Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"This Place Is Not a Ditch"

An Iranian dissident, Amir Abbas Fakhravar, brings a new light by which America may be able to finally help the Iranian people. Sanctions. He has declared, "Everyone I talk to, everyone is saying they know how the oil revenue goes up and up as they get poorer and goods get more expensive. We might as well have sanctions. It's like we are living under them already. If it leads to the regime being overthrown, then so be it."

Mr. Fakhravar believes now is the right time for the UN to act.
But Mr. Fakhravar believes the time is ripe for America to support a regime change policy openly. In the interview yesterday, he said that he hoped the United Nations National Security quickly takes up Iranian violations of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty and then imposes economic sanctions.
To a more immediate problem: Mr. Fakhravar has learned that his life is in danger. Over the weekend he learned that the Islamic Republic was searching for him to rearrest him. They have even brought his sister before the supreme revolutionary guard tribunal.

He has never thought about leaving the country he loves so much, but it seems as though this is his only option. He is comforted in the knowledge that many corrupt regimes were brought down by the students on the outside who were free to seek help. "Our hands would be more open to organize others inside the country. The same thing happened for some of the student leaders in Serbia, and that's what we need here."

He is also aware of this: "Iran's theocratic regime has prompted popular resistance. President Bush has voiced support for democracy in Iran, along with concern about the current regime's support for terrorism and its efforts to build nuclear weapons." President Bush, he heard you. Keep your promise.

Mr. Fakhravar has been speaking with members of Tahkim Vahdat, a student group that encouraged both the boycott of the elections, and the release of Akbar Ganji from Evin Prison.
Mr. Fakhravar believes that he and other student leaders, such as Ahmad Batebi - who is also wanted for arrest by the Iranian authorities - represent the true leadership of the country's student movement. "Only people like us are in a position to lead and a few others who are still alive and in the prisons. The regime knows how much we bring to the table and that we are popular with students and how much we have power, and they want to eliminate us physically," he said.
."We feel in our heart and our mind that we are close to the leaders of the great countries like America, those who think this regime can no longer possibly remain and should be removed. We think as the leaders of the student movement are bonded with these leaders in the West that these leaders should help us financially to cover our expenses. It is the least expensive way get rid of this regime."
For three years between 2003 and 2005, Senator Brownback, a Republican from Kansas, has attached amendments freeing up some money to go directly to pro-democracy organizations inside Iran. But this money has, so far, not gone for any such projects, in part because few popular opposition figures inside Iran have asked for it. In interviews with the Sun over the past year, leaders from Tahkim Vahdat and a former industry minister, Mohsen Sazegara, and others have never openly asked for American funding for opposition activities.
This was an interview that occured over the weekend. It was translated by a women in Los Angeles. Her name will not be revealed to protect her identity.

I urge all of you to get involved to help the Iranian people. There are several things you can do. Call Sen. Brownback and show your support. Call your own Senators and Congressperson at (toll free) 1-877-762-8762, and voice your support for the Iranian people and Sen. Brownback's bill. Write a letter to your paper's editorial page. (Keep it short and positive.) Write about this at your own site. Talk to people. We need to get a movement going here as well.

Sen. Brownback is a Republican. Is this going to keep you from helping your brothers and sisters in Iran? If it does, you do not deserve the freedoms afforded you. Please, help.

NOTE: The title is the title of the book he wrote which got him arrested in 2002. This article may be found in the New York Sun. It is written by Eli Lake, who has paid very close attention to those who need a voice. He has been an excellent reporter. Fine job, Eli. Thank you.

Hat tip also to Iran Scan.

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