Letter to SECSTATE James Baker 09-06-1986: 186 Congressional Signatures

RELEASED IN FULL September 6, 1989

Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime in Iran which has committed horrific atrocities to maintain its grip on power is now without the supreme dictator. The regime is already showing signs of disintegration and seems unlikely to be able to deal with the worsening social, economic, and political crises. It is believed that thousands have been executed or imprisoned and tortured since the cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war. Amnesty International's latest report, released on April 24, 1989, shows that here have been more executions by far in Iran since August than in any other country in the world, noting that most of the victims are alleged to have been members or collaborators with the Iranian Mojahedin. The sheer numbers of executions reveal the regime's obsession with the Mojahedin and its armed wing—the National Liberation Army's appeal among Iranian youth.

Ayatollah Montazeri, who as Khomeini's designated successor, had tried to inject an element of reality into Iran's political affairs, has been removed from office. It was Montazeri who, worried about the future of the regime, pointed out that the executions of the Mojahedin would backfire, and that in any case they had proven ineffective in solving the regime's problems, specifically the problem of mounting dissent. A number of other clerics and officials have either had to resign or have been arrested. Parliamentary Speaker Hashemi-Rafsanjani—his own future in jeopardy—'cried wolf,' as Time put it, and claimed to have thwarted a U.S. coup by arresting the culprits. In fact, dozens of armed forces personnel had already been arrested and charged with not putting up a fight against the NLA assault which succeeded in capturing two major cities in western Iran in July of last year.

The Iranian regime has always tried to cover up its domestic problems and maintain a minimum level of unity among its cohorts by stirring up external crises. But since the mullahs were forced to give up on what had become their mainstay for the past eight years—the Iran-Iraq war—-their efforts to maintain control have become increasingly ineffective. Terrorism, and even the outrageous bounty on the head of British novelist, Salman Rushdie, has not done much toward resolving the burning issues consuming the regime.

Perhaps we are at long last seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The man who relentlessly murdered his own citizenry, sent children over the minefields, and who tried to terrorize his neighbors and the rest of the world has now left the scene and the remnants of his regime seem doomed to fall. It remains, of course, the responsibility of the Iranian people, including the Mojahedin, to bring about change and a new order in their homeland. Nevertheless, to the extent that we have leverage, investing in the Iranian people and their resistance movement and their efforts to win their own freedom would appear a sounder policy than continuing to speculate and hope for the miraculous emergence of moderates from within the present ruling clique.

We have had too much experience not to see that one can speak to the Tehran regime only with firmness. Our European allies have already taken responsible steps by adopting a resolution at the European Parliament, calling for the expulsion of the Tehran regime from the United Nations and recognizing the democratic Iranian Resistance. Some practical steps the United States might take in this direction would include being increasingly outspoken in our criticism of the regime's gross violations of the elementary rights of the people of Iran, giving some measure of recognition to the National Council of Resistance — the twelve-member political coalition which includes the Mojahedin as its principal member — opening a line of regular communication with its leadership, and working with our allies to impose an arms embargo and oil boycott sufficient in pressure to be a catalyst for change toward a rational government in Iran, a government with which the nations of the world might have sensible relations.






  • Letter to SECSTATE James Baker 09-06-1986: 186 Congressional Signatures

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