Regime Change in Iran is the Only Option for Iran


Sayeh Hassan
by Sayeh Hassan

With the recent news of a mother and two of her adult children being sentenced to death by the Islamic Regime courts, as well as many other gross human right violations including peaceful protestors being sentenced to death, prisoners being raped and tortured in prison and many activists being sentenced to heavy jail terms the question many of us are asking is What Can We do to Help?

Ten years ago many of these human right violations would have been a secret, hidden behind locked doors. It was very difficult to receive information about political prisoners and most often we would not find out about executions until AFTER they were carried out. The situation has changed drastically however, in the past few years and in particular since the June [s]elections. At a time when some of the most well known Iranian human rights organizations are directly linked to the Ministry of Intelligence and the Regime is actually allowing for some of this news to be publicized it is quite difficult to figure out what needs to be done to help the situation.

There is no doubt that human rights work is extremely important, and we must be the voices of those who have risked their freedom and lives to fight for freedom and democracy in Iran. We also must keep in mind the fact that for every political prisoner we hear about there are 100’s we will not hear about because the Regime will not allow for us to know about them. For each death sentence we become aware of there are many others we will never hear about until after the executions are carried out, if ever.

Given this situation focusing on human rights on a case by case, or even issue by issue basis is simply not enough. We might be able to campaign for some political prisoners but what about many others who we might not even be aware of? While petitions are helpful in bringing about awareness about the situation, they are not practically useful as we all witnessed in the case of Ehsan Fatahiyan. Although more than 10,000 signatures were gathered in a matter of few days the execution was carried out anyway...

This is a clear sign that the Islamic Regime no longer cares about public opinion, and while for years the Regime may have carried out these human rights violations behind closed doors, today it has no problem doing it openly to instil fear in activists and show Iranians what will happen to them if they dare stand up against the Regime. At the same time it’s a way for the Regime to mock activists abroad by showing them that it has no regard for public opinion and that it will do what ever it pleases.

So the question remains what can we and should we do? While it is very important for us to be the voice for those who have risked their freedom and very lives to fight for freedom and democracy in Iran, we must also focus on the root problem which is the Islamic Regime. Human rights violations are like symptoms of a disease, while medication can be used to relieve the symptoms one can never permanently get rid of the problem unless one deals with the root cause, the disease.

In the case of Iran focusing on human rights alone is certainly not enough and at best will relieve the symptoms briefly, but as long as the Islamic Regime is in power the executions will continue, rapes and torture will continue and the oppression of an entire nation will continue.

It is very important to focus our time and energy on Regime Change, as that is the only real, long term and permanent solution to human rights violations in Iran. Although focusing on human rights alone is “safer” more “politically correct” and “fashionable” it certainly does not give us the desired results. We have to make a conscious choice to focus all of our energy and focus on Regime Change in Iran and to support our compatriots in Iran who are risking everything to fight for a free and democratic Iran.

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom in Iran


more from Sayeh Hassan
Shazde Asdola Mirza

Dear Sayeh, many thanks for the thoughtful writing

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Every voice counts! Every action counts!

Niloufar Parsi

David khan

by Niloufar Parsi on

yes i see what you mean. if it is a question of how much time is dedicated to what cause, then i agree with you.

and a very happy new year to you too :) 


Dear Sayeh/Niloufar/everyone - here is part of "how"

by MM on

I agree with David that this regime is not capable of reform.  Any major concession by the regime will be interpreted as a sign of weakness and the opposition attacks will continue; you cannot shame the shameless.


The way to a regime change, once everyone puts a united front against this regime is by removing their power-base in Iran.  The power-base of IRI is comprised of people's support, source of money, and regime's thugs:


1. You tell the regime that it has lost the people's support by full implementation of Prof. Sharp's 198 tactics for civil disobedience


Iran protesters: the Harvard professor is behind their tactics.   “Iran singled out Harvard professor Gene Sharp as a key inspiration for protesters' 'velvet coup.' Sharp's manual on nonviolent protest shaped opposition movements in Czechoslovakia and inspired activists in Burma.”  This article, From Dictatorship to Democracy, lists 198 non-violent tactics that can be used if the demonstrators are not armed.  From Dictatorship to Democracy is available free in many languages, including English and Farsi from Albert Einstein Institute at Harvard University.


2. Cut off the support of IRI to their foreign agents Hamas, Hezbollah and Ghods by identification of the sources and freezing the assets in foreign banks/lands.  This category needs the cooperation of the international community.


3. CUT off the money supply within Iran by oil workers strikes/disruptions.  Strikes in general are included in #1, but the shut-down of the oil industry is so important, it deserves its own category.


