USADI Dispatch

Volume VII, No. 2

A publication of the U.S. Alliance for Democratic Iran

  February 9, 2010




Commentary by

U.S. Alliance for Democratic Iran


Tough Sanctions Would Help Iran's Democracy Movement

As talks of imposing new international sanctions on Iranís regime continue in Washington, there are critics who contend sanctions would have no decisive impact on Tehranís behavior and, even worse, they would cause the anti-government opposition to rally around the leadership.

These critics Ė many of whom ardent advocates of diplomatic and economic engagement with Iranís rulers - also maintain that sanctions would hurt the citizens more than the government and consequently would shift peopleís resentment toward the west.

Ironically, for years the critics of Iran sanctions had argued that: the regime is popular and well-entrenched and sanctions would only further provoke the already belligerent rulers. Therefore there should be no sanctions. Since beginning of the anti-regime uprisings last June and with appearance of deep fissures within the apex of the leadership in Tehran, some of these critics have changed their mind. Still others have remained opposed to sanctions. They have done so by adjusting their justification according to the post-election headlines from Iran. They mind-bogglingly maintain that: imposing sanctions would be tantamount to throwing a life line to the weakened ayatollahs.

It seems that regardless of the political balance of power in Iran, the sanction critics always concoct a superficially plausible storyline to debunk it. Should it come as a surprise that many of these critics have ties with certain financial interests seeking or already having a foothold in Iran?

Notwithstanding the murky motives of some critics, and from a political standpoint alone, their fairytale-like rational flies in the face of realities in Iran's streets and roof tops. After three decades of mullahs' reign of terror and plunder, and eight months of cold-blooded murder, torture, whole scale arrest, and gang-raping of male and female protesters, the divide between people and the clerical regime is far too wide and irreparable for the movementís U-turn. The courageous determination of people to continue with their uprising in the face of officially sanctioned savagery clearly demonstrate they are done with this regime and seek its fall.

Under this circumstance, crippling sanctions, particularly those targeting the ayatollahsí system of suppression and those aimed at isolating it diplomatically and politically, will be indeed welcomed by the democratic opposition. There wonít be any rallying around the regime. There would be only praise for policy of siding with the Iranians.

As for the possible hardships caused by the sanctions, one should keep in mind that already the Iranian people are dealing with very sever economic hardships thanks to the corrupt rule of ayatollahs. Since 1979, they have used Iran's national wealth to create a horrific security and intelligence system used to suppress Iranians, to sponsor terrorism in its neighborhood and across the Middle east, and to develop weapons of mass destruction and nuclear bombs.

Under Mahmoud Ahmadinejadís presidency, these policies and their subsequent financial impact on the ordinary citizens have only intensified. Therefore, it would be quite illogical to contend that any perceived hardship resulting from sanctions would qualitatively change the existing political alignments in Iran to the benefit of the regime. Besides, the historical facts from the 1906 Constitutional Movement, the 1953 nationalization movement, and the 1979 anti-monarchic revolution clearly indicate that Iranians have been willing to endure various kinds of hardship when it was viewed as a necessary price for securing their freedom and independence.

Letís make no mistake: Sanctions by themselves, even the toughest ones, will not be enough to dissuade Tehran from it rogue behavior and nuclear weapons development. They would, however, go a long way to economically and politically undermine a murderous regime which is now faced with its arch nemesis at home: a national pro-democracy opposition movement which seeks regime change. This is why an effective economic, diplomatic, and political sanction regime, far from being a life line for the ayatollahs, is a strategic enabler for the democratic movement. (USADI)


USADI Commentary reflects the viewpoints of the US Alliance for Democratic Iran in respect to issues and events which directly or indirectly impact the US policy toward Iran

The US Alliance for Democratic Iran (USADI), is an independent organization, which aims to advance a US policy on Iran that will benefit America through supporting Iranian peopleís aspirations for a democratic, secular, and peaceful government. The USADI is not affiliated with any government agencies, political groups or parties.
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