When will the West accept the truth about what is going on inside Iran? How long will it be before the media and government recognize that supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls the country with an iron fist and that what we want to see as moderation is nothing more than window dressing? The reality is that nothing will change in Iran without a total regime change.
Iranian President-elect Hasan Rouhani may appear more moderate than his opponents, but the policies remain the same. For starters, the recent election was anything but democratic. When candidates are vetted by the regime and all who don't conform to the views of the supreme leader are kept off the ballot, the only word to describe it is "sham."
The eight hand-picked candidates were advisers, confidants or representatives of Ayatollah Khamenei, whose main fear was repetition of the uprisings that followed the "fixed" 2009 election. This explains why he wrapped things up in the first round to avoid public outrage and eruption of public discontent. The notion that Mr. Rouhani is a moderate or has a tendency toward reform is an absolute myth.
The reality is that Mr. Rouhani has held some of the most-prominent positions in the security and intelligence apparatus almost from the onset of the regime in 1979. He is a veteran functionary of the machinery of war and repression, and his loyalty to Ayatollah Khamenei is not in dispute. He has boasted about duping the West while pushing Tehran's nuclear program at full speed when he was Iran's nuclear negotiator. And in remarks after his "election," he clearly stated that he would continue enrichment and supports the continuation of the despotic Assad government in Syria, two of the most critical issues facing the international community.
Change must come from the Iranian people. On June 22, more than 100,000 Iranians converged in Paris to stress that the international community and the Iranian people yearn for democratic change. The only way to rid the world of this evil regime, which threatens international peace and security, is to support this organized resistance movement. Regime change in Iran will have a dramatic effect on the entire region and probably would hasten Syrian President Bashar Assad's demise in Syria and bring democracy to Iraq, which now is merely a puppet of Tehran. This would be a win-win situation for the region and the world.
R. BRUCE McCOLM
President, Global Initiative for Democracy
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