These are the last days before 18-Tir (July 9, 2003), when the Iranian opposition is preparing for the anniversary of July 9, 1999 in Iran and Jebhe Demokratic (IDF) has called for peaceful demonstrations inside Iran for that day. Mohandes Tabarzadi, the head of Jebhe Demokratik, is a leading political figure inside Iran, who has been risking his life, by calling for these demonstrations. Yesterday there was a communiqué from a respectable group of Iranian opposition (aciiran.com) cautioning about supporting Mohandes Tabarzadi, and their statement was directly noting the similarity to opposition's support of Khatami in 2nd Khordad and its failure, and indirectly it referred to Tabarzadi's choice of representative abroad:
I do not want to enter the gossip discussions about individuals abroad and I think it is a bad habit in Iranian opposition to call people with whom one has political differences as lackeys of the U.S or IRI., etc. I think I have written enough about this habit of End Justifying the Means. People will always have personal and political differences, but that should not allow anybody to play with the heysiat (reputation) of those who have accepted all kinds of hardship in their lives to remain independent, and even those who accuse them as lackeys, are well aware that these people are independent political personalities, and the whole commotion is about arrogance and jealousies and not recognizing the fact that the complementary capabilities is a good thing, and the right approach is to support colleagues in areas they are not good at, rather than trying to eliminate each other. So this is where I leave the discussion of IDF representatives abroad. I have no quarrel about condemning those who *are* lackeys of foreign powers but it is wrong to use such allegations, when the real reason is purely political differences.
As Iranian activists, the best we can hope for is that when the time comes, people choose leaders who stand up for democracy and independence, leaders like Dr. Mossadegh, and not choose those who stand for dictatorship, backwardness, and dependence like Ayatollah Khomeini. We cannot make leaders, the Iranian people choose the leader (s) when the time comes. All we can do is to input democratic and independent thinking and hope that people will choose the best this time around with the fall of IRI.
Let me return to the topic of Tabarzadi. Let's assume the worst case and say that he is another Khatami. What Iranian opposition did wrong about Khatami was not about supporting his demands for reforming IRI. The mistake was bringing down the demands of secular opposition to those of Khatami. If today, any group of the opposition has demands that are beyond Tabarzadi and Jebhe Demokratik, they should not remain silent, but not supporting him, on the fear that he may be another Khatami, is wrong. I am not claiming that he is another Forouhar either. I do not know. Time will tell. But he is sticking his neck out for Iran and Iranians and I believe Iranian opposition should support him, although I do not think anybody should reduce their demands because of supporting any coalition including the coalition with Mohandes Tabarzadi and Jebhe Demokratic.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
June 4, 2003