Register Login

Roozbeh Farahanipour. Photo courtesy of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

New President of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is Announced

Los Angeles, California: April, 2015; In March 2015, the Board of Directors elected Mr. Roozbeh Farahanipour as the new President of the West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. Farahanipour is a local businessperson and very active community leader. The West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce continues to be the hub for businesses within the region. By creating opportunities for growth and commerce, the Chamber makes every effort to revitalize and provide support to the region.


Marze Por Gohar

A Nonviolent Iranian Revolution?

An Iranian human rights activist tells how it can be done.
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Roozbeh Farahanipour, an Iranian journalist, democracy activist and former political prisoner in Iran. He was a student leader in the 1999 uprising.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, welcome to FrontPage Interview.

Farahanipour: Thank you Jamie.

FP: As the Iranian nuclear threat clearly grows, the question of some kind of possible regime change becomes increasingly urgent. I would like to talk to you today about the prospects for a nonviolent revolution in Iran. Before we get to this issue though, let’s begin with a bit of history to give us a background to the possibility.

Farahanipour: First of all, I would like to bring your attention to the fact that, in Iran’s history, violence has been forced onto the people by dictatorial regimes led by kings and mullahs.

In 1906, the famous Constitutional Revolution succeeded in establishing a Parliament, limiting the powers of the king, allowing for the participation of some sectors of the society and introducing the elements of modernism and liberalism, by non-violent means. Soon after, a violent military coup by the successor to the throne necessitated an armed revolution which succeeded in saving the Constitution but yielded a two pronged occupation of the country by the Csarist Russians and the British, the eruption of the first World War adding a third occupying force, the Ottomans, and a major revolution in neighboring Russia. A long civil war followed in Iran. The country was divided between revolutionary movements, tribal and ethnic warlords and corrupt princes of the ruling dynasty.

This situation lasted until the early 1920s when the first Pahlavi king, then a general, pacified the country by military means, a coup and the establishment of a new dynasty that basically ended all political activities, focusing only on major reconstruction, unification and secularization of the society.

The Allied occupation of Iran in 1941 and the exile of the increasingly pro-German king, began a 12 year period of relative political freedoms which enabled the society to produce its political parties, free press and to revive the Parliamentary process, leading to the Oil Nationalization movement under Prime Minister Mosaddegh, targeting the British dominance of the country and the Shah’s pro British rule. This movement also succeeded in a non-violent manner, in nationalizing the oil and pacifying the King.

Once again, however, a series of Western supported moves and coups, finally succeeded in overthrowing the Prime Minister, ending all the remaining political freedoms and activities, violently imposing a dictatorial monarchy and imposing a political mood of violence, radicalism and even terrorism upon a whole new generation of revolutionaries.

FP: OK, so let’s get to Khomeini’s revolution.

Farahanipour: The 1978-1979 revolution, which began as a liberal movement supported by the United States, ended up falling under the leadership of the mullahs. The mullahs, in turn, were the only social forces allowed under the Cold War situation to remain active and organized. They ironically succeeded in a mainly non-violent manner, with almost all of the violence being from the Shah’s side.

The nation experienced only two or three days of revolutionary violence. Then the soft handover of power was arranged by the members of Iran’s secret police and the Army, together with the British and American embassies (under President Carter), hoping for a “moderate” Islamic regime to replace the Shah’s dictatorship.

While the eruption of the February 11th revolutionary violence may have been due to the armed actions of fringe groups within the Shah’s army or the anger of the revolutionary youth, following two years of violent government suppression, the society as a whole was proud to have accomplished a non-violent but massive and popular revolution and was hoping to rebuild the country according to democratic standards, deceptively promised by the Islamic leadership of the revolution.

FP: To say the least, the new regime did not implement a democracy.

Farahanipour: Indeed. Soon after the 1979 revolution, the Islamic leadership, in an historic betrayal of the people’s trust, began a growing violent campaign of stifling all democratic activities, inciting Islamic fanaticism which hadn’t existed among our society for three generations, killing, executing and jailing all who were not loyal to the Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Dashing all the hopes of the people for a moderate regime in the country of “Flowers and Nightingales” a popular term for the traditional moderation and charms of the Iranian culture, the Islamic regime created a new revolutionary movement against itself, fueled by unprecedented anger, revenge and radicalism.

Today, thirty years after the disaster that befell our country, in spite of all the justified anger within the society, the Iranian people are once again hoping for a non-violent change in Iran, leading to a moderate democracy. On the other hand, they know “freedom is not free”; Iranians know that they have to pay the right price to gain the freedom. I believe that we keep the right to apply any kind of force in order to gain freedom; however, we are looking for the best option to change the regime at the minimum cost for the sake of our motherland.

