I represent a group of native born Iranians, and friends of Iran, with diverse backgrounds and political views supporting democratic values, human rights and the formation of a secular government in Iran. Through our activities, and expressed political manifestos, we have pledged to support efforts to:
• Guarantee the complete separation of church and state, while respecting all religious beliefs
• Immediately release all political prisoners and create conditions for the voluntary and safe return back to Iran of exiles and immigrants
• Implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its conventions
• Guarantee individual liberties, freedom of political association, and freedom of the press
• Create conditions for fundamental reform of Iran’s political, cultural, educational, judicial, economic, and bureaucratic institutions
• Convene a constituent assembly to adopt a new constitution, which will guarantee and defend the right of the people of Iran to a parliamentarian democracy, individual and social liberties, secular government, equal rights for men and women and equal rights for ethnic, religious and social minorities;
• Conduct fair and open trials of the leadership of the Islamic Republic, and others responsible for terrorist activities and massacres inside and outside Iran;
• Establish diplomatic relations with all nations
• Conduct free elections in Iran, and ensure a peaceful transition to a government chosen by the people.
Statement of Goals
We intend to create a union of all democratic and nationalist forces both within Iran and abroad. Such an umbrella organization will play a pivotal role in the aftermath of the downfall of the Islamic republic. To this end, it is necessary to make a concerted effort to link various groups and organizations. More resources will need to be devoted to further develop and coordinate resources.
We intend to help organize Iran’s dissidents into a viable force to overthrow Tehran’s terrorist regime. In this effort we solely rely on the efforts of Iranian individuals, groups and movements. The alternative to the current Islamic order will have the following characteristics:
- Restoration of respect to individual and social freedoms based on political pluralism.
- Institutionalization of democracy, and restoration of citizens’ rights, including equality for women,
- Institutionalization of parliamentarianism; freedom to participate in local and national elections; securing the national integrity and unity.
- Institutionalization of secularism, separation of church and state, and exclusion of any and all ideologies from the affairs of the state.
- Adoption of friendly policies toward other countries, respect for sovereignty of other nations based on mutual interest.
- We favor political and economical cooperation among all Middle Eastern nations, and promote the same cooperation among Central Asian republics with the aim of increasing these regions’ GDP and achieving prosperity,
As a peace loving and an antiviolence entity, we are opposed to military intervention in Iran in any shape or form and under any circumstances. We believe a change in government is possible by the concerted effort of Iranian people. An organized opposition made up of democratic forces can achieve this goal. International democratic forces and freedom-loving people of the world can help this process by forming international solidarity groups as a first step.
In keeping with our goals, it is necessary to meet appropriate financial and technical requirements, and to prepare the appropriate organizational tools that will be utilized. The following paints a picture of what is needed:
The project to create a viable alternative to the Islamic regime in Iran and to prepare the grounds for its eventual substitution with a government of the people, by the people, for the people will require a total sum of $250-$300 million. Since there has been much damage to the psyche of the Iranian people as a result of years of relentless regime propaganda, opposition forces cannot, and should not, accept any funds from the governments of the United States and European Union , lest they be marked as the agent of foreign powers. Iranians in Diaspora number around 5 million, commanding investments of roughly a billion dollars, which can be a source of funding for this group effort. International support can be formed in fundraising activities, and funneled through solidarity groups. Such efforts can be augmented by the participation of known peace activists and pro democracy artists and celebrities.
To form such international solidarity groups, initially it is necessary for a few dedicated activists are recruited for initiating a worldwide PR campaign that would contact and begin to set up the core groups in various countries. Having met the initial requirements, activists who will lead the international campaign for fundraising will form grass root organizations in major cities throughout the world. They will then announce their activities through press conferences and media campaign ads in order to broaden the scope of their activities. These core groups will then tap into local communities to attract experts (at every level), and activists in order to garner the sympathies of freedom loving people and sympathizers of the Iranian democratic movement. Such projects will result in increasing participation of everyday people in supporting the Iranian democratic movement, as opposed to big governments earmarking big budgets that will generate negative publicity.
