Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Working for Freedom in Iran

With much of the world's attention focused on Iraq, the threat posed by Iran's Islamist dictatorship continues to grow. Just last week, a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran is continuing its 18 year pattern of deception regarding its nuclear program. As the LA Times reported, the IAEA also found that Iran has made more progress than previously believed in enriching uranium:

International inspectors have found new evidence that Iran engaged in a more ambitious program than it had admitted to develop advanced machines for producing material that could be used in nuclear weapons, according to a report obtained Tuesday.

Discoveries by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, contradicted previous claims by Iran that its scientists had made little attempt to manufacture sophisticated Pakistani-designed P2 centrifuges.

With the ineffectual reform faction of President Mohammed Khatami neutralized for good, the fanatical mullahs led by "Supreme Leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei are free to pursue their radical Islamist agenda more openly than before. To quote a recent speech by a leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards:

"'Haven't the Jews and the Christians achieved their progress by means of toughness and repression? We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and the English.

"'Our missiles are now ready to strike at their civilization, and as soon as the instructions arrive from Leader ['Ali Khamenei], we will launch our missiles at their cities and installations. Our motto during the war (in Iraq) was: Karbala, we are coming, Jerusalem, we are coming. And because of Khatami's policies and dialogue between the civilizations, we have been compelled to freeze our plan to liberate the Islamic cities. And now we are [again] about to carry out the program.'

"In his speech, he added: 'The global infidel front is a front against Allah and the Muslims, and we must make use of everything we have at hand to strike at this front, by means of our suicide operations or by means of our missiles. There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and in the West. We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them.'

On a related note, the mullahs continue to express their contempt for western democracy, while a supposedly "independent" radical group has even started signing up suicide bombers for attacks on "Israel, U.S.-led forces in Iraq and British author Salman Rushdie".

In the face of the Iranian threat, US options are currently limited. Our European "allies" with whom John Kerry is so enthralled can be counted on to oppose even the slightest hint of military action, which is the only thing the mullahs can be expected to take seriously. Even our true friends the British are unlikely to support action against the Iranian regime. Fortunately, we do have one ally we can count on: the Iranian people themselves.

It is both ironic and telling that the most pro-American population in the Middle East outside of the Iraqi Kurds lives under the rule of the most openly anti-American regime in the region. A large majority of the Iranian people are tired of the backwardness and barbarism of the Islamists, and want to live in a modern, pluralist, democratic state. For them, America is a natural ally in their struggle. The mullahs' response has been a vicious campaign of repression. As Human Rights Watch noted in a new report released just this week:

Human Rights Watch has documented systematic abuses against political detainees, including arbitrary arrest, detention without trial, torture to extract confessions, prolonged solitary confinement, and physical and psychological abuse.

“Claims that reforms in Iran have put an end to torture are simply false,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. “More than ever, journalists, intellectuals and activists are afraid to voice opinions critical of the government.”

The Iranian government’s use of these harsh techniques has largely squelched the country’s political opposition and independent media. Faced with increasing political pressure for reform in the past four years, the government has intensified its campaign against dissent. As of June, the government has closed virtually all independent newspapers, several key journalists and writers have fled the country, many prominent writers and activists have been imprisoned, and scores of student activists have been intimidated into ending their involvement in peaceful political activity.

Now, more than ever, the Iranian people need our support, just as we need theirs. There are several things we as Americans can do to help. One is to stay the course and finish the job in Iraq. A pluralist, democratic state on Iran's borders will embolden the Iranian people just as a free western Europe offered hope to those living under communism in the east. Secondly, we, both the US government and individual citizens, need to express our open support for the Iranian people as often as possible. One way to do so is by supporting activist sites such as Blog Iran. If anyone reading this message has a blog, I strongly encourage you to join Blog Iran's United Front. In the same way that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty helped bring down communism, so the Web might help bring about the demise of the mullahs. It is in the vital interests of both the Iranian people and the United States that the "mullahcracy" be brought down. Working together towards this goal is a necessity.

Several links courtesy of Roger L. Simon, a terrific writer who has blogged extensively on this issue. I can probably even forgive him for being a Lakers fan. :=)


Post a Comment

<< Home