My friend, Amil Imani, is an Iranian born and influential pro-democracy activist whose family escaped Iran during the Islamic revolution of 1979. He is also an apostate and is a fierce critic of Islam. He recently wrote a column, The Ruling Mullahs Are Not Iranians, in which he maintains that the Mullahs who run the Iranian theocracy now are imposters and are running a tyrannical regime against the will of the people.
Amil contends that virtually all Iranians not working for the regime hate it and want to see it fall. Moreover, should the regime fall, Iran would cease to be a predominantly Muslim country. The reason for this is because Iranians know their past and know, in the seventh century AD, the alien faith of Islam was brutally imposed by the invading armies of Allah. They manically wiped out the indigenous faith we today refer to Zoroastrianism and crushed the traditions and culture which traced it roots back to Cyrus the Great of the sixth century BC. The warriors of Allah attempted to eradicate Persian culture and religious beliefs which were more than a millennium older than Islam.
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Cyrus (600-530 BC) was the first monarch to consolidate under one rule the greater Middle East, arguably the largest empire ever amassed, up to that point, in human history. But understanding that he ruled over such an enormously diverse group of peoples, he issued the first charter of inalienable human rights which not only gave his subjects freedom of worship but numerous other freedoms not eclipsed until the US Constitution was written and ratified. Both the Torah and the Old Testament record that Cyrus, upon conquering the Babylonians, freed a Jewish slave population of somewhere around 40,000 people, gave them safe passage back to their homeland, and ordered the destroyed Temple in Jerusalem rebuilt.
I spoke to Amil who I consider to be one this country’s leading observers of Iran and asked him about how the Trump administration should confront the Iranian menace and go about deposing the Mullahs.
Kelley: In your writings you maintain that to be Iranian, it is more the embrace of a set of beliefs and customs than it is a nationality. Please explain.
Imani: In the same way that Cyrus the Great considered all people members of the same human family, the human family of today holds the great trailblazer of human rights (Cyrus) as one of its own. The vast plateau that presently encompasses Iran has been inhabited by the most diverse people of any region of the planet. Yet, in adherence to the lofty principles of Cyrus, these people found unity in diversity. They remained loyal to their own unique heritage and successfully linked it to a larger loyalty. Present day Iran is a living testament to this remarkable togetherness where ethnic Persians, Turkic, Kurds, Turkmen, Baluchis, Arabs, and others live as one people.
Cyrus’ Charter of Human Rights is the first written document which stipulates that all humans have universal inalienable rights, without regard to ethnicity, nationality and religion.
Kelley: Similarly, it is often said that America was the first nation founded not on ethnicity but on a set of ideas. I hope the readers of this piece will be as fascinated as am I to learn that ancient Persia predated our Declaration of Independence by twenty-five hundred years. You’ve written that Islam was brutally imposed on Persia. Please describe how that was done and what the culture in Persia was like prior to the Muslim invasion.
Imani: Nearly 1400 years ago, nomads from the Arabian Desert conquered Iran (Persia). With that, they almost destroyed one of the most benevolent and beautiful religions of all humanity, Zoroastrianism, often called the mother of all revealed religions. Due to its antiquity and subsequent influences on later Judaic beliefs, Judaism as we know it has endearingly been dubbed by some scholars as “Moses through Zoroastrian eyes.”
I came to the realization that the root cause of my peoples’ degradation and suffering was Islam. It was a creed imposed on an enlightened, tolerant and free people at the point of the sword by savages hailing from the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century with promises of booty and women in this world and glorious eternal sensual rewards in the promised paradise of Allah in the next.
The overwhelming majority of Iranians of today stand shoulder to shoulder with the civilized free people of the world who wish to defeat Islamofascism. Iranians have not forgotten their heritage; they take pride in their ancient creed of light — that of Zoroaster; they see themselves as inheritors of a great culture and tradition and are determined to pay any price to put an end, once and for all, to the virulent disease of Islamic fascism.
Kelley: How could the US and its Arab allies destabilize the Iranian regime and bring it down?
Imani: Given the present overwhelming opposition of the masses to the rule of the Mullahs, an effective and measured set of sanction provides an excellent opportunity for regime change. Those sanctions should include:
- Stop or slow down Iran’s import of refined petroleum products.
- Locate and shutter the regime’s front organizations such as Alavi Foundation in New York City and shut down its lobby operating under the guise of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and prosecute its officers for violating the law by operating as a lobby of a foreign government without registering as such.
- Take all necessary steps to stop investments in Iran. And pressure governments and businesses to stop doing business with Iran.
- Obtain the collaboration of international banks and other monetary institutions in denying letters of credit to Iranian government agencies and companies. This action greatly impedes the working of the government and particularly its program of acquiring weapons and weapons material.
- Inspect every vessel headed for Iranian ports to make sure they are not ferrying prohibited material. Other than vessels known to be carrying foodstuff and medicine, each ship should be subjected to elaborate inspection.
- Enlist maritime insurance companies in raising their fees on any vessel that ferries cargos, other than foodstuff and medical supplies, to Iranian ports.
- Deny the Iranian airlines operation and encourage non-Iranian airlines to cease serving the country. Provide for flights that serve emergency medical and other health needs of the Iranians only.
- Freeze all assets of the past and present officials of the IRI abroad on the legal ground that they are stolen funds from the Iranian nation and make their release conditional on the review of impartial international tribunals. At the top of this list must be all assets that the officers of the Revolutionary Guard and their families tucked away abroad.
- Clamp down on Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and the rest of the Persian Gulf States as transit intermediary sources for the regime’s financial and material transactions.
- Obtain court orders to freeze the overseas assets of Iranian leaders, since they are clearly ill-gotten funds that rightfully belong to the nation.
- Shut down, or severely restrict the operation of the Mullahs’ businesses in Dubai and other Persian Gulf states.
Kelley: This is an excellent and comprehensive list. I hope that key members of the Trump inner circle will see it. If there were a successful overthrow of the current Iranian regime, what percentage of the county would leave Islam? And what would be the ripple effect across the Islamic world, both Shiite and Sunni?
Imani: It would be the greatest thing since the fall of Soviet communism. It would subvert virulent Islamism by creating a truly democratic secular strong nation allied with Israel in the heart of the Islamic Umma (Muslim world). It would be an answered prayer both for the world and for Iranians. How many would leave Islam? Millions have already left, in fact, Christianity is the fastest growing religion in Iran. We need an insightful president who sees the handwriting on the wall and takes drastic action. The ripple effect throughout the entire Middle East would be monumental. In a nutshell, Islam would eventually cease to exist.