Iran's Islamic Republic Turns 36 today
It has been a bloody 36 years since the Islamic regime came to power in Iran, February 11, 1979. No fewer than 8 million Iranians have fled their homeland, evidence of a horrid regime. When 8 million citizens abandon their homes, families, and everyday lives, and choose a futureless, nomadic existence in order to maintain their basic rights as human beings, things are very bad, indeed.
Iran is rich in natural resources, but Iranians remain poor with no liberty. Although Iran sits atop a huge volume of oil and gas and was counted the second-largest exporter of black gold within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries before international sanctions were imposed, the enormous loss of investment in the public sector undermines Iranians’ rights to health and education. Tens of millions of impoverished citizens live without access to basic services and necessities. The reason is that corrupt Islamic government officials siphon billions from public coffers. The regime has denied Iranians access to basic information about oil revenues and social spending.
Iranians escape in the hope of protecting their identities, maintaining self-respect, and saving themselves and their children from inhumane religious fanatics. While the Islamic Republic officially derives its legitimacy from laws dating back 1,400 years ago, in practice the Islamic regime’s hold on power is reinforced through intimidation, terror, imprisonment, and execution. Those who question the views of governing clergies are labeled as enemies of Islam with links to the “great Satan” (referring to the U.S.).
A mass execution in Shiraz, September, 2014
Today, the reign of terror has shaken the very foundations of stability and sanity of the world from the Middle East, Europe, and North America. Terrorism can be considered a standard manifestation of the policies adopted by the Islamic Republic.
Iran’s long border with the former Soviet Union, its border with Afghanistan and Iraq, its proximity to the Persian Gulf waterways, and its rich deposits of oil and natural gas place it in a strategically critical part of the world. It is precisely for these reasons that it has been suggested that no matter how fanatical the Islamic regime has been, in the Cold War era it was a “natural ally” for the West, being anti-Communist. Therefore, the Islamic Republic indirectly assumed a role which was in conjunction with U.S. interests in its global and strategic policies in the region.
For many decades before the Islamic revolution, Iran was considered the West’s staunchest ally. However, if we are to understand the full implications of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, we must begin to analyze the events of 1977 to 1979. The West, by pinpointing Iran’s shortcomings, had an undeniable role in undermining Iran’s legitimate government, and thus by conspiratorially interfering in Iran’s internal affairs, gave credibility to the fanatical revolutionaries who are in power today. Before the fall of the late Shah of Iran, in 1978, Andrew Young, President Carter’s ambassador to the United Nations, called Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, a “saint.” William Sullivan, Carter’s ambassador to Iran, had described Khomeini in one of his reports to the State Department as a “Ghandi-like figure,” and the American Iranalogists, academic politicians, and especially news media had all praised Khomeini’s ideology and his proposed Islamic republic. They described him as a savior, who was to bring justice, freedom and compassion to his countrymen, and depicted pre-revolutionary Iran as a massive prison and the late Shah as a dictator.
The gifts of the Islamic revolution to the world have been terror. Terror for the sake of the turban clad madmen who have made a mockery out of everything civilized and humane. A regime was established for the purpose of destruction and genocide, a regime in which unjust persecutions and executions are everyday business, where terrorists train to murder innocent people.
However, unlike the many other troubled spots of the world, Iran (Persia) derives its sovereignty from over 7,000 years of recorded cultural existence, and more than 5,000 years of nationhood. Iran as an empire, a kingdom, and a people has left its mark on the world’s evolution of civilizations in arts, music, and sciences, as well as literature and theology. Today, however, all that is sacred to the identity of an entire people is on the verge of total annihilation, as the Islamic Republic continues to plunder the historic nation, and rob from it all the elements that have safeguarded Iran’s sovereignty and integrity through many turbulent times.
President Obama did not have to send four letters of goodwill messages to the mullah Khamenei, the leader of the fanatic regime. Mr. Obama could have pressured him to accept a visit by Amnesty International, or other similar organizations, to observe the horrid state of Iranian prisons, crowded with innocent men, women, and children. They could observe a devastated country and meet people who until 36 years ago were prosperous, but whose everyday lives have become inescapable horror, hunger, and regret. Mr. Obama should renew a relationship with these people, not with a shaky establishment whose days are numbered. Washington should advocate the overthrow of the Islamic republic, and not demoralize the growing secular opposition by negotiating with the terrorist blackmail school of Islamic diplomacy.
The free world can help in the struggle of the oppressed Iranian people, and the exiled movement overseas. By mobilizing a political boycott against the Islamic Republic, by applying pressure through the United Nations and other international organizations, the free world can seek the condemnation of the bloody Islamic Republic as an illegal government, and thus aid the people of Iran in their pursuit of change. The U.S. can put an end to the fruitless negotiations and political backing that sustains the Islamic Republic’s reign of terror, and help the Iranian people to rid their nation of this murderous calamity, and once again gain a respectable position in the world community.
America and its allies should think through the implications of a free Iran. One that puts aside the Islamic revolution and ISIS-type behavior, puts aside enforced fanaticism, puts aside repression, puts aside the supra-state power structures of the mullahs, puts aside anti-Americanism and its allies in the region. This will be an Iran that the free world can do business with, and have plenty of business to do with.
Ironically, young Iranian masses have observed and learned plenty within the past 36 years under the severest dictatorial-fanatic rules. The new Iran has a good chance of emerging as one of the most democratic countries in the region. As such, it could become one of America’s leading partners in the region, as it was before the Islamic revolution. The U.S. can help this along by planning on a free Iran playing a dignified role in the world.
A free Iran opens up the prospect for a grand democratically oriented region, which would have the resources to foster moderation throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.
The minds and hearts of all Iranians, whether at home under the bloody hands of the mullahs, or abroad in exile, are set on one resolution: the restoration of democracy in Iran and cultural heritage to the level that history has destined it to be.
Mansour Kashfi, Ph.D. is president of Kashex International Petroleum Consulting and is a college professor in Dallas, TX. He is also author of more than 100 articles and books about petroleum industry worldwide. firstname.lastname@example.org