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If lack of unity persists the democratic opposition will be accountable to the Iranian Nation

By Darius Kadivar

French Television Recently broadcast "Forbidden Iran" a documentary by freelance journalist Jane Kokan about human rights abuses in Iran. It is a courageous documentary which shows the atrocities committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran towards any opposition or defiance towards the theocratic regime of Teheran. Hanging, torture, and lapidating of woman accused of adultery, were all illustrated through various videos. The testimony of one leader, Amir Fakhraver, was particularly heart breaking. Fakhraver told his mother, "I have chosen the path of my struggle ... I've told you many times that I want you, at the moment they're hanging me, to stand proudly and say, 'I am proud of my son.'" The tape was recorded before Fakhraver was sent to prison for eight years.

To see Fakhraver and so many other young Iranians set their life in the line for a free and democratic Iran truly shook me and irritated me at the same time. I agree with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi who in several interviews has insisted that "Iran does not need heroes for heroes die!" I also often wonder what makes politicians claim loudly that one has to die for ones country. Why not live for your country for a change?

The cult of martyrdom is a filthy doctrine whichever way one looks at it. And yet despite Shirin Ebadi's admonishments, any movement for change needs such courageous lads as Fakhraver. The abject conditions in which our countrymen live in should inspire our political figures, be them Republican or Constitutional Monarchists, to unite their forces in the wake of an irreversible change that will come sooner or later. The democratic opposition to the IRI will have to respond to the aspirations of a generation which due to lack of essential freedoms is burning like a candle in the wind.

The democratic opposition should unite and put away their political and historical differences in order to propose another alternative to the Iranian Nation. Not just words but concrete actions. One could be to see Republican Democrats, be them Mossadegis or any other faction, to join the constitutional monarchists and vice versa. More than 50 years after the 1953 coup, Mossadegis seem frozen in Time constantly wanting to convert everyone to look at Mossadeg as the father of a secular Iran (often forgetting that Mossadeg could have easily been toppled by the communists had the CIA coup failed). Some Monarchists on the other hand have a dictatorial attitude towards what they consider as the political approach to leadership. Interestingly it is not the case of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi who has insisted on the importance of Unity between all factions of the Iranian society including the Diaspora in order to reach a common ground in order to propose an alternative to the IRI regime and offer a bloodless transition towards a democratic Iran. Whatever opinion one can have of the Pahlavis, at least this "heir to the Peacock Throne" is not advocating a coup (even if I sometimes wonder he should, given the stubbornness with which the Mullahs of Tehran are clutching to power) nor is he asking for foreign intervention to free the country of the last remnants of the Iranian theocracy.

Yet both republicans and monarchists are stubbornly hoping to have their share of the cake. It may surprise you that I do not include Reza Pahlavi as personally responsible for such a division amongst the democratic opposition, simply because I believe that the Crown Prince has been very clear as to the role he wants or will have to play in the future if he is given the chance, that is: a "catalyst" for change. In that he has been quite efficient through numerous interviews and conferences in attracting international attention to the plight of his compatriots. What each Iranian inside and outside Iran should ask himself or herself, is what can we do to work hand in hand for a better Iran? It may be a utopia, but it is a constructive one, for it implies that Iranians will have to work for a free, prosperous and last but not least a democratic Iran. Will we in the months to come see Iran succeed in a "Velvet Revolution" or will we on the contrary witness defenselessly a bloody repression delay the inevitable confrontation between all freedom loving and democratic Iranians and the henchmen of the IRI?

The democratic opposition is responsible in the face of History to fulfill its task and duty through Unity or it will perish and lose all credibility in the upcoming battle. "Today Only Unity" as the slogan goes should and can prove to the world that Iranians can stand the challenge for a free and democratic future, thus avoiding at worst an unnecessary bloodshed.

A signal should be sent to the Iranian Armed Forces, and the Police and Bassijis that they should join the vast majority of the Iranian people by refusing to suppress any form of opposition to the IRI. Only a strong and united democratic opposition can hold the World witness on what is taking place in Iran and offer a possible alternative to the current regime.

It appears clear to me that Iran has the necessary human resources to take her destiny in her own hands once the current regime is toppled or self-dissolved. In a democratic Iran even the current reformers who are in their own way trying to fight for their seats in the Majlis can participate to the future government as long as their record is clean of any crime.

Once again it should be reminded to the democratic opposition that they all are accountable if they do not find a common way towards unity. The Mossadegis, Monarchists and Republicans need to join hands to fulfill this legitimate and God given Right of the Iranian Nation to establish Freedom and Democracy.

... Payvand News - 1/23/04 ... --

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