Dr. M. Firouzian

There are two points with respect to the trends of change in Iran: Firstly, both the American authorities and the majority of Iranians are tired of the Islamic Republic and have lost their trust in the reforms within the system. It may be said that President Khatami has also lost confidence to pursue systematic change of the regime. Secondly, neither the Americans nor Iranians like change through violence, bloodshed, civil strife and military intervention.

There are three concerns in this direction: Firstly, America to continue with its diplomatic pressure on the clergies of Tehran may not have definite support of the Europeans. The Europeans to preserve their economic interests in Iran would convince the Iranian government to allow I.A.E.A. a sudden inspection, to soften their stance about the political transition in Iraq and also to be tolerant of the activities of freethinkers at home.

Secondly, the ongoing opposition and demonstrations in the streets of Iran which happens occasionally, seems to be a shock on the Islamic Republic rather than being a systematic challenge to proceeding with reforms. The movement is not politically organized and lacks a proper sketch to put the original aims to effect. In fact, Iranian opposition groups abroad and the activists at home could bring their views closer and develop trust and tolerance with each other in order to manage an actual and dynamic socio-political transformation. Today, considerable influence of the Persian web sites, Persian service of foreign radios, satellite TVs and most importantly application of new methods of logical and rational journalism, would surely play constructive roles for improvement of dialogue between Iranians and help public awareness about failures of the stagnant government and its ideological reforms. However, still there is no reliable coalition and fair coordination among the opposition groups and activists. Unfortunately, there is no determination to shape and plan for an interim government to govern during the transition period and ensure national integrity if the developments cause a collapse of the regime. We must not delay. We should work to harmonize and formulize activities during the remaining presidency of Khatami. It is urgent to create a working group to reach a unanimous decision for the next election, for instance to boycott the election. We have to carefully consider people?s feelings and opinions. It was a blow to nationalists? reputation when they nominated their candidates for the recent election while people were totally disappointed. We should be cautious that criticism of Khatami?s unexpected moderation with the dictators should not lead to a split among the reformists. The movement needs leadership and to organize this, impartiality, sacrifice to the nation, close contacts between politicians and intellectuals and in the long run democratic attitude are necessary.

Thirdly, we must not ignore the manner of Republicans in America. They always displayed sharp and serious foreign policy either against dictators or in favor of them. At the same time, they have shown several times before that they ignored future scenarios just to obtain short-term goals. The anxiety is that if the Iranian leadership compromises with President Bush that Tehran won?t infiltrate in Iraq?s affairs, that it stops helping the Hizbullah and hampering the mid east political initiatives and also be totally obliged to the international conventions regarding its atomic program, will President Bush leave the students and activists in the hands of their masters? However, President Bush declared twice that he would back the students in their movement for liberty. He already shown that he keeps his word in the fight against the forces of evil. But does he have a certain strategy to support the struggle of the Iranians for democracy if it is cruelly suppressed by the hard-liners like four years ago? I agree with Professor Gary Sick that the White House at first has to examine its ability and popularity as well as the potentials of the Iranian society and then makes initiatives accordingly. Though there are friendly feelings to the Americans among the newer generation of Iranians, it would not be wise if we connive the impression of the Iranian elder citizens who are sensitive about foreign interference in their country. I feel that President Bush and his foreign ministers? declarations are promising but publicizing 50 million dollars aid to the Iranian movement by the US is simply provocative and give pretext to the hard-liners of Iran to exploit the emotions of ordinary people. The American administration could forge its Persian voices for 24 hours a day in various ways and try to surpass the regime?s censorship and put logical and critical questions about disability and corruption of the system. Strengthening and propagating debates and consultations among the Iranian figures would raise hopes and chances to push the revolution into end. Meanwhile, America should not display policies that prove its opposition to Iran?s technological developments. It would badly affect the sentiments of the Iranians. The Iranians do not accept that their country would be a threat to the region. At the same time, they deeply feel that it is Iran?s right to achieve humanitarian atomic technology. Precisely for this, President Khatami forthrightly announced that Iran is entitled to get help from the international community to develop its humanitarian atomic abilities while Tehran was always kept out of it.

Please forward this article to the American authorities and academics.

pirooz basheed.