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Iran Exiles Declare Their Unified Stand For Democracy

 
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stefania



Joined: 17 Jul 2003
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:02 pm    Post subject: Iran Exiles Declare Their Unified Stand For Democracy Reply with quote

Iran Exiles Declare Their Unified Stand For Democracy

BY JOSH GERSTEIN - Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 14, 2005
http://www.nysun.com/article/10484

LOS ANGELES - An unusual assembly of Iranian exiles joined together here yesterday to pronounce the external opposition to the Islamic regime more unified than ever and to press for increased international support for democratic reformers inside the country.

More than 100 Iranian dissidents - some from as far away as Paris - offered thanks for President Bush's vocal endorsement of Iran's democracy movement, but many expressed distress over the administration's recent decision to join a European effort to offer the Iranian government incentives to give up its nuclear program.

Organizers said the five-hour strategy session at the Woodland Hills Hilton drew the most diverse group of anti-regime forces to meet under one roof since the Shah was deposed in 1979. The group dubbed itself a "coalition of liberation" for Iran.

"After 20 years, this is the first time all Iranians are together," said Sirus Sharafshahi, the owner of a Farsi-language daily newspaper for Iranian expatriates, Sobh Iran (Iran Morning). "We want to tell the administration of the United States, all Iran is together. If you want to change the government, come to us."

One of the most emotionally charged speeches was delivered by a former Iranian health minister, Dr. Manouchehr Razmara. He was a close associate of the most prominent Iranian dissident to be assassinated in exile, Shapur Bakhtiar, a former prime minister killed by Iranian intelligence agents in Paris in 1991.

"We will not settle for anything less than the removal of the Islamic republic," Dr. Razmara vowed, to emphatic applause from the audience.

In an interview, Dr. Razmara described as unprecedented the degree of cooperation between dissident groups with divergent views. "There is a sense of victory in the air," he said.

Dr. Razmara said discontent inside Iran and outside concern about the country's nuclear program are combining to undermine the Islamic government. "The regime is extremely weak. It is politically and diplomatically isolated," he said.

The Sunday Times of London reported yesterday that Prime Minister Sharon had ordered an air- and land-based attack on Iranian nuclear facilities if the latest round of diplomacy failed. The report said Israel would seek the green light from Washington if it were to authorize such an attack.

An Israeli diplomat in Washington told The New York Sun: "Israel's preference was and remains to resolve this issue through diplomacy by referral to the Security Council." The source added, "The British press is filled with this kind of speculation every other day, we don't feel the need to respond to it every time." In Israel, numerous other Israeli officials, including Foreign Minister Peres, said they had no knowledge that the report about a possible strike on Iran was true. Secretary of State Rice yesterday also said she had no knowledge of any planning from the Jewish state to take out the nuclear facilities. In January, Vice President Cheney warned that Israel may make such a move if Iran does not comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Ms. Rice said, "The United States administration is not going to authorize anything here. And clearly we have a diplomatic path ahead of us."

Last week, the State Department announced that it would remove its objections to Iran joining the World Trade Organization and would allow the Europeans to sell airplanes with American spare parts as an inducement for the Islamic republic to end the enrichment of uranium. Meanwhile England, France, and Germany announced that they would refer Iranian violations of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty to the U.N. Security Council if the country enriched more uranium, as it has done as recently as this fall. Within hours, Iranian spokesmen rejected the American offer. On Sunday, a senior member of Iran's delegation to the nuclear talks, Sirus Naseri, said, "U.S. officials are either unaware of the substance of the talks or [they are] hallucinating."

Several attendees at yesterday's meeting of Iranian dissidents said Mr. Bush's decision to back the European approach of offering concessions to Iran was a mistake. A leader of the Iranian Freedom Front, Dariush Hashempour, gave a PowerPoint presentation yesterday that highlighted Mr. Bush's pro-reform remarks in his State of the Union address last month. In an interview, Mr. Hashempour said he was startled by the president's new stance.

"All of a sudden he just flip-flopped and was willing to work with Iran," Mr. Hashempour said. Asked if it was a mistake to try the carrot-and-stick technique the Europeans have advocated, he answered, "Definitely, for any period, even for 10 seconds. ... Their approach not only didn't help, it was a disaster for the last 20 years."

"It's a bad decision. It's a very bad decision because it loses time," Dr. Ramzara opined. "The Europeans are being used as a brake on freedom."

Even the most militant participants in the exile meeting yesterday dismissed the idea of military strikes on Iran as a way to foment democracy or contain the nuclear program.

"I don't see that happening," an Iranian dissident who lives in San Jose, Calif., Sardar Haddad, said. "I don't think it makes sense for either Israel or the U.S. to attack Iran at this point. ... The nuclear reactor in Bushehr has zero significance militarily."

Mr. Haddad said he favors a combination of sanctions and political pressure on the regime. "Basically, the idea is a velvet revolution similar to the one that happened in Eastern Europe," he said.

