Today however, things have changed tremendously. Two neighboring authoritarian regimes have been toppled through the intervention by the United States. That by itself has created lots of anxiety in Iran, especially for the hard-liners among the clergy, who control the judiciary, military, intelligence and practically all the other power strongholds. This time around, student demonstrations were focused on fundamental changes in the country's constitution, including the call for the removal of the position of supreme leader. This change enjoys the support of internal reformists and opposition forces, including a surprising majority of elected representatives. It promises to reform the system toward becoming a democratic republic with separation of religion and state. This call is also endorsed by a solid majority of Iranian expatriates abroad, several thousands of whom, like me, have found their home in Oregon.
Two camps in the U.S. administration also support democratization in Iran. The State Department favors a less intrusive approach, allowing for a leadership to emerge from within the movement, while negotiating issues of interest with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
On the other hand, a group of neoconservatives, lead by Michael Ledeen and Daniel Pipe, are calling for a rapid regime change, even if military intervention is deemed necessary. This latter group surprisingly has support of Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. It appears to endorse the return to power of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the shah, the last monarch of Iran. The people of Iran are working hard to create change from within the country. During past six years a reform movement has been at work challenging theocratic pillars of the regime demanding more power to people and secularizing the system.
The Iranian population's level of political sophistication is astonishing, and a sustainable and viable democracy in Iran can come into being only if it is homegrown and independent from outside forces. Iranians are independent-minded and still have the bad memory of U.S. intervention back in 1953, when a CIA-led coup d'etat overthrew the democratically elected government of Dr. Mossadegh and brought back 25 more years of the shah's authoritarian regime. That experience was amplified in July of 1988 when a Navy battleship, saint Vincennes, shot down an Iranian passenger airliner over the Persian Gulf killing 300 people, and President Reagan said "I know this was wrong but ai'nt apologizing to no Iranian". Years have passed and there are new generation of Iranians and American who have never seen the images of hostages taken in the US Embassy in Teheran or images of the bodies floating on the Gulf. It is time to reconcile and Iranian people and especially youth are ready to forget the past and move on, but it appears that US will never learn from the history.
Bush administration and its Neo-Con allies have started preparing for their interventions. Senator Brownback (R, KA) has proposed a fifty million dollar fund for regime change in Iran. A TV station will start broadcasting over Iran this fall. This is in addition to a 24 hours radio station that already airs on Iran to promote so called "American Values" including pop music. Several monarchist satellite TV station out of Los Angeles are also beneficiary of the Brownback-Wyden Senate Resolution 82.
This Tuesday July 8th, from 11am to 2pm, WE the Iranian community of Portland are gathering at Pioneer Court House Square in support of the Pro-Democracy movement in Iran and to register our opposition to any military intervention. We believe the students' movement in Iran is a significant reflection of the Iranian People's non-violent movement toward democracy and separation of religion and state. Our purpose is to be an international echo for their call for individual freedom, civil and human rights for all. We also emphasize that there is no need for outside military intervention in Iran, since such interventions would backfire only to strengthen the so-called hard-liners who currently hold power.
We will gather in memory of all those killed and injured during protests in Tehran. We also demand the prompt release of all who are still in custody. Please join us in this demonstration in support of the Pro-Democracy Movement in Iran and against US intervention.
For information on the history of US-Iran problems log into the; http://www.voicesofthemiddleeast.com