Opinion | Breaking the Stalemate
28 Nov 2011 23:44
Editor's note: Earlier this month, a group of Iranian activists in the diaspora issued a statement calling on the Islamic Republic to "temporarily and conditionally suspend its uranium enrichment" and to halt the alleged "military aspects" of the program. The declaration, signed by more than 175 "political, civil, student, university, and journalist activists," followed the most recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency expressing "increasing concern" over Iran's controversial nuclear program. This increased pressure, coupled with the Iranian government's continued suppression of the Iranian opposition inside the country, led the group to hint at international humanitarian intervention as a possible solution. This view, which has been reportedly toned down in subsequent iterations of the statement, has nevertheless ignited a fierce debate in the Iranian blogosphere and further divided the Iranian community. This weekend Tehran Bureau ran a reaction to the statement which has raised more questions and fueled more debate. To contextualize the debate, we've reprinted below a translation of the statement. This version tries to stay close to the original expression of the activists' position in Farsi. We invite your responses and feedback.
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One of the government's ruinous strategies during the past decade has been to fan the flames of crisis mongering in the international arena. It has done so by placing the pursuit of its nuclear adventurism at the center of these tension-provoking actions. By ignoring international laws and agreements, it is pursuing a quixotic policy on the world stage to cover up its domestic difficulties. By perpetuating the foreign crisis...the government is...preparing the means necessary to maintain its police state and keep the country in a state of anxiety.
The publication of the most recent report by the International Atomic and Energy Agency (IAEA) presents evidence that the government's intention of diverting its nuclear program into a military course has entered into a decisive phase. The current rulers, with their hostile discourse and lack of cooperation with the IAEA, are increasing the dangerous possibility of a military confrontation with Iran. While Iran's neighbors are taking great strides towards economic development and the public welfare of their people by strengthening economic relations with the farthest reaches of the globe and attracting capital and state-of-the-art technology, Iran is falling into further isolation which deepens by the day. The results of this isolation is visible and palpable in the daily lives of all the people of Iran. Should sanctions on the Central Bank go into effect, this may yet raise them to an unbearable level.
The rulers who trampled on the people's legitimate rights during the elections of 2009 and crushed their peaceful protests in blood consider these international threats as a means to recover their domestic legitimacy and to use the threats of a foreign attack to club the liberal Iranian activists harder and harder.
The totalitarian regime has disturbed international peace by stalling and providing misleading information, withholding full cooperation from the IAEA, deviating from the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and avoiding the implementation of the U.N.'s declarations...
A tolerant posture toward the world and the revival of the rights of the Iranian citizen are intertwined. While demanding their fundamental rights, Iranian citizens must question their ruler's lack of comprehension, preparedness, and willingness to resolve international disputes of this kind.
We find that the government's continuation of the current impasse, its nuclear ambitions, and empty saber-rattling to be preparing the grounds for an increase of the likelihood of a military conflict in the future whose primary victims will definitely be the people of Iran in general and the children and the toiling social layers in particular. Of course, we must keep in mind that exaggerating the danger of war and fearmongering, too, has negative consequences for Iranian social interests.
The destructive consequences of war and occupation require no explanation. But in our opinion, mere verbal and written condemnation of war and world military leaders and those who fan the flames domestically cannot prevent military aggression. The international community's anxieties are on a different course and distinguishable from those which divide the nation and government in today's Iran. The Islamic Republic does not only trample upon the human rights and dignity of Iranian citizens, it is also considered a threat to world peace and stability. This separation, however, does not necessarily mean that one may not find common ground between domestic demands and legitimate international demands.
In our opinion, the duty of those forces that believe in democracy and Iran's national and territorial interests is to align foreign and domestic pressure. In the meantime, the search for moral purity and an ideological and passive approach is inappropriate. Indeed, one must, by preparing the way for a solution, show the world that the Iranian people's democratic movement has the power to keep the government's incitement of tension from slipping through the tolerance of international institutions. Along these lines, we must refrain from seeing international relations in black and white and basing oneself on the binaries of permanent friend and foe or devil and angel and axioms related to the age of the Cold War. A realistic view of the current condition of the country and the world serves as a warning about what happens if a widespread social movement, which takes into account the world's legitimate concerns, fails to show its existence.... In that event, the political forces of the opposition will not have any weight in the international decision-making arena.
