The following is Part II of an interview Israel National News conducted in recent days with Amil Imani, an Iranian-born pro-democracy activist currently living in North America. The discussion focused on an effort to understand Iran at this critical time in history.
[Click here for Part I of the INN interview with Iranian dissident Amil Imani.]
INN: What do you think would be the reaction of Iranians to an Israeli attack to take out the nuclear sites in Iran?
The mullahs are highly vulnerable, given the ruin they have visited upon Iran and their stone-age discriminatory practices.
Imani: It would be a mixed reaction outcome which would not be easy to envisage. Some people think that it is our right to have the technology, but not under the helm of the irresponsible present regime. That includes me.
Therefore, it is obvious that many people will not appreciate an attack on the nuclear facilities in Iran that will turn our national wealth into dust. That alone will create uncertainty in predicting what would be the reaction of Iranians towards demolishing the nuclear facilities. Knowing the Iranian patriotism, they would be more or less forced to set aside their differences and fight with the invaders. They think that the present irresponsible regime will pass sooner or later; therefore, we have to safeguard our national assets.
An unsuccessful military action would give [Iranian President Mahmoud]Ahmadinejad more power and popularity in the Islamic world, particularly in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. The regime also has its own missile program that can reach up to London. They can hit Israel with ease and also attack other U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf region.
INN: Do you think such an attack is possible?
Imani: I am not the authority to comment on this question. It is the responsibility of the Israelis' relevant authorities to examine the possibility of such a full-fledged undertaking. I believe neither the military option nor the appeasement of the present regime is the way to defeat the Islamofascists. The mullahs are highly vulnerable, given the ruin they have visited upon Iran and their stone-age discriminatory practices. A comprehensive political, moral and economic measure by the United States and others offers the best chance of ending the mullah's reign of terror and re-enlisting Iran in the rank of free democratic nations.
Iranians are much different today than a few years ago. There are many elements, even within the regime itself, that advocate that mullahs must give up power and go back to their mosques.
INN: How close is a "new Persian revolution"?
Imani: I hear many people always ask me the same question: Why couldn't the Iranian people extricate themselves from their present, very suboptimal circumstances in terms of economic opportunity, freedom of speech and vital human rights? When are they going to revolt?
The previous revolution was not so much a revolution, but a restoration, a significant move backward in time. Let me also say this, most Iranians are not really devoted to the orthodox Shi'a faith, regardless of what the flickering images on Western TV screens show after Friday prayers. Most Iranians are open-minded, multicultural, pragmatic and [are] looking both towards East and West. Iranian people are definitely not hostile to the West in general - or to the United States and Israel in particular. In fact, according to a recent Gallup poll conducted in 27 mostly Muslim countries, only in Iran have sentiments toward the United States improved.
Again, realistically, it appears Iranian people do not wish to have another revolution; they are seeking a peaceful transition. They look to our friends abroad for their support, which till this very day is yet to come.
If all fails, revolution will find its path. The revolution must be directed towards making things better. Iranians have learned that this has not been the case most often. It must aim towards the improvement of certain aspects of society, economics, culture, or any other aspects of a social group. Iranians do not wish an aggressive revolution. They believe violence should not be used, as this only leads to the loss of life, war, and loss of objective. Iranians by nature are peace loving people.
INN: What do you think will be the attitude of a non-Islamist Iran to Israel? To the Arab world? To the Palestinian Authority? To the Kurds?
Imani: 1. The non-Islamic attitude towards Israel will return to the friendly atmosphere of pre-1979 upheaval. 2. The Arab World is not our concern. We are - by sheer numbers and knowledge, industry, etc. - superior to them. Hence, we can keep a proper relation with them as we had before. 3. Iranians, as well as all the Arabs, have unfavorable attitude towards Palestinians. There is no doubt about that. Actually, the Arabs call them "dividers"! 4. The Kurds are true Aryans/Persians. We do not have problems with them. If they seek internal administrative autonomy in their own region, it will not create a problem. We have a provision in the 1906 Constitution and its Amendments for the same autonomy. However, it was not put to work then due to the security of the entire country; whereas, the situation has changed in a way that it does not warrant the same precautions.
INN: From your familiarity with Islam and Islamist regimes - like Hamas - what should be Israel's immediate objective in Gaza? And for the long-term?
Imani: Israel is a sovereign state, but hardly safe. She is surrounded by nations and peoples who are bent on her
Now that Israelis have left Gaza voluntarily, they don't know what to do with [it].
destruction. It is tragic that your neighbors and you have not been able to find an equitable way of living side-by-side with mutual respect and in peace. I think the people of Israel are fighting for their very existence against a small group who are the elite of elite and want them removed from the planet.
Israel should never have left Gaza; they should have stayed and mopped up the terrorists. I am getting a bit miffed with GLOBAL TV [in Ontario, Canada - ed.] and other networks. Every time Hamas shoots these many rockets into Israel and Israel clouts them back, GLOBAL TV always shows the "poor Palestinian citizenry" suffering under the return fire of Israel. The poor Palestinian "innocent" citizens are taught in their schools, in their textbooks and in class that Israel and the West are bad and must be destroyed. This is promoted while the Hamas terrorists hide behind their women and children in a firefight.
But now that Israelis have left Gaza voluntarily, they don't know what to do with Gaza. I think they should keep their presence in Gaza as long as it takes to completely disarm Hamas, which has become the proxy of the Islamic Republic. But the problem is that the other party, Fatah, cannot be trusted either. Arabs do not trust them, why should Israelis do so? I believe Israel must always do what is in the best interest of Israel and her citizens.