February 11, 2004

Election 2004

So it's a 3-way race plus Sharpton and Kucinich still in there (thankfully) to have their messages heard. As for the three front-runners, Dean seems most vulnerable and before the big date on March 2nd, we may be down to just two. I'm not sure if I'd prefer a Kerry-Edwards ticket over Edwards-Kerry one, but I'm jumping too far ahead and don't think either candidate is ready to give-up the bigger office yet.

I have some comments about Dean that I will leave for a more appropriate time. As for Kerry, I recently met one of his campaign volunteers who seemingly had some pull and asked if the Senator would release a statement on Iran. He asked me what do I think the statement should say, to which I replied what any of the men running and the future candidate should hopefully say:

- Respect the right of self-determination for Iran and Iranians.

- Condemn any possible military action against the people who are doing a great job fighting tyranny by themselves.

- Acknowledge big mistakes were made on both sides in the past and choose to move on towards a better relationship.

That's what I believe most Iranians also want and quite honestly don't think it's too much to ask for. Now we can wait for the oppressors in Iran to take the first step and make similar pledges or be the bigger, more powerful and free side of this argument and lead instead of react. Will anybody in DC listen?

More Election Related Stuff:

A friend that works with one of the larger Iranian-American organizations called to ask for my participation in their current campaign. I asked for details and first thing out of his mouth is "to get more Iranians of every political stripe to vote this November".

A noble and honorable goal no doubt, but as I thought that, all I could remember was this thing I was invited to a few months ago. I was to address the board of directors of a local Iranian-American professional organization and ask for their backing on a project. I'll leave the organization's name out, as I'm sure their membership consists of people from various backgrounds and beliefs that may not agree with their board.

I had to sit through the actual board meeting and talk at the end. Having served on numerous boards myself in the past, I did not mind and watched with some interest. After some rudimentary exchanges, the first (and basically only) topic on their agenda came up; a big "problem" they needed to address immediately and with full force. At issue, or the problem, was how programs like Affirmative Action take jobs away from real candidates and give them to maybe-not-as-qualified minorities. I sat and watched with amazement as one after another the board members expressed their utter disgust and then voted to make this their number one priority for the upcoming year!

As I'm still bewildered and a bit dazed by what I just witnessed a member asks if he could add an extra item to the agenda. The rest of the board agrees and he starts this passionate speech (imagine "I have a dream") about how the organization owes this duty to thank the courage of President Bush in having enough sassiness (I'm being polite) to go and get rid of Saddam and to bring democracy to Iraqis. His description of "W" reminded me of the way I watched Fakhreddin Hejazi once glorify Ayatollah Khomeini, making it very easy to believe he was talking about the almighty god himself! The motion was passed unanimously.

I had 30 minutes to speak but wrapped up everything in under 10 and ran away.

Now as he says how he wants to mobilize Iranians to vote, I can only think of those guys. I can also think of how the only media catering to the community is also what is financed by and therefore sides with that certain line of thinking. I'm thinking how this whole thing can be abused by some.

This election may be one of the closest and certainly most important ones in recent history. Now, do I want to encourage ALL Iranian-Americans to vote? I'm not sure yet. He is still waiting for my answer.

Posted by Pedram at February 11, 2004 11:41 PM

And the 3 items are also exactly what the regime in Iran wants :-) I'd add a forth item: do whatever it takes to back a regime change in Iran by the Iranian people.


Posted by: Ara at February 12, 2004 02:10 AM

We can't be tolerating any diversity of opinion in the ranks, can we?

Posted by: Person of Choler at February 12, 2004 02:27 AM

Ara, if the Iranian government had any interest in granting Iranians the right to determine their own fate, it would hold free elections and start it all with a referendum to see what form of government they want. I also don't see them being very open to admitting past mistakes such as hostage taking. As for not using military force against people who are fighting the tyrany, they have repeatedly done the opposite and I doubt they would stop now.

I'm sorry, but your argument for these being "exactly what the regime in Iran wants" seems a bit weak.

Posted by: visitor at February 12, 2004 02:37 AM

"Now, do I want to encourage ALL Iranian-Americans to vote?"
What is that suppose to mean?
Let me say right at the start, I think W is the scum of the earth. I can not wait to see him crash and burn comes November, but come on what are you saying here.. that you want to play GC and black list who can vote. Aren't you being just a tad hypocrite here. The only way freedom wins is by mass participation. W, Ayatolahs and those who think they know better are the one playing god.
So, to answer your question above, I would say your answer should be a resounding YES, unless all the goody goody progressive stuff that get said on this blog are just hot air.