This regime is desperate.  Unlike the Shah, their choices of alternative residence are extremely limited to Syria and South Lebanon (maybe China and Cuba?).  So eventually, some force will be needed which brings us to #4.


4. Some physical stance against the sepaah and basij will be needed in demonstrations, and we need to convince the REAL armed forces of Iran to stand with the people, against  IRI.  As the only other faction of the Iranian society with arms, the armed forces of Iran are the last hope before desperation moves by ordinary citizens.  This category needs a leadership that is well respected by most factions of the opposition as well as the Iranian society.  

  So, unification of the opposition is the first step, but we have a long road ahead. Unfortunately, while the cut-off of the power-base of IRI will bring some hardship to the people of Iran, any alternative views and I am all ears. 

David ET

Dear Niloufar

by David ET on

Reading some of the comments here, I think sayeh's point is being misunderstood by some , so at least from my point of view of agreement with her here is my answer:

1- There are so many who still believe in reforming the current regime, so Sayeh is also addressing them by asking to focus on regime change vs. reform as this regime as shown in the past 31 years is not reformable...

2- As important as communication of the news and human rights actions are , but those are NOT ENOUGH. So if all the efforts are focused on that (asking the regime or whoever to respect human rights) although that creates awareness or specific changes in plight of some but does not create solution.

3- We must proportionally allocate our time and energy to the cause instead of just on the effects.

4- We are at a different phase of awareness about the violent and inhumane nature of this regime as a nation and so many are already convinced that this regime is not a good one , so we must think of solutions of how to effectively change it.  Each time in history calls for its own actions and strategies

There are many who only focus on the news and human rights but stop at political involvement of what to do. Short of that we can be stuck with a dictatorial regime for even 100 more years while we keep repeating how bad they are asking them to be nice.

This is not about calling for violent change but about calling for taking the next leap and becoming more organized in creating an effective change vs. just saying how bad things are or trying to demand a regime that by nature violates human rights to be more humane...

Happy New Year

David ET

Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

there is a huge grey area and a logical inconsistency in your argumentation. at least as i understand it.

the grey area relates to your failure to mention 'how' we would effect 'regime change'. what Do you mean by 'focus all of our energy and focus on Regime Change in Iran and to support our compatriots in Iran? 

and while on this topic, are you aware of the price ordinary iranians might have to pay for a 'regime change'?  i am not talking about us here.

the logical inconsistency relates to the effectiveness of your approach. you mention:

'It is very important to focus our time and energy on Regime Change, as
that is the only real, long term and permanent solution to human rights
violations in Iran.'

so you take a long-term perspective when it come to 'regime change', but as far as 'human rights' are concerned, you are far less patient, citing cases where executions have not been prevented by outside pressure, and you conclude:

'the Islamic Regime no longer cares about public opinion'

apart form the fact that 'regime change' has been on the agenda for the last three deacdes, a couple of questions arise:

1. why would the regime care about public opinion on 'regime change' as opposed to 'human rights'?

2. how does a focus on 'human rights' differ from a concentration on regime change in practice? are these two really mutually exclusive? if so, how?

it seems to me that you are trying to rally support for a particular (and probably violent) political perspective through a false argumentation against human rights campaigning.

in fact, human rights campaigning is something that we Can agree and unite on, but regime change is not.

you seem to be driving a wedge rather than helping the cause of unity.

David ET

I too second Jamshid's comments!

by David ET on

well said

Azadeh Azad

Time to be united

by Azadeh Azad on

I totally agree with Jamshid that we already know how to get there. We need to stop the in-fighting and wanting to convince others that our views are more valid than theirs. We need to cooperate with all those who are against the Islamic Military Dictatorship of Iran and want a Regime Change by the people of Iran.

In concrete terms, this means a sincere collaboration between all secular republicans, monarchists, nationalists, communists, MKO, Islamic greens, and all others that are in-between or that I have not mentioned here.

If we cannot begin this process in IC, the collaboration for Regime Change shall not happen. If Iranians on the left, centre and right of the political spectrum cannot put aside their differences - or express them in a non-hostile way - we shall not be able to help a Regime Change.

Becoming United is the best thing Iranians in Diaspora can do in support of those who are risking their lives for freedoms, democracy, human rights, and Regime Change in Iran.

I suggest that from now on every time we are attacked for our differing views on this site, we invite the attacker to join us instead of counter-attacking her/him.

Are we able to make this "sacrifice" for Iran? This will be the measure of our patriotism.



The question of how to get there

by jamshid on

We already know how to get there. But the reaons why we have been ineffective is that our wrong attitude has worked against us. It is like wanting to get out by pressing against a wall while there is a door right around the corner.

As I said in another blog, I think the answer begins by changing our attitude from wanting to convince others that "our views are better than theirs", to a new attitude of wanting to "work and cooporate with others" instead.

