Whether in Europe and the Far East during World War II or in
Iraq and Afghanistan today, the United States has sacrificed
greatly to advance the cause of freedom and democracy across the
globe, but its greatest challenges on that front lie ahead. At the
strategic center of the Middle East sits a despotic regime
developing nuclear weapons that is led by a theocratic order of
clerics and a president who openly courts the apocalypse. The
United States currently faces few greater threats to its long-term
security than Iran.
There is still an opportunity to bring about peaceful democratic
change in Iran. The great majority of the Iranian people are deeply
dissatisfied with the Iranian regime. If they could change the
nature of their government, they would. The Iranian people's recent
attempts to reform their government have been stymied by a
repressive government that restricts freedom of speech, freedom of
assembly, and freedom of the press.
A major obstacle to the advancement of freedom and democracy is
the Iranian constitution, which institutionalizes Iran's despotic
regime and restricts rather than protects the civil and political
rights of the Iranian people. The United States should use its
influence to pull together a coalition of dissident groups from the
Iranian population under the single cause of holding a national
referendum on drawing up a new constitution. Only when a
representative, pluralistic government is in place in Tehran will
U.S. security interests be ensured.
Promoting Freedom, Democracy, and
Human Rights in Iran
Promoting freedom and democracy around the world, especially in
places like Iran, is in the interests of the United States. Nations
governed by democratic institutions are the most responsible
members of the international community. Such nations protect the
basic civil, political, and human rights of their citizens,
including the individual liberties that form the basis of a free
society-freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the press.
Political rights, especially the rights of the political
minority, are honored in democracies. Citizens are permitted to
change their government, and the government submits to the will of
the people. Democracies preserve and protect the lives of their
people and administer justice fairly and evenhandedly. Those
accused of crimes or held prisoner by democratic governments are
treated humanely and are not punished in a cruel or unusual manner.
Ethnic minorities living in democratic states enjoy the same rights
and privileges held by all citizens.
Few nations are more in need of democratic reform than Iran.
Iran is one of the greatest enemies of freedom and human rights in
Dissidents and ordinary Iranian citizens who protest against Iran's
hard-line clerical regime are routinely beaten, tortured, or killed
or have their limbs amputated for such crimes as homosexuality,
"insulting Islam," and photographing Tehran's notorious Evin
Iran represses-often violently-its ethnic Arab, Kurd, and
Baluchi populations. The regime also oppresses its religious
minorities. For example, it routinely detains, arrests, and
interrogates members of the Baha'i community-acts that the U.N.
General Assembly condemned in December 2005. While Christians and Jews are
officially recognized and are "free to perform their religious
rites and ceremonies," they continue to be harassed, arrested, and
imprisoned by the regime. The rights of non-Muslims are protected
as long as the non-Muslims "refrain from engaging in conspiracy or
activity against Islam." Such protection must come as little
consolation to non-Muslims who have seen their churches raided,
church leaders detained, and worshippers harassed. Without outside support and
assistance, the civil, religious, and political oppression of the
Iranian people is unlikely to end soon.
Advancing and achieving freedom and democratic reform in Iran
would not only benefit the Iranian people but also be in America's
best interests. As the September 11 attacks demonstrated, the world
is becoming a smaller place. U.S. security at home increasingly
depends on the advancement of free and stable governments abroad. The combination
of the Iranian regime's nuclear ambitions and its continuing
sponsorship of transnational terrorism, including support for Hamas
and Hezbollah, creates a deadly security situation for the United
contrast, a free and democratic Iran would work with America to
stabilize Iraq and support its transition to a pluralistic and
accountable government, rather than funding Shiite militias and
arming terrorists with deadly roadside bombs. A responsible Iranian
government would not strive to undermine the Middle East peace
process or harbor senior members of al-Qaeda.
Iran's behavior on all of these fronts will persist as long as
the status quo remains intact. Promoting the advancement of
freedom, democracy, and human rights in Iran should therefore be a
U.S. priority, not just for the benefit of the Iranian people, but
also for the short-term and long-term security interests of the
The Iranian Constitution
Any discussion about advancing freedom and democracy in Iran
must begin with the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The Iranian constitution and the regime it legitimizes are the
greatest obstacles to democratic change. The constitution
establishes a despotic government in which all power and authority
are consolidated in the hands of an unaccountable clerical regime.
