Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An Iranian Voice Speaks Out

National Review has a story about a remarkable man. Some people talk about doing great things. Other people actually do them.
Iranian Amir Abbas Fakhravar is a hunted man. A former medical student and journalist for the now-banned reform newspapers Moshareka and Khordad, akhravar came to prominence with the publication of his book This Place Is Not a Ditch, in which he criticized Iran’s rulers and called on the Iranian people to reject the mullahs’ regime. For doing so, he was sentenced in 2002 to eight years in prison. His status as a political prisoner and his mistreatment while incarcerated — he was reportedly denied medical care, and suffered frequent physical attacks — brought international attention and demands for his release. The mullahs proved less than accommodating, but they did allow Fakhravar occasional prison leaves in order to visit his family and take his university exams. In May of this year, while on such a leave, he decided he had had enough, and ran. He has been a fugitive ever since, and moves about Iran in an effort to escape the authorities.
This in itself is great, but he didn't go home to hide. No, he continues to advocate Iranian democracy, despite the danger to his life and the lives of his family. How?
He does this by communicating with Iranian students, whom he characterizes as deeply hostile to the rulers in Tehran. It is a strange commentary on the extent to which Iranian speech is suppressed — and on the peculiarities of the Internet age — that among the best ways for Fakhravar to reach his audience is by speaking with American journalists whose work finds its way to the Iranian underground.
His is an incredible story. Read the whole thing. His interview with National Review eventually came around to US involvement in Iran. He wants the US to back the young generation of democracy advocates who will take power. He thinks that a military invasion by the US will hurt the peaceful democracy movement and foster resentment against the US, while a more subtle support will garner much favor with a potential Iranian democracy.

And of course, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

I just see the window of non-military solutions closing. Iran has made no secret of their plan to get nuclear weapons, and the rest of the world has made laughable attempts to stop or dissuade them from that path. As time continues, Iran's leadership is becoming ever more belligerent towards Israel, now one of a small but growing number of democracies in the Middle East.

I'd love to see a peaceful solution, or at least a solution that doesn't require US military intervention. Unfortunately, if there isn't some solution soon, we may find our greatest ally in the region reduced to a smoking crater.

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