The Islamic Republic has publicly confirmed many times that 85% of Iran’s population are against them. Regardless of the fact, they insist that their source of power comes from Allah, not from the people -- a doctrine that is emphasized repeatedly in their Constitution. It is clear that the opposition has not achieved any tangible victories by fighting against the regime in the past 30 years, despite the loss of over one hundred thousand martyrs, a testament to the size of the efforts and sacrifices made by regime opponents and to the violence of a regime that rivals that of foreign invading enemies.

FP: What are some of the ways that the opposition movement can be strengthened?

Farahanipour: In order to make the movement stronger and broader, we are trying to organize the opposition, address all the issues and even to encourage the minor regime supporters to join the movement as well.

The Islamic Regime pretends their source of power originates from a divine source which authorizes the dictators to force down the power toward the people who lie at the bottom of the social pyramid; however, in reality if the people do not obey them, they cannot rule anymore.

The regime has also been trying to divide our nation into smaller groups based on differences such as gender, religion, ethnicity and so on. The fact is the Iranian people are a majority under the control of a non-Iranian minority, with a global Jihadist ideology not concerned with the national interests, i.e. a force that has in fact occupied our country. In the past 30 years, they have spoken and acted against the national interests, engaged in destroying the ancient pre-Islamic heritage of Iran, and have been trying to make every Iranian believe that they are not a nation in themselves but a part of an imaginary Islamic nation, with an aggressive global mission.

Our observation of the regime is different. The real source of their power lies in the people who are unwillingly carrying the weight of the regime on their shoulders. All the vital organizations and institutions which we consider the support pillars of the regime, such as the armed forces, the government bureaucracy, the educational system, massive religious foundations, the Iranian media and propaganda machine including manipulation of the international media, the Bazaar (traditional business communities) and so on, are all structures that will crumble without the people’s coerced support. We are organizing among these pillars in order to shift their dependency from the regime to the movement. This model helps us to prevent any chaos in the society after the regime changes.

FP: Do you have any strategy for members of the regime?

Farahanipour: Yes, we also have guidelines for the regime’s official and perceived supporters to join the movement.

The guidelines are as following:

(*) Publicizing their broken connections with the regime:

(*) Senior members of the regime, including Parliament members and those who used to hold senior positions, are advised to flee to other countries and to announce their separation from the government.

(*) Ordinary people who privately and even within “safe” circles curse the regime, are encouraged not only to refuse to participate in regime propaganda, but to express their anti-regime positions in public.

(*) The medium or low ranking members of armed forces, such as the Basij militia, who are mostly young people from poor families who join the force for its benefits, are encouraged to only exert the least possible effort for any given order.

(*) Non-senior employees of the Islamic Republic government and institutions (teachers, oil workers, municipal workers, etc.) are advised to try to minimize their involvement with the regime and make it known that they are on the side of the Iranian people.

(*) Student are urged to cut all ties with the “Anojomane Islami” or the Islamic Society, which is a regime controlled organization created to replace all real social, cultural and political non-governmental organizations in the universities (as well as in factories, ministries and etc…). By forcing all activities within the Islamic Society, the regime wants to show that everyone is loyal and there is no opposition. Students are also encouraged not to participate in the political and ideological Friday prayers, where regime policies are declared and advocated every week in all cities.

(*) Writing open letters with details of what regime functionaries have committed against Iran and Iranians and seeking forgiveness from the Iranian people.

(*) Directing former regime officials to join the existing opposition instead of establishing their own separate parallel organizations which will not only confuse the people but will keep the scepter of suspicion over these new entities.

(*) Advising those abandoning the regime to help their colleagues that are still part of the regime to separate.

FP: How about a strategy toward ex-members of the regime?

Farahanipour: Yes, we do the following with former regime officials:

(*) They are particularly encouraged to reveal government secrets relating to oppression, corruption and etc. which they are aware of. This will not only ensure that such defections and separations are genuine, but will enable the movement as well as the people to confront their oppressors much better.

(*) Expressing their opposition to human rights violations is emphasized for those who have knowledge or have in some capacity participated in such violations.

(*) Revealing regime ties with international terrorism and global Jihadist movements is encouraged due to its massive effects on regime isolation internationally.

(*) Exposing global economic, political, nuclear and intelligence activities of the Islamic

Republic relations out of Iran, which will protect the lives of Iranian expatriates, the safety of people all over the world and help isolate the regime internationally, is also encouraged.

FP: What is your view of all of these methods?

Farahanipour: Our methods of confronting the Islamic Republic are to a great extent different from other recent experiences throughout the world in the past two decades.