Additionally, the constitution restricts individual and political
rights, ensuring that the Iranian people cannot challenge the
clerical regime's supremacy.
Constitutional Despotism. The Iranian constitution
creates a façade of democracy and a semblance of a
separation of powers. In reality, it institutionalizes the regime's
revolutionary ideology by establishing "a religious theocracy in
which absolute power and authority is wielded by the religious
leaders who rose to power after the 1979 Islamic Revolution." The
constitution bestows supreme power upon an unaccountable clerical
establishment dominated by mullahs who rule according to Shari'a
law-a construct of commandments and mandates that are incompatible
with the fundamental principles of democracy.
This "mullahcracy" is dominated by the "Supreme Leader," who is
chosen for life by a body of Shiite clerics. The Supreme Leader
possesses a vast array of powers under the constitution, including
command of the armed forces, the power to declare war and peace,
the power to appoint the Head of the Judicial Power and the head of
the Iranian Broadcasting Corporation, and the power to dismiss the
In theory, the Iranian people directly elect the president. In
reality, the clerical establishment controls the electoral process.
All presidential candidates must be approved by the Guardian
Council, which vets candidates for "strict allegiance to the ruling
theocracy and adherence to Islamic principles." The ascendance of the
revolutionary radical Mahmud Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential
election was engineered by the mullahcracy. As a result, the
president of Iran cannot be said to have been elected through a
fair and democratic process.
In the constitution, the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the
Iranian parliament) appears to be the single bastion of democracy
within the government. Under the surface, however, the parliament
operates at the whim of the Supreme Leader and his minions.
Recent attempts to establish a more moderate and reformist
government resulted in a major backlash from the mullahcracy. In
the 2000 parliamentary elections, the reformist parties won a
majority of the seats, and reformist President Mohammad Khatami was
reelected in 2001. However, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
successfully rolled back the reform movement, using strong-arm
tactics to influence elections in 2003, 2004, and 2005. For
example, in the 2004 parliamentary elections, the Guardian Council
disqualified almost 3,600 reformist candidates from standing for
office, even though 87 of them were incumbent members of
parliament. This maneuver allowed the hard-liners to win back a
majority in the parliament and select Gholem Ali Haded-Adel (a
relative of the Ayatollah by marriage) as its speaker. Given these
circumstances, the Iranian parliament is clearly not a democratic
In reality, whether the parliament is controlled by reformists
or by conservatives may make little difference. Any legislation
passed by the parliament must be approved by the Guardian Council,
which can reject legislation if it is incompatible with Islam.
Unsurprisingly, the 12-member Guardian Council is stacked with men
who owe their allegiance to the Supreme Leader, who under the
constitution appoints six clerics to the council. The parliament
selects the other six members from a pool of jurists nominated by
the Head of the Judicial Power, who is also appointed by the
Supreme Leader. The council regularly rejects laws passed
by parliament. For example, in January 2003, the council rejected
as "anti-Islamic" a bill that would have eased the restrictions on
the public's access to satellite television.
Furthermore, the Supreme Leader apparently does not need to rely
on the Guardian Council to quash unwanted legislation. In August
2000, after reformist parties won a majority of the seats, the
parliament scheduled a debate on the Press Law. Apparently
unwilling to part with the Press Law's restrictions on the press,
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei sent a letter to the parliament
ordering it to stop the debate and remove the issue of amending the
Press Law from its agenda, which the parliament did. Khamenei's
ability to squelch debate over the Press Law demonstrates the
Supreme Leader's unrivaled power within the regime.
An Anti-Bill of Rights. The advancement of freedom and
democratic reform is likewise undermined by the severe restrictions
placed on civil and political rights, including restrictions that
are contained in the Iranian constitution. While the U.S.
