Is the United States serious about Iran?
By: Amil Imani
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently asked Congress for
$85 million to support pro-democracy groups inside Iran and also to
assist Iranian groups outside Iran who oppose the Islamic terrorist regime
in Tehran. But this program will not change anything inside Iran. And it
is highly unlikely that the $85 million (if Secretary Rice indeed procures
it) will be used effectively and wisely.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that Iran
cannot delay indefinitely accountability for a suspected
nuclear weapons program, but said the United States
has set "no deadline, no timeline" for Tehran to act.
AP photo. This was said over a year ago.
Yet, there is no denying Bush’s intent of support for the Iranian people
and their desire for democracy in Iran. In his 2005 state of union
address, he again pledged his support for the Iranian people: "And to the
Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America
stands with you." A Tehran University student responded, "As long as
President Bush stands with the Iranian people, the Iranian people will
stand with him and with America."
Condoleeza Rice and President Bush in Belgium, at the NATO meeting, 2005.
In Iranian polls, Bush won the 2004 election by a landslide, even though
in America, Bush won by only a few hundred votes. Today, Bush is sinking
in American polls, but his popularity continues to climb in Iran.
Persian speaking people have found a friend who says he cares about them.
But, at this point, we must ask how serious is President Bush about Iran?
Is it all words, with no action?
For five years, President Bush has consistently supported the Iranian
people in his state of the union addresses. But it’s been simply a big
carrot on a long stick. Or, as they say in Texas, it’s all hat and no
cattle. While we have supported the president’s efforts to liberate Iraq
and bring democracy to the region, we know the key to peace in Iraq and
the region is in the hands of the Iranian people. As long as they are
powerless to overthrow the Islamic terrorist regime in Iran, Iraq will
never see the light of democracy.
America is spending over $200 million a day for the war in Iraq. In
contrast, an $85 million proposal to bring change in Iran, administered
over five years or more, is utterly unrealistic. After all, we are
talking about the Islamic Republic of Iran—"the world's most active state
sponsor of terrorism," according to the U.S. State Department.
So, how do we understand the money problem?
According to the Iranian Studies Group, an independent academic
organization at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), more than one
in four Iranian-Americans hold a master's or doctoral degree, the highest
rate among 67 ethnic groups studied. Iranians are among the most highly
educated people in U.S. and annually contribute over $600 billion into the
It would be a travesty for the Iranian opposition groups to accept a mere
$85 million while the Iranian-Americans are such large contributors to the
Yet, Iranian-Americans have not given big money to the cause of liberating
their fellow Iranians in Iran, and the U.S government hasn’t given any
significant amount for the eradication of the world terrorist regime—the
Islamic Republic of Iran. So, we’re back to square one.
But consider this: the United States holds billions of dollars of Iranian
assets in U.S. banks. Why not use this financial source to support the
Iranian opposition groups who will actively seek regime change in Iran?
This money must be returned to its legitimate heirs, the Iranian people,
inside Iran and outside Iran.
If the U.S. is serious about a regime change in Iran, if the U.S. is
hoping for a democratic form of government in Iran, and if the U.S. truly
advocates a broader democracy in the Middle East, the White House must
turn the Iranian assets over to all the Iranian opposition groups who want
democracy in Iran. After all, Iranians know Iranian mentality better than
any foreign governments.
It is time for the US government to get serious about regime change in
Iran. Bombing Iran will not help the cause. In fact, it will probably
create either civil war, or some kind of desperate unity inside Iran. The
more effective way to achieve regime change is to spend the Iranian assets
in the right way.
We can create a secular, democratic Iranian nation with our own Iranian
money, and obliterate the venomous theocratic regime in Iran—which the
majority of Iranians consider to be alien occupiers. The clock is ticking
and the majority of Iranians want to be free from the oppressors now. The
Bush administration must stop the useless, wasteful bureaucracy and get
down to business of regime change, immediately.
Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American Citizen and pro- democracy
activist living in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist,
literary translator, poet, and novelist, who speaks out for the struggling
people of his native land, Iran. His website is