An announcement made public by Mr. Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, the former president of Iran (for a very short time), right after the 1979 Revolution, was recently publicly disseminated via an email from www.tohid.org, Bani-Sadr’s Persian language website. Since he left Iran in 1980, Mr. Bani-Sadr has not been back to the country, living permanently in France.
In his announcement, Mr. Bani-Sadr claimed that the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people did not participate in the recent parliamentary election and from that wrong supposition he drew the conclusion that the people of Iran have heeded the advice of the opposition to the Iranian government and therefore are ready for “regime change”.
In this open letter, we’ll challenge his incorrect assessment, as far as the statistics of electoral participation are concerned. The fact is that Mr. Bani-Sadr is not doing the opposition a favor by advocating “non-participation” in the electoral process. Are we to conclude from this political strategy, that Mr. Bani-Sadr is advocating another method of changing the government of Iran, i.e., through force? How is this different from the plans of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney wanting to impose “democracy” through violence and destabilization in Iran?
For the benefit of our American and European readers, we should point out that the Iranian people have not forgotten that upon his deposition from the presidency of Iran, Mr. Bani-Sadr joined the armed group of Mojahadeen Khalqh (MKO) at the level of its leadership, plotted with the MKO to highjack an Iranian plane and escape from Iran in concert with a pilot who served as an officer in the Shah’s government.
Furthermore, Mojahadeen Khalgh (known by many names, such as the MEK, PMOI, MKO, NCRI and others) joined Sadaam Hossein and the Iraqi war front against Iran in the 1980’s and has been branded as a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. MEK, MKO, etc. has been willingly used as a cross-border mercenary military force against the Islamic Republic. Like the English idiom: birds of a feather flock together.
Is Mr. Bani-Sadr aware that his shadowy statistics to prove his thesis that only a small number of eligible voters participated in Iran’s parliamentary election, flies in the face of the data presented by such media sources as the Financial Times of London, the New York Times, and even the Voice of America, the publications whose objectives and policies are diametrically opposed to those of the Islamic Republic of Iran?
Apparently, Mr. Bani-Sadr does not care to see what other imperialist publications, progressive organizations and the governments of the developing countries have reported on the Iranian election. It is regrettable to see Mr. Sadr allow his opposition to the Iranian government to over-shadow the well-known fact that the Iranian people deliberately chose to participate overwhelmingly in the election as a reaction to the continued U.S. threats of war and sanctions.
Rightfully, the election was a rebuke to Bush, the White House, its western allies in Europe, and some Iranian liberals who have not ceased in their plans to overthrow the legitimate government of the Islamic Republic. Is Mr. Sadr aware of the fact that in the US and many western democracies less than half and in some congressional elections closer to 1/3 of the city and state populations takes part in the so-called democratic election more favorable to his taste? Mr. Bani-Sadr has every right to abstain from exercising his right not to participate in Iran’s or any other country’s election, but it is not among his rights to assume the role of leadership and advocate the same to the Iranian people, because he does not represent any truly patriotic segment of the Iranian population inside Iran or abroad.