Tehran: Release the Iranian-Americans

The Islamic republic of Iran has once again resorted to the techniques they learned from the Soviets during the early days of the Islamic revolution: arresting peaceful dissidents on trumped-up charges, coercing confessions that they have been trying to overthrow the regime, and parading their prisoners in public.

This time, these KGB-style “confessions” of American-Iranian scholars Haleh Esfandiari and Kian Tajbakhsh on Iranian state television confirm that there will be no more “reform” or “reformists” in the Islamic Iran’s political landscape.

The American-Iranian scholars who have been held in Iranian prisons on national security charges worked so hard to promote the reformist faction of the Islamic regime in the United States and Europe. They worked passionately to promote dialogue between the United States and Iran. Yet, the regime has "formally charged" them with endangering national security. The regime claims that they are “guilty” of trying to undermine and topple the theocracy by opening up the country to the West.

It is high time that we put our credulousness to one side and start to take the statements coming from Tehran seriously. Moreover, we should be putting every ounce of diplomatic pressure possible on Tehran to release its hostage-prisoners.

Opening up to the west would be tantamount to regime change in Iran. For this regime a real dialogue with the United States will result in its demise by showing a crack in the regime’s sole reason to exits: to bring about an end to the west and impose a radical Islamist caliphate. Those who have been trying for the past twenty eight years to produce a reformist faction in this regime should finally realize that the idea of “reform” was a trap from the very beginning and never amounted to anything more than shallow and hollow pretence.

In fact, there never was a true moderate or reformist faction in this regime. The champion-in-chief of the so called reform movement (and the former president Mr. Khatami) always referred to the pro-democracy students as thugs and hooligans and he always held the torturers of the notorious Evin prison, such as Mr. Lajevardi in the highest esteems. It was during the Khatami’s presidency that a shipload of explosives, was sent to Arafat to promote terrorism. And it was during Khatami’s presidency that the highest number of writers and intellectuals were murdered on the streets. And presently, all those regime loyalists who pretended to be reformists are hiding behind Ahmadi- Nejad so that the regime would be able to aggressively advance its military goals in the region.

The end of the pretence of believing the so-called “reformists” would mean that there will be no substantive negotiations between the Islamic regime and the United States no matter how much we beg them — unless of course the United States declares defeat, surrenders and leaves the region for good. The upcoming and much-hoped-for “negotiations” will not produce any substantial results on Iraq, nor Afghanistan nor Gaza strip and Lebanon. At this juncture, there is nothing that Washington can offer Tehran that is of any interest to them, not even the security guarantee.

Another purpose of the Iranian regime is to use the subject of negotiation as a game theory option to buy some more time to activate its eight thousand nuclear centrifuges in Parchin. It is noteworthy that they have offered an inspection of Arak facilities which has no strategic and military importance and have not made such invitation to inspectors to visit Parchin.

Given the vast similarities of suppression of the freedoms of the citizens, many so called Iran experts have compared the present crisis to the familiar script of the Cold War. Accepting this misleading characterization will certainly add to the confusion surrounding the war on terror and will delay the formulation of a workable and coherent policy.

Let’s not forget that Socialism had its roots in western philosophy and shared the same language with all other Western political philosophies. It was a western invention and as such it was bound by western ideals. It had a sense of realism that worked to stave off the threat of Cuban missile crisis and threat of the nuclear world war. The common language enabled one to challenge and to negate its premises. Although at a very high cost, it produced SALT I and II treaties. The promise of socialism, unlike that of religious extremists, was a better life right here and in this world.

On the surface, socialism and its promise of a just society attracted many Western European and American intellectuals and students. On the other hand, the Soviet Russia was actually able to compete with the United States and Western Europe on many scientific and artistic arenas.

This time, the situation is more dangerous and the enemy is devoid of the most basic and rudimentary linguistic logic and a sense of humanity. There is no common language to base any dialogue on it. Their ultimate promise of a better life for human beings comes only after their death!

Islamic regime’s almost limitless financial resources and ability to control of the Straight of Hormuz that is the passage way for more than 40% of the world’s oil has exacerbated the problem and contributes to the delay in formulation of a coherent policy to deal with the issue. And the lack of a coherent and unified policy to deal with this dangerous situation continues to create more opportunities for the enemy.

The Cold War theory coupled with delusions about the nature of the Soviet Russia and the consequent containment policy did produce many agreements, but at the same time it contributed to the imprisonment of more that one billion people for two generations. The dangers of promoting a Cold War model on US-Iran relations are that it will lead to the same containment theory and negotiations with a kind of enemy that defies common sense.

The way forward is to extend and intensify all economic sanctions against the Islamic regime, support all the labor, students’ and women’s movements that have the power to paralyze the regime. Iran is signatory to many international labor treaties. It is possible to pressure them to abide by their agreements by sending international fact finding missions there to support these movements. By supporting the people of Iran in their legitimate aspiration for self determination, the Islamic regime will implode and we will be able to uproot the main cause of terrorism in the region.