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by David Kilgour (*)

Based on the news emerging from Tehran, a second revolution could be in the making. While Iranians mourned their beloved Iman Hosein, the regime's response was to order its security forces to beat and kill fellow citizens. 

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Iman Hosein worked to advance truth and justice for all; the government indicated yet again that its only aim is holding onto absolute power.

One Iranian emailed to Canada: "History is going to be repeated … Around 30 years ago, everything was the same. People were protesting against the king and he was not listening. When he went, everyone thought the country has been freed...My people are all overwhelmed by rage… Will we be like them, having blood-covered eyes, starting to beat and kill? Don’t they want us to be such animals to get permission to kill more? On the other hand, how can we be silent while being beaten and killed? This is a dilemma we should solve before everything is covered by blood."

Iman Hosein Ali Montazeri

Let me add some key points from Reuel Marc Gerecht's excellent piece yesterday in the Weekly Standard. Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

"Montazeri, who died last week at 87, caused, and will continue to cause, untold trouble for the regime. By the end of his life, he had come to represent the fusion of three unstoppable ideas: that the Islamic Republic as built by Khomeini and led by Khamenei is illegitimate; that only democracy can redeem the republic and save Islam as a vibrant faith capable of shaping society's mores ... It was Montazeri's religious passion, his argumentative rigor, his common-man roots, and his courage that drove the regime nuts. His disciples are everywhere.

"Montazeri began to lose his faith in what he'd built when the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) started consuming tens of thousands of young men--the faithful for whom Khomeini never once wept. After Iran's defeat, Khomeini ‘defrocked’ Montazeri for having the temerity to question his execution of thousands of jailed Iranians. Under house arrest, Montazeri became the leader of the dissident clergy.

"Montazeri's humanity and religion came together to create in him a profound respect for popular government...(He) was one of the lions of modern Iranian history. With his writing and his oratory, he unrelentingly challenged what he'd once held holy. His disciples--the army of Iranian intellectuals who've been for twenty years quietly obliterating the legitimacy of Khomeini's state--and the democratic dissidents who've poured into the streets since June 11, now command the high ground. Though the regime continues to rule because the Revolutionary Guard Corps hasn't (yet) cracked, Khamenei and his office have permanently lost their religious credentials.”

Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran

From our understandably very modest role from afar, the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran wrote yesterday to Prime Minister Harper in part as follows:

"We are writing to urge you and your government to take a principled stand against the regime in Tehran for its brutal suppression of the Iranian people in their renewed uprising for human dignity, freedom and democracy...

"Iranians spoke loudly and clearly again when they poured into the streets in Tehran and all major cities across the country in recent days to show the world that they are ready to risk their lives to bring about democratic change in Iran. We Canadians must not close our eyes to their plight and their determination to have their voices heard. As a leader in the rule of law world, and one who has successfully spearheaded United Nations General Assembly resolutions censuring Iran's totalitarians for their human rights record, we urge your government to re-affirm support now.

"We urge your government as well to impose diplomatic, trade and political sanctions upon Tehran and a travel ban on its high officials.

We can challenge the legitimacy of the regime by pressing to have a UN-supervised election in which candidates from across the political spectrum, including the Iranian opposition in exile, can participate fairly. Such a democratic overture would not only be in the best interests of the Iranian people but be in line with Canadian values. It is also the most effective means of overcoming the unresolved nuclear crisis in which the Ayatollahs appear to be pursuing the making a nuclear bomb with all possible speed. "


My time is up, but I must not end without noting that Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, president of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said yesterday that the latest wave of protests should be backed by economic measures by Western governments. "It's time to adopt very firm, global sanctions," she told Reuters (News).

"There needs to be a firm policy to cut economic and political relations because the Iranian people have taken to the streets. They have to be helped. The United States and Europe must act." Canada must help.

(*) Hon. David Kilgour is Co-chair, Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran. The speech was delivered during a Public Protest at the Iranian embassy on 29 Dec, 2009 Ottawa / Canada.

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