By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
HUFFPOST – On the heels of the major gathering of the Iranian opposition in Paris on July 1, some thirty prominent American luminaries and former officials issued a joint statement expressing bipartisan support for the Iranian resistance and underscoring the need for a more firm approach towards Iran’s ruling clerics.
The letter scolds the ruling clerics of Iran for causing regional instability, engaging in egregious human rights violations and exporting terrorism and extremism abroad. The high-profile personalities and former officials rejected the view that Iran’s political establishment can be reformed. “The hope of some Western governments was that time would lead to moderation by the Mullahs or to the emergence of a reformist faction that could challenge the dominance of the clerical regime. The reality has been far different,” they stated.
Concerning Tehran’s regional role, the signatories said, “The Iran-fueled sectarian division of Iraq laid the foundation for the creation of ISIS…. Iran today commands and funds upwards of 150,000 IRGC, Shia militia and mercenary armed fighters in Iraq and Syria.” “We agree with the apparent new US policy of ending the previous United States overture toward the Iranian regime,” the statement added.
Among other signatories are former Senator Joseph Lieberman, former National Security Advisor James Jones, former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former UN Ambassador John Bolton, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former DNC Chairman Edward Rendell, former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant James Conway, , and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy.
They added that the “Tehran regime is uniquely vulnerable,” citing chronic economic mismanagement and fierce power struggle within the regime. “Mounting popular discontent has increasingly become visible in public,” they added, citing growing social calls for accountability for the “mass executions of political opponents, including the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners with a majority of them from the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK).”
The luminaries said a “viable organization” exists to change the clerical regime. “Underthe leadership of Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman standing for gender equality, which is an antidote to Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, it is working every day to bring about a tolerant, non-nuclear Iranian republic based on separation of religion and state, that will uphold the rights of all.”
They added, “The National Council of Resistance of Iran … has the vision, leadership and courage to lead the way to the creation of a new Iran.”
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh President of the International American Council and board member of
the US-Middle East Chamber of Business and Commerce and Harvard IR.