I can remember this one particular night like it happened just seconds ago -- though it was during the 1980s. My family and I drove on this summer night out of Tehran and spent the whole night in a field. We had lots of food and drinks, family members young and old were chatting eagerly and my parents wrapped me in a light blanket for the night. One of our younger family members was sitting in our car and studying with a flashlight for a final school exam. It is one of my most beautiful childhood memories from Iran with the most tragic background.
The reason that we were out in this field was a terrible one. Tehran was bombarded heavily that night. The first Gulf War -- the war between Iran and Iraq -- was going on. That night the foundation of my political beliefs started to shape, as this memory did not turn me into a pacifist. On the contrary, I believe that certain types of dictatorships can only be fought with military intervention -- starting from the Balkan conflict, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and most certainly Syria at this moment. Those military actions were -- and in the case of Syria are -- inevitable.
It is a different case with Iran. And it has a lot to do with the Iran-Iraq war. It was Saddam Hussein who started it, but with clear and heavy provocation from the Iranian regime. It was in 1982 -- after two years Saddam Hussein offered ceasefire and the Revolutionary Guards kept this war alive for another six years. Six incredibly bloody years. My point is not to excuse Saddam Hussein, I'm glad that this terrible dictator is history, but I want to reveal and explain the behaviour of another terrible dictatorship. What the Iranian dictatorship always needed was an external conflict to continue its internal oppression and in general aggressive strategies. Only through ongoing chaos were the Revolutionary Guards able to build their power.
Today, at a time when the Islamic Republic is weakened severely inside the country through a secular and democratic uprising that inspired the Arab Spring and through the Arab Spring itself outside its borders, there is a lot that the world can do to bring down this regime peacefully. It is this regime that wants a war -- as they mistakenly believe that they can survive it -- so let us be smarter than them and not deliver this to them, but instead deliver a true nightmare to the Islamic Republic: a peaceful regime change.
The crucial question at this moment in the case of Iran is not whether to bomb or not to bomb Iran, but how should the architecture behind a regime change without military intervention look? It's starts with toughest economic sanctions and it ends with a diplomatic boycott -- and it is strengthened in the middle by more heavy sanctions. Between war and doing nothing there is a whole field of tools we can use to make the demise of the Iranian regime complete.
The lifeblood of the Islamic Republic runs through its energy sector -- let's hit it most effectively by an entire oil and gas embargo. Those who think that China will not be part of such a coalition let me tell you: China might not care about regime change, but for sure China doesn't necessarily need Iranian oil. What China is dependent on is Middle Eastern oil. It's not a question if, but only how to organize this -- with a replacement of Iranian energy resources through Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Continue with Iran's central bank and kick it out of the world financial system. And on top of that, kick every single Iranian diplomat out of Europe. For years and years the European Union has done nothing except talking and doing trade with the Iranian regime. The reason can be described in this way: in Brussels the only democracy in the Middle East is not seen as a democracy and the most severe threat is not seen as a clear threat. Although it was late, but hopefully not too late, the European Union passed quite tougher sanctions last year and this spring explicitly because of human rights violations. It can now be said that even Europe's debate with the Iranian regime is over and the next logical step is a diplomatic boycott.
I believe with all my heart and mind that no one in Israel wants to attack Iran, but wishes sincerely an end of the nuclear threat to Israel and the region's security through the liberation of the Iranian people. In the summer of 2009 the world community -- and first and foremost President Obama -- missed a historic chance of supporting freedom in Iran. That course has changed significantly through Secretary Clinton's strong Iran policy, but still there is more to be done. Too many voices still try to convince the Obama administration that Iran's Freedom Movement is about gradual reform while courageous Iranians chanting "Freedom, Dignity and an Iranian Republic!" openly demonstrated that this is about revolution. The Obama administration is well advised not to listen to these reform voices anymore as they all come from outside of Iran and are entirely ideologically driven.
There are also voices who argue that a military intervention will be the end of the Freedom Movement -- that's not true. It'll be the end of this regime with a brutal bloodshed, but not the end of this Freedom Movement. Let's determine that the last chapter of this terrible regime ends soon without a bloodshed. And let's remember how President Reagan brought down Communism without a war -- a totalitarian dictatorship defeated through toughest pressure. It is now time for another "Empire of Evil" or "Axis of Evil" speech -- as the Iranian people have suffered enough from this evilness and truly want to start into a democratic era at peace with Israel, the United States and all other democratic nations around the globe. Making regime change possible without a military intervention is the most devastating defeat we can deliver to this hostile regime. Let us start now.
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