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Since the recent presidential [S]elections, the international community has had a real glimpse of the brutality and inhumanity of the Islamic Regime of Iran. We've seen peaceful protestors beaten, arrested and shot on the streets. We've heard reports of illegal arrests, torture and rape of protesters in Islamic Regime prisons. Scores of protesters have lost their lives under torture while at least three protestors have been sentenced to death because of their participation in the post [s]election protests.
What the international community needs to realize is that what we've seen in the past few months is nothing new. The Islamic Regime has been systematically arresting, torturing, raping and executing dissidents for the past 30 years.
Iranian people have not been silent in the face of severe persecution and brutality. For the past 30 years students, writers, journalists, women, workers, teachers and doctors just to name a few groups, have been fighting against the Regime in various ways. Iranian dissidents abroad have been fighting along their compatriots who are inside the country to make sure the voices of Iranian people are heard internationally.
Besides fighting against the Islamic Regime, since 1997 and especially in the past year, Iranians have come face to face with a new and much more dangerous enemy which is the so called "Reform" movement in Iran.
Because of the Iranian people's strength and determination to remove the Islamic Regime from power, the Regime felt threatened in the late 1990's. Dissent had increased, there were protests, Regime prisons were filled with dissidents and voter turn outs in both local and national elections were extremely low. This had created a question mark around the legitimacy of the Islamic Regime.
All of this caused the Regime to play a new card during the 1997 presidential [s]elections. The new card was a so called "Reformist" movement put forward by a Mullah called Mohammad Khatami. Khatami came forward with a smiling face and a platform of "Islamic Democracy" which included greater freedom for the Iranian people.
The Iranian people, especially students and women who were frustrated and angry with the Regime and craved change, went to the polls and voted overwhelmingly for Khatami. One must keep in mind that people did not have the opportunity to vote for a secular and democratic candidate, since all presidential candidates are handpicked by the Supreme Leader and the Guardian Council. Therefore people decided to vote for a lesser evil. The voter turnout was over 70% that year, the highest the Regime had seen for years and once again the Islamic Regime had won the legitimacy it needed to continue its dictatorship rule.
It did not take very long for the Iranians to realize that Khatami was an integrated part of the Islamic Regime and did not intend to keep any of his promises. In fact some of the most brutal human rights violations took place during Khatami's presidency. This included the government sponsored chain murders of political dissidents and academics which took place in 1998 as well as the brutal crackdown on pro-democracy student demonstrations in July of 1999. During the protests thousands of students were arrested, imprisoned, tortured and some students were even murdered by Regime Agents. During the crackdown on the students Khatami showed his true colours by publicly siding with the Regime against the students and calling the pro-democracy protestors hoodlums and hooligans.
Khatami won a second term of presidency although with much lower voter turnout, because people had lost faith in this "reformist mullah." By the time 9th presidential [s]election had rolled around in 2005 the Regime had once again lost legitimacy and there were nationwide campaigns inside the country to boycott the [s]election. This was even through another so called moderator, reformist mullah Hashemi Rafsanjani, who was running for the presidency. According to the Regime the voter turnout was 48% during those [s]elections although the actual figure may have been much lower. The winner as we all know was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Fast forward to the [s]elections of 2009, and once again people were angry and dissatisfied with the Islamic Regime, and the Regime was once again in trouble and facing legitimacy questions as well as pressure both internationally and nationally. Again the Regime played the reformist card, this time having Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi run as reformist candidates.
Both candidates were an integrated part and strong supporters of the Islamic Regime. They both had a history of extensive human rights violations against the Iranian people (which seems to be a pre-requisite for running for presidency) and there was no danger that they would ever turn against the Regime. Therefore they were prefect candidates to bring people to the polls and give the Regime a much needed legitimacy boost.
Here is a brief biography on the two so called reformist candidates:
Mousavi was the prime Minister of Iran from 1981 to 1988. In the summer of 1988 thousands of political prisoners were summarily executed after having three (minute) trials. At that time Mousavi was in a key and powerful position. However he did not lift a finger to stop the executions, and he has never condemned the executions. Most recently when brave Iranians took to the streets with the slogan of "independence, freedom, Iranian Republic" Mousavi came out and said the peoples slogan must be "Islamic Republic, not one word more and not one word less". Mousavi is a supporter of the Islamic Regime and all the atrocities committed by the Regime. He must be tried in a criminal court for the crimes he has committed against the Iranian people, before he is allowed to run for any public office.
Karoubi has also been an integrated part of the Islamic Regime for the past thirty years. He was the head of parliament while Khatami was the president. As well he is well known for ordering the torture of individuals and families who had lost a loved one or suffered in other ways during the Iran Iraq war. He ordered the torture of these individuals in the "Martyrdom Committee" which was a committee that had supposedly been created to help these families. Instead he was responsible for the abuse and torture of these individuals, and there are testimonies of people who were ordered to be tortured by Karoubi.
It is true that this year there was a relatively high voter turnout during the [S]elections, however once again we need to keep in mind that Iranian people are not free to choose what they want. They cannot vote for a system or a candidate they want, they cannot come into the streets and say they do not want the Islamic Regime. In this case they had a choice between bad and worse and they voted for bad, to show their dissatisfaction with the current system. This does not mean that Iranian people are supporters of the Islamic Regime, and the Regime is very much aware of this, which is why they do not allow for free elections.
Brave Iranians took to the streets in June of this year in numbers we had never seen before; many were dissatisfied with the [S]election results while many other activists and students were entirely against the Regime and had not taken part in the [S]elections. One of these individuals was a young girl called Neda who was shot to death on the street during the protests. Although reformists tried to use her name to their advantage, we soon found out that Neda had not voted and did not support any of the candidates.
For the past 30 years Iranian people have been dissatisfied with the Islamic Regime and have fought against the Regime in various ways. That is why the Regime prisons have always been filled with political prisoners and Iran has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. Iranian people are angry and dissatisfied with the entire system and we were all able to see this as the people's movement became more and more radical every day to the point where people were shouting "Mousavi is an excuse, the Entire Regime is target, death to the Islamic Regime and Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic." The Iranian people have shown unbelievable courage and the pro-democracy movement has gained great momentum in the past few months. By shouting these slogans, knowing that they might very well be risking their lives, the Iranian people and especially the Iranian youth have spoken and made it very clear that they want real change, they want Regime change.
Unfortunately the "reform camp" abroad which included actors, Nobel peace prize winners, writers, beauty queens, former political prisoners and even some political groups in exile, are doing everything in their power to undermine the people's pro-democracy, anti regime movement and to relate this movement to a reformist movement taking place within the frame work of the Islamic Regime. While the Iranian people have taken to the streets saying death to the Islamic Regime, the reform camp is referring to Mousavi and Karoubi as "opposition leaders" and trying to buy them legitimacy abroad.
Although it is easy to fall for this pro-reform propaganda, which is ultimately pro-Islamic Regime propaganda, we must be diligent in our support for the people's pro-democracy movement and to condemn the so called pro-reform movement which is nothing more than an attempt to keep the Islamic Regime in power, this time under the guise of Reform.
The People of Iran have taken to the streets and spoken loud and clear that they do not want the Islamic Regime, they don't want the hardliners or the reformers, they want real change, they want Regime change. There are groups and individuals who are supporting the reformist movement because they do not want Regime change and their interests lie within the Islamic Regime and its reformist camp. We must see through their propaganda and stand behind the Iranian people instead, in their quest for a FREE, INDEPENDENT, IRANIAN REPUBLIC.
By: Sayeh Hassan
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