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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Iran Nuclear Talks Resume: Is it Jaw-Jaw or War-War? Part 2

Iran nuclear talks have resumed, and the U.S. and Iran are at the table again. In this piece, part one of a two-part Q&A between former U.S. Ambassador to the UN for Human Rights Ken Blackwell and Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, President Rajavi answers important questions regarding the Iranian regime and strategies that the U.S. should consider. See Part 1: for 1-9 Q & A.

Iran'’s heavy-water plutonium reactor
150 miles SW of Tehran. (CNS News)
by Ambassador Ken Blackwell, Contributing Author: This is the voice of Iran’s freedom front. It’s been said that Iran’s mullahs with a nuclear weapon is “1,000 times more deadly” even than ISIS. Please take the time to read President Rajavi’s response to my questions:

10. Has the recent regional crisis had an impact on Tehran's behavior during the negotiations?

It has certainly increased the significance of acquiring nuclear weapons for Khamenei. Despite all his meddling, threats, and murders in Iraq, Khamenei failed to prevent the downfall of his proxy government (Maliki). This was a fundamental blow to the mullahs' domination over Iraq and it made Khamenei more fearful of the status of his rule in Iran itself. This is particularly the case since the regime has been unable to save Assad from the crisis in Syria over the past three years despite perpetrating an inhumane war through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The actual fear over the crisis spilling into Iran, which would rattle the entire regime, has increased Khamenei's need for the bomb. As a result, he avoided any sort of flexibility during the negotiations.

11. How do you react to the idea that there should be a role for the Iranian regime in Iraq and specifically in the fight against ISIS, which could lay the groundwork for cooperation?

This would be a repeat of disastrous past experiences, the consequences of which are still haunting the Middle East and the entire world, including in the United States. I am talking about the cooperation with the Iranian regime during the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and more importantly opening Iraq's doors to the Iranian regime, its surrogates and militias after the war to gradually solidify their control in Iraq. In practice, this policy has turned Iraq into a launching pad for the expansion of terrorism and fundamentalism led by Tehran. The rise of ISIS is one of the by-products of this policy. The people of Iraq see the clerical regime as an occupying power. Any form of cooperation with this regime would cast a shadow of doubt over the legitimacy of operations carried out by the international coalition. Such hypothetical cooperation would also fuel a conflict desired by ISIS, because ISIS is trying to paint its acts of terrorism as a battle between Shiites and Sunnis in a bid to recruit Sunnis to its ranks.

12. What do you think can solve the current regional crisis?

The solution and the main key lies in the hands of the peoples of the region themselves. Confronting terrorism and extremism masquerading as Islam (whether in the form of ISIS or militias tied to the Iranian regime in Iraq) is only possibly through uniting people and anti-fundamentalist forces in the region. This is a war that has no answer in the battlefield without the complete participation of Sunnis and Sunni tribes. There can be no solution without the meaningful participation of the real representatives of the various Sunni factions in the Iraqi government. But, in order to realize that outcome, the Iranian regime and its militias must be evicted from Iraq. They are the obstacle to such a participation, and they inspire sectarian war and religious killings.

13. What are your thoughts on fundamentalism and Islamic extremism and the reasons for its expansion?

Islamic fundamentalism, which in contrast to true Islam, is known for its characteristic religious dictatorship, misogyny, religious discrimination, inhumane punishments, and unimaginable deception, was born with the mullahs' regime in Iran in 1979. The mullahs proliferated this reactionary thought throughout the region starting three decades ago. These are characteristics that are exactly the same for fundamentalists under the Shiite banner and fundamentalists under the Sunni banner. The growth of fundamentalism, which has today manifested itself in ISIS, is culturally and historically the result of the proliferation of such ideology by the mullahs in Iran. From a political standpoint, the cruel suppression of Sunnis in Iraq by the Iranian-affiliated Iraqi government and their marginalization and widespread massacre of people in Syria, again at the hands of a dictatorship tied to the mullahs and the IRGC, created the breeding ground for this phenomenon.

