What Obama Should Have Said to Iran
By Debi Ghate
Protests in Iran continue despite the theocracy’s attempt to crush them. As Tehran launches its usual accusations of “American interference,” could it be that America hasn’t “interfered” enough?
Imagine what might happen—what potential benefit there could be to us and to Iran—if this speech were made by an American President.
“Good evening. I am here to address events of great significance to the American people. Over the past weeks, we have witnessed the murdering, beating and intimidation of Iranian protestors by a theocratic regime clenching its iron fist to retain power. I strongly condemn these unjust actions of the Iranian regime.
It is time for America to be unequivocal and to recognize its past errors. It is time for the United States to make it clear that it does not recognize the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran has not had a legitimate government worthy of our recognition for decades. The country has been ruled by a series of murdering clerics who seized power outside of any legitimate political means. They were not chosen through any representative process. They are dictators of the worst kind.
For decades, the Iranian regime has repeatedly declared itself an enemy of America, openly acting in violence against our citizens. We’ve known it since the clerics and their supporters took our embassy staff hostage in 1979. We’ve known it in the form of multiple Tehran-backed attacks on Americans since: 1983 in Beirut where we lost 241 people in a bombing; 1985 when TWA 847 was hijacked by Iranian-trained Hezbollah fighters and we lost a Navy diver; 1996 at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia where we lost 19; the list goes on. We’ve heard their message: “Death to America.”
This is a regime that loudly calls for jihad on the West—for the violent imposition of sharia law—it calls for Islamic totalitarianism. It provides the intellectual leadership for the Islamist movement: training, financing, and otherwise encouraging a multitude of terrorist organizations—including those responsible for the September 11th attacks on our soil. America has not forgotten that this regime orchestrated and participated in three decades of deadly assaults upon its people and is ultimately responsible for them.
We have nothing to say to the Iranian regime—except that we will no longer repeat our grave errors of the past. We know what you stand for, and what threat you pose. But we do have much to say to the brave Iranians voicing their opposition to the Supreme leader, making it clear his regime does not represent them.
To those among you standing up in the face of threats; to those among you saying “We will continue to speak even if you, Supreme leader, claim that Allah forbids it”; to those among you deciding that it is time for freedom in Iran—we say: you have our encouragement, and our sanction.
To those among you protesting against more than the electoral results, who are wholesale rejecting the oppressive nature of theocratic rule—we offer you our moral and financial support. And if necessary, we will offer you military support to the best of our ability. You see, we share your goal of ending the Iranian theocracy and of eliminating the threat it poses to our own nation. We have had the moral right to end it for decades; you not only have that right, you have the moral fortitude.
To those few in Iran desperately seeking liberty: rejecting theocratic rule is critical, but what are you fighting for? Seize this opportunity to fight for a nation founded on principles that protect individual rights. As America once fought for its independence, so can you. Life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness: these are your inalienable rights. The time is now to fight to create a free nation upholding these principles.
It will not be easy. Our thoughts are with you as you face imminent danger and uncertainty. It will take courage and conviction. But to you, the true friend of freedom, we say: we are with you as you take your first important step towards real revolution. You have rejected the iron fist that smashes you down through religious rule. You have spoken. Stand firm, and we will stand with you.”
Unfortunately we will not hear this speech. Only a President acting on a foreign policy that properly defends the rights of its own citizens—a foreign policy of principled self-interest—would take this bold stand.