January 15, 2009 VOLUME 56
E-ZAN VOICE OF WOMEN AGAINST FUNDAMENTALISM IN IRAN
To our readers,
While America anxiously awaits the inauguration of President-Elect Obama, the level of unacceptable violence in Gaza escalates everyday claiming lives of mostly innocent women and children. Tehran's regime, of course, is the primary beneficiary of the Gaza conflict. The fundamentalist regime has used this opportunity to divert attention of its own escalated suppressive campaign at home. Since mid-December, there has been at least 40 cases of execution and murder under torture in Iran. This includes death by hanging of a woman in Tehran's notorious prison, Evin. Ahmadinejad's regime also began the new year with stoning of two men and refining the judicial language to continue stoning in coming months. Currently there are total of 14 women who are facing stoning in Iran.
As we begin the new year and get ready for new leadership in Washington, it is important to present three guiding principles on dealing with the fundamentalist regime in Tehran.
1. A new policy approach with Iran must pass the litmus test of respect for human rights and women's rights. So long as there is a state-sponsored violence against women and continued violations of human rights in Iran, any engagement will be ineffectual and instead legitimize and embolden the fundamentalist regime there. A new approach should not amount to isolation of Iranian people, particularly women who pay the heaviest price under this regime.
2. The issue of women's rights and human rights in Iran is political. Any debate that would separate women's movement and human rights movement from the broader political agenda to change the regime in Tehran is misreading the desire of Iranian people for a free and democratic governance.
3. No one except Tehran's regime actively pursues a desire to engage in conflict with the West, particularly with Washington. Any debate that leads to military confrontation with Tehran will isolate the authentic movement for change in Iran. If there is seriousness
on the part of the West to provide conditions conducive for peace and stability in the region, then it must not lose focus on Tehran’s regime. Neither war nor engagement are the answers for the growing Tehran-problem. Empowerment of Iranian people and their resistance movement is. The path to democracy and peace in Iran is through women's leadership and their organized resistance. Iranian women began this journey more than two decades ago. By politically, economically and diplomatically isolating Tehran's regime, the international community can play an instrumental role in supporting the movement for change in Iran. This is all that the Iranian resistance, particularly women ask for.
WFAFI calls upon all women and human rights NGO's and international NGO's to rely upon these high level principles in dealing with the Iranian government and their state-sponsored and manufactured 'NGO's'.
E-Zan Featured Headlines
WFAFI News - December 15, 2008
The head of Iran's parliament's (Majlis) Cultural
Commission, Hadad Adel, said regarding girls education, "One of the events which
has put a negative effect on marriage after the revolution is girls' education
especially in cases where the number of educated women is more than that of
men". "I personally like the education of women and do not object to it, but
this issue has to be planned so no problems occur and it is better for girls to
marry in their first years of university and then continue their education", he
added. On a related issue, the government is pushing a plan called "Plan to
Obligate Universities to Accept Local Girl Students" to deprives girls of the
right to choose the location of their universities. The plan is currently before
the parliament and currently girls who are accepted in universities can only go
to these universities if their parents or husbands live in that district.
WFAFI News - December 16, 2008
According to state News Agenecy IRNA, in first week of December, the head of Tehran's Security and Intelligence Police announced the closure of 39 "lawbreaking" teashops in different regions of this province. "Tehran's security police have checked 403 teashops in a one day operation", added Nader Sarkari. "Police have also issued written notices for 127 of these teashops", he said adding that in the process of this operation "53 men and 10 women were arrested".
State News Agency (IRNA) - December 20, 2008
The research assistant of Zahedan Medical Sciences University said, "It has been reported that in Sistan & Baluchistan, the spread of aids in women has been twice as much as in men in the last few years". "Ninety-five percent of these women have been infected with HIV from their husbands", said Doctor Fatemeh Rakhshani. She said that the main reason women were infected with this virus was from the increase of polygamy and temporary marriages. She also stated that the economical dependence of women on men, silence before violent sexual relationships and the incapably of women in committing their husbands to using prevention methods lead to an increase in the risk of women being infected with HIV.
Agence France Presse - December 21, 2008
Iranian police shut down the office of a human
rights group headed by Nobel peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on Sunday, the deputy
head of the Human Rights Defenders Centre, Narges Mohammadi, told AFP. "They
have sealed off the office and are telling us to leave the premises without
resistance," Mohammadi said. "Mrs Ebadi is there too. We have no choice but to
leave." She said dozens of policemen had gathered in front of the group's office
in northwest Tehran and that the officials had not "shown a judicial warrant but
only provided the number of a warrant". She said policemen in uniform and plain
clothes had raided the office and made an inventory of its contents. The closure
marks a toughened crackdown on rights campaigners by the Islamic republic, which
Ebadi's group accuses of "systematically violating" human rights. "Freedom of
expression and freedom of circulating information have further declined" since
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to office in August 2005, the group said in
its annual report in May. "The lack of a real and effective observance of human
rights deepens the gap between the people and the government and breaks the
pillars of peace, stability and development in the country," it warned at the
Azerbaijan Trend News - December 22, 2008
Advisor for Women's Affairs to the Tehran Mayor said
that the statistics of the last nine months showed that Iranian court’s filed
criminal cases in connection with immorality for thirty percent of Iranian
divorced women. “The problems existing in Iranian families in recent years have
a negative impact on them,” Advisor Farahnaz Gandfurush said at a news
conference on Dec. 22.
Gandfurush criticized Iranian families for the fact that they fall under the influence of Western culture and the role of parents in them is declining. Women suffer from divorces most, she said. After divorce they try to support themselves in financial terms and to raise children. “According to statistics, Iranian courts filed criminal cases in connection with immorality for a third of divorced women,” said Gandfurush. She suggested funds from the budget to prevent divorces in the country.
NCRI Website - December 25, 2008
In a brutal act, the mullahs’ regime hanged nine
prisoners, including a woman, at dawn today in the notorious Evin Prison in
Tehran. Ali Sadeqi, 35, was tortured to death in the central prison of Isfahan,
central Iran, on December 21. Five prisoners were hanged in a prison in the holy
city of Qom on December18. Five others were hanged in a prison in the city of
northern Langroud on December13. Thus, the number of people executed or tortured
to death in December stands at least 40 and five respectively.