Officials at the Iranian mission to the United Nations did not return a call yesterday seeking comment on the gathering of exiles. The session included speeches delivered by telephone from dissidents who said they were inside Iran. Despite the public pronouncements of unity, yesterday's assembly did not mask significant fissures in the exile community. A profound disagreement continues over the wisdom of advocating a referendum in which Iranians could choose their form of government. Most at yesterday's meeting opposed such a plan, at least in the near term. Some strident critics of the Iranian regime strongly disagree.

A New York-based dissident who did not attend the Los Angeles session, Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, said a referendum could hasten the fall of the country's theocratic government.

"I think that the people outside of Iran must take their lead from the people on the inside and stop the egotistical, petrified ideological posturing," she said. "If they want an Iran without mullahs, they must put aside personal agendas and support a referendum for a secular and democratic constitution."

The referendum concept has the backing of many dissidents active in Web-based discussions of Iran's future. It has also been endorsed by Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Shah.

However, participants in yesterday's gathering ridiculed the idea of staging a referendum in a country in which the government controls the press and routinely suppresses speech and political organizing.

"It's impossible," a Paris-based exile, Nasrolah Farahmand, said. "I know how this regime will react to its opponents. Who is going to support this idea? Nobody."

While every speaker yesterday denounced Tehran, most offered few concrete ideas about how to accelerate the process of reform there. The only direct action the group took was to endorse a petition asking that the Islamic Republic of Iran be thrown out of the United Nations for committing widespread violations of human rights.

The founder of a group called SOSIran, Iman Faroutan, said his organization has been trying to find specific ways to encourage restive students in the country to be bolder in their protests.

"They don't really give a #### about monarchy or democracy, left or right," Mr. Faroutan said. "They want to know why they should come to the streets, rise up, and get killed."

Mr. Faroutan said his group, which has a bit younger and more technocratic membership than some others, has been working on plans to bring dramatic improvements to Iran in the first 90 days after the downfall of the regime. He has also been promoting nonviolent ways for Iranians to signal solidarity, such as turning off lights at specified times and causing a currency shortage by taking coins out of circulation.

Yesterday's assembly of dissidents opened with a rousing collective rendition of a patriotic song that once served as Iran's unofficial national anthem. The pre-1979 flag of Iran was on display. Los Angeles was a logical spot for the gathering, as the area is home to America's largest Iranian population and is sometimes jokingly called "Tehrangeles."

Participants in the meeting said they were planning another gathering in Washington next month to build closer ties with the American government.

At the close of yesterday's session, some exiles said they were guardedly optimistic that divisions in the movement were being closed, especially between those who favor a return of the Shah's heirs and those who want a democratic republic.

"We've been fighting each other in exile for 20 years. For the first time, people with different ideas have gotten together," the owner of a satellite television service aimed at Iranians, Zia Atabay, said. "This is a good start."
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BitWhys



Joined: 11 Mar 2005
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Location: Winnipeg, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That serves as an excellent summary article but as I've mentioned in other places far too many Western status-quo liberals discount such statements because they are being made by exiles. I find it very frustrating because I look at the dynamics of the Islamic Republic and realize very easily it has become EXACTLY what these same self-absorbed chattering-class geniuses fear is happening in their own country. I mean, Iran has it in writing and everything.

I'm going to post this article elsewhere and guaranteed the criticism will be that its coming from exiles who are only serving their own interests and not speaking for the majority of Iranians.

the irony is incredible. I've essentially been called a bigot because I speak ill of the Mullah but then the same self-righteous imbeciles turn around and slag the American fundamentalist Christian movement every chance they get.

peace,
b
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

told ya...

words of wisdom from clever people

Quote:
You're joking, right.

I mean we're talking here about thugs from the U.S-backed Pahlavi regime


Quote:
Sounds a lot like the Cuban exiles hopes that the U.S. will depose Castro and allow them to go back in and reclaim all of their old assets and authority.

...

They don't give a damn about the people, or democracy. what they want is a chance to assume control of the political process and reestablish a capitalist dictatorship for their own benefit.



* shrug *

not much I can do I guess.
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and the wit just keeps pouring in...

Quote:
In other words, as soon as they can get some contracts lined up for Halliburton, Bechtel, and all of the other GW Bush cronies, they'll be all set to provide insights and advice for the invasion.

Let me guess: we'll be greeted as liberators in a shower of flowers and waving flags.

And I'm sure these guys they have all the information we need to find those illegal nuke facilities that Iran is supposedly building in defiance of international law. Just like the guys from Iraq and their WMD intelligence...

It's like a horrifying deja-vu.