Constitution and Bill of Rights protect the American people from
government intrusion and safeguard their fundamental rights, the
Iranian constitution serves as a legal basis for the regime to
oppress, in the name of Islam, the very rights that it professes to
protect. Among the many rights restricted by the constitution are
those that would empower the Iranian people to change their own
government: freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom
Few rights are more crucial to checking the power of government
than the freedom to criticize its actions and express political
opinions in the press. The ability to voice one's opinion to the
general public in the press without fear of censorship or
punishment is a defining right in a free society. Regrettably for
the Iranian people, the Iranian constitution curtails this right
rather than protects it. Specifically, the constitution allows
freedom of the press except "when it is detrimental to the
fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public."
In practice, the mullahcracy severely restricts the press. Since
2000, the Iranian government has forcibly closed or banned more
than 100 publications (primarily reformist newspapers and
journals). Additionally, a regime-controlled technology company
recently announced plans to block access to 10 million
"unauthorized" Web sites.
The Press Law. The Iranian regime has codified and
institutionalized its authority to repress the media in the vaguely
worded Press Law, which authorizes criminal prosecution of
journalists who publish anything that is contrary to Islamic
principles. For example, insulting Islam in the press may
constitute apostasy, which is punishable by death.
This odious law is enforced by special "press courts" that
monitor print media and regularly revoke the licenses of newspapers
for such offenses as "insulting Islam," "making anti-government
propaganda," or "damaging the foundations of the Islamic Republic."
Iranian journalists, editors, bloggers, and publishers have been
harassed, interrogated, arrested, imprisoned, and even killed for
writing controversial articles or for merely taking photographs
that cast the regime in a poor light.
Finally, the regime prohibits private ownership of television or
radio stations and force-feeds its official political and religious
viewpoints to the Iranian citizenry through its monopoly of the
broadcast media. Unsurprisingly, Iran ranked 162 out of 168
countries in terms of press freedom in the 2007 annual report of
Reporters Without Borders. Only regimes such as North Korea, Burma,
China, and Cuba ranked below Iran in the survey.
Restricted Freedom of Assembly. Almost as important as
the freedom of the press in terms in seeking redress from the
government is the right to assemble peacefully. Freedom of assembly
is permitted under the Iranian constitution, provided that any
marches or public gatherings "are not detrimental to the
fundamental principles of Islam."
In practice, Iranian citizens-whether journalists, civil rights
activists, or other activists who peacefully assemble to express
their views-are violently repressed by the regime. Ansar-e
Hezbollah, a fundamentalist vigilante group unofficially sanctioned
by the mullahcracy, regularly cracks down on peaceful assemblies
with sticks and chains. Women who peacefully assembled to
commemorate International Women's Day in March 2006 were beaten by
security forces. Other protestors and human rights defenders have
been beaten, subjected to mock executions, tortured, and
persecuted. Peaceful protests by students and workers
are regularly put down by the regime.
Iranians are also restricted in their choice to form
associations, groups, and organizations, such as political parties,
human rights activists, student groups, religious minorities, and
other civil society groups and non-governmental organizations.
Under the Iranian constitution, associations are permitted
"provided they do not violate…national unity, the criteria
of Islam, or the basis of the Islamic Republic."
The Iranian regime enforces the constitutional restriction of
freedom of association for its own narrow political purposes. For
example, in August 2006, the regime declared illegal the Defender
of Human Rights Center (the leading human rights organization in
Iran, headed by Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi) for various
activities, including reporting human rights violations in Iran and
providing free legal defense to political prisoners.
In sum, the Iranian constitution and the regime it legitimizes
are the primary obstacles to the advancement of freedom, democracy,
and human rights in Iran. Without a major revision of the Iranian
constitution, the situation in Iran has little to no chance of
No Viable Amendment Process. Amending the Iranian
constitution to remove the restrictions on individual rights and
revise the undemocratic structure of the government is not a
realistic option for the Iranian people. First, only the Supreme
Leader-not the people or the parliament-can initiate proceedings to
amend the constitution, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has
shown no inclination to amend the constitution for any reason, much
less to make the Iranian government more democratic and accountable
to the Iranian people. The ruling mullahcracy views the
constitution as the foundation of the Islamic Republic and its
mechanism for maintaining complete dominance over the Iranian
people. The regime would view any attempt to revise its terms,
especially its core Islamic principles, as a conspiracy by the
enemies of the Islamic revolution.