Los Angeles Times - December 31, 2008
Plainclothes security officials stormed the private
office of Iranian Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and seized
confidential files and records regarding her clients, the human rights lawyer
said Tuesday. Ebadi said five men describing themselves as tax inspectors barged
into her Tehran office Monday evening and began rummaging through her files.
They left with documents and two computers filled with sensitive data, she said.
"They inspected everything, such as the letters of my clients and my
correspondences with them," Ebadi said in a telephone interview. "My personal
writings were also examined and taken."
WFAFI News - January 4, 2009
The number of women who are the victims of domestic
violence in the past 3 years has increased, and unlike before, the number of
reports to medical and legal authorities have augmented as well. This statement
was presented by Mir Mohmmad Sadeghi, a member of the scientific committee in
Shaheed Beheshti Law School. Sadeghi participated in a 2 day seminar located at
the Center for Defense of Victims of Domestic Violence. The agenda of the
seminar was on the study and review of legal strategies for decreasing domestic
violence against women. The resolution of the seminar was: “Because of their
gender, women are a target for discrimination and physical abuse. Describing
their abuse is not limited to physical or mental abuse but also any action that
leaves a woman feeling inferior can also be considered abuse.” Mohammad
Sadeghi said: “Our laws [Iranian legal codes] are usually is based on gender,
they are either for or against women. He presented the example of “if a father
kills his child or steals his/her money there is no retaliation in exchange but
if the mother commits the same action she will be punished.” Another example
stated: “If a man sees his wife committing adultery he can legally kill both his
wife and her partner, but in the same scenario, if the woman sees her husband
she can not legally kill him.” He continued: “These days, crimes against women
have attracted attention and the campaign against any kind of discrimination and
abuse has been taken seriously. Therefore, Iran, which is also a part of the
world community, can not be careless when it comes to making legal reforms.
Agence France Presse - January 11, 2009
Two men have been stoned to death for adultery at a cemetery in the northeastern city of Mashhad while a third escaped with his life, the Iranian newspaper Etemad Melli reported on Sunday.The reformist daily, quoting a statement from a group of lawyers and women's rights activists, said the stoning was carried out at Behesht Reza cemetery in the first week of the Iranian month of Day, which runs from December 21 to 26.Eight women and two men are currently convicted to death by stoning in Iranian prisons, Etemad Melli said quoting rights activists, while the sentence has been commuted to jail terms and lashes for four other women.
The Washington Post - January 14, 2009
Two men convicted of adultery in the northeastern city of Mashhad were stoned to death in December, but a third convicted man escaped while the punishment was being carried out, a spokesman for Iran's judiciary said Tuesday. Ali Reza Jamshidi also said a moratorium on the controversial punishment, announced in 2002 by the head of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, was an advisory rather than an edict. "Judges can't act based simply on advisories by the head of the judiciary, since judges are independent," he said, according to the semiofficial Iranian Students' News Agency.Shahroudi's 2002 comments had suggested Iran was moving away from the practice. Since then, however, five people have been stoned after local judges issued the sentence, human rights groups in Iran say. It is not known how many people were stoned before the moratorium was announced. Amini, an independent journalist who specializes in human rights cases. "Today, the spokesperson says that judges can act independently and that punishments were carried out since then. This shows that even the word of the highest judicial authorities don't carry any weight." Jamshidi, the spokesman, said the judiciary is awaiting passage of a new law in which "some circumstances for the stoning punishment have been foreseen." He did not give a time frame. The bill does not call for the abolition of stoning, he said, but specifies that the punishment not be carried out if it insults the image of Islam. Amini said the proposed legislation would do nothing to prevent stoning, since it is unclear who would decide whether a particular sentence reflects badly on Islam. "These stoning verdicts are an insult to Islam, anyway," Amini said.
E-Zan Featured Reports
Women's Committee calls for action regarding situation of Iranian women
December 16, 2008
In a letter to UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Ms. Sarvnaz Chitsaz, Chair of the Women's Committee of the National
Council of Resistance of Iran, called on the international body to condemn
Iranian regimes' crimes against women and refer the dossier on the Tehran
regime's human rights abuses to the UN Security Council for the adoption of
urgent and mandatory measures.
Ms. Chitsaz stated in the letter that "based on reports, 18 imprisoned women died in Iran's Kahrizak prison (located in the southern suburbs of Tehran) due to inhuman and intolerable conditions of the prison. The regime's officials had reportedly incarcerated the 18 inmates in a metal mobile container during the scorching summer heat in August since there was space to be allotted to women in Kahrizak Prison. As a result of this criminal act and since the prisoners' problems were not resolved in time, they all died of dehydration and respiratory problems. Other prisoners found out about the tragedy after the stench of the decomposing corpses spread throughout the prison complex. The regime's henchmen not only made no attempt to take away the corpses, but they decided to leave them in the metal cells to create an atmosphere of terror and fear among the other prisoners. In a cover up, the Kahrizak prison authorities issued false claims and reports that the prisoners died of heart failure or committed suicide."
"Last month, in a comprehensive report, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, expressed the international community's worries about the increasing trend of human rights violations in Iran. On July 28, 2008, world media announced the mass execution of 29 people in the mullahs' Evin prison. The Figaro daily considered it at the time, "A new record of executions in Iran: 29 people in one day"! On the morning of November 26, 2008, a day after the international day of Violence against Women, in a criminal act, the mullahs' regime hanged 10 prisoners in the notorious Evin prison, including a 37-year-old woman," she added
She continued: "On January 1, 2008, Raheleh Zamani, 27, a mother of two children aged 3 and 5, was hanged in Iran. Shabnam Setayesh, 34, was hanged on August 28, 2008. And, similarly, on Wednesday, November 26, 2008, Fatemeh Haghighat Pajouh, a mother of a 14-year-old daughter, also fell victim to the noose along with 9 other prisoners."
"In recent months, the mullahs' regime has dramatically increased its suppression of Iranian women and youth. The suppressive measure announced on April 20, 2008 and referred to as "Social Safety," targeted various social sectors, and especially women and youth, under the pretexts of "mal-veiling" and "rounding up thugs and hooligans." In accordance with the regime's declared statistics, in the course of the implementation of various stages of this measure, well over 1,200,000 dignified and noble Iranian women faced street interrogations, thousands were detained, and a number of youth were hanged.
