Washington D.C.

National Iranian Congress

January 8, 2018

A Constitutional Revolution is Taking Place in Iran

Statement by National Iranian Congress

Western democracies don’t know what to make of the events unfolding In Iran. News reports are misleading at best; they tend to dismiss the anti-regime protests as spontaneous reactions to economic hardships and quote so-called “insiders” saying the protests pose no serious threat to the Islamic regime of Iran. Consequently, the people of the United States and Europe will be astounded to learn the truth: a Constitutional Revolution is well under way in Iran.

On Saturday, December 23, 2017, the National Iranian Congress, an umbrella organization focused on unifying the leadership of Iranian opposition groups, issued a formal request to the citizens of Tehran to begin a major protest movement to finally end the brutal, oppressive tyranny of the regime. On Sunday, the protest in Tehran was launched by thousands of Iranian citizens willing to risk their lives to secure their fundamental human rights and liberty. Having witnessed the Tehran protest, the citizens of Mashhad joined in support of the Tehran protest. Thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Mashhad, Iran’s second largest and holiest city, directly confronting the very foundation of the regime and its Supreme Leader. Tens of thousands more Iranians across the country in cities large and small quickly joined what has now become a full-scale uprising. Millions of Iranian citizens in over 100 cities thus far have mobilized against the regime in response to the call for a popular Constitutional Revolution. Over 200 unarmed protesters have been killed and 15,000 people have been arrested. The families of those arrested are now gathering outside prisons across Iran. Even in the face of this repression, the Constitutional Revolution continues to grow dramatically.

What are the goals of the Constitutional Revolution? There are three:

1. A free and democratic government which the Iranian people deserve instead of the regime’s tyranny.

2. A new Constitution approved by the Iranian people to define a free and democratic Iran.

3. A free and democratic Iran which is an honorable and responsible member of the International Community.

The Iranian Constitutional Revolution’s struggle for freedom from the regime’s brutal tyranny is one the people of Iran will resolve on their own terms. They neither desire, nor need any outside intervention. But the Iranian people risking all to secure their basic human rights and freedom are not likely to forget those who stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them during this perilous time and those who turn away. The Iranian people are seeking political support from democratic nations in their quest to establish a constitutional republic governed by the will of its citizens and elected representatives through free and fair popular elections.

What steps can the United States take to aid the Iranian Constitutional Revolution? An urgent step the U.S. government could take is to immediately reinstate sanctions against Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), or to at least allow the waiver of sanctions to expire on January 31. Temporary waivers of the 2013 IRIB sanctions bill have been renewed every six months by the Obama State Department. For years, IRIB has been charged with human rights violations by the International Campaign on Human Rights. Today, IRIB has been broadcasting forced confessions from detained Iranian protesters and photos of protesters to obtain their identities from the public in order to imprison them.

The U.S. government could help to inform Iranian popular opinion supporting the Constitutional Revolution by ensuring that the Voice of America Persian News Service halts its customary practice of reciting the regime’s propaganda and instead provides accurate, honest information to the Iranian public on the actual events occurring in Iran and the president’s steadfast support of the Iranian people. The American people would be outraged to learn that their voice to Iran has long supported the ruthless regime.

The Iranian people would be deeply grateful to President Trump for making available satellite system links to allow the Iranian people’s critically important access to the internet which the regime has been shutting down. In particular, President Trump could try to prevail on IT companies in charge of social media networks, e.g., FaceBook, Twitter, Telegram, to reject regime requests to close channels or to filter websites, all of which is designed to limit or deny access by the Iranian people. Indeed these companies should apply software programs which do not permit filtering social networks or content control by dictatorships.

U.S. and Western democracies could reinstitute rigorous oil and central bank sanctions against the Khamenei regime which would be lifted only after free and fair popular elections are held in Iran. This would cut off the funds subsidizing the regime’s paid domestic henchmen, support to militant groups in Iraq, the Assad regime in Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas, and the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

American and European leaders could lend strong political support to the Iranian Constitutional Revolution as an interim provisional government is established. The U.S. government could immediately appoint a Special Representative to document and follow up on gross human rights abuses in Iran today committed by the regime and report them immediately to the president and the American public.

And finally, U.S. and European governments could immediately withdraw their participation in the Iran nuclear deal, the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Iranian people never supported the regime’s nuclear program. The regime’s illicit civil and military nuclear infrastructure will be dismantled and the JCPOA will be dissolved. The nuclear deal is not in the national interest of Iran. It has served only as an incentive for nuclear proliferation in the region. Similarly, the regime’s nuclear collaboration with the North Korean government will be terminated immediately. The best guarantee of a nuclear weapons-free Iran is a free, democratic Iran.

The world indeed is watching the actions the Islamic regime of Iran is taking against the people of Iran. But the Iranian people are also watching the reaction of world leaders to their plight. Will democratic nations simply remain silent or provide the strong political support to the people of Iran who surely deserve no less?

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