Dear Mr. President
should the U.S. respond to demonstrations in Tehran?
June 20, 2003
protests have continued for
the ninth consecutive night across Iran amid a heated debate in
on its policy toward Tehran. According to the Washington Post and
Times, the Bush administration is deeply divided between those
who support "regime change" and those who oppose active
intervention and advocate a
diplomatic approach toward Tehran.
To demonstrate the point, Senator
Brownback signaled Wednesday that he had high-level support in
to support possible covert operations to destabilize the Iranian
The same day, Secretary of State Colin Powell expressed support
student demonstrations, but held open the possibility of restarting
with Iranian officials. Powell also denied the U.S. had incited
anti-government demonstrations as alleged by Tehran.
As the U.S. focuses its attention on Iran, Europe and the United
have also begun reevaluating their own policies on Iran. France
enforced a crackdown on the Iranian opposition group, the Mujaheddin-e
Khalq, while the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report
that Iran had not fulfilled its nuclear safeguard obligations.
of the IAEA's statement was milder than the Bush administration
The U.S. had called for strong international condemnation of
violations but faced resistance by some countries. On Wednesday,
Bush warned Tehran that world leaders would not tolerate Iran's
of a nuclear weapon. He also urged Iranian officials to treat student
protestors, who he described as "brave souls", with
statement, the IAEA called on Iran to allow stricter inspections
nuclear facilities through the adoption of an additional protocol,
Iran immediately rejected.
Iranian President Mohammad Khatami
Thursday defended the rights of students to protest, but condemned
zero tolerance toward vigilantes and pressure groups that have
protesters in recent days. Khatami also criticized the United
States and the
Western media for exaggerating recent unrest in the country.
With all eyes on Iran, the National Iranian American Council
it is highly critical that Iranian-Americans express their viewpoints
U.S. representatives and lawmakers. In the past, no objective measurement
Iranian-American public opinion on U.S.-Iran relations existed.
such an environment, many groups were able to claim that they
Iranian-Americans. It is the mission of NIAC to enable Iranian-Americans
have their individual voices - whatever they choose it to
be - heard in
To ensure that our community is accurately represented
foreign policy community, it is essential that as many Iranian-Americans
possible communicate their views with their lawmakers. Write
today, and encourage all Iranian-Americans to do the same!
NIAC offers you the opportunity to express YOUR views about what
policy should be to the President, to the Vice President, to your
and to Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld.
NIAC has prepared three letters taking three different positions.
one that you agree with the most OR draft your own letter:
Support the Iranian students and regime change in
first letter argues that the President should support the students in
increasing the pressure on Iran and by declaring the US's support
change in Iran. The rational behind this position is that the Islamic
government is unreformable and incapable of being democratized.
only come to Iran through the dismantling of the mullah's
America's help is needed, advocates of this position argue.
Send this letter
to President Bush and your.
Support the Iranian students from a distance
second letter urges the President to support the students
from a distance and to
allow the Iranians to maintain their independence in their struggle
democracy. The rational for this letter is that US support for
movement can be counterproductive and end up undermining the domestic
movement for democracy. The Iranian democracy must be independent
homegrown, it argues. The letter urges the President to express
support for the aspirations of the people, but not for any political
or any specific form of government. Send
this letter to President
Support the Iranian students to
decide their own future
third letter urges the President not to interfere in internal
period. This letter argues that any direct American involvement
affairs will discredit the domestic democracy movement and evaporate
pro-American sentiments of the Iranian people. The Iranian democracy
movement should be supported by America's absence. Send
this letter to
President Bush and your lawmakers.
all your friends and family to send a letter as well!
To learn more
about the work of NIAC, please visit www.niacouncil.org.
Dokhi Fassihian (M.A. in international relations from Johns
Hopkins University, Maryland) is a political analyst in Washington
DC and member of NIAC. This article first appeared on NIAC's
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