"The state-affiliated Fars News Agency reported that during the first three months of the current Persian calendar year, more than 200,000 people in the Isfahan and Eastern Azerbaijan provinces were arrested in streets and public places under the pretext of 'mal-veiling' (Fars, May 28, 2008).
"In the course of the implementation of the suppressive 'Social Safety' measure, the mullahs' regime also set up street trials and issued verdicts in public places. The state-affiliated Fars News Agency wrote in this regard, 'A judge from the court and judiciary, along with his officers, address cases and issue verdicts in walkways' (Fars, July 6, 2008).
"On behalf of the Women's Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, I bring to your attention the terrifying human rights situation in Iran, and especially the deteriorating conditions for Iranian women, and respectfully request you to adopt urgent measures and vehemently condemn these crimes. I also request that the human rights abuses dossier of the mullahs' religious dictatorship be referred to the UN Security Council for the adoption of urgent and mandatory measures," she said.
Women challenge Iran’s iron ceiling
By Hamida Ghafour
December 20. 2008
As calls for the improvement of women's rights in Iran have escalated in recent years, the government has shown less tolerance towards activists.
Esha Momeni, an American postgraduate student of Iranian origin, travelled to her homeland in October to research the women’s rights movement for a master’s thesis.
Instead, Ms Momeni, 28, a dual citizen, was arrested by the Iranian authorities and thrown into jail in Tehran on charges of “acting against national security”.
Only after her father put up the family home in Tehran as US$200,000 (Dh720,000) collateral was she released on bail, but instead of returning to California, she remains virtually under house arrest because the authorities refuse to return her passport.
“She has some anxiety problems because she told us how she was kept in solitary confinement when I last spoke to her two weeks ago,” said her friend, Roja Bandari, 28, an Iranian doctorate student, who lives in the United States.
“Esha’s family in Tehran have been ordered by intelligence officials not to speak to the media. It is an emotional game, we don’t know what the mentality is of the officials and we don’t know what will happen to her.”
Her arrest is part of an escalating campaign of harassment and intimidation against women’s rights campaigners in the Islamic republic who are becoming bolder in calling for change to a Sharia system they say discriminates against women.
Last week, authorities stopped Nasrin Sotoudeh, a lawyer, from leaving the country to collect an award from Human Rights International in Rome. Mrs Sotoudeh said her passport was confiscated.
She has worked on behalf of several women who have been arrested because of their affiliation with the Million Signatures Campaign, a grassroots organisation active in 15 provinces that is collecting signatures for a petition that calls for reformation of discriminatory laws.
Ms Momeni was interviewing its members for her thesis at California State University.
“Our actions are not against the law, we are not opposed to the government, it is civil action so the authorities try to stop us to make us afraid and make others afraid to continue,” said Parvin Ardalan, 41, a leading member of the campaign speaking from Tehran. She is appealing a six-month jail sentence after being convicted of “spreading propaganda against the Islamic system” in September and is forbidden from travelling outside Iran.
The Million Signatures Campaign, which will not reveal how many signatures it has collected since it was launched in Aug 2006, is probably the most high-profile organisation working to change the legal status of women. It was launched by a group of lawyers, journalists and social workers following violent street protests.
So far, 45 members have been arrested.
In September, reformers won a rare victory when a bill that would allow men to take a second wife without consent from the first was shelved.
However, there are still many other laws on the books the campaign is seeking to change. Girls are considered criminally responsible from the age of nine and can be executed for their crimes, but the age of criminal responsibility for boys is 15. A woman’s life is worth half that of a man and she will receive half the compensation if injured in an accident.
“Inheritance is another problem,” said Ms Ardalan, a book editor. “My father is dead and my brother got more money than me, my sister and mother. But if a woman is one of eight children, how can she tolerate it? She will not be able to live.”
Campaign supporters said their demands are not contradictory to Islam because ayatollahs, the highest authority in Shiite Islam, in the past have offered new and progressive interpretations of Sharia law to keep up with contemporary times.
The Iranian women’s movement is also one of the most well-organised social movements in the country, according to a report by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.
This is partly because during the government of the previous president, Mohammad Khatami, a reformer, 600 non-governmental organisations were set up to encourage respect for women’s rights.
Iran also has a young population – half are under the age of 25 – and female students now outnumber men in universities. For many, it is during these years that they become aware of small inequalities.
“I remember in high school in Tehran there was freedom and I felt like a boy,” said Ms Bandari, an engineering student who now lives in California. “But when I went to university I noticed women were not congregating in the general areas for example. You’d get out of class and went immediately to the cafeteria. It was an unspoken rule. When I asked one of our male instructors why this was happening he just laughed.”
A well-educated female population challenging men for jobs has prompted some parliamentarians to demand a bill that would impose quota limits on female students in areas where they outnumber men.
“You have educated women who are naturally responding and reacting to the fact that they are not treated equally,” said Andrew Anderson, the deputy director of Front Line, a Dublin-based human rights organisation which is defending the cases of 100 female activists in Iran, including Ms Momeni.
“The strategy of the authorities seems to be to tie them up in the legal system. They get suspended sentences, they are kept in the legal system. There is brutality but they are also taking an approach designed to appear less brutal. The majority of human rights defenders are denied movement.”
Critics said the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his hardline supporters have set back the cause of women and point to the programme for social safety launched last year where police vans are dispatched to strategic locations so they can monitor and arrest women wearing clothing considered un-Islamic.
There is growing speculation that Mr Khatami will stand for office in the next election and continue to push for reform. Earlier this week he told an auditorium of university students in the capital that he was still considering it.
Maryam Rajavi, an Iranian Pasionaria*
By Augusta Conchiglia and Majed Nehmé
Following is the translation from French of an interview with Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect by the monthly Africa-Asia which appeared in its December 2008 issue.
Maryam Rajavi was born in 1953 into a middle-class family in Tehran. She is the mother of a 24 year-old daughter, and graduated with a metallurgy degree from Sharif University in Tehran. She became an activist against the Shah’s regime in the 1970s. After entering university, she quickly became a leader in the student movement, and joined the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI), a Muslim democratic nationalist organization which seeks the establishment of a democratic government based on pluralism and the separation of church and state in Iran.