Neglecting this matter and being captive of clichéd understandings and classical anti-imperialist perspectives without taking the initiative in escaping from the crisis ultimately results in a complete parting of ways of international society and the Iranian people's struggle for freedom. This division, considering the irreparable breach between the nation and government in Iran and the passivity in the realm of action, will encourage the world powers to choose the military option with the aim of eliminating nuclear and military institutions. This is something that, in its containable form, the government's extremist wing will welcome in order to both strengthen its control over the reins of the economy and the sources of power and to legitimize itself by taking its place in the front ranks of the struggle of Islamic fundamentalism against the West.
An effective and responsible way to prevent war requires the organization of a powerful social movement which includes various tendencies and factions from the Iranian social mosaic that wants independence, respect, democracy, the observance of human rights, a lasting and humane peace, interaction and friendship with the world and has nothing to do with the injustice, absolutism, and the absolutist type of peace provided by the grave.
In the meantime, the existence of problems in the world system and double standards, such as a lack of international objection to the military nuclear programs of Israel, India, and Pakistan, should not result in ignoring the wrongs of the crisis-fanning government of Iran. It should not allow, by seizing upon the poisonous quality of foreign pressure, to allow the Iranian government to have a free hand to take advantage of nationalist sentiment and the existence of the objectionable in the international sphere to sacrifice human relations and... continue on its perilous path. One can also demand the elimination of nuclear weapons, prioritizing the elimination of nuclear weapons from among the countries of the Middle East and totalitarian countries like North Korea, as a step towards international nuclear weapon's disarmament while opposing the destructive nuclear program of the current Iranian government.
Along these lines, one can, while defending the country's independence, utilize the legitimate resources of the international community to promote democracy, human rights, and national government in Iran. Instead of issuing general and conclusive decisions in praise or denunciation of foreign support, it would be appropriate to hold a national conversation to specify the preconditions, limitations, criteria, and oversight apparatus to prevent individuals or groups from taking advantage in regard to the support of the international community and drive opportunists from the field and prevent dubious currents from making an alternative of themselves. The path to democracy in Iran passes through reliance on the nation's inexhaustible strength and an effective and organized leadership.
The primary problem is to concentrate efforts on how to activate the democratic movement's dormant forces. Foreign support presents a variety of difficulties. We defend the political support of the world community of the democratic demands of Iranians.
The international community, for its part, should be aware that any measures which result in a violation of Iran's territorial integrity or national interests will increase the legitimacy of the repression of the freedom-loving forces in Iran and weaken the discourse of peace.
Any way we look at it, in the final analysis, the cause of the current international crisis is the system of the Islamic Republic in general and its extremist wing, which through its miscalculations will fan the flames of a probable war. To oppose war, one must target those in the government who create the crises. Now that the consequences of the international economic recession have caught up with the Iranian economy and exacerbated the economic difficulties resulting from the government's mismanagement, no logical position can excuse the fact that the people of Iran, and particularly those who live below the poverty line, were never consulted over the nature and method of the nuclear program and how it was implemented. This strata of society, which has been so disrespectfully treated, has had to pay the price for the saber-rattling of their prosperous and comfortable rulers!
Thus full and transparent cooperation with the IAEA and a temporary and conditional cessation of uranium enrichment as a confidence-building measure within the NPT framework and an immediate cessation of all military aspects of the nuclear program are one of the central demands of the Iranian people's democratic movement in its pursuit or peace. Alongside this demand are demands for observing human rights, fundamental freedoms, and democracy, which would mean a manifold increase in the potential for weakening the twin pillars of absolutism and aggression and thus preventing war.
