Iranian student leader: Ayatollahs will run if Iran attacked
After years in jail, solitary confinement, torture and finally escape to US, Iranian student revolutionary leader Amir-Abbas Fakhr-Avar tells Ynet: Now is time for revolution, world must support Iranian people against regime
WASHINGTON – While United States Minister of Defense Robert Gates, along with many specialists on the matter, warn against a military attack on Iran, which in their view will entrap the Iranian people behind the Ayatollah regime, Iranian student leader Amir Abbas Fakhr-Avar believes an attack will have the reverse result.
In an exclusive interview with Ynet, Fakhr-Avar describes his blueprint for how to topple the regime. If the West launches a military attack on Iran , “The top brass will flee immediately. People will come out onto the streets protesting, why are we being bombed? Many of the regime’s mid-level officials will shave their beards, don ties and join the (civilians) on the streets.”
Fakhr-Avar exudes experience and wisdom far beyond his 31 years, after serving years of jail time, solitary confinement, torture and broken bones.
Fakhr-Avar, one of Iran’s student leaders, heads an organization numbering 12,000 students. According to a deal reached between Iran’s students and its regime, he was temporarily released from prison for academic testing, after serving half of an eight year sentence. He did not return. In May 2006 Fakhr-Avar managed to escape Iran and reach the United States.
He testified before the US Senate, met with President George W. Bush and senior administrators in the State Department and the Pentagon, as well as with experts and analysts on Iran, like Professor Bernard Lewis and others.
His message to the West is: Stop supporting the reformists in Iran. Help us topple the Ayatollah regime. He claims the time is right; all that is needed is a push from the West.
Fakhr-Avar believes the revolution can be accomplished within ten months to a year. He does not ask for much from the Americans: “What we really need is the tools,” he says. “Cell phones, computers, cameras, publication ability. This is the funding we need for our (revolutionary) activities, to coordinate within Iran and outside.”
Why are you convinced the Ayatollah regime can be overthrown?
There is a big difference between Shiite and Sunni mullahs. Foreigners may not know this. Many of the Sunni mullahs would pick up arms and fight, but the Shiite mullahs are not like that. Their hands, if you touch them, are softer than any woman’s hand. They’ve never fought.
They don’t know how to fight. They never get close to danger. When they feel a true threat, they escape. Look at the Shiite mullahs in Iraq during Saddam’s regime. None of them fought. When the US paved the way for them, now they’re barking.”
Robert Gates in the senate portrayed a different outcome of an attack: That it would be a great danger to the world, that Iran would make terror in Europe, the US, close the Persian Gulf, stop oil, world crisis?
Our main purpose and help we can give the administration is to help them to decide better. They don’t know that society that well, they really don’t know the regime or the people. We need to help them – we being the opposition outside Iran.
In my testimony to the senate I told them a few things: Mainly that sanctions will help to make the regime weak, and that they need to put down the regime.
The outside world does not know much about Iran, maybe they know at best 10 percent of what is going on in Iran, what the people’s sentiments are. Seventy percent of the population is under the age of 30, but they’ve had grand experiences. They’ve been through post-revolution, war, robbery during (Akbar Hashemi) Rafsanjani’s era, so-called reform.
The Iranians inside Iran…They were led to believe that the Islamic regime is the best and all of that by the propaganda of the regime.
They have survived such conditions, under pressure, such as the covering of the girls. The head scarf, the way they dress is a protest, the way the talk is in a protest manner, even if they run a red a red light they are protesting the regime. You can see that in Iran – you aren’t supposed to wear tight fitting clothing, but the people do in protest. Even in London you see more women with their hair covered than in Tehran.
Fakhr-Avar admits that he and his friends, like the American administration, were wrong to believe former President Mohammad Khatami would promote reforms. “They did trust him the first time around in his first election. Aside from this, there was no other alternative.”
When you talk with your friends in Iran on the mobile phone or through the internet, do you not put them in danger?
Not the mobiles, not the cell phones. They don’t have the technology to stop it, and there are too many. Right now they’re busy controlling each other’s mobiles – the mullahs, so that’s why some of these guys are doing it freely. However, landlines, they do control. But mobiles there are problems.
What is interesting is that the rest of the world believes in the information network of the Islamic regime is very strong, but that is not the case. They are extremely weak. They have a very low IQ.
How can you say that about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seems to be doing whatever he wants, with total disregard for the international community?
Ahmadinejad is stupid. We’ve known him for the past 6-7 years from the political arena in Iran. When he was the mayor Tehran his plans were so stupid that people laughed at him. One of them was to pave the roadway that the 12th imam traveled on. He took all the intersections and removed the traffic signals so everyone can go where they want. A few months later they decided it was stupid and put them all back. It cost something like 2 billion dollars.
Ahmadinejad is the real face of the regime. Khatami was a lie. The Khatami government has us in jail while he was talking about civilization and reforms.
This is the opportune moment for us to have the population realize that the regime has taken them to neverland basically, they’re heading to annihilation, destruction. People are growing more informed. Khatami never said ‘we must wipe Israel off the face of the earth‘ – while he had that in mind, he never stated it. Now the Iranians know it.
Why do they care about Israel?
People in Iran react the opposite of what the regime says. If the regime says it’s day, they’ll close their eyes and say it’s night. Whatever the Islamic regime fights against- that becomes important to the Iranians. I don’t represent the entire population of course, but I can give you an idea of what are the sentiments. I was elected by the students and I speak for them. Remember, 70 percent are under age 30.
The majority of the population don’t care for Hizbullah or the Palestinian people, mostly because they see that their money is going to them.
Israel’s attack on Hizbullah was they best thing they’ve done in recent years. It helped to clean up the land from the terrorists, when they don’t have land they have no place to run troops, that’s why they drove Hizbullah crazy, regime in Iran wasn’t happy either. Right now UN is there so they can’t freely launch missiles towards Tel Aviv.
Israel should have taken over Lebanon . You have to be harsh and severe against terrorists. You can’t negotiate with them.