Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the National Union for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI), I would like to congratulate you on your victory and wish you much success in the years to come.
Throughout the campaign and since your election, we at NUFDI have closely followed your statements concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). I write this letter to share with you respectfully the thoughts and concerns of certain peace-loving Iranians who seek a better future for Iran and a renewed positive relationship with the United States.
The past several American administrations have considered how to deal with Iran in the context of two policy alternatives: aggression and appeasement. As far as the first option is concerned, American officials have wisely recognized that attacking Iran will do little to serve American interests as it will only antagonize the United States and arouse the deeply nationalistic sentiments of the Iranian people. Meanwhile, the second option, appeasement, has proven to be futile and naïve. Following implementation of the nuclear deal between the P5+1 and the IRI, the IRI has demonstrated that it will continue, perhaps with more resolve than ever before, to deny systematically the human and civil rights of Iranian citizens and to engage in destabilizing and destructive behavior in the Middle East.
The very nature of the totalitarian theocracy that is the Islamic Republic rests upon a foundation of diametric opposition to the United States and Israel. To manifest this opposition, the IRI has historically opposed U.S. interests in the region and condemned American values and freedoms. More importantly, however, this ideological bedrock effectively prohibits the Iranian regime from adjusting its posture toward the United States – in fact, any significant rapprochement or other alignment with the “Great Satan” would threaten the very existence of the regime as we know it. Instead of altering the IRI’s behavior, as many hoped it would, the nuclear deal has only reinforced the current reality, stabilizing and prolonging the life of a regime that is unwilling and unable to change.
Our respectful request and sincere hope for your administration represents a third policy alternative: engagement with the Iranian people.
The Islamic Republic broke its social contract with the Iranian people long ago. It is neither a democratic nor a popular government. It does not represent its citizens, who continue to combat the regime in an enduring, bloody struggle for their basic liberties and rights. Unlike the IRI, the Iranian people are overwhelmingly pro-Western and pro-American. They are liberal and secular and yearn to build bridges to the international community. And yet despite this stark, very meaningful contrast between the IRI and the Iranian people, virtually all engagement between the United States and Iran has occurred at the level of government, while the Iranian people have been consistently ignored – most recently, they went unheard and unrepresented in negotiations over the nuclear deal.
As the Iranian people together represent America’s single greatest and most natural ally in promoting and achieving a democratic, responsible, peaceful and prosperous Iran, our request and hope is that the Trump administration return to the Iranian people their long deserved but denied “seat at the table”.
Dr. Saeed Ganji
National Union For Democracy in Iran