As long as this "attitude" and "vision" is not established among prominant opposition leaders and among ordinary opposition supporters, no amount of organization, money and time can change the momentum to our favor.

But once this attitude takes hold, then the locks that are holding back the massive power of the people would become unlocked.

Naturally, the attitude and vision of "working together and cooporating" will not only bring us together against the regime, but it will also neutralize the efforts of the regime in creating division among us.

Furthermore, I strongly believe that this attitude could be very contagious, meaning that a few people can transmit and spread both the attitude and its effects to tens of others in a short time.

And once we have succeeded in this, then the drops of rain will coalesce together and form a torrent, instead of being absorbed by the ground to nothingness, and our human rights efforts would become organized in such levels that it could shake the regime and make it think twice before killing, torturing or imprisoning another one of our people.

Farah Rusta

Manage or Cure?

by Farah Rusta on

Ms Hassan,


While I agree with your central premis (senseless violation of human rights) I can't imagine a 'cure' to be the solution (using your own metaphor). Cancer, which is the nearest way to describe the IRI's menace, is often treated using a managed approach instead of radical surgery. There are millions of people who are being fed by the regime and they know full well that if the regime goes, their livelihoods go with it too. They are prepared to fight for this to the end as for them the alternative is the 'end.'

One cannot cure an idea but one may be able to manage it.




great blog.....

by shushtari on

we all need to unite and get rid of these vultures once and for all....

god knows the damage which the akhoonds have inflicted to iran...


I recently read an article about the secret bank accounts of the mullahs in swiss, germany, london and the rest of europe- the numbers were staggering- 200 million here, 400m there!!!


the theft and plunder of iran's resources is ridiculous!

and these 'ex-aftabe dozdz' mock the shah for spending 50m on celebrating iran's history!!!


this is actually a great sign for iran, since the mullahs are moving their stolen wealth outside iran, since they smell the smoke!!


Fouzul Bashi

Bavafa - well said

by Fouzul Bashi on

Totally agree. Thanks.


A good post and even better post by MM:

by Bavafa on

We (vast majority of us) agree with the base argument of the nature of this regime and that it must change but the question remains "how" and "who" is to set the stage for the future system.

I argue that the uprising & change of regime must be lead by the Iranian people and from within. Any thing that is imposed by the outside (specially the West) will only lead to another dictatorship and just to serve themselves first.

Iranians outside of Iran can help of course. We can lend moral and financial support, we can organize against outside interference and war and encourage foreign government/groups to lend support to the Iranian people and their struggle.

We can stop the in-fighting about who "we" believe should rule Iran and let Iranians who have the most at stake choose who will lead them and what sort of system of government they want to have.



This is good post. Marina

by vildemose on

This is a good post. Marina Ottaway describes how the authoratarian regime use "reform" and "elections" to become more militaristic and more authoritarian. She states that the most, in fact, the most marked movement from authoritarianism to multiparty democracy in the past decade in the region, that of Pakistan, took place through popular mobilization and long-established political parties in the teeth of heavy support by Washington (i.e. Dick Cheney) for military dictator Pervez Musharraf. Ottaway argues that during the Cold War, the opposition between authoritarian regimes and democratic ones was more stark and that hybrid forms falling in neither camp were rare. "Semi-Authoritarian regimes" have political parties and NGOs, hold elections, and look on paper as though they at least have some democratic attributes. But behind the scenes the power elite makes sure it remains in power and reduces the 'democratic' activities to a shadow play for the benefit of a restless domestic public and for that of international bureaucrats. We have seen a string of farcical or stolen elections in the Middle East in the past decade, which have been used by often Washington-backed regional elites to reinforce their power rather than to allow the peaceful succession of one government by another. Not only are the prime minister and president of Iraq strongly implying massive ballot fraud in Iraq (an allegation that al-Maliki admits could spark a return to ethnic violence), but recent elections in the region have more often been seen as fraudulent than as fair. Afghanistan's presidential election of August, 2009, was repeatedly denounced as having been marred by electoral fraud to the benefit of incumbent Hamid Karzai. Karzai remained in power, but at the cost of losing legitimacy in the eyes of some Afghans, especially Tajik supporters of his rival, Abdullah Abdullah. The US response has been to back Karzai unreservedly and to attempt to bestow on him hundreds of thousands of new troops and police so that he can exercise stronger control in the country. Iran's presidential election of June, 2009, provoked massive demonstrations in summer of that year on the part of those who believed that incumbent president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had stolen it, leading to the establishment of the dissident Green Movement around presidential challengers Mir Hosain Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi. In the aftermath, the regime became more authoritarian and the military and security forces came to wield more power than before. The January 2006 election in the Palestine Authority produced a Hamas-led government, much to the dismay of Israel and the US. Those two worked to undermine the Hamas government and ultimately backed a successful coup against it in the West Bank, but failed to dislodge the elected government from Gaza. President Mahmoud Abbas is now acting extra-judically and extra-constitutionally, since further elections have not been held and there has been no judgment rendered by any competent legal authority as to the legitimacy of his government vis-a-vis that of Hamas. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak reacted to pressure from then secretary of state Condi Rice to open up the presidential elections by allowing his main rival to leave prison and run. After Mubarak trounced him, he was sent back to jail. And, some 88 Muslim Brothers (a group the US abhors) gained seats in the lower house of parliament. Some thought that for the Mubarak regime to allow the Muslim Brotherhood to do so well was itself a warning to Washington. It said that pressure for democratization will backfire and lead to Muslim Brotherhood regimes. Even Israel elected its most rightwing government ever in February, 2009, and persons that might formerly have been shunned because of their extreme political views, such as Avigdor Lieberman, were allowed to serve in the government. Lieberman wants to administer loyalty tests to Palestinian-Israelis and would very much like to strip the latter of their Israeli citizenship and expel all 1.5 million of them from the country. For a man of Lieberman's views to become Israeli foreign minister is a step toward semi-authoritarianism in that country. Likewise, the Israeli state has been cracking down on peace groups such as B'tselem and other NGOs, with methods more familiar in Egypt or Syria than in the freewheeling Israel of earlier decades. Read the rest below: //


