Iran Uprising

Another Option on Iran

New York Post, June 15, 2008

Alireza Jafarzadeh

While we bicker, Tehran is sprinting towards its nuclear arms goal in defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions. Most recently, in May, the International Atomic Energy Agency voiced its “serious concerns” about the regime’s nuclear ambitions. Tehran’s terrorist proxies continue to incite violence in Iraq. All this begs the question: isn’t there a better way out of the current deadlock? The answer is “yes.”

Tehran’s main fear is that the US might go for a option besides air strikes – reaching out to Iranian resistance groups for help. Although not yet contemplated by the administration, this option enjoys strong bipartisan support from members of Congress.

Several years ago, in an effort to placate the ayatollahs in exchange for short-lived benefits, the Clinton administration and later the EU blacklisted Iran’s largest and most active opposition group, the People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran, or MEK. Needless to say, they got nothing in return.

In a landmark ruling in May, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that the MEK’s inclusion in the list of terrorist organizations was “perverse” and “unlawful,” and must immediately be set aside. The British Government has abided by the ruling and laid a draft order before the Parliament removing the group from its blacklist.

Relying on its network throughout Iran, the MEK is organizing student demonstrations, gathering intelligence on Tehran’s nuclear weapons program and stirring up social discontent. The MEK promotes a secular, Democratic government, which would embrace separation of chuch and state, religious freedom, equal rights for men and women, freedom of press, speech, political association.

Military strikes against Iranian nuclear targets would not bring about change in Iran; it is only the Iranian people and their organized resistance who have the qualification and the duty to accomplish that.

Washington does have a viable choice: removing the restrictions on the Iranian democratic opposition, which would unleash the enormous potential of the younger generation, already engaged in nationwide anti-government protests. This is the only logical option with promise of a way out of the current Iranian policy impasse.