17 juni 2005

Regime Change in Iran: Now! (De andere kijk)

Iranians will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new president. Their choice is limited to a number of candidates pre-selected by the Guardian Council, a body appointed by the Supreme Leader Khamenei (why need a president then?). It is not surprising then that there is so little enthusiasm for the election that turnout is likely to be very low.

The mullah regime wants a high turnout, otherwise the lack of legitimacy of their regime would be there to see for the whole world. The mullahs can spare themselves the trouble, however, as Human Rights Watch has already disqualified the elections as "neither free nor fair".

Anyway, former president Rafsanjani is expected to win the election. He is said to be the only one capable of breaking the isolation and the resulting economic and social crisis Iran finds itself in today because of its support for terrorism and, more recently, because of its nuclear program.

This will require engaging the United States. Rafsanjani has already hinted at doing so, but it remains to be seen whether a deal can be struck, let alone that he wants a deal, because in the past, Rafsanjani has made it clear that he supports the idea of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

It is therefore not surprising that the United States prefers to continue to keep the pressure on the Iranian regime. The IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose president El Baradei was only recently confirmed as president, today, one day before the election, published a critical report on Iran's nuclear program. In addition, a referral of the issue to the United Nations Security Council is looming. The wrangling about El Baradei's confirmation by the US so does seem to pay off.

But in the end, the only way to resolve this crisis peacefully is a regime change: Iran needs a truly democratic government that can accomodate its young and restive population and that can re-establish peaceful relations with the outside world.

The Iranian people will show their desire for just that, freedom and peace, tomorrow. They deserve our support as it is also in our interest. For more information on their struggle, visit the indispensable Regime Change Iran.

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