Thursday, June 09, 2005

Texan professor instrumental in letting world know Iran is ready for change

Marie Tyler, MyWestTexas:
Sandwiched between the Arab nations of Iraq and Afghanistan lies Iran, a Middle East nation with a distinct and rich cultural and linguistic background.
However, for the last 26 years Iran has suffered from continual political, social, cultural and religious turmoil under numerous non-democratic regimes.

"The government of Iran has thrived on conflict in the world, has exported terror, and the mullahs are proud to say so." said Seyf Ehdaie, the former "Charge de' Affairs" of the Iranian Embassy in England during the 1980s. Ehdaie is now professor at UTPB and a longtime activist for free elections in Iran. READ MORE

Leaders of the numerous organizations opposed to the current Islamic regime have unified and are issuing a referendum, expressing desire for a regime change in Iran. The referendum will be issued to both countries and human rights organizations around the world before the national election June 17 in Iran.

"If they can be supported by the world, it will be an easy and peaceful transition," Ehdaie said.

"It will save energy, money and lives," he emphasized. "The world needs to lend moral support to the people of Iran."

He explained nations around the world, including the United States and the European Union, need to put political pressure on the government to accept the referendum and allow free elections.

"We are saying to the world the idea of the referendum is important," Ehdaie said. "The time is right for this referendum."

On the other hand,"Iran is trying to say to the world, 'We are a democracy,'" Ehdaie said. "They have three branches of government and elections, but they are all mockeries of democracy."

"On the top, there is a supreme leader, who chooses the Guardian Council to guard Islamic law," Ehdaie said. "They disqualify from the elections everyone except the ones they choose to run-- the ones they know they can work with. This is just not a democracy."

Ehdaie, associated with the group National Front, was elected as one of the top nine individuals working on distributing the referendum, which contains tens of thousands of signatures from both inside and outside Iran.

The New York Sun reported recently that a student leader collecting signatures for the referendum fled Iran during a government-led investigation. Opposition leaders in Iran, said Ehdaie, typically are persecuted, sent to prison or executed for their actions.

Though the many opposition groups historically have disagreed, Ehdaie said now they have realized "none are strong enough alone" and suddenly have unified behind the referendum, encouraging citizens of Iran to stay home on election day showing their disgust with the current system.

"We meet every week on the computer," said a thankful Ehdaie, who shared that modern technology has allowed him to talk with other leaders from Australia to Poland and even leaders in Iran.

"Why now? Because this energy is building up in the Middle East," Ehdaie continued, "We are saying, 'The time for dictators has passed.'

"With the whole world watching, the government needs to let Iran, with all its deep culture, come back to the civilized world and back into the international community."

From June 11-17, the pro-referendum group, including Constitutionalists, Republicans and Monarchists, has planned large demonstrations in cities around the world, from Los Angeles to London to Paris.

Ehdaie is working to remind people not to believe the diplomatic signals of the leaders in Iran. "They are hated by the Iranian people."

Ehdaie will be meeting with other leaders in the pro-referendum group on the East Coast and working until the June 17 election on distributing the referendum and increasing media coverage of both the referendum and the election, to increase transparency and awareness.