Indeed, the Iranian constitution has been revised only once, in
1989, by order of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to determine the
process of succession for the next Supreme Leader. In that
instance, all of the members of the council charged with revising
the constitution were selected by Khomeini. The results of the 1989
revision of the constitution were predictable: The power of the
Supreme Leader was consolidated to give him final authority on all
matters of foreign and domestic policy.
Additionally, the section of the constitution relating to its
revision specifically forbids amending virtually every part of the
constitution that is objectionable to advocates of freedom and
democracy, including "the Islamic character of the political
system," "the basis of all the rules and regulations according to
Islamic criteria," "the religious footing," and "the holy
principle." The constitution declares that these provisions are
"unalterable." Even in the unlikely event that the
Supreme Leader decided to open the constitution to amendment, its
most problematic provisions are specifically protected from
Options for Advancing Freedom,
Democracy, and Human Rights in Iran
Given the despotic nature of the Iranian regime and the status
of civil and political rights under the Iranian constitution, the
prospect of advancing freedom, democracy, and human rights in Iran
is daunting. The regime cannot be taken at its word that it will
not build nuclear weapons, and no amount of inspections by the
International Atomic Energy Agency will guarantee that the mullahs
will not continue their efforts to become a nuclear power.
Regardless of the outcome of the nuclear crisis, resolving the
nuclear issue will do nothing to advance freedom in Iran.
Unrealistic Diplomatic "Grand Bargains." Many experts
argue that the United States and its allies should undertake a
comprehensive diplomatic initiative with Iran, referred to by some
as a "grand bargain." Such an initiative would proceed through
an agreed framework similar to the 1972 Shanghai Communiqué,
which established a structure for negotiations between the United
States and China.
In addition to resolving the nuclear crisis, the framework
approach aspires to address every other major dispute that
currently exists between Iran and the United States, including but
not limited to the Middle East peace process; Iran's support for
terrorist groups; and Iran's destabilizing actions in Iraq,
Lebanon, and the broader Middle East. The framework approach is
laced with economic incentives and mutually beneficial assurances
designed to bring a peaceful resolution to every aspect of Iran's
bad behavior in the international arena. Notably absent from these
grand bargain strategies are provisions for the advancement of
freedom, democracy, and human rights in Iran.
While these major diplomatic initiatives are impressive in their
breadth and depth, they are hopelessly unrealistic. They assume
that some package of incentives will dissuade Iran from pursuing
goals that define the Iranian regime-the pursuit of nuclear
weapons, support for terrorism in Lebanon and the Palestinian
territories, and the preservation of an Islamic government run by
hard-line clerics. All appearances indicate that Iran is
unwaveringly determined to possess nuclear weapons for
international prestige, to acquire regional dominance, to deter the
regime's enemies, and to ensure the mullahcracy's survival.
The regime is unlikely to bargain away its nuclear weapons. No
inducement from the United States or Europe could persuade Iran to
stop supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other
terrorist groups. Suggesting that Iran will negotiate in good faith
about the Middle East peace process is overly optimistic when its
president has stated that Iran "cannot compromise over the issue of
Palestine," Israel "must be wiped off the map," and "Zionists are
the true manifestation of Satan."
The recommendations advanced in diplomatic framework approaches
also will not solve Iran's constitutional dilemma and therefore
will do little to nothing to advance freedom, democracy, and human
rights for the Iranian people. The framework approaches explicitly
reject any notion that the nature of the Iranian regime should be
challenged. For example, one study states, "For a grand bargain to
be possible, the United States should clarify that it is not
seeking a change in the nature of the Iranian regime, but rather
changes in Iranian behavior and policies." A second framework
initiative states, "In dealing with Iran, the United States should
relinquish the rhetoric of regime change" and instead communicate
"that the United States favors political evolution: the long-range
vision is an Iran that ushers in democracy itself in a meaningful
and lasting manner."
The freedom of the Iranian people should not be so cavalierly
discounted in the vain hope that the Iranian regime will make
concessions on its nuclear program. It is in U.S. interests to
advance democracy in Iran as soon as practicable, not just as part
of a "long-range vision." Prior instances of similar diplomatic
missteps lent political cover and economic support to the Soviet
Union, helping to perpetuate its oppression of hundreds of
millions. Over a billion Chinese still suffer under an
authoritarian Communist regime in the name of détente. The
United States should not repeat past mistakes by supporting
authoritarian regimes and breeding resentment among people
throughout the broader Middle East.
