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Smart sanctions
Focus sanctions against the IRI, not the people

February 21, 2007

Needless to mention, a free and democratic Iran needs rapid development and advanced technology, including nuclear technology. Nevertheless, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) stubbornly needs this technology for the bomb, and maybe, under appropriate form, to put it in the hands of its Islamist terrorists. Who knows, maybe one day, the brutal IRI regime, in order to defend its “divine” life, would use atom against our “profane” people.

Atom, which for the IRI can divinely be baptised “Atom-Allah”, can serve to safeguard and expand “Dar al Islam” (territory of Islam). Therefore, the IRI's nuclear program approaches its long term bellicose and jihadi strategy. The international community has clear-cut evidence that the IRI’s nuclear ambitions can only have roots in its military proposes and have nothing to do with the energy supplies or economic ambitions.

All indications testify that whether we like them or not, the ongoing nuclear ambitions of the IRI cannot escape the inevitable sanctions of the Untied Nations Security Council. The sanctions are underway and are capable of inflecting massive problems on our people. Blind sanctions are sanctions of food and medical supplies, including all primordial needs of ordinary people in their daily life. Blind sanctions raise serious problems like the infant mortality, malnutrition problems, the massive deteriorations in basic problems, in particular in massive poverty, the health-care system and hygienic conditions, as it was the case during the sanctions on Iraq.

All we, the freedom-loving Iranians, can hope is that the inevitable sanctions will not be blindly imposed on our people, but smartly worked out to punish real culprits; all IRI’s officials and their different factions. Smart sanctions should target them, not Iranian people.

Smart sanctions should meet the military and repressive organs, the private assets, and the judicial backgrounds of IRI’s officials for their crimes against humanity. As such, we can hope that Iranian people will come out as the final winners of smart sanctions. The long term interests of Iranian people consist of these smart sanctions which can strategically destabilise the IRI.

We, the Iranian community in the West, must in mass protest against the blind sanctions which harm our people. In contrast to blind sanctions, smart sanctions can reach our people to their long term strategy.

Of course, under any sanction, the standard of living of people will be further deteriorated, but deterioration of Iranian economy is already on place at a continuous increasing rate. It is conditioned and accelerated by the existence of the reactionary methods, corruption, and especially incompetence of the IRI. The economic situation, independently from sanctions, is in a free fall.

Today, we witness a major reshuffle of the top brass of the armed forces as part of a larger plan to enhance the military’s control over the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad to enforce the military and mafia state. This ruling class in Iran will certainly abuse blind sanctions for their personal profits, as it was the case during the Iran-Iraq war. A country at war or economic crisis is generally an oasis for mafia, especially for this present mafia state that is the IRI.

To harmonise the forms and the purposes of UN sanctions, the democratic opposition must require the creation of a UN sanction committee. It is better if this committee also consists of Iranian experts who were not involved in the last two consecutive dictatorial regimes. The committee should work for the most flexible regimes of sanctions to allow ordinary people in Iran to continue their normal lives. It must find out vigilant, smart, and precise regimes sanctions with targeted actions merely aimed at the IRI.

Besides preventing IRI’s nuclear ambitions, the committee should inflict strict prohibitions related to the sale or supply to the IRI of arms and related materiel of all types. The committee should recognise and ban all weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment and spare parts, which can be used by repressive organs of the regime or its paramilitary groups against protest actions of Iranian people.

Since the IRI permanently violated all values of human rights and has committed the most hideous crimes against humanity in the last 28 years, IRI’s representatives must be ousted from the UN and all its related organisations. IRI’s teams, delegations, and representatives in international sport events and cultural festivities, etc. must be banned. The Member States of the UN should be required to reduce the number of IRI’s diplomatic personnel and restrict or ban the entry and transit of IRI’s officials in their respective countries and freeze all funds, financial assets and economic resources that are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by such persons.

The Human Rights Committee (OHCHR) of the UN is the most important organ to be addressed. Though it is under influence of the U.N. Economic Social Council, which itself is in turn controlled by protagonists of the New Liberalism and consequently cannot exert enough influence on the human issue, but the Human Rights Committee is however expected to be the only judicial body with relative influence on the fate of repressed people.

