Americans Must Support the Right of the Iranian People to Overthrow Their Government

As Washington debates its reaction to Iran downing a U.S. surveillance drone this week, it's vital to remember that the Iranian people overwhelmingly reject the clerical regime. Many people inside Iran and members of the diaspora, especially their compatriots in the U.S., see the entire theocracy as incapable of "reform" or behavior change. The people rose up last year in 160 cities, chanted "death to dictatorship" and called for the regime's downfall.This is exactly the message that thousands of Iranians will echo in Washington this week. On Friday, the Iranian-American Community of North Texas will join a rally outside the State Department in Washington to call for democratic change in Iran, a message echoed by thousands of Iranians in Brussels over the weekend.It goes without saying that the Iranian people do not want to see their country further ruined by war. But that is not to say they accept the lies and fabrication promoted by regime lobbyists. The choice is not between embracing war or accepting the legitimacy of the theocratic dictatorship. It is about standing with the Iranian people in their quest for freedom.The Washington rally, which will include a march to the White House, is one of a number of similar demonstrations that express solidarity with protests that are now routinely taking place inside Iran in support of democracy and the regime's overthrow.Despite brutal regime suppression, the Iranian resistance's president-elect Maryam Rajavi called this "a year full of uprisings."The Iranian public has come to recognize that so-called hard-liners and reformists who make up the Iranian regime do not represent different alternatives for Iran's future. The people want democracy and separation of religion and state, pure and simple. They have the capability and the will to bring that about themselves.The maximum pressure campaign is working, but it's not enough until the Iranian people are part of the international community's strategic calculus. Far from swelling the ranks of the regime's supporters, U.S.-led economic sanctions have bolstered opposition to the regime. The main Iranian opposition enjoys extensive support from Iranians both inside and outside of Iran.The continuation of this trend is the appropriate goal of the current American strategy of maximum pressure, which should encompass the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the corrupt office of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security.Desperate, the regime has recently stepped up its terrorism and regional aggression.In France, Tehran's agents last year aimed to bomb a gathering of Iranian advocates for regime change, organized by the National Council of Resistance of Iran. That attack was thwarted, and there is no telling how many of the 100,000 participants or hundreds of Western political dignitaries in attendance might have been killed.U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., introduced a resolution to stand with the people of Iran to establish a democratic, secular republic, and to condemn past and present state-sponsored terrorism. The resolution, introduced in May, has been referred to committee.It is clear that Tehran's human rights violators should be sanctioned and, in particular, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, which is involved in violence and terrorism, should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization.The regime will do anything in its power to lash out at a resistance movement that has grown considerably stronger and more popular over the years.As a Texas-based community, we are proud of our congressional representatives who stand firm against the Iranian regime, as well as our senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, who have supported the Iranian people's quest for freedom and democracy.It's time for others to support the growing recognition of the Iranian people's right to overthrow this regime. The Iranian people and their organized opposition are more than capable of achieving that outcome themselves. Democracy, human rights and regional peace and stability depend on it.Homeira Hesami is chairwoman of the Iranian-American Community of North Texas and a medical physicist in Carrollton. She wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.  Continue reading...

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