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No Mr. Secretary, This Is Not A Family Feud!

By Mohsen Moshfegh

I am afraid that the worst fears of our nation's democratic forces may have come to pass and the U.S. Government may just have struck a deal with the Islamic Republic. Secretary of State Collin Powell has made it clear that the policy of the United States is to leave the various factions of the Iranian society to fight out their "family feud" on their own, perhaps in return for assurances from Rafsanjani's emissaries to convince the Islamic Republic's hardliners to cooperate on all aspects of the American's high priority issues.

What makes me believe that, more than Powell's recent statements, is the eerie silence from the White House and the Pentagon to refute his conciliatory statements. The only development that may explain their silence, other than the unfortunate scenario of having accepted a deal from the Islamic Republic, is their intense preoccupation with the developments in Liberia in the past few days. If this is indeed the case, we should be hearing something from the President, Condoleeza Rice, or Donald Rumsfeld before Wednesday, July 9. Otherwise, my assumption will be that Powell has finally succeeded to win over the White House to his side, at least until the popular uprising in Iran show signs that it is more than just a spontaneous and unorganized demonstration of frustration. So, let us all pray for massive peaceful demonstrations on the anniversary of 18 Tir student uprising to convince the world that demands for secular democracy in Iran is not just a passing fad, but an immediate imperative.

Now, don't take me wrong! I have always admired Collin Powell as a great man who made it big against all odds. His life is the best example of the American promise, and no matter what, he will always be one of the great men of history in my book. But, the history is full of great men who happened to be on the wrong side of it at critical turning points. Chamberlain's frantic twelfth hour efforts to preserve the peace in Europe just before the outbreak of the Second World War does not negate the fact that he was a great man in search of peace just when the whole continent was about to be engulfed in the greatest war the modern history of man has ever seen. The poor man just happened to be on the wrong side of the history, believing that appeasement would encourage the more rational factions of the German society to pull the leash on Adolph Hitler. But as we all know, it wasn't to be and the history unfolded to show just how wrong that great man of peace had been.

Collin Powell is not wrong because he thinks that there is a rational faction in the theocratic establishment in Iran. It would be unfair, and contrary to the facts to deny that there is one. The problem that Secretary Powell closes his eyes to is that this faction is totally powerless. And regardless of what the original intentions of Mr. Khatami had been, the Second of Khordad Front and their half-hearted attempts at establishing a civil society is now merely a window dressing to fool wishful thinkers like Armitage and Powell; a mere pretext for the world to pin its hopes for the development of democracy in Iran on the outcome of the "family feud" between the two factions of the theocracy.

Indeed, there is a "family feud" going on in Iran, if you can call it that, in which one side faced with the aggressive attacks by the other side constantly retreats and backslides. But this feud is not between the Iranian democrats and the forces of reaction. Iranian secular democrats are not even considered "family", let alone be allowed to participate in this feud. In Iran, secular democracy is considered high treason, punishable by death.

Mr. Powell, in my opinion, is shortsightedly trading the true strategic friends of America in our society, who are none but the secular democrats, for tyrants who he thinks can deliver the security guarantees that the United States is seeking at this juncture. And of course, in order to do that he must reduce the whole battle that is going on for the soul of our nation to a mere "family feud" between two factions that for all practical purposes are irrelevant to the long-term future of our country. Theocracy is already dead and gone as far as our nation is concerned, and Mr. Powell, like Neville Chamberlain, is on the wrong side of history on this one. I hope he realizes this soon, before a Tienanmen Square massacre of democratic forces in Iran shows him in red.

About the author:
"I was born in Tehran in 1958. I completed my Doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering at UCLA in 1988. I live and work in the Bay Area in a major construction firm."

... Payvand News - 7/9/03 ... --

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