I cannot propose an extensive definition of an Iranian democratic movement that would certainly be presumptuous; such a movement is a big aspiration of all freedom-loving Iranians. It must be called and discussed by all Iranian democrats. Unfortunately, it neither has a place in political life of Iranian society nor has a name in our collective memory.
Long apathy of international community and lack of an Iranian democratic movement have permitted the IRI to further oppress the Iranian citizens, many of the people have turned against the IRI as a system of political repression and brutality. Corruption and economic mismanagement by the IRI have provided fertile ground for a democratic political movement based on secular and unconditional democracy.
The agenda of the IRI is full of terrors and disasters for Iran. IRI’s officials have brought many acts of political violence committed in Iran and abroad. This has stimulated a debate among all democrats on how to get rid of the regime. It is also a historical occasion for an Iranian democratic movement to get rid of a system of belief which has historically been imposed with all its negative consequences on Iranian people.
An Iranian democratic movement must be formed, preferably, abroad by all freedom-loving people who seek to free Iran from the plague of the IRI. Undoubtedly all opposition groups are not in harmony with each other, it is however an ideal that all the democratic opposition groups are united within one direction, the direction of a secular and democratic force in Iran with a great historical responsibility, to free Iran.
Such a movement should simply use both the experiences from the struggles against the last two successive dictatorial regimes in Iran and the successful experiences of all peoples worldwide in their struggles for freedom, secularism and progress. As such, it should realistically use all tactical methods and independently receive all international helps, assistance, advice in order to topple the IRI and open the way for an elected secular democratic regime in Iran, in which all political authorities are directly elected by people. Such a movement must be honest, open, solid and trustful to people. It cannot bargain the interests of Iranian people by involving into whims of international political games.
An Iranian democratic movement cannot consider our society a lab of ideological experiments. Such a movement should be the fruit of Iranian people’s struggles for freedom and self-rehabilitation. Such a movement does not symbolise a throne, the Koran or any symbol of submission. By emphasising on all individual freedom, including free choice for one’s religion, such a movement, from beginning on, democratically confronts the behaviour of the backward religiosity which since many centuries has robbed the chance of progress and democracy from our social consciousness.
An Iranian democratic movement should immediately present its programme to the immediate demands of society, namely unconditional democracy, social justice, gender equality, development of national economy, rehabilitation of an Iranian identity, culture and art, negation of Islam as state religion, elimination of all religious institutions, removal of all religious aspects from education, judiciary and social life, and of course many other measures to free the country from the long Islamic plague of backwardness, successive dictators and lack of democracy and dynamism in Iran. After the IRI’s fall, it should organise a constitutional assembly for a new constitution without however monopolising political power.
An Iranian democratic movement should bring all criminals of the IRI and their collaborators before an international court for their crimes against humanity. However, such a court should not ignore the fact that the essence of process is not individual punishment but the rehabilitation of Iranian dignity, it proves that no Iranian woman is half that of a man that no Iranian can be punished for his political or religious belief that no dungeons, torture and humiliation can be anymore tolerated. By condemning the current political system of medieval belief, such a process symbolises a return to the civilised world and a lesson to our history.
An Iranian democratic movement has a hard task to confront the IRI, one of the wildest killing apparatus of the world. However, a regime change, as it is heard from Bush administration, is not to be founded on the interests of Iranians. The West is traditionally more interested in the economic gains and does not seem to realise that political Islam not only threatens Iranian people, but also the whole international community. The West still ignores that their barrels of Iranian oil cost many lives in Iran.
Despite the Western rhetoric of regime change, their policies towards the IRI can be reduced to some reforms within the regime. An Iranian democratic movement should not rely on the West or any other foreign country.
The US policy towards the IRI is not based on the facts that the IRI is “trampling democracy and human rights”, “supporting terrorism“ and etc, all these accusations are true ofSaudi Arabia, Pakistan and many other allies of the US. But all evidence points that the West has their own interests. If the bellicose IRI refuses to enrich uranium for its nuclear programme, in such a case for the US, this “regime change” will not be a divine mission or a national duty. The West has been trying for the last few years to succeed, though unlikely, in finding some compromises with the IRI.
But in the highest probability, their “regime change” can mean that some other IRI’s factions undertake the “regime change”. They may have or may find new allies within the IRI for such a change à la military coups of Muslim and pro-American generals in Pakistan. What practically concerns an Iranian democratic movement, the present conflicts of the West with the IRI can intelligently be used but not politically followed.
Another hand a “regime change” for Iranian interests does not automatically share the same goals with the West; a “regime change” for the West can be in its ideal level a government change, but for the Iranian interests and consequently for an Iranian democratic movement , it means a change of system, a reject of the momentous IRI entirely.
In critical conditions the ruling IRI can be divided into many gangs, cliques and factions under pressure of a chain of crises, and the ruling apparatus may even seek for handles with inner or outer opponents. A democratic movement by avoiding any handle should not fulfil the tactical interests of the IRI. So now it is not time to deal with the regime’s factions but to topple it.
The fact that a nuclear Iranian regime will have greater bargaining power to use as a lever to intensify its dictatorship must be recognised; therefore an Iranian democratic movement should take part in any international campaign against the dangerous IRI. However, it should not be forgotten that the greatest danger is not the regime’s nuclear programme but its existence itself. While the world can easily confront direct military threats of the IRI, Iranians cannot easily confront the threats of the IRI’s dictatorship; it is not the same as saying the regime will be a threat to the US, the greatest military power in the world, with its huge military capacity.
