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Dean's deathwish
What Dean and the Democrats are calling for is a deathwish to a truly democratic Iran

By Slater Bakhtavar
January 21, 2004

I recently read your heartfelt appeal [Mapping Dean's Iran] advocating the Iranian-American community towards supporting Governor Howard Dean for the presidency of the United States. While I am supportive of your activism, I'm quite disappointed by your inaccuracy.

Unfortunately similar to many diaspora Iranians you're misguided on President Bush's foreign policy. Contrary to exported propaganda President Bush and the defense board have never called for 'attacking Iran', this was pure propaganda purposefully instigated by those with their own political agenda.

President Bush has consistently supported student demonstrations in Iran, has aggresively and openly called for a democratic Iran, and s denounced those mingling Iran with 'Arab countries'. Unlike the Democrats, President Bush, has clearly separated the good Iranian people from the dreaded Islamic regime. President Bush referred to the failed reform movement in Iran as unsupported and Iranians responded when only 12% of Iranians voted in 'sham' elections.

As consistently stated -- the strategy of President Bush is to aid the internal opposition in Iran (virtually the entire population) in overthrowing or radically changing the dictatorship advocated by Khamenei or the semi-dictatorship advocated by Khatami.

Howard Dean's strategy consists of engaging the reformists within Iran's adminstration. While his strategy maybe 'heartfelt' nonethless it's politically motivated. What Governor Dean needs to realize is that the reformists aren't supported by the people, as evidenced by the lack of student demonstrations during the latest reformist/hardliner quarrel.

Furthermore, virtually all student groups have distanced themselves from Khatami's reformist movement, and only 12% of Iranians voted in recent elections in Tehran.

The engagement that Dean and the Democrats are calling for is a deathwish to a truly democratic Iran. Any sort of 'engagement' with the Islamic Republic will strongly streghten the regime and will undermine those seeking true democracy in Iran. In recent polls over 70% supported a separation of religion from politics, but even those aligned with Iran's reformist movement are calling for a strong 'Islamic Democracy' where candidates are disqualified based on devotion to Islam. It's unfortunate that some are letting either political agenda, ignorance, or propaganda get in the way.

President Bush supports the democracy sought by the majority of Iranians, and he's willing to aid and fund those groups in Iran who are seeking to free themselves. He's denounced military actions in Iran, therefore those claiming that he has advocated military action can never quite quote a single time he's made such a statement. Of course, they can quote the Islamic Republic 'claiming' he made such statements.

On the other hand Dean and his comrades are seeking to engage Iranian 'reformists', and if they're gone, the hard-liners. They are seeking to strengthen the Iranian regime economically while seeking gradual and extremely minor concessions over a period of 10-30 years. By their model Iran will become the next China, a dictatorship who relies merely on economic prosperity to survive.

It's time to put aside the propaganda and think logically...

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By Slater Bakhtavar



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