Abdol Reza Ahmadi, Ahmad Ahmadian, Kamal Aras, Ardavan Ershad, Jamshid Asadi, Farid Ashkan, Morteza Eslahchi, Amir Hossein Etemadi, Bijan Eftekhari, Ali Afshari, Maryam Akbari, Mohammad Javad Akbarin, Kian Emani, Mehdi Amini, Fariba Amini, Nader Entessar, Maryam Ahri, Ahmad Azad, Rahim Bajoghli, Ahmad Batebi, Hossein Bagherzadeh, Mehran Barati, Mohammad Barzanjeh, Khosro Bandari, Shahla Bahar Doost, Behrooz Bayat, Kourosh Parsa, Misagh Parsa, Behzad Pornia, Katayoon Pezeshki, Bijan Pirzadeh, Sayeed Pourheydar, Saeed Payvandi, Ali Tarikh, Habib Tabrizian, Ali Taghipour, Kamran Talatof, Nayereh Tohidi, Setareh Sabety, Mehdi Jami, Jahanshah Javid, Mohammad Hossein Jafari, Reza Jafarian, Mehdi Jalali, Arash Janati Ataie, Mehran Jangali Moghaddam, Aydin Jahanbakhsh, Pouya Jahandar, Gisoo Jahangiri, Reza Charandabi, Aram Hesami, Bijan Hekmat, Abbas Hakimzadeh, Faramarz Khodayari, Amir Khadir, Faramarz Dadvar... Hassan Shahpari, Abbas Shirazi, Mohammad Sadeghi, Kourosh Sehati, Bijan Safiri, Siavash Safavi, Ramin Safavizadeh, Ali Zarabi, Arsalan Ziati, Hassan Talebi, Ali Tayefi, Misom Tohamasbi, Shohreh Asemi, Gholam Abbasi, Mazdak Abdipour, Siavash Abghari, Shahla Aghbari, Nazli Araghi, Mehdi Arabshahi, Kazem Alamdari, Hossein Alavi, Reza Alavi, Mehrnoush Aliaghaie, Liona Aysigholian, Hamid Ghofrani, Ali Fatehi, Shirin Fatemi, Amir Hossein Fatouhi, Rouzbeh Forouzan, Kambiz Forouhar, Amir Ali Fasihi, Firouzeh Fouladi, Shahab Feyzi, Ayda Qajar, Parvin Ghasemi, Seyed Ghaseminejad, Reza Ghaseminouri, Reza Ghorayshi, Mehdi Gholizadeh Eghdam, Ali Ghanbari, Farzad Ghanbari, Nasser Kakhsaz, Fatemeh Keshavarz, Ali Koshtgar, Elaheh Kakraie, Amir Kolayni, Azadeh Kian, Alireza Kiani, Roberto Gadi, Amir Hossein Ganjbakhsh, Hamid Mafi, Majid Mohammadi, Pouyan Mahmoudian, Parviz Mokhtari, Ahmad Madadi, Ali Mostashari, Ahmad Mashoof, Nima Mashoof, Anousheh Mashoof, Nariman Mostafavi, Favad Mozfari, Mansour Moadal, Amir Memarian, Rezvan Moghadam, Hassan Mokaremi, Payman Molaz, Omid Malek, Morteza Malek Mohammadi, Fereshteh Malekshahi, Roya Maleki, Mahmoud Monshipour, Ashkan Monfared, Ali Mohtadi, Mohmmad Mahdian, Behzad Mehrani, Behnaz Mehrani, Seyed Davoud Mousavi, Alireza Mousavi, Ahmad Mir Fakhraie, Amir Hossein Mirabian, Kavian Milani, Homayoun Naderifar, Ebrahim Nabavi, Youhna Najdi, Arash Naraghi, Pari Neshat, Bourgan Nezami Narjabad, Ali Nazari, Shervin Nekuee, Morteza Nagahi, Davoud Navaian, Shiva Nojou, Mehdi Nourbakhsh, Nader Hashemi, Sheikh Mohammad Hedayati, Lobat Vala, Farzin Vahdat, Ahmad Vahdat Khah, Sajad Vismoradi, Mohsen Yalfani, Kamal Davoudi, Fariba Davoudi Mohajer, Mehrdad Darvishpour, Abdolsetar Doshouki, Mahshid Rasti, Nima Rashedan, Ahmad Rafat, Ali Rakehi, Mohammad Reza Rahimi Rad, Amir Rashidi, Sahar Rezazadeh, Faramarz Rafie, Maryam Roozbahani, Mina Zand Siegal, Hamid Zanganeh, Mohsen Sazgara, Nastarin Sami, Behrouz Sotoudeh, Nasim Sarabandi, Reza Siavashi, Salman Sima, Karim Shambayati, Rahim Shambayati, Mansoureh Shojaie, Hassan Shariatmadari,
