Appeasing the Ayatollahs and Suppressing Democracy: U.S. Policy and the Iranian Opposition

Iran is emerging as the primary threat against the United States and its allies. Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons, continuing support for and involvement with terrorist networks, publicly-stated opposition to the Arab-Israel peace process, disruptive role in Iraq, expansionist radical ideology, and its denial of basic human rights to its own population are challenges confronting U.S. policymakers. In trying to solve the puzzle posed by Iran, Iran Policy Committee’s report suggests that Iranian opposition groups play a central role in U.S. policy-making.

As President of the Iran Policy Committee (IPC) and, respectively, Chairman of its Advisory Council, we are pleased to introduce the first book under the auspices of the IPC–Appeasing the Ayatollahs and Suppressing Democracy: U.S. Policy and the Iranian Opposition.

A central theme of the book is that appeasing Iran’s ruling ayatollahs suppresses democracy. By contrast, a policy of strengthening the Iranian opposition reinforces democracy and, ultimately, the prospect of resolving differences with Iran through reason and compromise. The radicalism of Iran’s ruling ayatollahs makes it highly unlikely that, absent radical regime change, a negotiated resolution can prevent the emergence of a nuclear-armed Iran.

The book is not an indictment of diplomacy; indeed, it backs diplomacy based on strength to test whether the ruling ayatollahs are willing to engage in compromise. Meaningful diplomacy is stalled by acceding to the demands of the ruling ayatollahs to suppress pro-democracy opposition parties within Iran. Appeasement would allow the regime to continue its quest for nuclear weapons, and ultimately increases the likelihood of the use of force.

Foreword by Professor Raymond Tanter and General Thomas McInerney