April 19, 2015
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LEADERS OF P5+1
The path to a Win-Win Solution:
Engaging the People of Iran in the Nuclear Negotiations
The yet to be determined outcome of the decade-long negotiations with Iran’s theocratic regime has been at the unforgivable expense of the Iranian people. Meanwhile, the regime’s nuclear program has had a lasting impact with on-going threats to international security. Through the continuation of aggressive policies aimed at spreading its brand of political Islam, the theocratic regime seeks ideological conflicts. The regime continues to provide financial and military support to terrorist movements, as well as escalating the conflict between Shias and Sunnis. These religious sectarian conflicts have led to the rise of militant Islamist groups, such as ISIS, in the region and the world.
The ensuing international tensions could have been avoided had the regime chosen a different path. Iran is rich in natural resources with vast oil and gas reserves, and untapped potential to harvest solar and wind power. However, instead of opting for the sustainable use of natural resources and the generation of clean energy, the regime, with its persistence on the clandestine development of a nuclear arsenal – in total violation of the non-proliferation treaty – has paved the way for international economic sanctions against Iran, and has brought our country’s economy to the brink of bankruptcy.
In order to mask its own mismanagement of international relations and the economy, this regime has taken advantage of some vagueness of the objectives of the recent negotiations by misleading the people of Iran. The state controlled media in Iran is using its monopoly on internal information to spread disinformation. The distortion is meant to present the results of the Lausanne meeting as a diplomatic victory by suggesting an unconditional lifting of economic sanctions as its immediate result.
Even in the midst of street celebrations, my compatriots wish nothing less than the pursuit of economic prosperity, peace, and friendship with other nations. The demonstrators began chanting additional slogans such as “The Next Agreement Will Be on Our Civil Rights” and “Our Message Is Clear: The Limitations Shall Be Removed”. Theses slogans demonstrate that, way beyond any deals with the international community, people expect this path to lead to their own freedom.
In many different ways, my compatriots have articulated their inalienable rights:
- The people of Iran aspire to tear down the walls of tyranny. All Iranians wish to live in peace, prosperity and security, and reject war. They want Iran to join the global community of responsible nations.
- Iranian women, who constitute the forgotten half in my country, do not want more centrifuges. They are worthy of life in a society that is founded upon ethics, respect and equal rights.
- The youth of Iran do not dream of nuclear proliferation; they dream of freedom, the right to education, job security, the right to choose their attire, happiness, respect and human dignity.
- Iranians are also deeply concerned about the mismanagement of our natural resources and the threats posed to different ecosystems.
- The business community seeks economic security under free market conditions that will generate wealth, prosperity and employment opportunities. The business entrepreneurs do not find the development of nuclear energy, which will lead to the proliferation of nuclear arsenals and threaten global peace and security, desirable.
- Furthermore, the Iranian people demand the legal foundation of our country and our constitution to be based on universal values, such as human rights, secularism, democracy, freedom and equal rights for all citizens.
Hence, the Iran National Council proposes the following points to be observed:
1. Transparency in the 5+1 nuclear talks:
The content of all discussions and agreements must be maid fully available to the Iranian people. Furthermore, the regime must allow opinion polling agencies as well as the international press full and unconditional access to Iranians.
2. Human Rights to be tied to the gradual removal of economic sanctions:
The subject of human rights must be an integral part of the negotiation process, and be a condition in the removal of economic sanctions. Iranians, like any other people in the world, have inalienable rights to life, liberty and freedom.
The lifting of economic sanctions, which directly impacts or benefits the theocratic leadership, must be subject to:
- The unconditional release of all political prisoners.
- Respect for Human Rights of women.
- Guaranteed rights of organized labour, unions and NGOs and the right of assembly.
- Freedom of media and freedom of expression.
3. Third party monitoring:
The economic sanctions shall be removed under an committee under the supervision of the U.N to monitor any future released funds in order to prevent any financial support of terrorist organizations or repressive regimes. The theocratic regime in Iran has admitted that more than half of nine billion dollars in the most recently released funds have been diverted to Syria in support of the Assad regime.
4. Support for secular forces in the region:
The Iran National Council recommends all democratic nations to consider the further engagement of Iran’s secular democratic forces from different sectors of society, and not limit their engagement with only the theocratic regime’s representatives.
In light of the escalation of tensions, it is imperative to also support like-minded moderates in the Arab world in order to combat radical Sunni forces. For those who believe that Iran’s regime could be a partner in the fight against radical groups such as ISIS, they should not forget that both militant Shias and Sunnis have a common goal of spreading political militant Islam in the world.
In closing, the Iran National Council’s ultimate goal is to achieve the appropriate political environment in Iran conducive to free elections. We believe that the people of Iran, should the outcome of the current nuclear negotiations be fruitful and acceptable, would regard it as the first step towards a brighter future. Engaging the people of Iran would further empower our civil society and various NGOs, and facilitate the desired outcome.
There is much at stake. Either the theocratic regime will endure, and continue to further world instability and regional extremism, or the people of Iran will prevail and regain control over their destiny, while simultaneously resolving all regional and international concerns over our country. The win-win scenario relies on making the people of Iran the ultimate factor and beneficiary, not the regime.
The President of the Iran National Council