2. Independent propaganda tools such as radio and TV stations
To maintain contact with a broader spectrum of discontent across the country, an independent satellite television is essential to counter the regime’s propaganda. Target audience will be Iranians of all faith and ethnicity, although special focus will be on those who play an important role in the struggle against tyranny, and those who will participate socially and politically in rebuilding the future of Iran, i.e. women, youth, workers, secular religious groups, the military personnel, technocrats, writers, poets, artisans, technologists, tribes, and ethnic and religious minorities. This station will broadcast its programs, created by expert programmers and skilled technicians, through satellite and will cover the entire country. A separate plan addresses the requirements of a TV station in more detail.
3. Human resources
To organize an operation of this magnitude we will need between 200 and 300 skilled technicians, engineers, writers, political analysts and activists, and managers who will be working on the various aspects of this project full time. We have identified for recruitment close to 200 professionals to lead and coordinate, and to ensure that every task meets the requirements of the objective. Efforts are underway to identify for recruitment another 100. Our group has approached many of these individuals and is in the process of ascertaining their capabilities and qualification. What we lack is the necessary funding and support infrastructures that will facilitate communication among these forces. I personally am one of the coordinators of this effort, and have acted as the liaison between activist circles inside Iran and the sympathetic groups outside.
Plan of Action
The people of Iran are working against difficult odds to create change from within the country in favor of freedom and democracy. In support of that movement and to bring its message out to the freedom loving people everywhere, independent minded and resourceful groups are in the process of organizing an international network of support and logistics. Without such a resourceful network that can fund various initiatives and campaigns, the regime will not retire even though it knows that it is hated by a great majority of the people.
Historical tyranny and lack of fundamental rights in Iran, for over quarter of a century, has caused grave disappointments within big slats of the population. In order to meet the needs of this struggle and to win the trust of the ordinary citizens it is imperative that our movement appears capable and resourceful without being on the payroll of a foreign government. The needs of the struggle are manifold. The following are a few examples:
1. Bringing together Iranians of all political persuasions abroad and organizing them in support of the movement inside the country. Creating work groups with specific tasks to convey the message of peace and democracy and to recruit them for this project.
2. Organizing vulnerable groups inside the country such as women, youth, workers and other dissidents across the country.
3. It is imperative that an umbrella/coalition is formed consisting of all democratic and nationalist forces inside the country and abroad.
4. Establishment of a political headquarters inside Iran by a coordinating council of nationalist and democratic forces for training and organizational purposes.
5. Identifying the regime’s clandestine operations abroad and among the opposition groups.
6. Recruiting from among the personnel of the armed services and the government bureaucracy.
7. Establishment of a radio and satellite television with a capable management group to:
a. break the cycle of censorship, misinformation and oppression by giving accurate and up to date news and analysis.
b. assessing the conditions inside Iran and generating weekly and monthly reports.
c. introducing the alternative to the regime and popularizing its programs.
8. Establishment of an international committee to defend democracy and human rights in Iran by recruiting Iran experts and human rights activists. This group will serve as a launch pad for several initiatives and campaigns aimed at peaceful political change, human rights promotion and development in Iran:
a. Meetings, forming discussion groups, and facilitating the exchange of information all things related to Iran.
b. Getting involved in the network of NGOs in the United States and the European Union.
c. Organizing and introducing working groups on democracy and development in Iran to create reliable sources of information.
d. Creating a consultative mechanism to further cooperate with organizations involved in promotion of democracy in Iran.
e. Sponsoring various activities considered to be necessary and appropriate in achieving its goals.
Enclosed is a separate document that expands on the above list.
Due to the particular nature of the Islamic state, its invasive methods in controlling the movements of activists and individuals, it is imperative that a part of the operations inside the country remains underground in order to refrain from endangering lives. Parts of the operations abroad will have to remain covert to safeguard connections with those in Iran. The management teams in every aspect of the operations will determine the particulars and will lead the efforts to maintain the safety and security of all activists.
We consider this endeavor as an integral part of the world struggle for promotion of democracy, tolerance, good will, peace and justice. We believe that participation of like-minded freedom loving people and those concerned with the current situation in Iran and its importance for the whole region, could finally unlock the dilemma of statesmanship in Iran. Political change in Iran has become a key step to improve its status with democratic countries, especially with the European Union and United States as countries with deepest concerns for human rights, human dignity and security in the world.
Hassan Massali, Ph.D.
August 5, 2007