Dealing with devils
Will Washington make a deal with the IRI? It shouldn't.
May 16, 2003
One day Washington, in secret talks, assures Tehran that in exchange
for help with downed pilots and a promise to refrain from meddling
in Iraq's affairs, the US will bomb the military camps of the Mujahhedin-e
Khalgh Organization (MKO), which has been fighting the Iranian regime
for almost two decades with the full support of the Baathist regime.
The next day the US forces reach a deal with the MKO according
to which the group will be allowed to keep its arms to "defend
itself against the infiltrators" of the Islamic Republic. Then,
according to some reports, the MKO fighters were seen in US Army
uniforms patrolling key roads near the border with Iran. At the
end of the same week the Washington Post reported that
the US Army had seized control of the group. Another report detailed
how the group was disarmed.
Is it me, or is there a total lack of consistency in American policies
and objectives with regards to the Islamic Republic of Iran and
its role and influence in the region? I am not writing this because
I think either the MKO or the Islamic Republic is being treated
unfairly. They are both cut from the same cloth and, as far as the
Iranian people are concerned, are terrorist in nature and in deeds.
What is bothering me is a lack of vision about what steps are to
be taken next regarding the IRI.
The first question that I think the American policy-makers need
to address is whether a regime such as the one governing Iran is
capable of holding on to power on its own, in light of the way it
is treating its citizenry. In other words, is there a future for
the IRI, with or without outside help?
The overarching concern of the US in attacking two countries and
toppling their anachronistic regimes within two years after the
terrorist attack of September 11 is, above all, safety. Safety for
its citizens, safety for the citizens of the world and safety for
the accumulated wealth and culture of a producing and benevolent
civilization. Safety for the movement of capital to create possibilities
where none exist, and to try and lift the black hue of uncertainty
that hovers over a global sagging economy.
This is exactly where the interests of the US parallel that of
the imprisoned and captive nations of the region. Therefore, governments
that produce nothing but fear for their citizenry and everyone else,
torture their opponents and spew hatred, have no legitimacy in the
eyes of the world, or in the eyes of their own people for that matter.
They only contribute to further nihilistic destruction and mayhem.
So they must go, either on their own or by force. That's the only
way the nations of the region can rid themselves of the ball and
chain that keeps them in their poverty, ignorance and squalor.
Those who believed that the US was after Iraqi oil have missed
the mark by a long shot. With a billion dollars in daily trade deficit
the US can hardly be bothered to go through all the planning and
organization that it takes to pull a military feat of this magnitude
in order to cheat a small country out of its resources (as big and
sizeable as those resources may seem).
So, even if the UN inspectors find no trace of weapons of mass
destruction, and even if the Europeans continue to ignore the administration's
claim that there was a link between the Palace of Saddam and the
Cave of Osama, I believe that at the end of the day America has
done good in Iraq, because the net result of the American intervention
has produced freedom for the Iraqis.
I regret the loss of lives that America inadvertently caused in
order to defeat tyranny, but I cannot blame her for it because a
better future has been born as a result. I see the endless possibilities
that have come into existence for Iraq and its people. And that's
the ultimate moral gauge that I use to reach my assessment of America's
action and the president's tenacity and vision.
The same vision and clarity is called for with regards to dealing
with another anachronistic regime; the one ruling in neighboring
Iran. Since the Iraq victory, the back tracking of the IRI officials
regarding relations with America says volumes about the instability
they feel both within their borders and without.
For the first time the regime is surrounded on all sides by its
arch-rival and is now shaking in its foundation. Of course Mr. Rafsanjani
would admit to mistakes of the past, and speak of "lost opportunities"
in opening up to America.
And by the way, is anyone really surprised that the IRI's foreign
minister expresses his government's willingness to have relations
with the US? Frankly, I can think of 250,000 plus reasons for these
flips and back-flips, but in the interest of brevity let me sum
it up thusly: the unrivaled armed forces of the United States parked
at the border.
No one is asking for a military intervention in Iran; there is
a genuine democratic movement in the country that is gathering momentum.
What is needed is a clear and genuine resolve on the part of the
administration to side with and strongly support the peaceful and
democratic aspirations of this movement -- the youth and the women
of Iran who are on the path to undermine the regime.
If you want to know how sincere the IRI is in its changing attitude
look no further than its domestic policy, which has become even
more brutal since it was obligated to mind its steps abroad.
The supreme leader's pet vigilantes, Basijis, have just completed
a wave of serial killings in the southern city of Kirman in which
five young men and women were kidnapped and brutally stabbed to
death, their body parts severed and left in the desert to be consumed
Over 15 journalists are still illegally detained and more reporters
and publishers were summoned to courts on various charges, especially
ahead of, and, in spite of, a recent visit by the UN's human rights
Student activists have been kidnapped by plain-clothed agents,
only to surface weeks later in one of the many prisons across the
One can act like the French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin,
and ignore all
reports of the IRI's belligerent disregard for human rights and
life, and shamelessly claim that "Tehran's human rights record
shows progress" (!!) even though the reality on the ground
testifies to the increasing harassment and imprisonment of dissidents,
disappearances of journalists and lawyers who dare to represent
them, beatings, floggings, stonings to death of adulterers, etc.
But for Iranians who have endured 25 years of wicked cruelty in
the name of religion, domestic oppression is the other side of the
coin of international terrorism.
Perhaps this is why the Iranians are now looking to Washington
for reassuring signs that their democratic aspirations will not
become the sacrificial lamb at the feast of reaching an understanding
with the vicious mullahs of Tehran.
Let no one forget that three of IRI's top leaders, Ayatollah Khamenei
(the supreme leader), Ayatollah Rafsanjani (the former president)
and Ayatollah Fallahian (the former secret police chief) are on
Interpol's wanted list for the assassination of a number of Iranian
political dissidents, which took place in Europe during Rafsanjani's
presidency in the 1990's. The same guys have also been linked to
the terrorist attacks on a cultural center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In the current fight against terrorism, Tehran's ruse in switching
from fomenting international terrorism to escalating domestic violence
and oppression must be highlighted, and cannot be allowed to go
unsanctioned by the international community in general, but even
more importantly, by America in particular.
The duplicitous leaders of the IRI will have scored big if the
Bush administration buys into the fallacy that the Rafsanjani-Khamenei
terror regime has the slightest aptitude, as well as willingness,
for true democratic reform, peaceful coexistence with Israel, or
respect for the rule of law.
Mamnoon Iranian.com Month
your favorite magazine