The Shah’s regime executed Narges, one of Maryam’s sisters, while the Khomeini regime later executed one of her other sisters, Masoumeh. Masuomeh lost her life in 1982 under torture and was eight months pregnant at the time. Her husband, Mahmoud Izadkhah, also met the same fate.
After the overthrow of the Shah, Maryam became one of the main figures in the PMOI and had a leading role in attracting university students to this organization, while the PMOI transformed into the main opposition movement against the mullahs’ regime. In 1980, Maryam became a candidate from Tehran in parliamentary elections, and despite widespread voting fraud, she gained 250,000 votes.
Maryam Rajavi was influential in organizing two peaceful protests in Tehran in April and June 1981 against the newly formed dictatorship. On June 21, 1981, Iranians experienced Khomeini’s terrorizing rule. Tens of thousands were arrested and executed. In 1982, Maryam traveled to Paris, and in 1985 she was elected as the co-Secretary General of the PMOI. Four years later in 1989, at a congress of the organization, she was elected as the Secretary General of the PMOI. Then, in August 1993, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the Parliament-in-exile, elected her as the President-elect for the transition period after the mullahs’ overthrow.
In her new position as the President-elect, Maryam became an extraordinary political, social, cultural, and ideological challenge against the ruling mullahs. Under her leadership, women attained key positions within the Resistance’s ranks. Half of the NCRI’s membership is made up of women. They have responsibilities in political, international relations, social, and cultural spheres within the Resistance.
Maryam has sponsored numerous conferences on her favorite topic, a modern and democratic Islam that is opposed to the reactionary and fundamentalist religious interpretation. She believes the most important demarcation between these two completely opposing view points is highlighted by the issue of women. Some of the texts of her conference speeches are published as books, including “Strengthening the Status of Women,” “Islam, Women, and Equality,” and “Islamic Fundamentalism and Women.”
Maryam Rajavi: No War, No Mullahs
Interviewed by Augusta Conchiglia and Majed Nehmé
In glaring detail, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, analyzes the fascist nature of the mullahs’ regime, and explains how the people of Iran, thanks to 30 years of resistance, will successfully overthrow the regime, if the West decides to finally take a neutral stance.
“If the Resistance constitutes a threat to the regime, it is because it has relied on the Iranian people.”
“To bring about change in Iran, we neither want money nor weapons. Rather, we ask that the West stay neutral.”
Q: You are the first woman in the Islamic world to lead a wide-ranging resistance against a religious dictatorship. If the resistance which you symbolize obtains victory, what kind of reforms would you institute when it comes to the status of women?
The most evident characteristic of the fundamentalist regime ruling Iran is its animosity toward women. Women in Iran have tolerated the highest degree of oppression. Tens of thousands of women in Iran have been executed for opposing this regime. We could not have stood against such a regime without full belief in equality as well as a practical commitment to it. The struggle against religious fascism and the issue of equality are two sides of the same coin for us. The increasing prominence of women’s role within the Iranian resistance movement has endowed our movement with a high degree of dynamism. Currently, 1,000 dependable Muslim PMOI women in Ashraf City symbolize the true strength and competence of an Iranian woman. Moreover, 52% of the 530-member parliament of the Resistance [NCRI] is made up of women. Naturally, acknowledgement of equal rights for women in political leadership of tomorrow’s Iran is one of this movement’s goals. In the future Iran all injustices and discrimination against women in the spheres of inheritance, judicial testimony, and child custody, will come to an end, and they will have equal rights with men, including the right to divorce, freely choose a spouse, free choice of clothing, selecting an occupation as well as equal pay for equal amount of work. We believe that no democracy in the world would be complete without completely implementing equality.
Q: Thirty years after the institution of the Islamic Republic in Iran, how do you see the situation in today’s Iran?
The Iranian regime has been mired in a deep crisis. The regime’s social base in the Iranian society has reached its lowest possible level, and does not exceed 3% of the population. These are essentially made up of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the ruling mullahs’ factions. For example, during the sham parliamentary elections in March, according to official figures, those with the most number of votes in the largest cities, could not muster more than 4 to 12% of the eligible votes. Of course, even these numbers offered by the regime are not credible.
Deteriorating Morale of the Mullahs
Despite astonishing oil revenues, Iran is one of the five countries in the world facing high inflation, and is ranked alongside countries such as Zimbabwe and Eritrea. 80% of the people live in poverty and six million experience hunger. This situation has led to despair and conflict within the ranks of the regime. There is widespread defections among the commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Many officials prefer to resign fearing the regime’s waning conditions.
Fortunately, the organized networks of resistance inside Iran have grown during the past year. Last October, they distributed 9 million copies of the message issued by the Resistance’s leader across Iran. They organized many acts of protest among students, workers, women, and even Bazaar merchants. In a separate development, the regime announced that 20 people have been arrested in northern Tehran for sending SMS mobile messages in support of the Iranian Resistance, but this could not hamper the spread of SMS messages of this sort.
Last year, the people of Iran carried out more than 5,000 acts of protest against the mullahs and demonstrated their strong demand for change.
The mullahs have only survived through brutal suppression, and by the public hanging of youth and adolescents using construction cranes, amputation of hands in public locations, and stoning.
Q: Do these acts that you speak of symbolize the opposition against the regime, or are they movements that have little resonance without prompting worries on the part of the regime?
These movements are both widespread and also strongly feared by the regime. That is why the regime suppresses them intensely. The merchants’ strike in the Bazaars of Tehran and other towns, which took place for the first time during the rule of the mullahs, shocked the regime to the extent that it was forced to retreat from its position as a result.
The number of students who for years have been imprisoned for participating in student protests has increased day by day. In spite of this, there is an increasing trend in the number of these protests. In recent weeks, we witnessed a number of student protests and worker strikes. We saw protests by the people of Kermanshah against the murder of a PMOI member in prison and under torture. In a word, more than anything else, the regime itself knows the significance and the danger embodied in people’s reactions. The regime fears that these acts would one day create a storm which could uproot the entire regime.
Q: What is your proposed solution? How can we prevent another war in the Middle East?
The formulation of “either appeasement or war” is a deceptive one. We oppose another war in the Middle East, and the consequences of the Iraq war are evident. On the other hand, we oppose the continuation of appeasement and cooperation of the West with the mullahs. The people of Iran and the Iranian Resistance have paid a high price for such appeasement. Rather, we propose a third option: Democratic change in Iran through the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance. This is the only way to prevent war.
