In the past few weeks, many European and American officials have acknowledged that the path to a free Middle East passes through Tehran. In another words, the only way to see peace and freedom prevail in the Middle East and especially in Iraq, is to see a democratic government taking power in Iran.
Although the Iranian people have been saying this for the past 3 years while being pretty much ignored by the Westerners but coming to this conclusion is by itself a sign of reaching a new and deeper understanding of the region by Western leaders.
Before the war in Iraq, Americans believed that they could some how get along with the Iranians as the biggest neighbor to that country. To be sure, the US, through diplomatic channels, officially asked the Iranians not to meddle in the war and for the duration of the operations and they did actually succeed to keep them out. Later on, it turned out that the Americans had actually met with the Iranians a few times in Europe to discuss the matter.
In return for not meddling during the war, Iran asked the allies to bomb and annihilate their longtime enemy, the Peoples Mujahedin Orgnization of Iran (PMOI) that was based in Iraq. PMOI is recognized as the biggest and the most organized dissident Iranian movement that exists outside the country and has vowed to overthrow the mullahs in Tehran. Just before the war the PMOI declared non-partisan to the war nevertheless their basis were bombed and many of their members were killed.
Soon after though, the PMOI and the American Command in Iraq reached a peace accord putting the PMOI at the protection of the US forces in accordance with the Geneva conventions.
After the war, Iran, finding itself under growing international pressures due to its suspicious nuclear activities and dreaded human rights records, realized the danger of being surrounded by Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In addition, the void of a central power in Iraq blinked the opportunity of achieving a longtime desire by Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic, and his followers to pursue the dream of an Islamic Empire, going through Iraq to reach the holly lands in Israel.
By announcing the plan for a free and open Middle East by President Bush and other world leaders, it was clear for the Iranian theocracy that the planed future does not include their backward ideologies. To survive though, the Iranians found their remedies in thrusting ahead full force making sure Iraq becomes â€œanother Vietnamâ€ for the Americans.
Meddling in Iraq was through different ways and means. The Bader group that was based in Iran and had been training for such a day for many years was now in Iraq taking key rules in the newly formed government and itâ€™s security forces. Using the Bader forces and other groups in Iraq , the mullahs managed to create a battle ground against the Americans so they would not think of the unthinkable.
Also by outright cheating in the elections the Mullahs managed to take over a majority of the seats in the new parliament and if it was not for the millions of the Iraqis taking to the streets Iraq chanting â€œIran, get out,â€ they would have managed to actually install a puppet government in that country.
Soon after Iranâ€™s cheating in Iraqâ€™s elections and its bloody hand in the everyday bombing scenes of Iraq were exposed, and after mounting international pressures, the Iranians started losing their grip on the situation gradually and started finding themselves cornered by the international community.
In order to learn from the past and not make the same mistakes twice we must remember that for as long as the Iranian regime exists in the Middle East, it will stand in the way of any formation of democracy in the region as we can see currently in the regeion.
The geopolitics of the region dictates what Iraqâ€™s democratic advocates are testing in practice first hand and that says, â€œthe path to democracy in the region, certainly passes through Tehran.â€ We will only see peace and democracy in Iraq when there is a newly peaceful democratic government is established in Iran