But the solution to Islamic extremism lies in an alternative that is based on a democratic and tolerant Islam. In Iran, this alternative is represented by the MEK, which has been able to promote a pioneering role model for the entire region. This is one of the reasons for the 27 attacks and massacres of residents at Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty, which have taken place in recent years at the hands of the mullahs and their puppet government in Iraq. The residents of Ashraf and Liberty are the representatives and advocates of such an alternative.

14. What is your assessment of Rouhani's one-year record in various arenas, specifically human rights in Iran? Have there been any changes?

Mullah Hassan Rouhani's sixteen-month record reveals a complete defeat for him and for the entire regime. More than 1,200 executions during his tenure, including hangings of juveniles, a slate of acid attacks and stabbings against women, detaining of lawyers, journalists, new Christian converts, Sunnis, Dervishes (a branch of Shiism) and Bahaiis, and the ratification of extremely suppressive laws are only a part of his record. In April, Rouhani personally defended the executions and said that they can be considered either as Islamic edicts or as man-made laws, and in both cases we are responsible for implementing them. In October, the regime's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), on his orders, actively defended the hanging of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a young woman who had defended herself against a man trying to rape her. In the second week of December, the Intelligence Minister, who is very close to Rouhani, proudly boasted about a list of dissidents his ministry was responsible for assassinating outside of Iran's borders.

Rouhani has also failed to deliver on his promises to improve the economy. The value of the country's currency is even lower than its lowest point during Ahmadinejad's tenure, the price of bread has increased to the highest level in Iran's history, official estimate put the number of starving people at 12 million, and two in five people are unemployed.

As a result, once more it has been proven that the hopes for the rise of a "moderate" inside the religious fascism is nothing but a mirage.

15. Your movement has had a central role in exposing the regime's nuclear program. What do you think is the nature of this program?

There is no doubt that the program entirely has military objectives. Since revelations about the existence of the secret sites in Arak and Natanz in 2002 until now, the Iranian Resistance has made over 100 documented revelations about sensitive and wide-ranging details of this program, all of which expose its military objectives.

The Iranian Resistance has in this way trapped the mullahs, even as western governments have for years offered incentives to the mullahs instead of adopting a firm stance, which has granted the mullahs an opportunity to expand their nuclear program.

But the role and activities of the Resistance have created an extensive social awareness inside Iran in protest to this program, depriving it of any sort of legitimacy whatsoever. On the basis of such public opposition, our movement seeks a non-nuclear Iran in its political platform.

In their confrontation against a decaying tyranny, the Iranian people have a democratic alternative with a clear platform that seeks a secular and pluralistic republic, gender equality, a society based on respect for human rights and the abolition of the death penalty, abdication of the mullahs' Sharia laws, providing equal economic opportunities to all, a non-nuclear Iran, and peace and co-existence with the rest of the world.

16. How do you see the prospects for change in Iran?

Change in Iran is inevitable. This is not only due to the crises gripping the mullahs, the regime's nuclear impasse, or the blows it has received in Iraq and Syria. Beyond all this, change is inevitable because of the intense social discontent in Iran and the social readiness to revive popular uprisings. This is the most important reason that explains why the mullahs have resorted to splashing acid on women's faces and why they have increased the number of executions to levels not seen in the last quarter of a century, not to mention the attacks and imposition of pressures against the Iranian Resistance and especially the residents of Camp Liberty.

The mullahs' regime in Iran represents the rule of a minority of less than 5 percent of the population that relies on sheer force. Without torture, daily executions, censorship, and complete control, they cannot remain in power even a day longer. But, this exceedingly wobbly and unstable situation is not at all sustainable.

As a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN for Human Rights, I can verify that the failure to address the horrific record of the Tehran regime will guarantee failure when dealing with a dictatorial regime like the mullahs have run in Iran since 1979. President Rajavi should be thanked for helping us as Americans return to our best traditions and our greatest success.
Ken Blackwell is a former ambassador to the U.N., Ohio Secretary of State and mayor of Cincinnati. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth, the National Taxpayers Union and the National Federation of Republican Assemblies. He is a contributor to the ARRA News Service.

Tags: Ken Blackwell, Maryam Rajavi, Iran, nuclear talks, JAW-JAW, War-War To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 8:30 AM - Post Link


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