On Oct. 3, tens of thousands of Iranians again took to the streets to protest their government. The Iranian regime has blamed the demonstrations on the MEK, a group the Secretary of State belatedly took off the U.S. terrorist list in September after a U.S. court decision directed the state department either to show evidence that the group was a threat to American interests or delist it. But the state department continues to be hostile to the MEK and its umbrella group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
The demonstrations in Tehran began in response to the precipitous collapse of the Iranian economy, largely the result of international sanctions and the diversion of resources by the regime to military purposes, including direct support for the Syrian government, Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorists. But, according to eyewitness and news accounts, chants in the streets included direct calls for regime change, as well as opposition to the mullahs' nuclear program.
It is time the U.S. made clear our goal in Iran is regime change. We should be doing all that we can to support those who want democracy, separation of church and state, gender equality, guaranteed rights of ethnic and religious minorities and a nuclear-free Iran -- the stated platform of the NCRI. Instead of joining the Iranian regime in continuing to demonize the MEK and the NCRI, our government should be encouraging Iranian dissidents, both in Iran and in exile. Without regime change in Iran, there will be no peace in the region.
Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .
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