Empowering Iranians who oppose regime will backfire

In his op-ed “Empowering the democratic opposition in Iran” (July 24), Dick Armey was correct in stating that military intervention is not viable in Iran. However, his assertion that America and its partners should support democratic opposition and remove MEK from the terrorist list of organizations is highly misinformed.

Support for the MEK and removing it from the list of terrorist organizations will only backfire on the U.S. The MEK’s strategy to invade Iran will never work, nor will any U.S. attempt to fund organizations set on undermining the existing Iranian regime.

Iranian reformists believe that democracy can’t be imported. It must be indigenous. They believe that the best the U.S. can do for democracy in Iran is to leave them alone.

Noninterference in Iran’s domestic affairs is a legal obligation of the United States. This was stipulated in the Algiers Accord that the United States signed with Iran in 1981 to end the hostage crisis. …

Aware of their own deep unpopularity, the hardliners in Iran are terrified by the prospects of a “velvet revolution” and have become obsessed with preventing contacts between Iranian scholars, artists, journalists and political activists and their American counterparts. One need not look further than the current situation of Dr. Haleh Esfandiari and Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh, among others, who have been arrested and accused by the Iranian government of taking money from the U.S. government and acting as spies.

Rather than misappropriating funds that will never be effective, or relying on terrorist organizations to do its bidding, a wiser approach would be for the U.S. to directly engage Iran in smart, tough-minded diplomacy to get Iran to change its behavior.

-From Carah Ong, Iran policy analyst, Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, Washington


Rid world of Islamic fundamentalist menace

Dick Armey … correctly identifies the solution to the big problem called the terrorist regime ruling Iran. Clearly, the Middle East region will not see peace or stability as long as the Iranian mullahs are in power.

Khomeini’s goal was to export his revolution and to create an Islamic empire. … Ahmadinejad and his cohorts are exactly doing that. As Dick Armey states, military intervention is not a viable option. … The option he suggests is supporting and empowering the Iranian Resistance. He is absolutely correct in his assessment, and provides the best option.

It is time to try this new approach. The option of engagement has failed, and the option of military intervention is going to fail. Let Iranian people take care of the problem and rid the world of the menace of Islamic fundamentalism.

- From Jila Kazerounian, Storrs, Conn.

Negotiations have made matters worse

… The religious dictatorship ruling Iran is based on the ideology created by Khomeini called Velayat-e faqih, literally meaning the guardianship of the religious jurist. Repression at home and export of the Islamic revolution abroad are two policies by which mullahs stay in power. As history has shown, negotiations and appeasement have only made matters worse and provided the mullahs with more time to complete their nuclear agenda. …

As an Iranian American who has been following the events in Iran very closely for the last 30 years, I very much agree with Dick Armey’s assessment of the current situation and his proposed solution of siding with the democratic opposition in Iran, specifically People’s Mojahedin of Iran. …

-From Ali Soltani, Mequon, Wis.

We are all guilty if we don’t take action

We people of the U.S., who are natives of Iran, were very pleased to read the article of Dick Armey for telling the truth the way it is. …

We are all guilty of the stoning, torturing and public hanging of the people of Iran if we do not take the right action.

Thank you for publishing such an article to wake up our nation before the world is inflicted with the most devastating war of all times.

-From Sadi Hashemi, Buford, Ga.

Standing for principle, not partisanship

Manu Raju’s article “Lieberman escalates attack on Iraq critics” (July 31) brings to light interesting divisions amongst today’s more liberal  representatives. Lieberman has for a long time been somewhat of a maverick but since his departure from the ranks of the Democratic Party we have seen his personality become even more outspoken. Some of that new openness, no doubt, comes from his high-profile position as an independent, while part is due to having broken free from the shackles of the Democratic caucus. The message is of importance regardless of its catalyst.

The mantra that Lieberman repeats is clear and important: Put America first! Party politics should not cause the breakdown of national security and foreign relations. Today we fail to live by that rule. I applaud the senator for his candor and forthrightness in standing on principle rather than being trampled by partisanship.

- From Raz Shafer, Stephenville, Texas