Bringing Democratic Change to Iran. Put simply, the
current political system in Iran does not allow for peaceful
democratic change. The mullahcracy's power to quash dissent and
repress political rights and individual liberties is seemingly
limitless. This reality places advocates of freedom, human rights,
and democratic reform in a thorny Catch-22: The status quo in Iran
cannot be improved without a major revision of the Iranian
constitution, but the Iranian constitution cannot be amended
without a change in the status quo.
The people of Iran recently attempted to change their political
situation by electing reformist parliamentarians, only to have the
Supreme Leader reverse their modest gains. The Iranian people are
practically powerless, while the authority of the Supreme Leader
and the Guardian Council is almost absolute. The formal and legal
identity of the regime is the Iranian constitution-a Gordian knot
that must be cut before democratic reform can take root.
The Iranian people have no power to initiate proceedings to
amend their own constitution. That power is reserved exclusively to
the Supreme Leader. The constitution must therefore be revised by
other means, either by transformation of the regime from within or
by transformation of the regime from without. A democratic
transformation of the regime could be initiated from within Iran if
the Iranian people were permitted to hold a nationwide referendum
on the constitution (and if the regime respected the result).
Without support from outside of Iran, however, proponents of
democracy inside Iran risk the fate of those who died in Tiananmen
Square in 1989. Only intense and irresistible pressure from the
Iranian people, supported by the international community, could
possibly persuade the mullahcracy to allow such a referendum.
The Iran Freedom Support Act, passed in September 2006, codified
existing U.S. sanctions against Iran and authorized funds for the
promotion of democracy. Regrettably, the act stated that U.S.
policy was merely "to support efforts by the people of Iran to
exercise self-determination over the form of government of their
country." As an official policy position, this statement rings
hollow. The United States supports the efforts of the people of
every nation in the world to exercise self-determination
over their form of government.
Instead, the U.S. government should state explicitly what the
Iran Freedom Support Act only implies: The United States supports a
peaceful democratic transformation of the Iranian regime.
Words matter. When President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet
Union an "evil empire" in 1983, it mattered a great deal to many
who were suffering under Soviet rule. President John F.
Kennedy's words mattered when he said in 1961, "We stand for
freedom. That is our conviction for ourselves-that is our only
commitment to others." The controversy over the war in Iraq
should not cow the United States into being afraid to directly
challenge regimes as repugnant as the Iranian mullahcracy.
The only chance for a successful transformation of the Iranian
regime is for the change to originate from the greatest enemy of
Iran's despotic mullahcracy-the Iranian people themselves. If the
Iranian people are to prevail, they must be given the necessary
tools and support.
What the United States Should Do
The United States should pursue several avenues to provide the
necessary tools and support to the Iranian people.
Support for a Referendum on Iran's Constitution. The
regime's human rights violations and its repression of civil and
political rights are merely symptoms of Iran's constitutional
disease. The Iranian constitution is a cancer that must be excised.
The United States should therefore direct its funding and public
diplomacy efforts toward supporting a national referendum on Iran's
constitution, overseen by international observers. Through the Middle East
Partnership Initiative, the Administration should use funding under
the Iran Freedom Support Act to:
- Assist the dissident community in establishing a Rainbow
Civil Movement to unite the various groups interested in
constitutional reform, such as women, students, intellectuals,
workers, private business owners, ethnic and religious minorities,
and the middle class.
- Support dissemination within Iran of articles,
literature, treatises, and other information promoting a referendum
on the constitution.
- Provide training for Web site creation and maintenance
to the dissident community to expand its Internet outreach. This
effort should include software and anti-filtering technology to
counter on-line censorship.
