Amil Imani is an Iranian ex-Muslim and writer, who opposes the Iranian regime and Sharia Law. He is a the author of Obama Meets Ahmadinejad and Operation Persian Gulf. In 2010, he was awarded the "Speaker of the Truth Award" by Endowment for Middle East Truth.
Below is RadicalIslam.org National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro's interview with Amil Imani:
Ryan Mauro: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What got you involved with the Iranian opposition?
Amil Imani: I was born in Tehran, Iran, in a loving family that encouraged freedom of thought and promoted universal human ideals. The upheavals of 1979 shattered the existing order and a turbanned charlatan that Jimmy Carter called a saint, Ayatollah Khomeini, skillfully steered the forces of change to promote his brand of totalitarianism rule -- a rule aimed at taking Iran backward to a primitive, violent and misogynistic Islamic theocracy. Like many patriotic Iranians, I sensed the catastrophic tragedy Islamism really is and began doing what I could to prevent it from destroying Iran’s nascent civil democratic system.
Before long, Khomeini and his gangs capitalized on the frustrations of the masses, promised them everything under the sun while simultaneously murdering thousands of Iran’s best children who opposed them and their system of rule. I was fortunate enough to leave Iran, continuing my education abroad and carrying on with my battle against the Islamic Republic of Iran’s murderous rulers.
Mauro: Why haven't we seen massive protests in Iran like those we witnessed in 2009? Many analysts expected, and hoped, that the Arab Spring would carry over to Iran.
Imani: The so-called “Arab Spring” was in fact inspired by the massive anti-regime movement of 2009 by millions of Iranians, subsequent to the fraudulent re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The regime’s response to those protesting people was a set of dastardly measures typical of dictatorships. People were severely beaten, huge numbers arrested and herded like cattle into make shift prisons, some were shot in the streets as they marched; others were raped and killed in Iran’s prisons.
And the world simply watched. The Obama Administration not only failed to voice its support for the people, it implied that what was happening in Iran was a kind of family squabble best left to be settled by Iranians themselves. A family feud indeed. One side of the “family” with legions of savages armed to the teeth, the Revolutionary Guard and their hired thugs, and the other side of the “family” defenseless civilians using their voices to plead their case. The Islamic rulers spared no heinous means in mercilessly silencing the voices of the people. No nation provided even moral support for the Iranian people while the savage mullahs and their thugs consolidated their rule of terror with impunity.
To this day, thousands of anti-regime Iranians are languishing in prisons by the edicts of Islamic kangaroo courts. Even in the face of torture, rape and murder, Iranians are battling the Islamic theocracy by various methods. They no longer pour in the streets to subject themselves to the armed thugs who are just too eager to brutalize them. The opposition forces are patiently recruiting more and more members, establishing networks, using the Internet successfully to educate and inform their compatriots and the world and are certain of the collapse of the Islamic debauchery imposed on them by a bunch of thuggish mullahs.
Mauro: What trends do you see among the people of the Middle East? On the one hand, we see the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist extremists rising politically. On the other, there are reports that atheism, agnosticism and evangelical Christianity are spreading like wildfire. What do you see happening?
Imani: It is always prudent to deal with facts to the best of our discernment, whether we like them or not. My judgment of the situation in the Middle East is that two major forces are in play. Islamism, in the broadest sense, is experiencing a surge mostly due to the masses of the lower classes’ dissatisfaction with their plight. Islamism is seen by some as the way to a dreamed of perfect order. Islam provides simplistic answers that are attractive to gullible people.
Concurrent with the surge of Islamism, secularism with all its varieties, such as atheism, agnosticism, as well as non-Islamic religious beliefs are attracting large numbers of adherents, mostly from the ranks of the better educated and the more affluent. Hence, there is a clash of sorts between the two surging, irreconcilable factions.
The best example of this division can be seen in present-day Egypt. The Islamist candidate Morsi won the presidency with a thin margin, mainly because the great majority of Egyptians are wretchedly poor, semi-literate and religious fanatics. The military leaders who are better educated and many of the middle class are stern anti-Islamists. Which side is going to win Egypt? The side that wins is the best predictor of the side that will prevail in the Islamic world, including the Middle East.
How will this clash play out in the short run is far from certain. The free world, particularly the West, can play a critical role in deciding the outcome. It can do so by wisely supporting the secularists wherever they are and refraining from the traditional resort of exploiting Middle Eastern resources, supporting dictators and ignoring people's legitimate aspirations. A case in point representing a shameful shirking of responsibility is Obama's callous response to the uprising of Iranian secularists in 2009. Iran was on the cusp of turning the tide against Islamism and Obama threw a lifeline to the mullahs by not even verbally expressing support for the people.
Mauro: Why is the Iranian opposition so divided? They are all threatened by the regime, yet a common front hasn't been forged.
Imani: The Iranian opposition represents the entire broad range of democracy. The opposition is not monolithic. Furthermore, the regime brutally deals with any group of any size long before a group can organize itself into a viable entity and certainly way in advance of opposition groups coalescing into a significant force. Arrests, imprisonment under horrific conditions, torture and even executions are the Islamists' instruments of policy.
What makes conditions even more unhelpful to the oppositions is that the nearly 10-20% of the population with all the guns supports the regime.
Mauro: Secretary of State Clinton has only about three months to decide whether to de-list the Mujahideen-e-Khalq as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. I know you're not a member or supporter of MEK, but what affect would keeping MEK on the list have on the Iranian opposition and what affect would delisting the MEK have?
Imani: The Islamist-Marxist gang of MEK has about zero support among Iranians, both in Iran as well as abroad. They are thoroughly despised by the overwhelming majority of the people for being cultists, Islamists and at the same time traitors for having aligned themselves with Saddam Hussein against Iran during the past Iran-Iraq war.
What impact will de-listing the MEK by Clinton have? It would be another foolish foreign policy decision by the Obama Administration. If the MEK is de-listed, the Islamic Republic of Iran should indeed write a thank you note to President Obama and Secretary Clinton. Why? Two reasons: First, this highly despised, aging handful of Islamist cultists are only good at lobbying foreign government and international organizations. The Iranian people have already rejected them and their hybrid Communist-Islamist ideology while holding them accountable for treachery and treason. Second, the ever-Machiavellian mullahs of the Iranian Islamic Republic will use the de-listing as irrefutable evidence that the United States is indeed the Great Satan and the enemy of Iran. Why else would America legitimize this gang of proven terrorists, the regime would ask.
De-listing of the MEK by the State Department would be another instance of "brilliant" foreign policy decisions in line with Jimmy Carter calling the criminal Ayatollah Khomeini a religious saint.
Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.