Recently the Globe and Mail published an article written by Iranian Canadian Journalist Maziar Bahari titled “Why we have to talk to Tehran.”

Not many people including myself had ever heard of Mr. Bahari until his arrest by the Islamic Regime during the June Presidential [S]elections of this year. Mr. Bahari was in prison for about four (4) months before he was released in October. As a result of his arrest and imprisonment he gained a type of “fame” as a dissident and political prisoner, something he certainly did not have prior to his arrest.

The content of Mr. Bahari’s article follows the same logic as many well known reformists who advocate for “dialogue” between the Islamic Regime and the International Community regardless of the systematic and wide spread human rights violations committed by the Regime. In his article Mr. Bahari states: “After being jailed, interrogated and beaten by the Revolutionary Guards for 118 days for reporting honestly on the disputed June 12 presidential elections, many expect me to oppose any dialogue. But the West still needs Iran and should continue talking to it – no matter what it has done to people like me.”

Any form of dialogue with the Islamic Regime would do nothing but to help further legitimize the Regime and allow them to continue to carry out their systematic and widespread human rights violations against the Iranian people. Many European countries have kept an open dialogue with the Regime for years and that has not resulted in improvement of the human rights violations. After 30 years there is no reason to believe things will change now.

Mr. Bahari is not the first dual citizen “political prisoner” who rose to fame after few months of imprisonment in Iran, and then knowingly or unknowingly started advocating the so called reformist propaganda which is ultimately pro-Islamic Regime propaganda.

Mr. Ramin Jahanbegloo is another former “political prisoner” who became quite well known after his arrest in April of 2006. After four (4) months of imprisonment he was released on bail and eventually made his way back to Canada, where for the past few years he has made numerous pro-reform statements. In an article he wrote in the Huffington Post in June of this year Mr. Jahanbegloo states: “On the one hand, those, like Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karubi, who have been among the architects of the Islamic regime and the challengers for the presidency, believed that the Islamic nomenclature allowed scope for reform and renewal. They now find themselves at the head of a pro-democracy and pro-reform movement that seeks to defy the very essence of illiberalism and authoritarianism in Iran.”

Mr. Jahanbegloo uses the terms “pro reform” and “pro-democracy” in the same sentence as if they were the same concept, when in fact they are vastly different. The pro-reform movement seeks to reform the current Islamic Regime, working within its existing frame work, whereas the pro-democracy movement seeks to remove the Islamic Regime from power completely ( all fractions of it including hardliners and reformers) and to create a new and democratic system.

Both Mousavi and Karoubi have reiterated on numerous occasions after the [S]elections that they are supporters of the Islamic Regime, and that they will do everything in their power to protect this system. We must not forget that both of these individuals have had a significant hand in systematic and widespread human rights violations against the Iranian people for the past 30 years, and even today they have no intention of changing the system. At best they want to bring about a set of reforms within the framework of the Islamic Regime. These individuals are NOT pro-democracy leaders and should not be referred to as such.

By making such statements at best Mr. Jahanbegloo is causing confusion within the minds of those who might not be as familiar with the current political situation in Iran, trying to send a message that criminals such as Mousavi and Karoubi are pro-democracy leaders. This statement is nothing if not misleading. At worst Mr. Jahanbegloo is doing exactly what the Regime needs (knowingly or unknowingly) by trying to give dictators and supporters of the Islamic Regime legitimacy within the International Community.

Roxana Saberi was another dual citizen “political prisoner” who rose to “fame” after her arrest in January of 2009. She was released after four/five months of imprisonment and was able to go back to the United States.

On June 11th Ms. Saberi wrote an article in the Washington Post where she clearly distinguished between the so called hardliners and reformers, focusing on human rights violations committed by Ahmadinejad. Perhaps she had forgotten about the fact that Ahmadinejad has been the president of the Islamic Regime for four (4) years, whereas systematic and widespread human rights violations against the Iranian people has been going on for 30 years by the Islamic Regime as a whole, including by so called reformists such as Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatami. One cannot and should not distinguish between hardliners and reformers as ultimately they are both an integrated part of the Islamic Regime which is responsible for 30 years of torture, rape and executions in Iran.

I cannot end this article without mentioning Ms. Haleh Esfandiyari, another Iranian/American intellectual who was arrested in 2007 and imprisoned for close to four (4) months in the Evin Prison. Upon her release Ms. Esfandiyari went as far as praising the Evin Prison and her interrogators, going on about how wonderful and politely she was treated and how she was able to follow her vegetarian diet in the Evin Prison.

If one did not know better one might think Evin is a hotel rather than a prison known for torture, rape and execution of innocent political prisoners.

By no means am I suggesting that these individuals are related to the Islamic Regime in any way. What I am suggesting is that the Islamic Regime will use any tool including “political prisoners” to boost its legitimacy and to stay in power in whatever shape or form that it can, for as long as it can.

Before I wrote this article I did not realize that each one of these individuals was imprisoned for about four (4) months. (Four must be a magic number for the Islamic Regime)

Looking at the arrest and release of these individuals, their rise to “fame” after their release and the type of statements they have made after release certainly raises a question mark in my mind and I hope it does the same for the readers.
We must think about why thousands and thousands of political prisoners are tortured, raped and murdered in Iran without anyone knowing their names, while a handful of “political prisoners” who do not have an anti-Regime stand become famous almost overnight, becoming the symbols of dissent and political prisoners in Iran... It’s certainly food for thought...

Down with the Islamic Regime

Long Live Freedom in Iran

By: Sayeh Hassan

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