- Covertly provide secure cellular phones and other
communications devices to Iranian dissidents to aid in their
Legislation Supporting Regime Transformation. Any future
congressional legislation relating to Iran should clearly state
that the United States supports a democratic transformation of the
Iranian regime. The mullahcracy headed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah
Khamenei and the Guardian Council is illegitimate and should be
treated accordingly. The legislation should state unambiguously
that the United States seeks a peaceful change of Iran's form of
government and constitution through a national referendum, not
merely a change in Iran's leadership. There are no enlightened
mullahs waiting in the wings to lead Iran to a bright, democratic
Public Diplomacy. Only when the Iranian people feel
solidarity with the free world will they generate the momentum
required to break free from their isolation. The United States
should continue its efforts to reach the Iranian people through
radio and television.
Radio Farda broadcasts news programming in Farsi into Iran, but
it also airs a great deal of popular music. To be more effective,
Radio Farda should instead commit a large percentage of its
broadcast to serious analysis and programming relating to history,
culture, religion, economics, and law, especially human rights,
democracy, and the Iranian constitution. As an alternative, a
second 24-hour station could be established for this purpose.
Funding should also be provided for the purchase and distribution
of satellite radio receivers within Iran to widen the potential
Strengthened and Consolidated Financial Pressure. The
U.S. Treasury Department, which has banned institutions and
individuals in the United States from doing business with certain
Iranian banks, should expand on these successful efforts to squeeze
Iran financially. Bans on Bank Sepah and Bank Saderat have already
shown positive results, in contrast to the U.N. Security Council's
The United States should also continue to press its European
allies and Japan to apply economic pressure on Iran outside of the
U.N. framework. European nations-especially Germany, France, and
Italy-should apply massive pressure on the Iranian regime by ending
government-backed export guarantees and by restricting
No Security Guarantees. The United States should not give
Iran any comprehensive security guarantee (a common element of the
"grand bargain" approach). As part of the negotiations over Iran's
nuclear program, the regime will likely demand that the United
States abandon all efforts to advance democratic change in Iran.
Whatever diplomatic approach is pursued in connection with Iran's
nuclear program, the United States should retain the right to
promote freedom and democracy peacefully within Iran.
With the world focusing on the negotiations regarding Iran's
nuclear program, it is tempting to relegate the pursuit of a free
and democratic Iran to secondary or tertiary status, if not to
abandon it altogether. While the realities of the ongoing nuclear
dispute necessitate placing the goal of advancing democracy in Iran
within a broader context, promoting freedom in Iran should not be
completely discarded in favor of resolving the Iranian nuclear
Even in the remote circumstance that Iran agrees to refrain from
building nuclear weapons, the regime will remain the world's
leading sponsor of international terrorism and will likely continue
its efforts to destabilize Iraq. The United States needs to work
diligently to resolve the nuclear crisis, but not at the expense of
condemning future generations of Iranians to perpetual
Steven Groves is
Bernard and Barbara Lomas Fellow in the Margaret Thatcher Center
for Freedom, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis
Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage
Iranian-Canadian photographer Zahra Kazemi died
in custody from a blow to the head after being arrested for taking
photographs at Evin prison. Amnesty International, Report
http://web.amnesty.org/report2006/irn-summary-eng (March 16,
2007), and U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human
Rights, and Labor, "Iran," in 2005 Country Reports on Human
Rights Practices, March 8, 2006, at www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61688.htm
(March 16, 2007).
International, Report 2006; U.S. Commission on International
Religious Freedom, Annual Report 2006, May 2006, pp.
187-188; and U.N. General Assembly Resolution 60/171, 60th Sess.,
paragraph 2(a), March 7, 2006.
Republic of Iran Constitution, Article 13 and Article 14. Hereafter
cited as "Iranian Constitution."
see Princeton Project on National Security, final report,
Forging a World of Liberty Under Law: U.S. National Security in
the 21st Century, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School
of Public and International Affairs, September 27, 2006, at www.wws.princeton.edu/ppns/report/FinalReport.pdf
(March 16, 2007).
Gordon, "The Struggle for Iraq: Deadliest Bomb in Iraq Is Made by
Iran, U.S. Says," The New York Times, February 10, 2007, p.
Constitution, Article 110, and Freedom House, Freedom in the
World 2006, p. 339.
Katzman, Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses,
Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, January
5, 2007, pp. 3-4.