There are a number of factors that can make change by the people of Iran and their organized resistance a reality.
Today, this resistance enjoys a broad social base inside and outside of Iran.
The social networks of the Resistance organize most of the protests carried out by students, teachers, and workers.
Thanks to this resistance network, the smallest facts about human rights, the regime’s nuclear weapons program, or its export of terror are exposed.
Additionally, this Resistance has an extensive organization outside Iran among Iranian exiles. At a 70,000-strong gathering in Paris, Iranians voiced their support for the Iranian Resistance.
Q: Is the Iranian exile community separate from the rest of the Iranian population?
Without a doubt, the answer is no. Adopting the most conservative assumption, they represent middle-class and urban Iranians who have been the backbone of all historical developments in Iran during the past century.
The Iranian Resistance has an enduring coalition, namely the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which has put forward specific plans and a platform for the transition period. The NCRI represents a broad spectrum of political, ethnic, and religious forces from the Iranian people. The member forces and parties of the NCRI are united in their goal of overthrowing the mullahs’ regime and establishing a republic based on democracy and separation of church and state.
On the other hand, in view of the fact that the backbone of the NCRI is the PMOI, which espouses a tolerant and democratic Islam, the NCRI also represents a cultural alternative against the fundamentalist mullahs.
For the past 30 years, this Resistance has stood against the mullahs. Neither the most brutal forms of suppression in history, including the execution of 120,000 Resistance activists, nor the cooperation of western governments with the regime, and not even bombings during the [Iraq] War could not break the Resistance’s back. Quite the contrary, through it all, the Resistance has become stronger and more determined than ever before to continue with its struggle. The secret to its survival must be sought in two factors. One is the profoundly democratic relations within this Resistance, and the other is its sole reliance on the people of Iran. This is in stark contrast with what the propaganda of the regime and its lobbyists have attempted to portray. One day they said that the Soviet Union supports the PMOI. The next day they mentioned the US, and on other occasions Iraq, Israel, France, etc. If this was the case, then the PMOI would have been destroyed a thousand times through each of the changes that took place in the world and in the region. In fact, the PMOI has, is, and will be relying on the people of Iran alone.
For all these reasons, the Iranian Resistance represents the most significant threat to the regime’s existence. Incidentally, since the regime is fully aware of this fact, it is doing everything in its power to bring the West in line to jointly suppress the Resistance, and all of its worries and its propaganda revolves around the Resistance.
When obstacles such as the terror listing are removed from the path of the PMOI, the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance can actualize change quickly.
Q: How can one discover the extent of support for the Resistance in view of the fear inside Iran?
It’s simple: Pressure the mullahs to accept free elections under the auspices of the international community so that the extent of popular support for any political force, including the Iranian Resistance, could be determined. The reason that the regime is unwilling to positively respond to our invitation is that it knows by experience that the smallest political breathing room would transform the PMOI into the largest political party in Iran. After the overthrow of the Shah, as acknowledged by the regime’s officials, the PMOI had half a million cadres, and the publication of its weekly, Mojahed, surpassed 600,000, which is the most copies ever sold.
In the past three decades, this Resistance, through its reliance on vast social support, despite all the pressures imposed on it, has been able to remain an independent movement, and stand on its own feet in financial, political, and social terms.
The best criterion for evaluating the influence and ability of this Resistance for brining about change is the fear and trepidation that the mullahs express with regards to the Resistance. The Wall Street Journal wrote in an article on October 23, that the Iranian regime has put forward the demand for the terrorist labeling of the PMOI as one of its highest priority demands in its diplomatic relations with other countries. In fact, there is no diplomatic exchange in which the main demand of the mullahs is not restricting the Resistance’s activities. Following its return from Iran, a delegation from the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee was shocked about the extent of the hysteria exhibited by the regime’s officials towards the PMOI. Hundreds of other examples abound.
While the regime even pressures the supportive families of Resistance activists inside Iran, this movement’s gatherings in various countries attract tens of thousands each time.
Q: In view of all this, the European court has once again ruled to remove the PMOI from the terror list. Would the European court verdicts be successful to one day force the European Union to delist the PMOI?
This is a question that must be put to the Council of Ministers. How far are they willing to go in breaking the law and violating court rulings? This is a grave test for politicians, to choose between economic interests and the rule of law.
But if you ask me, I think justice is still valuable for some, and in Europe there are conscious and principled people who force their own governments to respect the law. Don’t forget that the British government ultimately removed the PMOI from the list of proscribed organizations only after parliamentarians brought court actions and after court rulings and the unanimous vote to this effect in both houses of the Parliament. One can compare this unprecedented victory in Iranian history to the victory obtained by [Dr. Mohammad] Mossaddeq and the Iranian people at the Hague against Britain regarding the nationalization of oil. In that court, the ruling was issued by an honorable British judge. Today, everyone knows that the listing of the PMOI has been discredited and is the result of a dirty deal with the mullahs.
Q: Today, Britain has backed away from labeling the PMOI as terrorists. Which country is now behind the listing of the PMOI?
The basis relied on by the Council of Ministers for this shameful act is an empty case in France against Iranian Resistance activists. The case which opened in 2001 and is itself the consequence of a dirty deal between the then government of France and the mullahs’ regime.
In June and July, the Iranian Resistance exposed how, following the British court rulings and the removal of the PMOI from this country’s terror list, the mullahs approached France and signed deals with them so that France would sanction the maintenance of the PMOI on the list. In the course of a month, the French ambassador in Tehran and the Iranian regime’s ambassador in Paris met with respective foreign ministry officials. The regime relied on huge oil companies to force the French government to carry out this illegal action. By referring to an ignominious 2001 case against some Resistance activists which had been opened at the behest of the Iranian regime, the government requested the maintenance of the PMOI on the list. This act marks an enormous embarrassment.
The Empty Case
We have been requesting for a long time that the case in France against Resistance activists be brought to court. But, apparently no one has dared to do so, and it is certain that such a court would not become a tool for the regime and its allies. So far, whenever a court in France has reviewed cases regarding members and sympathizers of this Resistance, it has ruled in their favor. I have no doubt that this case, which has greatly helped the mullahs’ regime to continue their suppression, would bring enormous embarrassment for those who initiated it.