عبدالرضا احمدی ،احمد احمدیان، کمال ارس ،اردوان ارشاد ،جمشید اسدی ،فرید اشکان ،مرتضی اصلاحچی ،امیر حسین اعتمادی ،بیژن افتخاری ،علی افشاری ،مریم اکبری ،محمد جواد اکبرین ،کیان امانی ،مهدی امینی ،فریبا امینی ،نادر انتصار ،مریم اهری ،احمد آزاد ،رحیم باجغلی ،احمد باطبی ،حسین باقرزاده ،مهران براتی ،محمد برزنجه ،خسرو بندری ،شهلا بهار دوست ، بهروز بیات ،کوروش پارسا ،میثاق پارسا ،بهزاد پرنیان ،کتایون پزشکی ،بیژن پیرزاده ،سعید پور حیدر ،سعید پیوندی ،علی تارخ ،حبیب تبریزیان ،علی تقی پور ،کامران تلاطف ،نیره توحیدی ، ستاره ثابتی ،مهدی جامی ،جهانشاه جاوید ،محمد حسین جعفری ،رضا جعفریان ،مهدی جلالی ،آرش جنتی عطایی ،مهران جنگلی مقدم ،آیدین جهانبخش ،پویا جهاندار ،گیسو جهانگیری ،رضا چرندابی ،آرام حسامی ،بیژن حکمت ،عباس حکیم زاده ، فرامرز خدایاری ،امیر خدیر ،فرامرز دادور،کمال داوودی ،فریبا داوودی مهاجر ،مهرداد درویش پور ،عبدالستار دوشوکی ،مهشید راستی ،نیما راشدان ،احمد رافت ،علی راکعی ،محمد رضا رحیمی راد ،امیر رشیدی ،سحر رضا زاده ،فرامرز رفیعی ،مریم روزبهانی ،مینا زند سیگل ،حمید زنگنه ،محسن سازگارا ،نسترن سامی ،بهروز ستوده ،نسیم سرابندی ،رضا سیاوشی ،سلمان سیما ،کریم شامبیاتی ،رحیم شامبیاتی ،منصوره شجاعی ،حسن شریعتمداری ،روحی شفیعی ،حسن شهپری ،عباس شیرازی ،محمد صادقی ،کوروش صحتی ،بیژن صفسری ،سیاوش صفوی ،رامین صفی زاده ،علی ضرابی ،ارسلان ضیائی ،حسن طالبی ،علی طایفی ،میثم طهماسبی ،شهره عاصمی ،غلام عباسی ،مزدک عبدی پور ،سیاوش عبقری ،شهلا عبقری ،نازلی عراقی ،مهدی عربشاهی ،کاظم علمداری ،حسین علوی ،رضا علوی ،مهرنوش علی آقایی ،لیونا عیسی قلیان ،حمید غفرانی ،علی فاتحی ،شیرین فامیلی ،امیر حسین فتوحی ،روزبه فروزان ،کامبیز فروهر ،امیر علی فصیحی ،فیروزه فولادی ،شهاب فیضی ،آیدا قاجار ،پروین قاسمی ،سعید قاسمی نژاد ،رضا قاضی نوری ،رضا قریشی ،مهدی قلی زاده اقدم ،علی قنبری ، فرزاد قنبری ،ناصر کاخساز ،فاطمه کشاورز ،علی کشتگر ،الهه ککرایی،امیر کلینی ،آزاده کیان ،علیرضا کیانی ،روبرتو گادی،امیر حسین گنج بخش ،حمید مافی ،مجید محمدی ،پویان محمودیان ،پرویز مختاری ،احمد مدادی ،علی مستشاری ،احمد مشعوف ، انوشه مشعوف ،نیما مشعوف،نریمان مصطفوی ،فواد مظفری ،منصور معدل ،امیر معماریان ،رضوان مقدم ،حسن مکارمی ،پیمان ملاز ،امید ملک ،مرتضی ملک محمدی ،فرشته ملکشاهی ،رویا ملکی ،محمود منشی پوری ،اشکان منفرد ،علی مهتدی ،محمد مهدیان ،بهزاد مهرانی ،بهناز مهرانی ،سید داوود موسوی ،علیرضا موسوی ،احمد میر فخرایی ،امیر حسین میرابیان ،کاویان میلانی ،همایون نادری فر ،ابراهیم نبوی ،یوحنا نجدی ،روجا نجفی ،آرش نراقی ،پری نشاط ،بورگان نظامی نرج آباد ،علی نظری ،شروین نکوئی ،مرتضی نگاهی ، داوود نوائیان ،شیوا نوجو ،مهدی نوربخش ،نادر هاشمی ،شیخ محمد هدایتی ،لعبت والا ،فرزین وحدت ،احمد وحدت خواه ،سجاد ویس مرادی، محسن یلفانی
The views are the authors' own.