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Liberal Iranian
Liberal as in Liberty and Freedom. Iranian as in Cyrus and Ferdowsi.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
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Mr. Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist, is looking at the virtual dialogue between Iran and the US through indirect signals and is looking forward to suggestions from Iranian bloggers. This is the second and final post of my contribution to this debate. The first post can be found here.

What I will try to describe is the following: (i) a working, yet simple theory of the nature of the Iranian regime; (ii) the objectives that must be pursued by the American foreign policy; (iii) a practical strategic program in order to achieve these objectives. Parts (i) and (ii) have been posted before. In this post I will describe part (iii).

Foreign Policy Program: Dealing with Tyrannies

I hope it is by now clear what should be done in order to achieve the above objectives. Free countries of the world must devise strategic foreign policy plans that deprive the tyranny from the single most important goal of its dealings with the outside world, i.e., its survival through outside help while holding the power inside. Such a program need not be necessarily military, but it needs to be strict about the survival tricks of the tyranny's foreign policy. All such maneuvers must be denied.

Let's focus on the case at hand, namely, Iran's nuclear crisis. Obtaining nuclear weapons is a vital survival task for the regime in Tehran. There is no question of whether Iran is "really" pursuing nuclear weapons, since Iran is a plurality. It is the tyranny in Iran, not Iran as a nation, that is after nuclear weapons. In today's world the tyrannical regime of Iran can be given no guarantee by the outside world short of an indefinite security deal to be dissuaded from seeking nuclear weapons. This is precisely why the religious dictatorship in Iran has so far rejected all offers on the table for its "peaceful" nuclear program that would objectively deny it the possibility of obtaining nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iranian regime may still be toppled by boiling pressure from inside, as the Soviet bloc was, but we have no idea or working theory of how that hypothetical situation may be materialized in the foreseeable future of Iran. The regime in Tehran knows this very well. Thus, an American foreign policy seeking the spread of democracy around the globe must reject the notion of coexisting with a nuclear Islamic Republic before the fact.

Another outcome that the American foreign policy must avoid is making security and economic deals with the Iranian regime solely on the issue of nuclear crisis. This is exactly what the tyrannical regime is seeking for its survival. Instead, the US must actively seek to promote the chances of establishing a democracy in Iran. The US and her allies must deny the regime the chance to use their nuclear program as a playing card to win more feeding tubes for its decaying body. This can be done through a variety of tactical plans, such as banning the government officials' trips, targetted economic sanctions that affect the government's vital veins, and at the same time establishing direct aid to the people of Iran, for instance, through academic, economic, and social transactions with trusted individuals and organizations. The free world may also make economic agreements with the regime in a transparent fashion in return for opening up the political situation inside. This is the best way to give the fruits of a better economical and political situation to the people of Iran, and especially the forces of democratic change. However, the free world and the Iranian freedom activists must implement measures and programs to follow the adherence of the regime to its commitments under such agreements if they are to bear any pleasant fruit.

The strategy of the proposed American foreign policy program can be summed up as punishing the tyranny and rewarding the people. 
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