No time to waste

The question of interim leadership of the movement against Islamic regime in Iranian opposition seem to have turned into a curse lingering above opposition groups for more then two decades now.

Islamic rulers of Iran were very successful in disabling all oppositions to them by resorting to extreme slogans and actions in the beginning and then using “god given gift” of Iran-Iraq war, which started in best possible time for newly established Islamic Republic in those chaotic days.

After taking away the slogans of “death to America” and “death to Israel” from leftist groups, which seemed to have dominated the atmosphere of politics through chanting extremist slogans, Islamic regime was able to impose itself as the champion of “anti Americanism” by organizing a suspicious move in attacking and occupying Embassy of United States.

The irony is that same Islamic rulers opposed to occupation of same embassy, as an accepted norm in international relations, a few months earlier and kicked a group of armed leftists groups of Mujaahedin and Fadaaeeyaan khalq, which were considered as two “arms of revolution” by some people, out of the embassy!

Occupation of American embassy by a group, which later called themselves “Muslim students who follow Khomeini”, opened a new chapter in the life of Islamic regime and the future events which were connected to this event, one way or another. After occupation of American embassy, Islamic rulers who had put on a great show of “anti imperialism” through slogans and actions, had the opportunity to implicate anyone they wished as American spies, by linking them to American embassy with “documented proofs” coming out of the embassy!

Many members of the interim government of Mr. Bazargan whom was appointed by Khomeini himself to form the first Islamic revolutionary government in Iran, were among those who were accused of conspiring against “Islamic Revolution” because of their numerous contacts with American officials regarding different issues.

A few months afterwards, discovery of Nojeh coup by Islamic regime resulted in execution of many military and non-military personnel and a wide spread wave of killing of Iranian people for anything which was considered “anti revolutionaries” by theocratic regime’s revolutionary judges.

This process started by extending the rulings of Islamic revolutionary courts to some of former allies of the revolution which were only applied to elements of previous regime about a year earlier! During those months that some of the forces, currently opposing to Islamic regime, still considered themselves part of revolution, the last prime minister of previous regime, Dr. Shapur Bakhtiar, had started a nationalist resistance movement against Islamic regime with help and cooperation of some of friends and allies under his leadership.

Strangely enough, late Dr. Bakhtiar was criticized and opposed by some of the opposition forces that instead of joining his movement had decided to discredit him and question his leadership! Right or wrong, some people believe that Nojeh coup was linked with Dr. Bakhtiar’s resistance movement and its failure was a major blow to spirit of opposition forces at that time.

Another member of former system who had also initiated a nationalist resistance movement was Dr. Manouchehr Ganji who served as a minister in previous regime. This movement and its leadership was also target of critiques by many who not only did not take any practical measure against the suppressive “revolutionary” regime but also did not have anything to offer other than same old worthless “politically correct” and endless “talks”! I was inside the country in some of those years and could see how a big portion of Iranian society, was enthusiastically following the activities of these two groups that could reach their voice to Iranian people inside the country through short wave radios.

The feeling of regret about the whole business of “revolution” and its consequence which had taken over the nation in first few months after “Islamic revolution”, turned into a huge disappointment after major crackdown on secular opposition forces who were under extreme pressure and in constant retreat against Islamic regime’s suppression.

Start of Iran-Iraq war provided the brutal revolutionary regime with yet another excuse to expand its suppressive actions against Iranian people and opposition forces while all of those forces had lined up behind Islamic government to avoid being accused of betrayal to the nation. The war became the best tool to measure the loyalty of people to revolutionary regime and war, was called a “gift from god” by leader of Islamic revolution, ayatollah Khomeini.

About a year later, explosion of the office of “Islamic Republic Party” which was attributed to former ally of Islamic regime, the group of Mujahedin Khalq, resulted in killing of many major figures of Islamic regime but the consequence of that event for Iranian people was nothing other than more brutal suppression and in wider scale.

Many young Iranians, as young as 12-14 years old, were executed because of having a piece of paper from Mujahedin Khalq in their hands. Policies of Mujahedin Khalq Organization, which had turned its attention to heavy recruiting of younger Iranians from beginning days of Islamic revolution, in fact cost many lives as a result of mistakes and flaws in their policies.

These flaws from one side and heavy propaganda of Islamic regime from another side had a heavy cost for Mujahedin Khalq Organization, or MEK, which presented itself as the only alternative for Islamic regime. After migration of main MEK leadership and the first president of Islamic regime, Mr. Abulhassan Banisadr who was deposed from office by clerics of Islamic regime, and killing of Mr. Moosa Khiabani and Ashraf Rajavi, who were important elements in MEK leadership inside Iran, The third major foreign based opposition group was formed by Mr. Banisadr, Mr. Rajavi and Mr. Matin-Daftari.

Mr. Matin-Daftari who is a grand child of late Dr. Mohammad Mosadeq had separated himself from Iranian National Front and started a new political entity called “Iranian Democratic National Front”. Start of this new alliance, which was accompanied with a political marriage between Mr. Rajavi and Mr. Banisadr’s daughter, created some new hopes inside and outside the country which did not last very long and one more time, Iranian scattered opposition failed to provide a real solution to the complicated political problems facing Iranian people.

The desperate situation of Iranian opposition outside and paralysis of the opposition inside the country through brutal crackdown has created opportunity for some opportunists to come forward and present themselves as a solution and take advantage of this desperate situation! The most important issue in this regard is understand that current situation is extremely sensitive and our nation is facing the most serious threat on its existence in the history!

This situation calls for a prompt action and a pragmatic solution without getting into many details through endless talks that has not accomplished anything for our nation other than wasting time! Iranian elite need to participate actively in deciding about Interim leadership of a national movement as soon as possible by emphasizing on uniting factors and elements which are shared by as many as possible without insisting or expecting everyone to agree.

Those who expect to apply rules of democracy on a resistance movement like an established democracy are asking for impossible and are part of the problem rather than solution! There is no absolute 100% even in democracies and if we want to move forward then we need to “act” quickly with as much force as we can get and in this scenario, the well known national figures have the highest responsibility and are in highest priority.

As a solution to achieve this, my suggestion is a formal, open, clear, decisive and firm invitation to all nationally recognized figures of opposition by Prince Reza Pahlavi to form the leadership of this movement for the sake of our nation. Public should be informed of anyone declining the invitation or not responding in a formal manner in certain period of time. There is no time to waste! Let’s not let the petty differences in views drive our nation towards a catastrophic destiny. Let’s not wait for others to arrange this gathering for us and prove that we can represent a nation with thousands of years civilization.

Sohrab Ferdows

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