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Saman



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These people who can't tell the difference between our country and Iraq, they simply do not deserve my our my compatriots attention. I laugh at their stupidity.
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saman wrote:
These people who can't tell the difference between our country and Iraq, they simply do not deserve my our my compatriots attention. I laugh at their stupidity.


heh

well to tell you the truth I find it all kind of hard to follow myself but at least I have the brains to take that into account. Laughing
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haleh
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bitwhys -

Dear, would you please send an invitation to these SmirkingChimp loonies to come over here and have an intelligent debate. They sound like morons - they are 100% incorrect - it's a sad sad thing indeed.

Ahh, such is life - some never learn.

invite them and we'll debate 'em head on. if they dare Wink
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

haleh wrote:
Bitwhys -

Dear, would you please send an invitation to these SmirkingChimp loonies to come over here and have an intelligent debate. They sound like morons - they are 100% incorrect - it's a sad sad thing indeed.

Ahh, such is life - some never learn.

invite them and we'll debate 'em head on. if they dare Wink


well, I hope you were serious...

me on smirkingchimp wrote:
before I get banned I think I'll pass along an open invitation on behalf of my brainwashers.

http://www.activistchat.com/phpBB2/index.php

step right, geniuses.


I'll be surprised if you get any takers. They'd rather just prove they're smart but we'll see. I baited 'em enough! Laughing Laughing
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Rasker



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It would be interesting to dump 100,000 of these smirking chimp-type folks in Mullahgrad. I wonder how long it would take for them to yell for the US Marines to rescue them, hehe!!
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rasker wrote:
It would be interesting to dump 100,000 of these smirking chimp-type folks in Mullahgrad. I wonder how long it would take for them to yell for the US Marines to rescue them, hehe!!


I'm no fan of military intervention, but I did tell them if the most powerful arm of government was 50% appoiinted by Jerry Falwell they'd be begging for change. I think I'm done with them. waste of time. they LIKE being asleep.
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Rasker



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes it seems like those people's supreme organizing principle is anti-Americanism and nothing else. If Hitler were running a major power, and opposing American policy, they might actually be making excuses for him, or any other bloody handed dictator opposed by America, democracy, religious liberty, or women's rights be damned!
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rasker wrote:
Sometimes it seems like those people's supreme organizing principle is anti-Americanism and nothing else. If Hitler were running a major power, and opposing American policy, they might actually be making excuses for him, or any other bloody handed dictator opposed by America, democracy, religious liberty, or women's rights be damned!


I'll tell you flat out I don't like Bush. He's an arrogant little dweeb who has no idea what he's really doing and I'm taking a pounding from a lot of people I used to comiserate with. I think its ridiculous not to take advantage of the momentum his ill-placed little oil war has created but so many people are so busy slagging Bush they've totally lost track of what democracy stands for.

We can get back to bitching out Yankee Imperialism later. Now's the time to rally the (non-violent) troops and get something right happening for a change before the guns have to come out again.

But some people just refuse to see that and the already-Bush-supporters are so much about gunboat diplomacy they're even more difficult to talk to.

good thing they're not the ones I have to convince. I've got my own government officials to nag and I want to do it right so I'm using the boards for practice and to gather as much hard truth as I can.
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Laughing Laughing

you gotta see this one from professor peabody over on the liberal site....

Quote:
Indeed, there must be a distinction made between religious leaders and political leaders in the Muslim world. You cannot equate people like Grande Ayatollah Khomeini with people like Chalabi and Allawi and the Iranian opposition today. Khomeini lived in Iraq for a while and in France. And it is from France that he made his return to Iran. Moreover, Khomeini was not on the payroll of foreign powers nor did any foreign power back him or support his return to overthrow the Shah of Iran. He was strictly supported by the people of Iran. This cannot be said for any exiled political opposition.

When Khomeini came back to Iran, he did not come as a leader of a political party. But rather, he returned as the spiritual leader of the Iranian people a person whom they emulate (a tradition in the Shia sect which I wont get into here). Unlike political parties and political individuals, people like Khomeini do not have to live in Iran for the people to feel them. They can live anywhere and the people will have them living in their hearts and minds. Every thought and act is an emulation of the spiritual leader which in this case was Khomeini.

So one really cannot compare Khomeni and the fact that he was not living in Iran before the revolution and the political opposition groups living outside the country. When Khomeini returned to Iran, hundreds of thousands came to the airport to greet him. Not many political leaders will return home to this kind of genuine reception (actually Arafat comes to mind here but his case is unique in itself and another story).



I think you can count on starting the revolution without him.
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Spenta



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Moreover, Khomeini was not on the payroll of foreign powers nor did any foreign power back him or support his return to overthrow the Shah of Iran.


Thats gotta be the bigget load of b------t I have ever read in my entire life!
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BitWhys



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spenta wrote:
Quote:
Moreover, Khomeini was not on the payroll of foreign powers nor did any foreign power back him or support his return to overthrow the Shah of Iran.


Thats gotta be the bigget load of b------t I have ever read in my entire life!


where the heck did he come from anyways? what are his allegiences really?

I almost spewed my coffee when I read the first sentence about church and state being separate.
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