Secular Aspects of Opposition in Iran

By Jahanshah Rashidian

The lack of a strong, united, democratic, and secular movement in Iran has left the arena empty for the Islamic regime and its factions, namely an Islamic “Green” alternative. The Islamic regime plunders our national wealth, sheds blood of our people, rapes male and female dissidents while growing conflict within the factions, as it happens for any totalitarian regime at its end.

After the 2009 ragged elections, millions of chests were ready in the streets of Iran to challenge the forces of this regime. Although bullets of panic-stricken Islamic mercenaries would suffocate any voice of protest, people were brave enough to resolutely claim their freedom despite risk of torture, rape, forced confessions and finally execution as “Mohareb” (heretic).

Unfortunately, the worst-ever condition of our people have not stimulated enough responsible reactions among democratic and secular activists on how to form a united movement to free the country from the plague of the Islamic regime. Sadly, yet the people of Iran must wait; such a liberation movement has long been deemed illusory.

It is however time that such a movement be formed without further delay. We should learn from the historical experiences from our own past and from all peoples’ struggles of the world, those who have freed their countries from tyrannies and colonial powers. We should realistically use any tactical method in our favour to hasten the fall of the Mullahs’ regime because each day of its parasitic life costs our country more lives and more lootings so that its existence is far worse than imagined.

People trust a democratic and secular movement if it aims to form a democratic and secular state in Iran, in which all authorities can be directly elected or dismissed. Leaders of such a movement must be secular and democratic; their political background must be clean with no ties or sympathy for any religious or dictatorial form of state. People want to be sure that the leftovers of despotic and corrupt regimes will have no place in the leadership. People grow the idea that all authorities of free Iran must take oath to respect Human Rights, separation of religion from sate and unconditional democracy; the leadership must prove its competence and independence from foreign countries and ideologies.

Our national interests should never be bargained by whims of any foreign power, religion, and ideology. Our society is not a lab of such an experiment. National leaders should be the fruit of Iranian people’s struggles for freedom from any kind of regime which based on historical experiences ends up with dictatorial or despotic leadership. Thanks to our knowledge-hungry society, now it is ripe enough not to bow to any ideology, religion of submission, and domination of an elite class.

A democratic and secular movement now is needed to be representative as people take to protests against the Islamic regime. Although this will spontaneously surface in the process of revolution, an immediate formation of it will hasten and plan the revolution itself. Such a movement should immediately present its programme which must be an attractive alternative to encourage people in their fair struggles against the Islamic tyranny. The programme must contain effective solutions to free Iran from the long yoke of both backwardness and dictatorship because these go together. The Shiite sect of Islam is historically a precondition of despotism.

The programme should expressly explain how it creates the stage for unconditional democracy, social justice, gender equality, question of Islamic hijab, development of national economy, rehabilitation of an Iranian identity, reviving of art and culture, negation of Islam as state religion, elimination of all religious institutions, removal of all religious influence from education, judiciary, calendar, language and many aspects of social life in an effective, democratic, and progressive process.

The new government after the fall of Mullahs is expected to bring all criminals of the regime, since its inception, and all their collaborators before an international court for crime against humanity. This is vital for the sake of justice and rehabilitation of regime’s victims. As such, the process should emphasise on the following tasks:

No Iranian woman is half that of a man, no Iranian can be punished for his political or religious belief. Iran will never possess dungeons, torture, and political prison. From now on, no Islamic instance or personality will be ever permitted to commit stoning, amputation of limb, lashing, forcing hijab, genital circumcision, gender segregation… or any female humiliation.

By condemning the judiciary of a medieval belief system, which 1400 years ago has been imposed on our country in a very violent and long process, it is time that our generation transcends our lesson to the next generations and those Iranians who need practical proofs to quit the imposed teaching of this imposed cult. A secular and democratic programme must describe its clear position towards Islam while avoiding any Islamophobia and unethical behavior.

As we know, the key powers are traditionally interested in economic gains. The EU, unless for its atomic conflict with the regime, would ignore the fact that their barrels of Iranian oil cause the survival of Mullahs and consequently cost many lives extinguished by the criminal Mullahs. We must demand an adequate policy from the EU to handle with the crimes of the Islamic regime, not to alleviate their crimes limiting them to atomic dossier. While demanding the West to sanction the Islamic regime by any means, we must focus on the plague of the political Islam so that do not let a faction of the regime represent itself as the “opposition”. The only real opposition is the one which will be a secular alternative with clean leadership.

The US, despite rhetoric of regime change under Bush administration and appeased policy of Obama administration, may ultimately feel satisfied with some phony reforms by and within the regime. An Iranian democratic movement should not rely on agenda of any key foreign power; instead, it must try to influence their policies toward a total rebuff of the Islamic regime under any form and colour.

In the ongoing critical conditions, and under pressure of a chain of crises, the ruling Iranian regime can be further divided into many cliques and factions. The ruling apparatus may even seek for handles with inner or outer interlocutors, the one is called today “Green movement” it might have another name or colour later. A secular and democratic opposition should be vigilant against accepting any leftovers of the Islamic regime. The ultimate demand is “no” to any model of the Islamic regime.

Freedom-loving Iranians must also recognise the fact that the Islamic regime with nuclear weapons will have greater bargaining power to intensify its dictatorship; therefore, an opposition movement should take part in any international campaign against the regime’s nuclear ambition.

The ‘atomic conflict’ can be used to isolate the regime internationally, but is not all. While condemning regime’s dangerous nuclear programme, we should also put the priority on the question of defending the basic rights of people, what cannot be guaranteed under this regime or one of its factions, led by phony “reformists”, namely Moussavi and Karrubi. What the opposition needs to present is to focus on the common denominator, to kick the occupying Islamic regime out of Iran, and to put a democratic and secular regime in its place.

The regime is using the ‘nuclear conflict’ as a „national“ right to rally popular support, but it masks the regime’s ambition to linger its “God’s command” which is the exportation of Islamic revolution in the region and even around the world. No stone must be left unturned; the Islamic regime must give up its nuclear programme, even if it is expressly a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty because nuclear in the hands of an Islamic regime jeopardises the lives of innocent people.

The Islamic regime of Iran must be internationally isolated; all diplomatic, cultural, and sport contacts with it must be suspended. All foreign accounts of the regime officials, not the second ranking officials but its leadership, must be frozen.

Because of crimes and lootings of Iranian people, the Islamic regime, along with its factions, all collaborators, and lobbyists abroad has achieved a point-of-no-return. This is the reasons, the regime’s front does not hesitate committing any unethical act to remain in power. Nevertheless, survival of the regime is partly relying on the discord among opposition in the Iranian Diaspora. A secular and democratic opposition must expose the Islamic regime’s front abroad while improving its own common goals.

In short, here is my suggestion for a common platform of secular and democratic forces with aims to fulfill the following four major aspirations of most Iranian people:

Organising and leading Iranian people’s struggles to sweep away the Mullah regime and all its Islamic relics, institutions, and suppressive organs.
Forming a temporary government to organise a constitutional assembly for a new constitution. The new constitution is only legal when it is approved by the majority of people in a referendum supervised by international observers.
Preparing conditions as quickly as possible for a democratically elected parliament and government based on the right that people can elect and dismiss all key authorities.
Transferring power to the hands of the elected government without monopolising or influencing in the military, security forces and political apparatus.

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