Posted by: at February 12, 2004 08:36 AM

Pedram, Republicans vote Repubican, Democrats vote Democrat, Communists vote Communist (where it exists). Why should you help people to vote against your beliefs, regardless of their ethnic heritage? Your point is well taken and if I was in your shoes, I'd not get involved.

Posted by: NoBody at February 12, 2004 05:51 PM

I am always amazed at those "Iranians" who advocate a regime change in Iran by hoping and even dreaming of a foreign invasion... That, I will never figure out.

Posted by: Nima at February 12, 2004 06:47 PM

Visitor, it's what the regime wants. Let's review the 3 items:
Item 1: "Respect the right of self-determination for Iran and Iranians." Sure but US respects that and the regime doesn't. The end result: the status que is kept. No changes at all. US respects the right and stops there, "you Iranians can set up whatever kind of government you want, we won't care what you wanna do". Well, I think the regime wants to keep it as is, so it's exactly what the regime wants.
Item 2: "Condemn any possible military action". Certainly the regime doesn't want to be attacked by US. They can't beat US army in any way.
Item 3: "Acknowledge big mistakes were made on both sides in the past and choose to move on towards a better relationship." This would only give better publicity and better opertunities for propoganda for the regime. And better relationships means getting American's hands dirty with Iran's money and market, which just like China means "let's do business, forget about democracy". That's what the regime wants and you've already heard about it via Larijani/Rohani and other conservatives.

If you think Iranian people can make the big change themselves you are absolutely wrong. People know how brutal the regime can be, unlike Shah who was not really brutal when he had to be brutal.


Posted by: Ara at February 13, 2004 02:08 AM

Let's review the 3 items as items Iranian people, not the regime want:

- Of course they wish to have the right to determine their own destiny.

- No self-respecting Iranian would welcome a foreign invasion.

- We know we have made mistakes (hostages, etc) as the other side has (Mossadegh Coup, etc.)

By suggesting these are what the regime wants (which I agree with visitor; it's not), you are minimizing the bigger picture of this being what most of us want.

I suspect Ara does not. Too bad he won't come out and say what it is he's after.

Posted by: An Irani at February 13, 2004 07:00 AM



Howard Dean has never called for 'self-determination' of the Iranian people. I suggest you study American politics and political elections before ranting such twisted lies.

Howard Dean in a speech given in Oklahoma told the crowd that we need to be in negotations with the Iranian government no matter the conditions at home and condemned President Bush' support for democratic forces in Iran.

Posted by: Slater Bakhtavar at February 13, 2004 02:00 PM

to "Slater Bakhtavar". did i miss something? where did Pedram say Dean has made such a committment?

Posted by: at February 13, 2004 04:22 PM

What we as Iranian expats should strive for in US is to hammer in the universal massage to every politician that listens to approach Iran even handed and see beyond the immidiate economic interests of America. Understand that "will of people" (mind you lofty statement in the developing world)will ultimatly bring both security and economic prosperity for all.

Bsides that there isn't much more we can do here, of couse, we can move there and become and instrument of change from within (in Evin you don't have to worry about food and shelter).

Posted by: Ali at February 13, 2004 08:27 PM

I encourage everyone to vote, whatever your convictions. I believe in democracy. More people participating, the better the process. Self-determination starts at home.

Not mentioned so far is Israel. Israel is America's friend, and the threat of American force is part of what keeps it safe. Why rule out military action against a country who is still technically at war with a US ally? Some of the terror organizations that operate in Israel are funded by Iran. So there's a lot to work out between us, more than self determination.

Acknowledging mistakes on both sides, well, sure. Why not? Moving toward a better relationship? That's Motherhood and Apple Pie (at least in America). But actions speak much louder than words. Secular government that doesn't position America as Satan; defunding and disarming Hezbollah and other terrorists and turning them in to law enforcement authorities; acknowledging Israel's right to exist; and full women's suffrage would be great starts.

It seems both of our countries could do with a little more regime change and fairer elections.

Posted by: Phil Wolff at February 15, 2004 06:30 PM