Above, iVOL Institute poster promotes unity and change.
The fall of Afghanistan revived memories of Saigon’s final hours in foreign and domestic minds. The regime leaders of Russia and China appear poised to exploit this failure in Central Asia and the surrounding region. Experts state that President Biden has to make hard decisions regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran, that may even go against his party rhetoric.
Biden is under bipartisan political pressure over Iran, says, security expert
Michael Pregent, a national security and intelligence expert, believes that Biden is in a “difficult” political position over Iran.
Speaking during a streamed human rights conference of the Institute for Voices of Liberty (iVOL), Pregent listed the issues Biden faces.
Biden’s stance has been a more tolerant diplomacy approach. Yet, as Russia closes in on Ukraine, and China menaces Taiwan, the Biden administration is faced with multiple security crises.
Pregent analyzed that the administration’s failures in Afghanistan undermine American diplomacy.
Pregent believes Biden will be forced to take a stiff stance on Iran to save face. Enforcing a crackdown on the Islamic regime in the region would send a message to Russia and China that the U.S. will take a strong regional position. A strong political vantage position would seek to end the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program, he reasoned.
“I think Biden has an opportunity to put the spotlight on Iran. Biden doesn’t want to look weak to Russia or China. Iran is low-hanging fruit,” Pregent said.
Months of pushback
Biden’s administration received mixed responses to his Iran policy, even in the months before the Afghanistan collapse. The media rhetoric and the political position have varied.
The offices of U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Manning reported in March that a bipartisan letter had been addressed to Biden wherein 70 Republican and 70 Democratic members of Congress stressed the importance of a strong Islamic Republic policy.
Despite bipartisan proceedings, media rhetoric tends to lean heavily in favor of leftist approaches to Islamic regime policy.
Foreign Policy wrote in March that Biden “sounded a lot like Trump” with regards to Iran. The argument was authored by Assal Rad and Negar Mortazavi. They claimed that Biden’s continuation of Trump-era policy sends “the wrong message” to Tehran.
They argued that Biden did not “clearly communicate” its diplomacy message to Tehran, and reminded the Biden administration of their “strong criticism” of Trump’s Iran policy.
The authors called the JCPOA deal a “success.” JCPOA was also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal negotiated by then-President Obama.
However, concerned citizens’ rights groups advocating Iranian human interests disagree that JCPOA was a success.
They state that the Iranian regime is not a reliable diplomatic partner because the Iranian regime, due to its radical policy, is instructed to lie to adversarial foreign counterparts.
As 2021 wore on, and famed regime executioner Ebrahim Raisi took power, it became clear that the JCPOA would fail. Raisi reportedly “lambasted” the U.S. and the U.N. at meetings of state. Biden continued the party line that tried to encourage regime leaders to comply with the JCPOA’s conditions.
However, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has since confirmed that the Biden administration has begun to consider options should diplomacy fail, refer to White House Press Briefing Psaki and Deese, Decmeber 9.
” Given the ongoing advances in Iran’s nuclear program, the President has asked his team to be prepared in the event that diplomacy fails and we must turn to other options, and that requires preparations,” said Psaki.
“We have presented a diplomatic path forward; that path is still open. But based on the outcome of the last round of talks and the ongoing advancements in Iran’s nuclear facilities, we are laying the path for — the groundwork for another path entirely. So, it’s just meant to be preparations,” she added.
White House Spokesperson Ned Price echoed these statemetns in a media release on December 9.
Psaki also expressed the Biden administration’s intent to levy new sanctions on the Islamic Republic if the current policy did not go to plan.
Human rights abuses steer the need for strong policy
Advocates of Democracy for Iran in Washington note the immense human rights violations should compel the Biden administration to change its Iran policy direction.
“We believe the Biden administration is under pressure in large part because Republican lawmakers have been laser-focused on holding the Islamic Republic accountable for their vast human rights violations and continued sponsorship of terrorist groups in the world,” said Bryan Leib, the executive director of Iranian Americans for Liberty.
“The time is now for President Biden to get tough with the Islamic Republic. He must pivot back to a maximum pressure campaign with the Islamic Republic,” Leib added.
Lawmakers focus on control of IRI’s nuclear program, security violations
In March, Jewish Insider reported that Reps. Anthony Brown (D-MD) and Michael Waltz (R-FL) collected signatures for a bipartisan proceeding against the Islamic Regime of Iran. An early draft obtained by Jewish Insider called upon the Biden administration to address JCPOA violations. The letter likewise called on the administration to address the IRI’s behavior for the sake of “all the nations in the region.”
“As Democrats and Republicans from across the political spectrum, we are united in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and addressing the wide range of illicit Iranian behavior,” the Representatives wrote.
A later version of the letter was sent to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on March 9.
As Democrats appeared to continue pursuit of the JCPOA, Republicans continued to counter this objective.
In December, a bill introduced by Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY-6) and sponsored by six Republican representatives, called the Iran Nuclear Deal Advice and Consent Act of 2021, was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Since December 2, 2021, there has been no reported development on the bill.
Democracy points a path forward
As Washington debates the security dilemma of a tyrannical-led Iran at the crossroads of the world’s intensifying security hotspots, citizen activists sound an outcry for solutions. Unbeknownst to the majority of the Western world, the Iranian people have grown weary of the mismanagement and strain of their government.
Concerned citizen activist groups state that Iranian citizens are ready and willing to change the status quo within their country. They wish to establish a new, democratic government with fair elections. This, they argue, would greatly subtract from the security liabilities of the current regime in power.