Q: Is the attainment of nuclear energy not a national issue? Why should nuclear technology be opposed?
The nuclear program of the mullahs is an anti-nationalistic project under the control of the IRGC for the attainment of a nuclear weapon meant to guarantee the regime’s survival, while the majority of the Iranian people desire the regime’s overthrow. As such, in reaction to the regime’s mantra of “nuclear technology is our inalienable right,” students and workers in all their protests chant “freedom is our inalienable right,” and scorn the regime’s slogans.
From any angle that you look at it, this program has an anti-nationalistic goal. In a January 2004 classified report which was drafted by the Research Center of the regime’s Parliament and obtained by the Iranian Resistance, it has been stated that, “In view of the abundance of natural gas in the country, it is not clear on the basis of what sort of economic or technical justification and on the basis of which human labor or practical potential, and most importantly, on the basis of which uranium supplies, the officials at Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency make their claims about production of electricity by nuclear plants. Especially in view of the fact that Iran is incredibly poor in terms of supply of uranium.” This report concludes that, “As such, all that has been invested will go to waste.” This is said in circumstances where the country does not have enough refinery plants to produce the required amount of gasoline.
The mullahs are not after nuclear fuel for the production of electricity. Rather, they are pursuing nuclear weapons, and that is why they kept this program secret for 18 years, until the Resistance finally unveiled it. The first ones to bear the detriment of the mullahs obtaining a nuclear weapon would be the Iranian people and then the region, especially Arab countries neighboring Iran, since the regime would rely on the bomb to export terrorism and its fanatic ideology.
Q: In view of what happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, would you support a military attack against Iran with the aim of regime change?
Changing the regime is the responsibility and duty of the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance. The way to obtain this change is not through foreign military intervention, and no one would favor the repeat of the Iraq experience in Iran. But, if we reflect on the facts, we would soon discover that the question is not whether the US would attack or not.
The main question is whether it would acknowledge the Iranian people’s free choice to resist. And, will it decide to stay neutral between the Iranian people and the religious dictatorship ruling Iran? The question is how far the West wants to go in making concessions towards the mullahs.
The historical irony is that despite the fact that the mullahs’ regime has been chanting slogans against the West, at the same time, no regime has benefited from the West to the extent that the Khomeini regime has. One should not forget that the policy of appeasement vis-à-vis a war mongering regime would ultimately result in war.
Q: What is your demand from western governments?
The first request the people of Iran would make from the West is to be neutral in the fight between the Iranian people and the regime. They should avoid hampering the Iranian Resistance’s activities and stop placing obstacles against the Iranian people’s will to bring about change. This is unfortunately what they have been doing to this day. With the aid of money and technology and kowtowing to the mullahs’ demands in terms of listing the PMOI, western governments have enabled the religious dictatorship in Iran to survive.
As well, if the international community wants to avoid another destructive war in the Middle East, it should implement comprehensive diplomatic, technological, weapons, and oil sanctions against the regime.
This would weaken the regime and make more accessible the ultimate solution, which is change of this regime by the Iranian people and the Iranian Resistance.
Q: In the United States, a president was elected who is more willing to negotiate with the regime in Tehran. How do you see this new development in Washington?
There are two sides to every negotiation. The Iranian regime has predetermined the fate of any negotiations between itself and the US. Otherwise, as far as the US is concerned, the previous government was also not unwilling to negotiate either. It was the Iranian regime that was neither willing nor able to back away from its objectives. This is a historical experience. Now, too, the results of any negotiations would not be anything but failure, and, of course, granting more opportunity to the Iranian regime to reach its objectives.
The Myth of a “Moderate Mullah”
During the 27 months after the Shah’s overthrow, we also tried to reform this regime from within. But, ultimately, we concluded that there is no such potential within this medieval regime. More than anyone else, a reformed regime would have benefited the people and the Iranian Resistance. The West also navigated that territory and it failed. America’s persisting policy, whether under a Democrat or a Republican administration, has been appeasement. But, this policy has failed because not only did it not result in the rise of a “moderate” mullah in Iran, it rather brought the most extremist and fascist factions to power, one of whose symbols is Ahmadinejad. I don’t think that negotiations with the regime would go far unless one would acknowledge the hegemony of a medieval and brutal regime equipped with a nuclear weapon over an important part of the world. Fortunately, Mr. Obama announced in his first speech that obtaining nuclear weapons by the Iranian regime is not acceptable and western countries must prevent such an outcome.
Both the US and European policies must change course. In view of the US presidential elections, the West has now the opportunity to do this.
The West must know that the Iranian people are determined to uproot the mullahs and establish a democratic and anti-fundamentalist system in Iran. This is the Iranian people’s right and therefore it is beneficial for the rest of the world to respect this right.
Q: There has been a rumor spreading among some analysts that one of America’s options is to use the PMOI in another war. Would you confirm this?
We have heard these sorts of false propaganda for years. The objective of this propaganda is to taint the image of the Resistance and to also prevent the formation of a resolute policy by the world against the regime. Without a doubt, after a technical analysis of the regime’s propaganda, we would conclude that no intelligence service in the world is as gifted as the mullahs and their Gestapo, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, in spreading lies and deceptions. As you know, the main source of the false intelligence with regards to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were the Iranian mullahs who wanted to use it to set the stage for war and cover up their own weapons of mass destruction projects.
Spending millions of dollars through its lobbies, the regime is behind this propaganda campaign. I have explained many times that we do not want money or weapons, whether it be from Europe or the US. We just want them to stay neutral. This is our highest demand. The people of Iran are heirs to a great civilization and can by themselves and with the help of a 30-year-old resistance actualize democratic change in their own country.
Q: The previous American administration, despite declaring that the mullahs’ regime is a threat, handed Iraq in a silver platter to Tehran. How do you analyze this dichotomy?