This is due to the Jihadist and fundamentalist nature of the regime which plays heavily with the people’s religious beliefs and convictions and due to the fact that unlike many eastern European experiences of the 1990s, the structure of the coercive, oppressive and intelligence gathering institutions of the Iranian regime are still solidly intact.

We believe in and base our efforts on people’s power. We also believe that in order to level the playing field in favor of our people, it is vital to stop the financial, military and diplomatic support that is still given to the Islamic regime in Iran. Making this regime weaker and more isolated is a guarantee that a non-violent struggle will be able to succeed without huge costs in lives and liberty and without being forced to evolve into a massive violent and destructive movement.

FP: What kind of support does your movement and political movement  Marze Por Gohar movement have?

Farahanipour: Our movement and our ideology are very popular at this time among our people and the younger generation. Marze Por Gohar and other nationalist groups have many followers. We need only to organize them. Our ideology is very simple and is already planted in our people’s hearts.

The beliefs of the people today match Marze Por Gohar’s beliefs, so our mission is not necessarily something that needs to be taught but simply brought to surface in a proactive manner by the people.

For example if we were talking about a Marxist organization it would take several years to convince some of the people to join the group. In the case of Marze Por Gohar, however, we are talking about making our country a democratic secular nation, freeing our sisters and brothers who are not given a choice or a chance. Iran is not Los Angeles and it is not just Tehran. There are many other cities and small towns in my country in which members of our group have come from.

Marze Por Gohar members consist not only of people who have specifically studied and trained for this purpose but also of everyday people who have had enough of this regime, who love their country and value its history and culture aside from the Jihadist and fundamentalist indoctrinations of the past thirty years. The latter part of the two are the majority of our members and supporters. Our organization is divided into 27 sections that specialize in everything from nuclear energy to education and agriculture. We are already working towards the future administration and reconstruction of our country in each of these areas after the revolution.

FP: Your view of the U.S. and Iran’s relations. Is “negotiation” a good idea?

Farahanipour: Negotiation with the cunning regime in Iran, over major regional and internal issues, is futile and has been going on for a very long time. Over the past 30 or so years the Islamic government has lied, cheated, robbed and killed our people. This began immediately and has not ceased since and will not cease ever as long as they remain in power. What the regime has been doing to the Iranian people has only been a practice for what it intends to do to all countries and nations worldwide.

From the point of view of Iranians, any negotiations that will ignore the basic need for democratization, secularization and respect for human rights, will only strengthen the regime. We know that the first demand of the IRI has always been non-interference in “internal” affairs, which only means a guaranteed carte blanche for them to continue their theocratic and ruthless dictatorship. Their second demand has also been a ban on opposition activity throughout the world. In fact except for some countries in Europe and North America, every other country with relations with the Iranian regime strongly discourages and even outlaws activities against the regime in Iran.

From the point of view of the US and most Western countries, the active and aggressive global ambitions of the Islamic Republic, which have always destroyed all the past rapprochements and concessions, have not produced anything except short term gains and temporary lulls, which have quickly prepared the Islamic republic for their next offensive. The worldwide establishment by the IRI, of spheres of influence, terrorist bases and military treaties from the Middle East to Africa and Latin America have all been the result of appeasement and naiveté of the West vis-à-vis the intentions and capabilities of this cunning regime.

From the point of view of the Islamic Republic in Iran, the direct heir to several theocratic and fanatical governments and empires of centuries past, and which is ideologically and historically been trained to cheat and retreat when necessary and attack when possible, negotiations are always short term and concessions are always taken as a sign of weakness. The nuclear issue with the Iranian regime is proof enough of how they have easily bought themselves time to proceed with their nuclear projects, of how they cheat and retreat and how appeasement has only fueled their greed.

Global support for a people together with serious major sanctions and continuous unified isolation efforts, which were historically proven successful in the case of South Africa, must be put into place. On the other hand, the half hearted sanctions on Iraq, along with the massive United Nations corruption, lack of support for the Iraqi people, appeasement of Saddam when it came to slaughtering the Kurds and the Shiites etc., which finally ended up in a messy war, are two examples of what will work and what will not.

Aside from temporary gains and short term pressures on a “change of behavior” by the Tehran regime, a clear and serious strategy for regime change in Iran which is yet to be even contemplated by the West, based on the specific issues and peculiarities of the Iranian people and the regime in power, is the only way to put this issue and most of the other issues in the region finally to rest.

FP: Roozbeh Farahanipour, thank you for joining FrontPage Interview.

Farahanipour: My pleasure Jamie.

Source: Frontpage Magazine 08/05/2008


Roozbeh Farahanipour

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it