As all freedom-loving people launch campaigns for disarmament and against weapons of mass destruction, an Iranian democratic movement, by condemning the jihadist strategy of IRI’s nuclear-Allah, should put the priority on the question of legitimacy of the IRI.
The nuclear conflict is intentionally propagated by the IRI to mask its totalitarian characters from the centre of dialogue; it is a chance for the regime to associate its parasitic existence with the right of having a nuclear programme for the nation. Honestly considered, the IRI cannot legally be forced to give up rights to its nuclear programme; the country is expressly allowed as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. This also included enrichment of uranium. But it is unfair to reduce the whole controversial legitimacy of the IRI to one single problem. While in the nuclear dispute, both the IRI and the US are adding fuel to the flames and making all nonsense of assertions to attempt a dangerous escalation of conflict, for Iranians the problem is the existence of the IRI itself with or without this conflict. Therefore, an Iranian democratic movement must in any occasion tighten the snooze around the question of legitimacy of the IRI.
Of course, nuclear weapons still pose the biggest threat to peace. This does not only apply to one part of the world, it applies to the world as a whole. This must be said very clearly and honestly. In the other hand the IRI is a totalitarian regime with dangerous jihadist capacity, nuclear technology in the hands of Islamists means a new weapon of jihad, an nuclear-Allah. Therefore from this point of view, no stone must be left unturned in the international attempt to prevent an nuclear-Allah-arsenal from being built by the jihadist IRI. But there is no military solution to the problem. Economic sanctions, too, are highly immoral and counterproductive and even develop the ongoing Mullahs’ mafia in Iran.
But the UN should impose a ban on the direct or indirect sale, supply and transfer to IRI-controlled areas of technical advice, assistance or training related to military activities. The sanctions must directly target IRI’s means of oppression, in other words, their military plans.
The UN should punish the oppressive IRI but cannot further punish the oppressed Iranian people. The Iranian democratic opposition, by demanding non-economic and full military and diplomatic sanctions on the IRI, should express concerns at the possible adverse impact of sanctions on the most vulnerable segments of the population, such as less protected poor people, women and children.
Attacks on Iranian military installations are not only illegal under international laws, but they would also tighten the dictatorship in Iran and harbour incalculable consequences for the entire region. It costs many lives and seriously damages the national infrastructures. Those who are serious about preventing an IRI’s nuclear programme cannot address their threats to Iranian people. The Bush administration uses the word “Iran” for the IRI; it implicitly means that Iranian people should atone for the IRI’s crimes. It is time that Bush finally improves his diplomatic vocabulary by realising that there is a gulf of contradiction between people and their non-democratic elected governments, especially between Iranian people and the anti-Iranian IRI.
The IRI must be internationally isolated, all diplomatic, cultural and sport contacts, must be suspended. All foreign accounts of IRI’s officials must be frozen. Their mafia activities in the Persian Gulf and around Iran must be internationally under controlled. International mandates must be issued against IRI’s officials for their crimes against humanity. There are many other sanctions that can be proposed on IRI’s officials, but neither military nor economic sanctions must be accepted by an Iranian democratic movement.
An Iranian democratic movement after its formation, in an initial step, must propose to the UN and the Council of Europe to approve a resolution, which puts the IRI and the political Islam on an equal status of fascism and criminal organisation. Such a resolution is not either beyond the legal competency of these organisations nor the judicial facts. This is an active contribution to elaborating a charter of principles for an IRI’s isolation. Meanwhile such an Iranian democratic movement must try to represent Iranian people in the UN as the only legitimate representation of Iranian people.
The political Islam is today interpreted by those who usually have limited political knowledge but tricky experience with political games. Since theological schools are apolitical by tradition, forms of political Islam are developed and propagated by the combination of an activist clergy and political radical groups.
Today, the political Islam is globally inspired and used by the IRI. It recognises violence and terror as its legitimate means of its way to “Dar-al-Islam”, house of Islam. The term of liberal or moderate Islamists is not meaningful, there is no effective difference between different groups of Islamists, and none of them shares their values with secular democrats except in a narrow range of concerns, including lack of democracy in the Islamic world, which is mainly a consequence of Islam itself.
To pretend an interpretation of Islam, which is modern and compatible with universal human rights, gender equality, pluralism and democracy is a huge contradiction with the existence of Islam itself. Any Iranian secular force who believes in this scenario does not belong to an Iranian democratic movement.
The difference between all interpretations of political Islam merely consists of their methods to follow their “path” to “Dar-al-Islam”, a world of Islamic morality and Islamic identity. In this perspective, their state is ultimately nothing but a coercive instrument against the profane world of non-Muslims. What concerns an Iranian democratic movement, Islam has no more right to impose a monopoly of morality or identity on Iranians. Therefore, an Iranian democratic movement should propagate the attractive idea of removal of Islamic influences from any aspect of social life, such as moral, culture, language, art, literature and identity of Iranian people.
To conclude my article: Formation of an Iranian democratic movement is a necessary and immediate demand of all freedom-loving people around the world. It has three major duties: Encouraging and leading Iranian people’s struggles against the IRI, toppling the IRI entirely, preparing the conditions for a democratically elected government in Iran.