Dr. Walid Phares

www.walidphares.com

BILAL RED: 03.01.2007

Iran's people are ready for real change, Mr. Behrooz Behbudi and Prof. Walid Phares

Opinion, Washington Post, January 2, 2007

Iran's people are ready for real change
Behrooz Behbudi and Walid Phares

In this fifth letter to the American People, we wish to share with the readers across the world what we believe is the readiness of the Iranian People for a real change affecting the future of their country, the region and the international community. It is a fact that genuine improvement in the conditions of Iranians have not yet taken place since the imposition of a Jihadi-rooted regime in 1979, at the hands of Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini’s elite. To the contrary, the country is marching backward on all levels of public and individual lives. Between 1979 and 2007, freedom, democracy, social order, economy, environment and hopes have been collapsing irreversibly in Iran:

The middle class has collapsed; workers have lost their benefits, women stripped from the minimal rights, education gone into decline, medical standards lowered, students suppressed, artists jailed,intellectuals arrested, and minorities crushed. Iran’s dividends from its national and natural resources were wasted by the ruling elite for decades on their own pleasures, on their expansionist Jihadi agenda and on increasing the oppressive machine inside the country. Only a handful of regime supporters profited immensely from the oil and other revenue. Instead of a thriving and progressive democracy by 2007, competing with Japan and Germany, Iran is ranking among the failed states of the world, whose people are depressed and unhappy, as are the peoples of Cuba and North Korea and as was Afghanistan’s civil society under the Taliban.

Despite the many promises of enhancement made by the rulers for decades, only embitterment ensued after every so-called change from above. Iranians thought the death of Khomeini would begin the slow march towards recovery from bloodshed and wars during the 1980s. Instead a similarly backward leadership rose to extend the Khomeinist regime, headed by Ayatollah Khamenei. Full of relentless hopes, Iranians then thought the Presidency in Iran may play the role of a Gorbachev in the USSR. But President Rafsanjani was no better than the radical Mullahs as he acted on their behalf to perpetuate the middle ages regime. People hoped that a so-called “reformist” President, Mohammed Khatemi, would save them. Iran’s majority voted him in. But nothing changed in Tehran’s state-dictatorship. Then the public was told that a so-called “modest man” Mahmoud Ahmedinijad would shake off the elite. Instead, the mad-man of the militias ascended to ultimate power, further crushing liberties, threatening world Peace with his nuclear

bomb, and the region’s stability with his Terror associates of Hezbollah.

In a sum, change has not yet come to Iran from above and the country has fallen into dangerous hands. But the signs coming out of its cities and countryside are clear: People are ready for change, a real change. Students

have courageously stood up against Ahmedinijad and told him: “enough” Their photos cannot be ignored anymore. Workers have been screaming to the rulers of Tehran: “enough wars and bombs, we want jobs.” Iranians, including seculars and moderate clerics are ready to confront the Jihadi Mullahs on Iran’s sad realities.

Iranians are ready to pressure their regime to suspend all support to Terrorism: eliminating financial and military sustaining to Hezbollah in Lebanon and to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Syria and Palestine.

Instead Tehran should direct this oil revenue generated foreign aid to help the poor in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Egypt , and more urgently in Darfur. Iranians are ready to empower their women with job opportunity and Chador free policies. Females in the country are ready to leap into positions of responsibility.

Iranians are ready to empower students and youth and spend oil revenues on their schools, training, overseas exchange programs, Internet connections, and above all professional future. Iranians are ready to empower workers with higher wages, better work environment, efficient social security, health coverage and increasing rights.

Iranians are ready to empower talents in arts, cinema, television, theater, and all creative sectors of society, instead of the bleak and dark ideology of Jihadism.

Iranians are ready to welcome their brothers and sisters from exile and investments from the Diaspora instead of dispatching killers for sinister misdeeds against opposition around the world.

Iranians are ready for a radically new attitude on behalf of the United Nations to help the country free itself from the yoke of fascism, not for a UN cover up to the regime.

Iranians are ready for a new US Policy that would stand by the People and not sell out its future to the Khomeinist dictatorship. America must be ready for Iran’s people readiness to change towards better not towards worse.

We therefore call on Americans and democracies around the world to extend their support to the Iranian People in its quest for change, real change, so that they would join the world community of free societies and enjoy living in freedom and progress.

Dr Walid Phares is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Behrooz Behbudi is the President of Global Unity Partnership