The Honorable President Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As a proud and active member of the Iranian-American community and a vocal opponent of the Islamic Republic in Iran, I have been closely watching your administration’s policies vis-à-vis Iran. The National Union for Democracy in Iran appreciates your attention to Iranians’ plight in liberating their country from tyranny. While the previous administration allowed its determination for any deal with Iran to dictate its policy, Iranians are pleased that your administration supports the Iranian people and not their oppressors. As your administration is aware, the Obama administration unfroze billions of dollars of Iranian assets, which included the delivery of about $1.8 billion in cash. If I may say, it is safe to assume this money was not used to alleviate the misfortune of average Iranians – much of it found its way to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen fueling conflict and unrest.
Throughout the last four decades, Iranians have witnessed the Islamic Republic violate their human rights, loot their wealth, and neglect their environmental crises. Indeed, the Islamic Republic resembles a mafia more than a government. And while Iranians have sometimes been weary in expressing their discontent, your administration has in its view an Iranian public at last determined and unwavering in its desire for meaningful change. Iranians have expressed they no longer buy the regime’s PR stunts claiming that foreign powers are to blame for their troubles and that reformists hear their qualms. Iranians are thirsty for dignity and respect. Above all, Iranians desire a fresh start. I hope that your administration will not spoil such an opportunity for friendship with the Iranian people, as previous administrations did.
This week, you mentioned that you would be willing to meet with President Rouhani with no preconditions. While I commend your administration’s resolve to both apply pressure on the Islamic Republic and simultaneously engage its rulers, meeting President Rouhani would be insufficiently worthwhile. Within the Iranian political system, the president holds little authority. In fact, within the foreign policy realm, he holds no authority at all. Therefore, meeting with the Supreme Leader would be more appropriate. Yet even in this case, any demonstrable reform in Iranian behavior discussed at such a meeting, such as those demanded by Secretary Pompeo, would resemble a radical shift in Iran’s ideology, deeming the Islamic Republic’s raison d’état defunct. It is nearly unimaginable that Iran’s dictator would approve such a scenario (the practical demise of the regime). In approaching the Iranian issue, it is important to understand this reality. As a result, only regime change will accomplish the goal of freeing the Iranian people and bringing greater peace to the region.
If the administration genuinely desires renegotiating the nuclear deal, Iranians hope that such a deal does not neglect their hopes and dreams. However, if the administration instead supports Iranian voices, it can continue to expose the Islamic Republic’s corruption, mismanagement, and destabilizing behavior. In this endeavor, the administration will find a sure ally, the Iranian people.
Dr. Saeed Ganji
National Union For Democracy in Iran
President & Chairman