Letter: As it did with Ukraine, the U.S. must recognize the Iranian people’s right to resistance

Posted 6/16/22

In leading in confronting aggression in Ukraine, America is upholding the idea that freedom is not free. 

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Letter: As it did with Ukraine, the U.S. must recognize the Iranian people’s right to resistance


In leading in confronting aggression in Ukraine, America is upholding the idea that freedom is not free. 

Simultaneously in Iran, there’s another story of resistance, highlighted recently by ongoing protests in southern Iran that followed an extreme, sudden increase in food costs.

This latest confrontation between people and tyranny confirms again that clerics are isolated and despised. A protester from Shiraz, Iran, said the people of Iran need help, that the U.S. knows its power and that it and the West are not focused on the human rights of Iranians. This plea sketches the conflict between people and aggressors in Iran, like what is transpiring in Ukraine. 

Two factors are keys in Iran: There is a politically-weakened aggressor and people are upset by the aggression. Both variables are fueled by the development of the Resistance in the country. This dynamic, Iranian dissidents and American political leaders are arguing, is why America must engage the Resistance, instead of the religious mafia that runs Iran. 

In a recent function, members of Congress expressed their support for the Iranian people and pointed to the influence such a change would have on democratic forces worldwide. They included Pennsylvania Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Scott Perry. 

It is helpful that such a transformation would also help address the regime wanting nuclear weaponry and international terrorism since both impact America’s national security interests.

Fitzpatrick said, “Iran’s 1979 revolution … saw the end of a monarchical dictatorship and the beginning of the repressive Islamic republic … As the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, and the Environment and Cyber, I remain committed to ensuring that the United States stand in support of recognizing the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular, and nonnuclear Iranian republic.”

Perry said, “1979. I remember (it) well. The Iranian revolution for freedom. They wanted to throw off the chains of one-party rule, where they could actually choose their leadership and who oversaw their country and who governed it. Of course, it didn’t work out the way that they had hoped it would … But at this time, it’s important to acknowledge that the revolution was about freedom for the Iranian people, and they still want that.”

At another recent event, Sen. Patrick Toomey, a Republican representing Pennsylvania, and Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, and several other key U.S. senators past and present participated. Menendez and other speakers addressed America’s role in Ukraine and called for the international community to support the Iran Resistance. And Tuesday evening, Menendez, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, publicly said, “It is time to tell the Europeans, who(m) we have shown good faith with, that we were willing to enter into what was hopefully a stronger and longer deal, that the Iranians are not there … hope is not a national security strategy.”

Meanwhile, 500-plus prominent Iranian Americans cautioned against presuming that tyrants in Iran can reform. They said that global efforts must focus on defending civilians and a free world.

In a recent visit to the headquarters of the Mojahedeen-e-khalgh, the main opposition to the Iranian regime, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Maryam Rajavi, president-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. It’s viewed as a significant political step when the nuclear talks have stagnated and Iran’s regime is facing major demonstrations domestically.

Political leaders in America are increasingly recognizing the ability of the Iranian resistance movement and want to empower it. As Pompeo noted, suffering in Ukraine and Iran is like what America endured. These experiences should inform helping the Iranian people secure basic human rights.

Kazem Gholami is president of the Iranian American Community of Pennsylvania, a northwest Philadelphia resident, and an Organization of Iranian American Communities member.