Wednesday, July 19, 2006

NCRI -- Democratic Iran in exile

A comment left at my Sunday morning post has made me aware of an Iranian opposition group I didn't know existed, The National Council of Resistance of Iran.

...the parliament-in-exile of the Iranian Resistance. The NCRI is a broad-based political coalition comprising five opposition political organizations and parties and more than 550 well-known political, cultural and social figures, specialists, artists, intellectuals, sports champions, scientists, and military officers.

Every part of the spectrum of Iran's social and political mosaic is represented in the NCRI, including those of religious, secular, liberal and nationalist persuasions, as well as the representatives of ethnic minorities, namely Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmens, and Arabs, Sunni Moslems, and members of smaller religious communities, such as Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians. Half of the members of the NCRI are women.

Not meaning to sound flip, it sounds somewhat like a ME version of California. This is the kind of group Americans need to hear about and start supporting. Unless I'm missing something it appears to be the democratic counterpart of Hezbollah with a very different agenda: Pluralism instead of Tyranny.

The sidebars of the NCRI site link to other like-minded places. Here is a snip from the Maryam Rajavi Website:
The world watches with apprehension as Iran's ruling mullahs persist with violations of human rights, sponsorship of terrorism, and nuclear development. The regime threatens regional and global security through a lethal mix of fundamentalism and nuclear weapons. As the EU has tried "constructive engagement" with the clerical regime, the mullahs have shown no willingness to respond properly, demanding that the main opposition group, the People's Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI), be listed as a terrorist group. Giving in to that demand has only helped those who use terror at home and sponsor it abroad, while the mullahs' nuclear programme continues.

It is time for the EU to focus on the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people. Europe and the rest of the world should be on the side of the millions demanding freedom and human rights, not those who have stolen these from them.

When I put together Monday's post about Iran's dissidents I was not aware of this group, which comes across as both alive and well. The difference, of course, is that this group is outside the country, not as easily targeted as they might in Iran. This group has been tracking and listing the savage record of Iran's oppressive regime well over a year, patiently publishing a lengthening archive of revealing events as they happen. This is from a report from over a year ago, April, 2005:
Clashes between anti-government protesters and paramilitary forces in Mahabad began on Wednesday evening, but reached its peak on Thursday night. Thousands of residents took to the streets to chant slogans against the mullahs' regime. Agents of the Special Anti-riot Guard and Revolutionary Guards attacked the crowd, but young protesters fought back and hit-and-run clashes spread to several districts of the city. A thirteen-year-old boy was killed when a security agent hit him on the head with a truncheon, eye-witnesses said.

The list documents anti-government public demonstrations inside and outside Iran, public hangings and other events of note.

I don't know how to go about it, but public awareness of Iran's various opposition groups needs to be fostered in the US. It seems to me that Iranians such as these stand a far better chance of effecting meaningful "regime change" in Tehran than anyone in the Pentagon or the White House. Their biggest handicap may be that they don't control any oil.

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