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Opinion

How to overthrow Iran's regime without war or sanctions

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, warns that military intervention and economic sanctions only strengthen Iran’s regime, whose grip on power depends on maintaining a crisis. He offers 14 ways to hasten democratization in Islamic countries.

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Within the economic domain, foreign governments could:

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8. Forbid giving loans to oppressive regimes and prevent banks and other financial institutions from doing so of their own accord.

9. Forbid banks and financial firms from managing the money of leaders of oppressive regimes.

10. Locate and trace the wealth of corrupt leaders and their associates (in international finance) and hold it only in order so that it may be returned to the people of these countries.

11. Compel banks and other financial organizations to make all of their financial arrangements with such countries transparent, thus preventing problems such as rentierism, as well as secret arms deals.

12. Make transparent the price of goods that are sold to such countries in order to both prevent rentierism and decrease the level of poverty, which further enhances the possibility of resistance (avoiding, for example, situations such as that in Iran, where imported goods are often sold to people at a minimum of three times the actual price).

13. Fight international drug trafficking, which is a primary source of income for repressive governments (the Iranian government is a prime example of this practice), which will also benefit the whole of humanity.

14. Make all oil dealings transparent, using existing technology to show how much oil is sold, how much is sold underhandedly, and how much of this money finds its way into the bank accounts of a regime’s leaders, which matters as the budgets of dictatorial regimes are independent from their societies.

As we can see, implementing such policies does not require military intervention or economic threat. It also does not demand much financial expenditure. But their effects on the process of democratization in countries where people are struggling against dictatorial regimes have the potential to be immense. If the West is sincere in its claim of supporting democratic movements in other countries, these are policies it could implement.

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr was the first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He now lives in exile in Paris.

© 2011 Global Viewpoint Network/Tribune Media Services. Hosted online by The Christian Science Monitor. 

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