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Who is this Michael Ledeen?

By Fariba Amini


"The man who loves his country on his own account, and not merely for its trappings of interest or power, can never be divorced from it; can never refuse to come forward when he finds that she is engaged in dangers which he has the means of warding off."

-Thomas Jefferson


I had seen him on C-Span talking about Iran, China, and other countries and trying to implement democracy in these nations.   But until I went to the American Enterprise Institute’s recent panel discussion on Federalism in Iran, I had never met the guy.  I found him an arrogant man who did not answer the question when I raised what was his involvement in the Iran-contra affair.  He also on several Occasions had two security guards approach a few of the audience members when they objected to statements made by the panelists. 


Granted that the discussion was on a different and touchy subject, and as a moderator he had To emphasize on the subject matter, however, we as Iranians should question the motive behind such discussions especially if the organizer is the AEI and Mr. Ledeen with his checkered past.


According to various documents and substantiated reports, Mr. Ledeen a long time proponent of a “total war” in the middle East, was heavily involved in the Iran-contra affair meeting with the Islamic Republic representatives in Europe providing arms for hostage deals. While the Reagan administration was giving arms to Iran during the Iran-Iraq war,  American and European companies were selling arms and WMDs (yes the same WMDs we went to war for) to Saddam Hussein.   The best thing that could happen, said Henry Kissinger in those days, would be that neither side win.  The eight year war caused massive destruction for both nations and a million Iraqis and Iranians died as a result.   At that time Mr. Ledeen and his friends did not shed a tear for the same oppressed nations.


Ledeen’s wife worked at the Pentagon office of Stephen Bryen who was investigated by the FBI for allegedly passing secrets to the government of Israel.   Ledeen also founded the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, a lobby group for the defense interest of Israel. Mr. Ledden‘s daughter, Simone who went to work for the coalition provisional authority in Iraq in 2004 has ended up in a position of considerable responsibility.  According to other sources, Michael Ledeen had ties to the Italian intelligence and may have received substantial amount of money for his services.


Mr. Ledeen, in an article titled Iran’s Path from May 14, 2003 states that “the Iranian people want liberation, American style.”  I am wondering how Mr. Ledeen who has never set foot in Iran can come up with such generalization.  Yes, Iranians wanted liberation in the 1950’s when the Americans and their British Counterpart halted the process of democracy in August 1953.  Yes, Iranians wanted freedom and an end to dictatorship in February 1979, and yes today Iranians want liberation from theocracy but American style?!!


Mr. Ledeen who is in the same mold as Wolfovitz, Bernard Lewis, and others have long been advocating change in the Islamic world by non-peaceful means.  Ledeen’s views have highly influenced people like Cheyney and Rumsfeld as well.


In fact walking towards the elevator of the American Enterprise Institute, I noticed a huge framed photo of the current US vice President! 


Mr. Ledeen clearly states in his book, ‘Machiavelli on Modern leadership’


“Change, above all violent change – is the essence of human history and “creative destruction is our middle name. We do it automatically.. it is time again to export the democratic revolution.”


Now, a man with such past history and present ideology seeks to bring together disgruntled Iranian minorities together for his own agenda.  We know that the majority of the panelists were against the disintegration of Iran, however to give legitimacy to AEI and its “scholars” is feeding those who want so see Iran in several pieces.  Iran has remained one nation with diverse religions and ethnic minorities throughout history despite internal and external aggressions.


Today our nation is facing a most difficult dilemma.  We have a very complex society which because of the sacrifices of Iranian people,  is flourishing in many areas and yet, those who rule this nation make comments or act in ways that only benefit the enemies of Iran.  But giving any kind of legitimacy to those who advocate violence or intervention and disintegration kindles the fire that AEI and the governments which support them are spreading.  We must remain one nation, Turks, Kurds, Persian, Baluchis, and Arabs under one Iran and find our own path towards emancipation. Finally, in the words of the late Sadegh Sharafkandi, “to be Iranian is not only to be a Persian…”



... Payvand News - 10/28/05 ... --

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