This shows that war was from the outset the wrong option. It allowed the mullahs to send tens of thousands of their agents to Iraq and commit terror and brutal murders there. I referred to the regime’s deceptive campaign earlier. The indubitable fact that the Iranian Resistance mentioned since day one is that Islamic fundamentalism, whose heart beats in Tehran under the rule of the mullahs, is the biggest threat to peace, security, and stability of the world. It is the common enemy of all the countries and the peoples of the region. Naturally, the Iranian regime has attempted and is still trying to reverse this picture. Therefore, independent of the desires of this or that country, when you appease this regime, you end up allowing it to forge ahead. Iraq is a clear example of where this wrong policy would lead to. In 2003, I warned that the threat posed by the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq is hundreds of times more serious than the threat of its building a nuclear bomb. But this warning was not heeded. The result was that today, as has been stated in a declaration signed by 5.2 million Iraqis: The mullahs’ Iran has carried out a secret occupation of Iraq and prevents the establishment of security, stability and democracy in Iraq, and it also hampers Iraq’s independence, and consequently, it has become an obstacle to a quick withdrawal of the Multi-National Forces from Iraq.
Q: In recent weeks there have been many reports about the transfer of Ashraf City’s protection. What is the situation there?
The issue is regarding 3,500 PMOI members residing in Ashraf City who have received international attention. The regime in Tehran attempts to destroy Ashraf City, which is the source of resistance and hope against fundamentalism. The regime carries out these attempts while simultaneously carrying out missile attacks against Ashraf City. In my opinion, the issue of Ashraf is a grave test in compliance with the rule of law. According to leading experts, the protection of Ashraf must be carried out by US forces.
The United Nations Secretary General, international human rights organizations, parliaments of various countries, the European Parliament, and the Council of Europe have stressed the rights of Ashraf City residents. Here I will refer to a statement by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on October 2, which says, “Transferring the protection of Ashraf under the current circumstances amounts to violating the principle of non-refoulement, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Refugees Convention, the Convention Against Torture, International Humanitarian Law, and international laws. It would lead to a human catastrophe. Therefore, we demand from US forces to continue protecting Ashraf residents as long as they remain in Iraq, and uphold their legal protection in accordance with international laws.”
Here I call upon all human rights advocates and democratic and freedom-loving forces to rise up and support Ashraf residents in order to prevent the occurrence of a human catastrophe.
Q: We see an increase in Shiite-Sunni rivalry in the Muslim and Arab world. Does the Iranian regime fan the flames of this rivalry? What lies behind the conflict? And, how do you evaluate the American policy which has led to the escalation of this conflict?
The truth of the matter is that in the world of Islam the fight is not between Shiites and Sunnis. The actual conflict is between a democratic and tolerant Islam on the one hand and Islamic fundamentalism on the other. Indeed, any sort of fundamentalism represents a misguided interpretation of Islam, and this is the foundation of the terrorism and fundamentalism fueled by the Iranian regime. As far as the objectives of the mullahs are concerned, the goal is to dominate the Islamic world. Now, it can do this through Shiite fundamentalist forces or at other time it would also do this through Sunni fundamentalist forces. For example, in Palestine, it supports some fundamentalist Sunni movements. The regime’s actions are in effect irrelevant to Shiites and are condemned by the majority of the latter. This regime is the biggest enemy of Islam and Shiites. Naturally, wherever the regime has an open hand to intervene like the case is in Iraq, it fans the flames of this false conflict so that it could take advantage of it.
Q: Iran, under the guise of providing aid for development, seeks to advocate Shiite religion in African countries. What are the real aims of the regime’s activities?
The issue is not at all about Shiites and Sunnis. The issue concerns the expansion of fundamentalism and Islamic extremism anywhere it is possible to do so. Not only in Africa but also in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the majority of Islamic countries, the regime also attempts to funnel large sums of money or dispatch mullahs to implement its disgraceful policies. What the regime exports to these countries is first veiled as aid. Later, it advocates not religion, but the notion of velayat-e faqih [the supremacy of clerical rule] which has nothing to do with Islam. It then begins to recruit and dispatch its Qods Force agents. As a next step, it pursues political dominance, and to implement its goals it pursues terrorism, murder and brutality. This regime is the biggest enemy of Islam, Shiites, and the Prophet. Unfortunately, in this regard, through exploiting the lack of widespread knowledge about its true aims and by also exploiting poverty among other peoples it has progressed in meddling in some countries in a dangerous way. It is certain that the regime’s goal is not to spur development, since if this was the case, before starting development in other countries it would have started development and progress inside Iran and would not have had the tainted record it has now.
Q: We see that some countries in Latin America, such as Venezuela under Chavez, are getting closer to the Iranian regime. Does this not demonstrate that Iran under Ahmadinejad has become the leading force of struggle against the US?
The velayat-e faqih regime in Iran as well as Ahmadinejad symbolize deception and charade. While they claim to defend the poor and the needy, they have increased the levels of poverty and hunger in Iran itself. While they hang individuals for the possession of drugs, the regime’s officials lead and encourage the main smuggling networks for drugs and trading Iranian women and girls. They tell their audience that they are after peace and stability in the region, but behind the scenes, they help the most criminal terrorist groups who target innocent civilians. Therefore, no one should be deceived by their slogans and rhetoric. For this regime, its rhetoric against the US is only a tool for implementing suppression and fear inside the country.
After the  revolution, Khomeini suppressed freedoms with the help of this slogan and usurped political power. The democratic front that formed around Massoud Rajavi at the time against Khomeini’s dictatorship used to say that without democracy the revolution would fall victim to deviation. And, that is exactly what happened.
Freedom at any Cost
One must not cooperate with the religious fascism ruling Iran under any pretext or slogan. Countries which align their fate with the fate of this dictatorship commit a grave error in their calculations, which will be detrimental to both the Iranian people and the people of their own countries. They must end any cooperation with this regime as soon as possible.
Q: In this struggle, have you also lost many of your closest relatives? And, now, your own life is under constant threat. Do you ever think about this?
When you are faced with a dark and ruthless dictatorship which has executed 120,000 political prisoners, and has committed at least 450 terrorist acts outside Iran, everything is imaginable. Many of my companions and friends have lost their lives in the course of this struggle. During the Shah’s time, one of my sisters was martyred, and during Khomeini’s rule, my other sister was taken to the torture chamber when she was pregnant, and was later martyred along with her spouse. They murdered my spouse’s sister, Monireh, during the 1988 massacre, and Massoud’s older brother, Kazem Rajavi, was assassinated in Geneva in 1990. This is the fate that of course any of the families who have decided to resist could face. Against all this dictatorship and ruthlessness we are determined to create a bright future for our people. To reach such a valuable goal, we have prepared ourselves to pay whatever price that is required.
