by Walton K. Martin and Reza Parchizadeh
Before we can contemplate regime change in Iran, we must set policy standards and implement a decisive plan of action to clean our own house and take down the Iranian regime-supporters in America.
In early June, a group of concerned Americans of Iranian origin as well as other Americans held a meeting at the U.S. Congress in Washington, D.C. to set the stage for regime change in Iran. They assembled at the House Visitors' Center and discussed practical ideas for bringing about regime change in Iran. The impression the meeting made among those concerned with the situation in Iran and the Middle East was so positive that the event immediately made headlines around the world.
A number of prominent figures followed up on that event. A few days later, the former crown prince of Iran in exile, Reza Pahlavi, visited a number of House and Senate members, allegedly discussing very much the same possibilities. On June 14, 2017, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the United States policy toward Iran is based on the support of Iranian forces who can bring about peaceful regime change – to which the Iranian dissidents warmly responded by an open letter. On July 10, 2017, the Daily Caller broke the news of Secretary of Defense Mattis's stance toward Iran to the effect that "Iran needs regime change for relations to improve with the U.S."
On the other hand, the Iran regime's lobby in America, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), immediately attacked the "June 8 Coalition" meeting in the press and on their blogs, as well as directly confronting the participants on social media with their Iran regime supporters' echo chamber, which was set up by Trita Parsi and bragged about in the New York Times by former Obama White House staffer Ben Rhodes.
Here is where we say, "Hold the presses!" The Iran lobby has run circles around Obama, Clinton, Kerry, the State Department, and Congress for more than a decade. If you don't believe us, ask anyone at the National Endowment for Democracy. Or ask former U.S. Republican senator Mark Kirk, who blasted the lobby on the U.S. Senate floor. Or ask Democrat senator Bob Menendez, who also opposed the "Iran deal."
Before we can contemplate regime change in Iran, we must set policy standards and implement a decisive plan of action to clean our own house and take down the Iranian regime-supporters in America. We should start by investigating and auditing all Iran lobby groups and their financial resources, the misuse of their 501(c)(3)s, and the possible misuse of their 501(c)(4)s, one of which should have never been approved, after a U.S. court sanctioned Trita Parsi and the NIAC and forced them to pay a $172,000 settlement to Hassan Daioleslam, who had exposed the illegal lobbying activities on behalf of the Iranian regime by Trita Parsi at the NIAC.
To improve the situation, President Trump and Secretary of State Tillerson should immediately consider John Bolton's appointment to a now understaffed State Department. As Reza Parchizadeh has written before, former U.N. ambassador Bolton is perhaps the most experienced character in American politics when it comes to the Iranian regime and the Middle East. Bolton will bring his much needed experience and a coherent Iran policy, as well as order to State's Middle East section.
Next, Congress needs to come down hard on senators and congressman who fundraise for Iran lobbies, which in turn benefits the Iranian regime that has openly declared the United States and her allies Israel and Saudi Arabia as the regime's number-one enemies. The House members' assisting the enemy, in any form, is unconscionable and must stop.
We must also remove the regime-supporters from the U.S. taxpayer-funded entities Voice of America Persian and Radio Farda and get back on a pro-democracy, pro-liberty, and pro-human rights mission. According to BBG Watch, during an address on Capitol Hill – as part of an event about regime change in Iran, coordinated with the office of Congressman Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) – Reza Parchizadeh said:
The old media, including the state media directed towards Iran, must be completely overhauled and restructured. In that regard, Voice of America and Radio Farda stand at the forefront, as they have been stuffed with regime sympathizers. So biased has been their broadcast in favor of the Iranian regime that the people of Iran and the dissidents derogatorily call Voice of America the "Voice of Ayatollahs" and Radio Farda "Radio Khatami."Removing pro-regime agents and sympathizers from VOA and Radio Farda must be made a State Department priority, to be accomplished by November 30, 2017.
We must win back the hearts and minds of the Iranian people after they were left decimated in the streets of Iran during the 2009 election protests by the failed policies of Obama, Clinton, and Trita Parsi. President Trump should openly declare U.S. support for the people of Iran and fully implement immediate sanctions on Iran's leaders as well as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, better known as the IRGC, based on human rights abuses and the export of international terrorism.
Before the disastrous withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and the misguided Iran deal, Khamenei and his IRGC were mostly contained in Iran and two provinces of Iraq, Basra and Maysan. The regime has now spread throughout Iraq and Syria, and by proxy in Lebanon and Yemen. Through Hezb'allah, the regime has been threatening Israel at the Golan Heights for months. It is also threatening Iraqi Kurdistan over its independence claim and is bolstering its troops along the Iran-Kurdistan border. The U.S. is the only power that can stop Soleimani's advance into Kurdistan, where his Quds Force seems to have posed for opening yet another front.
Finally, we cannot successfully remove the regime in Iran unless we clearly show to the Iranian people that their real enemy is not America, but the Islamist regime that has bent justice, severely violated human rights, abused the rights of minorities, imprisoned and executed dissidents through show trials, misused the treasury to fund terrorism and war, stolen land from the people, destroyed lakes and water resources, done gross damage to the environment, and oppressed and terrorized the country since 1979. That is why the Iranian regime's mouthpieces in the U.S. – that completely subvert the truth about the nature of the regime – must be shut down.
Walton K. Martin and Reza Parchizadeh
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