Constitution, Article 91.
release, "Ali Khamenei Proves Once Again That He Is One of the Most
Dangerous Predators of Press Reform," Reporters Without Borders,
August 7, 2000, at www.rsf.org/rsf/uk/html/mo/cplp/cp/070800.html
(March 16, 2007), and Mansour Jafarian, "Constitution, Government
& Legislation," Jurist, at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/world/iran.htm#Government
(March 16, 2007).
Constitution, Article 24.
Rights Watch, World Report 2007, p. 463.
International, Report 2006; Freedom House, Freedom of the
Press 2006, at www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=251&year=2006
(March 19, 2007); Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2006,
p. 340; Human Rights Watch, World Report 2007; Reporters
Without Borders, 2007 Annual Report, 2007, pp. 138-139, at
(March 19, 2007). See also U.N. General Assembly Resolution 60/171,
Constitution, Article 27.
Rights Watch, World Report 2007, and U.N. General Assembly
Resolution 60/171, paragraphs 2(a) and 2(c).
Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor,
"Iran," in 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights
Constitution, Article 26.
Rights Watch, World Report 2007.
Constitution, Article 171.
House, Freedom in the World 2006, p. 337.
Constitution, Article 171.
Galen Carpenter, "Iran's Nuclear Program: America's Policy
Options," Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 578, September
20, 2006, at www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa578.pdf (March 19,
2007); Independent Task Force, Iran: Time for a New
Approach, Council on Foreign Relations, July 2004, at www.cfr.org/content/publications/attachments/Iran_TF.pdf
(March 19, 2007); and Flynt Leverett, "Dealing With Tehran:
Assessing U.S. Diplomatic Options Toward Iran," Century Foundation
Report, December 4, 2006. The Independent Task Force report
rejects a grand bargain in favor of selective but comprehensive
Ahmadinejad, speech at "The World Without Zionism" conference,
Tehran, October 26, 2005, at www.nytimes.com/2005/10/30/weekinreview/30iran.html
(March 19, 2007), and Deutsche Presse-Agentur, "Ahmadinejad in
Sudan: 'Zionists Are the True Manifestation of Satan,'"
Haaretz, March 1, 2007, at www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/832229.html
(March 19, 2007).
"Dealing With Tehran," p. 20.
Independent Task Force, Iran, p. 42.
See also Ray Takeyh, "Time for Détente with Iran,"
Foreign Affairs, Vol. 86, No. 2 (March/April 2007), and
Joseph Cirincione and Andrew Grotto, Contain and Engage: A New
Strategy for Resolving the Nuclear Crisis with Iran, Center for
American Progress, March 2007, pp. 27-30 and 46, at www.americanprogress.org/issues/2007/02/pdf/iran_report.pdf
(March 19, 2007). Cirincione and Grotto support a "contain and
engage" strategy, arguing that "over the long-term, it could
plants[sic] the seeds of democratic change in Iran."
Freedom Support Act, Public Law 109-293.
Sharansky and Ron Dermer, The Case for Democracy: The Power of
Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror (New York:
PublicAffairs, 2004), p. 138.
United States should not be perceived by the Iranian people as
interfering in its affairs, which is generally unwelcome. For the
best chance of success, all initiatives in Iran should be pursued
without great fanfare. See Karl Vick and David Finkel, "U.S. Push
for Democracy Could Backfire Inside Iran," The Washington
Post, March 14, 2006, p. A1, at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
Mehrdad Mashayekhi, "How Can We Change the Constitution? Is This
the Central Question?" Gozaar, February 2007.
Enders Wimbush, "Understanding the Iran Crisis," testimony before
the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives,
January 31, 2007, at http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/110/wim013107.htm
(March 19, 2007), and Ilan Berman, "On Message in Iran," The
American Spectator, March 1, 2006, at www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=9470
(March 19, 2007).
Weisman, "Europe Resists U.S. Push to Curb Iran Ties," The New
York Times, January 30, 2007, p. A1; editorial, "Europe and the
Mullahs," The Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2007, at
(March 19, 2007); and James Phillips, "Don't Count on the Security
Council to Curb Iran's Nuclear Ambitions," Heritage Foundation
WebMemo No. 1370, February 26, 2007, at www.heritage.org/Research/MiddleEast/wm1370.cfm.
"Dealing With Tehran," p. 20, and Carpenter, "Iran's Nuclear
Program," p. 12.