Parallel to sanctions on the IRI, the UN should form an especial judicial committee, composed of both international and Iranian judicial authorities. This committee is expected to satisfy the demands of many families of IRI’s victims, and must put under a new scrutiny the violations of human rights in Iran, which since the beginning of the IRI have been trampling human dignity and many lives. Through such a committee the sanctions must drop on judicial measures. For example, by issuing international warrant of arrest, IRI’s officials can be brought before an international court for many national and international crimes, namely against the massive purges of political prisoners, against permanent violations of women rights and against application of “Sharia” (Islamic laws).

Such a committee must also listen to the ex-prisoners of the regime, who could survive the bloody purges of death-fatwa, issued by Khomeini in summer 1987. They know details of atrocities i.e., names of both victims and culprits of the purges and some other IRI’s crimes, especially in the first decade after the revolution. Some of IRI’s culprits or ex-collaborators travel or even live in the West without being simply integrated yet.

The UN cannot only sanction IRI without its international political Islam. As a de facto philosophy of violence and hatred, political Islam must be put equal to a criminal ideology, equal to Nazi, racism, and fascism. How many thousands or millions of lives in Iran, in Iraq, in Somalia, in the heart of “civilised” West are worth to admit this reality? All victims of political Islam along with an increasing majority in the West expect that political Islam with all its related associations, paramilitary organizations, training camps, jihadi centres be outlawed. All Islamist institutions, tawheed centres, mosques and etc, are potential danger to democracy and human life in all over the world. Their activities must be banned or at least put under restrict control of the local authorities.

As long as the IRI’s officials cannot be brought before an international court, the Security Council, by using the article 41 of the UN Charter, should urge all countries to prevent entry into or travel through their territory of individuals suspected of involvement in the crimes committed by the IRI. With help of documentary evidence and list of corrupt officials prepared by the Iranian democratic opposition, the Security Council is expected to order Member States to freeze and confiscate all funds, financial resources financial assets and economic resources that are held by IRI’s senior officials or even members of their immediate families. The Iranian democratic opposition must already ensure that after the fall of the IRI, their assets can be recuperated. The plunder of people’s wealth by the late Shah and his entourage should not be repeated at all.

Either the IRI complies with the demands of the Security Council or not, whether the adopted sanctions are lifted or not, the main aim of most Iranians is to get rid of the IRI. Since all Iranian opposition groups do not seem to follow this pivotal point, the secular and democratic opposition must highlight this basic parameter, by avoiding yielding any compromise with the IRI and all its debris with various tactics. Today the campaign of some Iranians for UN anti-sanction, which highlights the danger from sanctions, underestimates the existing danger from the plague of the IRI.

It is obvious that Mollahs do not have the hearts and minds of people; their tactic is to relate their legitimacy to defend against danger from outside. Mollahs and their lobbyists around the world roar drums of a state of war plotted by the Bush administration to divert Iranians from the fact that the actual war against Iran started when first Mollahs occupied the country. Mollahs and their anti-Iranian regime are the present occupiers of our country.

If freedom-loving Iranians really aim to get rid of the arch enemy of Iran, they should propose and elaborate those kinds of solutions which reach into an immediate fall of the IRI. Every international tribune or any international conflict with the IRI can be used as a legitimate occasion to put IRI’s legitimacy at the centre of dialogue.

We know that the use of mandatory sanctions is intended to apply pressure on a State to comply with the objectives set by the Security Council. Regarding the fact that economic interests of veto nations have the upper hand, the five nations with veto power -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France—despite all IRI’s black records of human rights, will focus on the IRI’s nuclear programme with a hidden but determined factor of economy. Therefore, new proposals might be tactically cooked up, demagogically sending IRI’s current atom conflict in the backbench, as IRI’s officials do when they see danger approaching

What the majority of Iranian people desire and therefore should be expressed by the Iranian democratic opposition is to unconditionally and loudly reject the plague of the IRI entirely. Contrary to a complaisant Tudehi line or an Islamic alternative line advocating reforms within the IRI, there is finally one thing that an Iranian democratic opposition can no longer commit: try to deceive Iranian by claiming that they help to reform a system that is incapable of reform. Therefore, there should be no handle and bargain. Comment

Jahanshah Rashidian is a political activist and commentator based in Germany.

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