According to various news outlets, including FOX News, 23 former U.S. top government officials have sent a letter to President-elect Trump, urging him to work with the Iranian opposition. Previous administrations have declined to do so.
The letter stated, “President Obama expressed the hope that nuclear negotiations would induce Iran’s leaders to act with greater consideration of American interests. It is now clear that Iran’s leaders have shown no interest in reciprocating the U.S. overture beyond the terms of the JCPOA, which gained them significant rewards.”
The officials also noted that through “their extremely high rate of executions at home, and destructive sectarian warfare in support of the Assad regime in Syria and proxy Shiite militias in Iraq, Iran’s rulers have directly targeted U.S. strategic interest, policies and principles, and those of our allies and friends in the Middle East.”
This group is calling on Mr. Trump to engage with the main opposition group, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and its leader, Maryam Rajavi. “It is time to end the fundamentalist regime’s undue influence over U.S. policy and establish a channel of dialogue with the NCRI, as many other governments have done, consistent with the longstanding U.S. diplomatic practice of dialogue with political opposition groups worldwide,” stated the letter.
The NCRI is based in Paris and the largest one opposed to the Tehran regime. The group is calling for religious freedom, free elections and an end to what it refers to as the religious dictatorship of Iran. The main organization in the NCRI, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) has played a key role in exposing Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program.
Various officials who signed the letter include former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani; former Senator Joe Lieberman; former Attorney General Michael Mukasey; and former Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Clinton, General Hugh Shelton. Most of the signers of the letter have voiced their support for the NCRI previously and some have even spoken at their conferences and gatherings in Paris.
“The Iranian Supreme Leader’s interest in pursuing a nuclear weapons capability is based not on legitimate concerns of self-defense for his country, but on preserving a vulnerable system of dictatorship that has lacked legitimacy from its violent inception, and dares not hold a truly free and open election,” said the officials.
Iranian opposition groups have released information about the oppression of human rights in Iran, including torture, imprisonment of protestors, and executions. They continue to work to shine an international light on the events and daily life of the Iranian people under the current government.
The letter also included attachments, such as statements by various U.S. delegations to Paris rallies, a fact sheet that rebukes allegations against the NCRI and MEK, and a copy of Ms. Rajavi’s 10 Point Plan for Iran. The plan includes a commitment to separation between religion and state, as well as prohibiting religious discrimination. The group also addresses gender equality and equal participation by women in all aspects of Iranian society.
“Iranians in the 21st century deserve to live under the rule of law, consistent with contemporary…law, applied equally to all, with due process and the presumption of innocence, and an independent judiciary,” said the letter’s authors.
While the transition team for the President-elect has not yet responded to the letter, Trump has previously been critical of the current Iranian government and the nuclear deal.