, and that turns people off ... All these court summonses, newspaper closings and prosecutions of dissidents are wrong. These are the same things that were done under the Shah and are now being repeated. And now they are done in the name of Islam and therefore alienate people." Comment

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