23 July 2010
Dear Mrs Hillary Clinton,
The signatories of this letter are independent political observers with no affiliation to any political or religious organisations.
We are concerned for the future of Iran, its people, and the manner in which the Iranian regime has become the source of all crises in the Middle East. In our opinion, any misapprehended strategic policies adopted by the international community, particularly during the current crucial times, could engulf Iran and the greater Middle East in inextinguishable flames. We hope that this letter is read in empathy to this Perception.
We have no choice but to refer your learned attention to certain miscalculated past US turns and shifts in policy, which in our opinion, are the root causes of the current impasse with the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). In our view, the current crises are mainly due to the US’s continuing ‘lose-lose’ policy, which would not be resolved unless such policies are abandoned effectively.
It began with a miscalculation, based on the lack of clear understanding of the IRI’s strategic objectives. The State Department, during the presidency of Mr Bill Clinton, was led to believe that an appeasing approach towards the IRI could possibly convince the clerical oligarchy to respect international laws, enter into bilateral and multi-lateral relations with the international community, and to uphold human rights. The IRI’s then President, Mohammad Khatami, with a series of seemingly promising gestures, persuaded the US administration to believe that its adopted policy could produce the desired results that would be beneficial to both Iran and the USA, at no detriment to the interests of USA.
Mr Khatami did not deliver any of his promises. Indeed, during his eight years in office as Iran’s President, Iran’s nuclear programme infrastructure was designed and a major part of it was constructed covertly. During the same era, many of Iran’s intellectuals, scholars and respected opposition political leaders were assassinated and thus eliminated. Although the world was then beginning to realise this deception, nevertheless, the US administration continued in the misguided vision that the IRI would one day change course. During that time, the US administration even proscribed the main Iranian opposition group – the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) - in the foreign terrorist organizations list followed by disarming this group in Iraq, in order to demonstrate its adherence to the IRI.
Meanwhile, the IRI was increasing its influence in the Middle East and Africa. Strengthening the military and political capability of Hezbollah and Hamas, was part of IRI’s agenda in the region. The US administration, however, naively continued to dismiss IRI’s promotion of terrorism all around the world; in particular it’s repeated meddling within Islamic states and countries.
Despite the alarming rise in Islamic fundamentalism pursued by the IRI, the US policy towards the IRI remained unchanged throughout Bill Clinton’s presidency and beyond. Although President Bush declared the IRI as one of the “axis of evil”, but in reality, his administration continued the same futile policy in vain, and ignored the ever-growing danger of an Islamic fundamentalist regime capable of launching missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. In short, the USA continued with the most submissive policy toward a hostile state since the build up to the Second World War.
Launching a military attack on Iraq while ignoring all signs of growing IRI influence in this region, plus leaving most of Iraq wide open to the influence of terrorists, and allowing the IRI to steady its foothold in Iraq, all but exemplify the US administration’s miscalculations. In addition to the Iraqi people whom on the one hand became the victims of a devastating war, and suffered from horrendous acts of terrorism on the other, the main opposition to the IRI outside Iran, the PMOI, continued to remain the victims of the US administration’s appeasement policy toward IRI. The occupying forces ignored the warnings given by the PMOI and other opposition groups in Kurdistan against the advances made by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards’ “Quds Brigade” who were now pouring into Iraq.
Daily evidences confirm the failure of the appeasement policy, and yet, and to many observers’ astonishment, President Obama decided to follow the same failed policy of his predecessors and ignored all forewarnings. He offered the hand of friendship to a regime that advocates state terrorism, and practically decided to engage with the IRI despite the nuclear standoff, in the vain hope that the IRI would assist the USA in Iraq’s upcoming elections. The IRI’s contribution however, as predicted by many, was simply vote rigging in these elections in its own favour!
In short, the USA’s general policy towards the IRI did not meet any of its objectives. The USA so far, has failed to tame the IRI both toward its own people and in its pursued regional agenda, and in the larger Middle East. This policy has also failed to prevent the IRI from edging closer to acquiring a nuclear bomb. The US foreign policy has failed to bring about a tolerant approach towards the Middle East, and has failed to convince the people of the Middle East that USA is on their side and is working to rebuff IRI expansionism. It has failed to persuade intellectuals that the adoption of this policy is part of a non-aggressive strategy. Resolution 1929 is a clear indication that this policy has failed in its entirety.
We support any measures that would pressurise the IRI. We encourage the sending of all manner of signals to the effect that the patience of the international community has reached its limits. We, however, do believe that declamatory threats have little impact if any. Mr Ahmadinejad dismisses them as superficial gestures and Ayatollah Khamenei denounces them as the psychological warfare of the “Great Satan”. Based on these assessments, the IRI continues its threatening advancement towards nuclear self-sufficiency. To this effect, the Iranian Majlis (Parliament) has urged the state towards nuclear self-sufficiency and has called on the government to "retaliate against countries which inspect Iranian planes and ships or refuse to give fuel to Iranian planes”.
Our assessment of the past thirty one years of IRI’s rule confirms that the IRI neither appreciates nor would it be willing to engage in civil and diplomatic discourse. The rulers of IRI do not fear military threats; indeed, they have always maintained that war is a ‘divine gift’. The IRI would thrive on an Israeli or an American led air strike as this would mobilise opinion of a large section of the society toward siding with the IRI, and would enable the clerical regime to present itself as a “victim” of US expansionism and Zionist aggression against Islam. In our opinion, any kind of military attack, would guarantee the prolonging of the IRI’s life span. Devastating options such as use of military force must be replaced with a firm, realistic and pragmatic policy that is endorsed by the people of Iran.
Time is rife for the US to make a big change in its strategy concerning the IRI. Incontrovertibly, such changes of policy would signal the IRI that the patience of the international community has reached its limitations.
We understand that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a 22-page ruling, has advised the State Department to review its designation of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) as a foreign terrorist organization.
To continue with this thirteen-year old failed strategy of victimizing PMOI unjustly, and to continue to keep the PMOI on the list would send a clear message to both the IRI and people of Iran; that the USA continues to side with a regime which promotes international terrorism and destabilizes the region.
Alternatively, to seize this opportune moment and to rectify what the State Department "failed to accord the PMOI the due process protections", can be viewed as the first pro-Iranian democracy stance.
Dariosh Afshar (UK), Saeed Atlas (UK), Ali Behrooz (UK), Masoud Ebrahim-Nejad (Norway), Ali Fayyaz (Sweden), Aziz Fouladvand (Germany), Bahram Rahmani(Sweden), Satar Laghaii (UK), Majid Moshayedi (Switzerland), Milad Makhtoum(Germany), Iraj Mesdaghi(Sweden), Korosh Taheri(Sweden), Esmail Vafa Yaghmaii (France)