They urge Washington and the Western world to support a peaceful transition of power from the current leadership to one formed on democratic principles. This, they argue, can be achieved through hardline policies against the current regime, and through allowing Iranian activists open access to deliver their messages of pro-democratic transition.
Iranian pro-democracy education group proposes the way forward
The Institute for Voices of Liberty, an Iranian American public education group that discloses the human rights abuses within the Islamic Republic, argues that the Western world must support a free Iran.
As the Ayatollah’s government collapses due to signs of institutionalized corruption and apparent incompetence, the Iranian people continue to sound an outcry for social justice. Iranian citizens have called out Western media for publishing narratives that ignore the Ayatollah’s tyranny.
Pro-democracy citizens call out mainstream media for spreading fake news that suggests citizens are content within the regime. Concerned citizens who agreed to speak in the iVOL conference are adamant there is no content with the regime.
From the arrest of teachers, to brutal beatings of elderly people, to indiscriminate killing of peaceful and unarmed protestors, viral instances of human rights abuses have swept through the spirit of pro-democracy people. Iranian citizens argue that, if the people of their nation were content, they would not be willing to protest in the streets while being shot with live shotgun rounds.
The Ayatollah’s regime brutally represses citizen voices, say, concerned citizens
Citizens of Iran agree that any new, democratic government replacing the current tyranny would be better than the regime that currently controls the nation. iVOL fellows urge Westerners “not to worry” about the future government of Iran, because a replacement effort will support peace, equal rights under the law for all genders, races, religions, creeds, and sexual orientations.
Ideas promoting liberty and a new constitution
Bijan Kian, a twice senate confirmed Iranian-American former U.S. national security and economic development official, together with Sam Kermanian, former secretary-general of The Iranian American Jewish Federation, and several high profile Iranian Americans, founded the Institute for Voices of Liberty as a means to educate the Western public on the democratic aspirations of the people of Iran.
Kian believes that in information there is empowerment. iVOL is an education institute for Iranians promoting their civil liberties.
iVOL is in the process of developing a virtual museum of human rights abuses within the Ayatollah’s regime, similar to other museums which preserve the records of atrocities of tyrannies around the world.
iVOL seeks to likewise engage Iranians in forming ideas and expressing solutions for a pro-democratic government post regime. It was with great emphasis that Kian noted iVOL itself is not a political party and is not seeking to form a political party.
“Fairness comes through competition,” Kian said. He encourages all pro-democratic Iranians to encourage competition, form political parties of their own, that can back candidates.
He believes that all Iranians should be able to submit their suggestions for a constitution that would be enacted in free Iran.
However, Kian notes that, because Iran is under such political duress and repression at this moment, the legislature will need a good deal of education and work to form a truly democratic direction for the nation’s future.
The Shah’s heir is a crowd favorite as a figurehead of a pro-democratic Iran
Though adamant that iVOL itself, as a think tank, must remain impartial toward political parties, Kian has some factual insights into the most popular figures within the pro-democratic Iranian community.
“The most popular, and the most charismatic figure is Reza Pahlavi,” Kian said, speaking regarding the son of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi was the crown prince and heir to the Shah’s throne before the Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Many Iranians believe that a new government system should appoint Pahlavi as the figurehead of state. Kian says a functional form of this government would be a monarchical democracy similar to that of the United Kingdom. He compared a new Iranian democratic monarchy to the UK’s Parliament, a democracy that hails Queen Elizabeth II as its socio-cultural figurehead of state.
This has led to a strong monarchical movement within Iran. “Shah of Iran, return to Iran,” is the slogan of this group.
Kian stresses the need for many candidates to form a fair, competitive election.
“Many Iranians love Reza Pahlavi because he is the most charismatic person. That is good. Appoint other figureheads that could be just as charismatic and let them compete. Through competition comes fairness. That is a democracy,” Kian said, explaining the need for other candidates to form a truly democratic election for new Iran.
A call for strategic harmony
Bijan Kian, an Iranian-American who served in senior positions in the Bush and Obama administrations as well as President Trump’s Transition Team, who leads the iVOL Institute, emphasized the importance of simultaneous targeting of the Achille’s heel of the tyranny of the Islamic Republic. According to Kian, this will happen when the protectors of the regime join the protestors.
He stressed that iVOL is not a lobbying entity or a political party. Rather, it is a research and educational Institute that seeks to impart knowledge to the Western public about the grim realities of life in the Ayatollah’s regime.
It is for the sake of impartiality, says Kian, that the institute does not seek to promote any specific candidate.
Rather, the institute seeks to hear the voice of Iranians and to try to best relay their wishes to the outside world. “We deliver their messages,” Kian said, speaking in the streamed iVOL Twitter conference on December 12.
“We want to stress that at iVOL, there is no “I”, only “WE”. We believe that “I” is the enemy of “WE”, says Kian.
Kian states that all Iranian freedom-seekers must unite around the goal of liberty and positive change in Iran to gain the peaceful transition of current power to a democratic government.
Messages of peace to the world
This past summer, iVOL organized a public diplomacy mission of Iranian compatriots to Israel to deliver a message of peace and friendship to the people of Israel.
Kian noted with confidence that the majority of people in Iran hold no animosity toward the people of the State of Israel. The purpose of the mission was to reignite and revive ancient cooperation between our two people.
By supporting democratic efforts in Iran, iVOL believes that peace can be achieved between Iran and the other countries in the Middle East. The institute states that this will lead to greater peace and economic prosperity in the region.