onlyiran - that is also part of the "how"

by MM on

many, as well as I, have called for unity, but the endless arguments go on, while the IRI sympathizers look on and report to their bosses on how fragmented the opposition is!



by Onlyiran on

I think the best option is for the opposition to unite inside and outside of Iran.  As the 1979 revolution showed, that is the only successful model.  Iranians inside Iran can put pressure on the IRI internally, and Iranian opposition outside can help with organization, financing and other logistical support.  But of course, dedicated IRI supporters (both cloaked and uncloaked) do not want to see this happen.  That is why they ridicule and mock every attempt from the outside opposition at helping Iranians inside Iran.  They do so because they know that the IRI will not survive a well organized and well funded opposition.  I wrote a blog on the issue some time ago.  Here its is:



Only option is what they understand

by mahmoudg on

attack them vehemently with all we got and overwhelm their forces.  Targert only their nuclear, military and regime leadership sites and the rest will be accomplished by the civilains.  dont forget the 200 K basij and pasdars.  we have enough barren land in Iran to bury them.


Most agree on d final goal - d question is how to get there?

by MM on

The "how" question is where all the debate have been in different blogs, even now.

While far-right advocates military strikes by Israel and the US, the IRI sympathizers come in and mock you for trying.

Where is the middle ground with the least damage to the Iranian people?

Fouzul Bashi

Persian Ying-Yang, 'wolves in sheep clothing' !

by Fouzul Bashi on

 Absolutely!  The funny thing that even when the wolves remember to do up the trouser zips and are covered from head to tail in fluff, the stench is a give away ;)  But the problem is that the genuine 'sheep' are too slow to smell it .. ;)



Same recycled arguments by wolves in sheep clothings

by persian_yingyang on

Human rights this, human rights that....oh so what its just a meeting...let's meet the folks at American Enterprise Institute......oh so what let's issue a joint communique.......oh what the big deal, let's together advocate regime change.......oh we've come so far, we know AEI wants the best for Iranians and some even love Persian Food, haha, yeah sure why not, we'll advocate war and sanctions on IRAN

Sheeps in Wolf clothings, have yet to answer for the killing of Farsi speakers in Afghanistan....



Genius why didnt I think of that?


Regime change.... we should do it! I'll get my plans and we shall all meet at Imam Khomeini Airport on 13 bedar.

David ET

Very important observation you made

by David ET on

In fact that is what I practiced which was working on a human rights cause (specifically stop child executions) until it reached the necessary level of public awareness while when we started , the awareness level even among intellectuals and human rights activists was nothing like it turned out to be...

then I felt that the time was mature for involvement in the political arena, which in my case was getting involved in coalition to turn regime's own ballot boxes against it which eventually it turned to the movement that we have witnessed.

The next stage I have been working has been the formation of Iran Secular which is a combination of creating awareness again but this time in the political field as well as the formation of idea of a grassroots secular movement and colaitions...(more difficult than human rights awareness)

I am making these points just to show an individual example ...

We each can do our own contribution our own way depending on what our strenghths and interests are....

Nazanin Afshin-Jam always reminded us that every action and voice counts like the drops of rain that create rivers which despite rocks and ups and downs, ultimately reach the seas and the oceans ...