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Free Iran! The Iranian People's Grievances Real And Internationally Documented

17 July 2016

By Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi

Iran is unhappy about Turki Al-Faisal's participation in the ''Free Iran'' mass rally in Paris this week. According to Iran's Foreign Affairs Ministry, ''Saudi Arabia is flagrantly interfering in Iran's internal affairs and using terrorists as a tool to advance its objectives against Muslim countries.

Strangely enough, Iran didn't criticize France that hosted the event, or other countries, such as the United States, Canada, the European Union, and those from Asia and Africa (many were Arab and Muslim), whose representatives spoke to the participants. Saudi Arabia alone was singled out, even though it wasn't officially represented.

Now, here is a paradox: Iran who is proud of ''exporting revolution and supporting the unjustly treated'' against their own governments, is strongly objecting to the same ''noble, holy and just principles'' when applied to Iran and allies.

How does the Iranian government justify such double standards? It is hard to explain with logic when there is none, but we could try.

The theocratic regime in Iran regards itself as both the representative of God on earth, and the Sassanian empire. In both cultures, the divine rulers are always right they could make no mistakes or do no wrong. Since they are above humans, the roles they enforce on others cannot apply to them. They may judge but may not be judged. This is the true meaning of ''Estikbar'' (arrogance), as they call the US ''Grand Satan.''

''Wali Al Faqih'' (the religious ruler) claims to be in a telepathic communication with the absent (but alive) Imam (disappeared in a tunnel 1,100 years ago), and takes his wisdom and marching orders from Allah, Imam Ali and Imam Hussein.

Such absolute rule is not different in scope than that of the Sassanian emperors who ruled Faris for hundreds of years. Religion is twisted and used to justify the ruling class's unquestioned grip on power. Democracy has also been used as a front and modified to justify the theocratic rule.

The elected government in Iran is a powerless entity under the unelected Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamaeni, who is chosen by a bunch of religious leaders to be the ultimate reference in all earthy and religious matters. The army, Revolutionary Guard, intelligence, security apparatuses, parliament, as well as foreign affairs are under his supervision. The 80-year-old leader decides who run for office, and who is not good enough; who stays on and who is fired, jailed or hanged; who goes to Paradise or Hell.

It is a ''fat'' contradiction that Iran, which was threatening Bahrain and other Gulf countries with revolutions only few days ago, is protesting Saudi interference in its internal affairs. So it is legal to sponsor terrorism and sectarian wars, and for its militias to rule and overthrow Arab governments, but illegal when it comes to supporting the rights of the oppressed in Iran!

The Iranian people's grievances are real and internationally documented. The Sunnis are 20 millions two in Tehran. While the Christians and Jews, who are small minorities, have tens of churches and synagogues, no Sunni mosque is allowed in the capital. Even though President Hassan Rouhani promised during the last presidential elections to change that. Ironically, the only mosque small as it was in Tehran demolished after he assumed office.

Arabs are forbidden to learn their own language, wear Arabic dresses, do higher studies, or take leading positions in the Army, parliament or government. Arabistan (occupied 1928), holds most of Iran's oil and gas fields, while its share of GDP is minimal. Its people demand independence, and I believe it is our duty to give them all the support they may need, starting with a seat in the Arab League.

The same negligence and apartheid treatment are given to other communities including the Kurd, Balochi, Azeri, Afghani and Turk.

Only the Shiite Farsi, who account for less than 40 percent of the population, are given full citizenship benefits, opportunities and positions. Still, that doesn't include real democratic freedoms, or good development and civic services.

It is an irony that Paris hosted Ayatollah Khomeini, in the late seventies, and gave him the platform from which he led the revolution against the Shah. The US government secretly helped, as the recently disclosed correspondence between Khomeini and the Carter Administration showed. It guaranteed the noninterference of the Iranian army. Other Western nations, presented in the ''Free Iran'' conference, also supported the Khomeini revolution.

The irony would be complete if the Paris conference leads to the change of regime, as the 100,000 Iranians in Diaspora, from all over the world, were calling for. For the sake of the Iranian people and a future held hostage by the mullahs, lets pray that their hopes are realized soon!

Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at kbatarfi@gmail.com. Follow him at Twitter:@kbatarfi


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