Time for an International Pro-Democracy Tribune for Iran
Almost all factions of Iranian pro-democracy movement agree that we Iranians do not want any foreign invasion of Iran to remove IRI (Islamic Republic of Iran). At the same time almost all factions of Iranian pro-democracy movement want the international support of world people and democracies.
The overwhelming admiration of Iranian people on the occasion of Nobel Prize for Shirin Ebadi shows that Iranian people are glad to see the support of Western democracies for human rights in Iran. On the other hand, IRI was quick to try to call the prize politically motivated, which did not stop Iranian people's exhilarations.
The next move of IRI has been the recent condemnation of the Nobel Prize, by a group of Shi'a Islamist theologians in Qom. They have called it part of a Western conspiracy against Islam.
This is not the first time the Islamists are attacking Western support of Iran's pro-democracy movement as a Western conspiracy against Islam. In fact, long before IRI, this was the way Islamists attacked the West to make sure the West looks at them as the main political force of Middle East with popular support. And in those days, their attack of the West had a lot of support among the people, and among the independent political forces of Iran, who yearned for Iran's independence, when the Iranian monarchy was the puppet of one or another Western state.
But today similar calls of the Islamists not only do not have much of a support among the people, they backfire as we all saw the candle light vigils of Iranians for Sept 11th victims.
Not that the Iranian people want dependence and a puppet state in Iran. Not that the people want a U.S. invasion of Iran. On the contrary, Iranian people want independence, and want to make all changes in Iran by ourselves, but at the same time Iranian people want to have the support of world democracies for Iran's pro-democracy movement.
The mollahs are using their old slogans calling the support of the Western democracies for Iran's pro-democracy movement as Western conspiracy against Islam, in order to deprive the Iran's pro-democracy movement from an international support base, and at the same time they are working hard to appease the Western democracies with various oil and gas deals, to stop them from supporting the movements for secularism, democracy, and human rights in Iran.
The Qom Islamist theologians are trying to create a false impression that Iranian Muslims are the ones who hate Salman Rushdie and they have started to call Shirin Ebadi as a new Salman Rushdie to stop her from speaking up for human rights in Iran. They did the same thing to their own former comrade, Hashem Aghajari, and it backfired and the whole country raised against them.
The Islamists do not have any support among the Iranian people and their communiqué is for external use, and inside Iran their rule is not by alluring people to their ideology anymore. Those days have long passed. The rule of Islamists in Iran has been by the bullets for a long time killing those who ask for secularism.
It is very encouraging that one sees the support of many Western governments here and there being pronounced for Iran's pro-democracy movement. It is now time to make this support more effective. I think it is important to form an international tribune for support of Iran's pro-democracy movement.
I think U.S. government, European Democracies and other countries willing to help Iranian pro-democracy movement as well as United Nations should participate in this tribunal. I believe the Iranian progressive forces should end their isolation from international contact, which is being imposed on us by IRI, by using a weapon of calling those who want to take effective steps to form a secular state as Western lackeys, using the scare tactic of labeling us as Western lackeys to stop us from using the Western support.
There are enough Iranians with impeccable credentials as independent individuals and organizations, who can be part of this international tribunal, and IRI calling them as pawns of Western conspiracy will only prove that IRI is afraid of their strength.
The Iranian pro-democracy movement is carrying a double burden of freeing Iran from a Medieval state and at the same time freeing the world from a major sponsor of terrorism. It makes all sense for the Western democracies to support the Iranian pro-democracy movement and it makes perfect sense for Iranian movement to seek that support and cooperate with the international forces that are willing to help our struggle for secularism, democracy, and human rights, as long as there are no strings attached, and it is all in the open and not in secret deals.
Not only there is nothing wrong in this cooperation, it is necessary, if we want to be able to end the IRI regime in Iran. We should not allow IRI to survive in the way Chinese Communist regime survived, using the so-called reformist tag for a fascist regime on one hand, and making trade deals with the West on the other. Iranian pro-democracy forces need to take the initiative for Western cooperation; and forming the international tribune for Iran's pro-democracy movement is the first step for such cooperation.
One thing that is the most important is to take all these steps in *open*. No secret meetings with U.S. or European officials. All should be done in open and an open international pro-democracy tribune for Iran needs to be formed with the financial support of the Western democracies. This is the best way the world democracies can fight the worldwide terrorism and it will also help the success of Iran' s pro-democracy movement in Iran. A win-win undertaking for both Iranian pro-democracy movement and the Western democracies.
Hoping for a Futurist, Federal, Democratic, and Secular Republic in Iran,
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
Oct 20, 2003