Iran News ...


One from the Left Field

By: Mohsen Moshfegh

The pseudo-intellectuals of the American left who became homeless after the fall of the Soviet Union will continue to sing their tired old songs of that bygone era for as long as they have an audience. It is, nevertheless, up to individuals who care about the truth to occasionally expose their transgressions and not let them get away with deceit. So, when Mr. John Stanton, one of the most prominent pseudo-intellectuals of the American left, and recognized by all three of his disciples as the "ultimate authority on international politics" takes the trouble to enlighten us on the issue of the leadership of the Iranian opposition, one shouldn't miss the opportunity to respond to his article, if only to appreciate the efforts by such a prominent writer to stick his nose where it does not belong.

The article titled "Iran's Reza Pahlavi, A Puppet of the USA and Israel?" that was listed on Payvand site on 22 April is a piece of work, filled with unsubstantiated references to what it claims to be facts on subjects that the writer obviously knows nothing about. This article simply capitalizes on the prejudice toward the Pahlavi name and the anti-Semitic and xenophobic attitudes on the part of some in the Iranian community to discredit Reza Pahlavi as a sellout and a traitor. Mr. Stanton follows the same opportunistic practice as all pseudo-intellectuals do when they set out to isolate a political opponent, i.e., by associating him with buzz words that are sure to provoke the readers' prejudice, such as the "Israeli Zionists", or the "American Neo-cons". In my opinion, it would be a travesty to fall for these opportunistic tactics and prevent Reza Pahlavi's participation in our opposition movement just because of his family name or his attempts to establish a good rapport with politically influential communities in the United States. Iranian intellectuals have hopefully matured enough to realize that that's how politics works, and as long as Reza Pahlavi's attempts at using the political leverage in Washington and elsewhere does not sacrifice our national interests it is legitimate to utilize every possible means to strengthen the Iranian opposition movement and weaken the theocratic establishment in Iran.

What Reza Pahlavi is doing is not treason on its face. Treason is a conscious political choice that one makes not a genetic disease that one might inherit. The claims about anybody's treason, Pahlavi or anyone else, should be proven by facts not by vague implications about associations and "lineage." Making some of the same statements as the Israeli leaders or the American neo-cons is not enough proof for treason. A great deal of what Israel's current leadership or the American neo-cons claim, such as the fact that the Islamic Republic is active in international terrorism or that the Islamic Republic threatens the security of the world by seeking weapons of mass destruction, are in line with what the majority of Iranian people believe and agree with. That does not make the majority of our nation traitors, does it? The way I see it, Reza Pahlavi is simply trying to make the world understand that the regime in Iran does not represent our nation and contrary to what some may think does not posses the capacity to reform itself. What about this proves that he is a puppet of Israel or the American neo-conservatives? Does anybody have any more substantial proof of his treason than the same old baseless insinuations? I'm all ears!

According to Mr. Stanton, in a recent meeting between Pahlavi and some Congressional Representatives the latter had made statements to the effect that the theocrats in Iran should not be given a breathing room through economic and political assistance extended to them by the Europeans. Pahlavi had apparently objected to why the European Community is "throwing a rope to a sinking ship." I guess Mr. Stanton expects that these statements, confirmed by his "sources", somehow prove to us the subservience of Reza Pahlavi to his "neo-conservative and Jewish masters!" Well, actually all this proves to me is that Pahlavi is in line with a decided majority of Iranian people, who believe that the theocratic regime in Iran should not be appeased. We have been trying repeatedly to vote them out in the past five years, but those tyrants only comprehend the language of threat and force, and would only respond to force when they know it's real, and when they know it's imminent. Just look at the recent developments in Iran. The change in attitudes of the hard line theocrats is undeniable proof that ever since the American administration has made it clear that it is ready to confront the Middle East dictatorships by force, if necessary, the mullahs in Iran are scared out of their wits and are hinting at possible compromises with the reform movement. This proves that Reza Pahlavi, along with a great majority of our nation, are correct in their assessment that this regime should not be appeased the way the European Community has chosen to do so. The Europeans must be convinced that working with the powerless factions of the Islamic Republic would only strength en those who have taken away our freedom by force of terror and continue to stubbornly ignore the clear message of our votes to leave power peacefully, and the way I see it, Reza Pahlavi is trying to do just that.

Mr. Stanton has it from his "reliable sources" that Reza Pahlavi had also made statements in that same meeting that the Islamic Republic's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction is a real threat to the world security, and that it will not be stopped unless a truly democratic government is established in Iran. Well, I don't see anything wrong with that statement either, regardless of it being "music to the American neo-conservatives' ears". The great majority of Iranian people agree with that statement, wholeheartedly. Mr. Stanton faults Pahlavi for claiming that the future development of Iran does not justify such rash moves to implement nuclear power facilities, and he contends that this claim by Reza Pahlavi "runs contrary to the belief on the ground in Iran, some report, pointing out that the populace feels the country is in need of nuclear technology to develop." Well, I don't know where Mr. Stanton gets his on-the-ground information, but here is a recent statement by the Student Movement Coordinating Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI), dealing with some of the same issues: ". . . conspiracies and crimes against the moderate religious leaders in Iraq, financial and logistical support of the terrorist groups in Lebanon and Palestine, as well as rush efforts in utilizing the nuclear technology for obtaining weapons of mass destruction in order to establish an "Islamic" hegemony in the region are all ongoing policies of the regime which happen to be at odds with the post September 11 world resolve in uprooting terrorism and its origin, the fanatical religious fundamentalism." This statement is an excerpt from a leaflet distributed in all university campuses in Iran by the SMCCDI on the occasion of the "National Army Day", 18 April 2003. So, contrary to Mr. Stanton's unsubstantiated claims about the popular sentiments in Iran, all true Iranian nationalists are extremely concerned about the dangerous attempts of the Islamic Republic to acquire weapons of mass destruction. We all know that the day those tyrants acquire such capability our nation should forget about ever liberating itself from the yoke that these stone-age theocrats have put on our necks. So, in this instance too, Reza Pahlavi is not simply repeating what his "neo-con and Jewish masters" are staging him to repeat, but is genuinely echoing the sentiments of every Iranian nationalist.

The remainder of Mr. Stanton's article is just a shallow attempt at a historical review of the roughly 60-year Pahlavi dynasty in Iran that attempts to unrealistically magnify the negative points of Reza Shah's and Muhammad Reza Shah's rule in Iran, while totally disregarding the progress toward building a modern society that they both made during their reign of power, dictatorial and heavy-handed as it undeniably had been. Again, I think we Iranians have matured enough and have experienced the medieval tyranny of the Islamic Republic for long enough to develop the courage and the fairness to acknowledge that the Pahlavi dynasty was a mixed bag of good and bad, with undeniable achievements as well as undeniable tyranny and torture for our nation. But, whatever it was, it would be foolish for us to extend the guilt and the responsibilities of their sins to Reza Pahlavi, who may truly be driven by his nationalistic sentiments, and who could prove to be just the unifying factor that our opposition movement needs to free us from the tyrannical regime in Iran. So, I'd say if Reza Pahlavi is willing to sacrifice his plush and comfortable life for his patriotic tendencies and participate in the political race for the leadership of the Iranian opposition movement it is his prerogative, a concern for the Iranian opposition movement, and none of Mr. Stanton's business.

About the author:
Mohsen Moshfegh was born in Tehran in 1958. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineer ing from Oklahoma University (1981) and Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from UCLA (1988). He is married with two children and lives in San Francisco Bay Area whe re he works for Bechtel Engineering.

... Payvand News - 5/6/03 ... --

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