A Regime which Must be Resisted
“The Iran for which we struggle can be described as such: A democratic Iran, which is pluralist, peaceful, and is not pursuing a nuclear program. We seek the establishment of a parliamentary republic which is based on the separation of church and state. We want to abolish capital punishment. In the future Iran, women will enjoy equal rights with men. Religious and ethnic minorities will have equal rights. In our opinion, the mullahs’ Sharia laws must be rejected. We want to institute a modern judicial system based on the right of innocence, the right to defense, the right to appeal, the right to have a public trial, as well as the full independence of judges. In tomorrow’s Iran, free market will be respected. And, we want to put an end to the poverty, unemployment, hunger, and drug addiction, all of which are the result of the current regime’s policies. And, we want a society on the basis of productive relations which is founded on freedom, justice, and popular rule.”
After the Mullahs…
“The first task of the Resistance after the overthrow is transferring power to the people, and as a consequence, it is to conduct free elections. Democracy is both a method and as well as an ideal for us. This Resistance’s commitment to democracy in its decision making and its internal and external relations is the most important factor in its survival against a brutal tyranny and will guarantee its future. As such, the National Council of Resistance of Iran has committed to conduct free parliamentary elections only six months after the mullahs have been overthrown, so that it can transfer the control of the country to this elected legislative assembly. Six months is a very short time. Nonetheless, this would be the most important task of the transition government. Naturally, one of the first initiatives of the transition government would be to abolish all the suppressive organs and revolutionary courts.”
*Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, also known as La Pasionaria (the passion flower) (December 9, 1895–November 12, 1989), was a Spanish political leader. She was Secretary General of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) (1944–1960), President of the Communist Party of Spain (1960–1989), and a member of the Cortes (1936 and 1977–1979).
Premarital sex on rise as Iranians delay marriage, survey finds
By Robert Tait
December 29, 2008
Rising numbers of Iranians are spurning marriage and
having sex illegally outside wedlock, Iran's state-run body for youth affairs
A survey by the national youth organisation found that more than one in four men aged 19 to 29 had experienced sex before marriage. About 13% of such cases resulted in unwanted pregnancies that led to abortions. Sex outside marriage and abortion are outlawed under Iran's Islamic legal code.
The survey also revealed that the average marrying age had risen to 40 for men and 35 for women, a blow to the government's goal of promoting marriage to shore up society's Islamic foundations.
The statistics were disclosed by the national youth organisation's social-cultural deputy, Ali Alkbar Asarnia, at a conference celebrating family values and were widely reported in Iranian media. However, the organisation later attempted to dismiss the findings as based on an unrepresentative sample and attacked media outlets that reported them.
Asarnia said Iran had around 15 million single young people and that 1.5 million more were becoming eligible for marriage each year. Seven million were already past the government's recommended marrying guideline age of 29. The trend was producing the "unpleasant and dangerous social side effects" of premarital sex, Asarnia said.
The government has already tried to boost the marriage rate, which had an unprecedented 1.2% decline in 2005. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has introduced a £720m "Reza love fund" - named after one of Shia Islam's 12 imams - to provide marriage loans. Plans have been announced to establish marriage bureaux to help people find partners.
Many blame economic circumstances for their failure to marry, citing high inflation, unemployment and a housing shortage along with cultural traditions that expect brides' families to provide dowries and husbands to commit themselves to mehrieh, an agreed cash gift.
However, Hojatoleslam Ghasem Ebrahimipour, a sociologist, told Shabestan news agency that the trend was due to the availability of premarital sex, and feminism among educated women. "When a woman is educated and has an income, she does not want to accept masculine domination through marriage," he said.
Support women's struggle in Iran
By Morteza Sadeqi
January, 12 2009
Source: Borås Tidning Sweden
Following is a translation of the text from Swedish
Iran is unique as the first country in which Islamic fundamentalists managed to attain power and institutionalize its medieval world. A monopolistic, brutal, dogmatic, disadvantage and terror political system that strives to preserve and expand Velay-e-fagih (absolute clerical supremacy).
Gender Segregation and discrimination against women is a fundamental social and legal component.
Iran's Misogyny State supports gender inequality with a series of laws that go so far as to legalize the rape and murder of women. Extensive arrests, torture, flogging and stoning of women occurs. In its November 2008 report, said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon deep concern over "cases of stoning and public executions." The ruling clergy's "hatred of women" is partly based on fear.
Over 60 percent of Iran's 70 million inhabitants are under 30, nearly half are women. Moreover, 60 percent of university students are women. The lack of professional and social opportunities and increasing discrimination, has fueled dissent among women, posing a national threat to the "rulers". It should, of course be noted that the regime in Tehran has sadistic hostility toward women. Velay-e-faqi's rule is the opposite of Islam.
The principle of equality regardless of gender, race or ethnicity, is one of the pillars of the true Islamic faith. Women should participate equally in the political leadership.
In order to promote regional hegemony, the regime is going full speed ahead to develop nuclear weapons. The regime's survival depends on the continued oppression - especially against women - and the export of fundamentalism and terrorism. By ignoring these fundamental features of Iran's theocracy, the U.S. authorities in a way, tried to involve Iran in the hope of changing the regime's behavior.
No body, however, committed has been committed to the Iranian people, or more specifically, the Iranian women and their movement for change. Currently 3,500 members of the main Iranian opposition are living in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, where they have been recognized as "protected persons" under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Nearly 1,000 of them are women, many of them had for years been detained in Iranian prisons and torture.
The least expensive and most efficient way to bring about change in Iran is to rely on the strength of the Iranian people, its women and its organized opposition for democratic change. A new U.S. course by Barack Obama administration could turn around the whole thing.
The foundation for democracy in Iran will benefit from the lessons that history has offered us. Before the Second World War, Sir Winston Churchill warned of appeasement toward Hitler's regime. But many, including the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, advocated conciliation with Germany. In the end, the agreement between Britain and Hitler, won him the crucial time to prepare, before he launched his attack against Europe.
When the international community increasingly recognizes that Iran's rulers are illegitimate, they must also recognize the legitimacy of the democratic opposition with the same gravity.
In combination with increased international diplomacy Mr. Obama has in mind toward Iran, he should consider Iranian women and their organized democratic opposition as a partner in the establishment of democracy in Iran and stability in the region.
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Volume 56, January 15, 2009
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