Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let Us Stand with the Iranian People

In my last post, "Follow-up on the Definition of Terrorism," I discuss how a protest organized by a terrorist group or terrorist-sponsoring regime could itself be an act of terrorism. But the converse -- a protest against a terrorist-sponsoring regime -- could be an act of terrorism, which is a major reason why we must stand with the Iranian people in their struggle for liberty.

The current demonstrations against the Iranian theocratic dictatorship are the largest observed since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. I recall how the daily protests then forced the Shah to flee, which allowed the Islamist forces led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to take power in what has thus far been the only other revolution besides the American Revolution to be successful. The current demonstrations against the Islamist dictatorship represent a grave threat to the Khomeinist regime.

The opposition to the Iranian dictatorship is led by a former prime minister who served during the worst period of oppression of the Islamic Revolution who has accepted the popular demand for reform. Although his proposals represent only modest reform, those Iranians opposed to the regime supported him, as well as another moderate candidate in recent presidential elections against the current president who is backed by the tyrannical mullahs who represent the real center of power of the regime. The dictatorship prohibits more reformist candidates from running for president or parliament. The demonstrators are protesting allegations of voter fraud committed by the regime in the election, in which it claims the incumbent easily won reelection, but their cause is broader than the election dispute; the demonstrators seek the overthrow of the dictatorship. Many of them want it to be supplanted by a representative democracy.

The regime's harsh repression of the peaceful demonstrations underscores the lack of liberty in Iran, in contrast to its neighbors to the east and west, namely Afghanistan and Iraq. The stakes are high for the world and the War on Terrorism, not only because Iran is the mother of terrorism and is seeking to build nuclear weapons, but because it has been an example to militant Muslims as the first modern Islamist state, that is to say one ruled by theocrats who impose Islamic law based upon a strict interpretation of Islamic Scripture. A popular Muslim counter-revolution against Islamist rule in Iran would be a major blow to militant Islam, as it would suggest that Islamist rule is intolerable even for Muslims. Many Muslims, like the people of Iran, crave their birthright of the blessings of liberty. Therefore, let us stand with the Iranian people in support of their freedom.

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