Trump's Great Iranian Opportunity

by DR. MICHAEL LEDEEN January 16, 2017

The great Ayatollah Hossein Boroujerdi is briefly out of prison, where he had been held in miserable conditions for a decade. He is one of those dissidents who are so beloved by the Iranian people that the murderous regime of Ali Khamenei does not dare to put them to death, or even on trial.  They torture them instead, hoping that they will die of "natural causes."

When regime security forces went to arrest him, thousands of his supporters protested, blocking miles of highway. Khamenei, Rouhani et. al. still fear those people, ten years later.

He's out on parole, but don't think the regime is showing mercy. They typically release prisoners for a few weeks at a time-that way everyone sees the miserable state to which they have been reduced-and then drag them back.

I have written several times about him, calling on human rights advocates and political and religious leaders to campaign for his release. The short version:

Ayatollah Boroujerdi threatens the regime for two reasons:  he advocates toleration of all religious (and non-religious) beliefs, and, in keeping with Shi'ite tradition, opposes the involvement of religious leaders in politics.  Years ago, he said  "the regime is adamant that either people adhere to political Islam or be jailed, exiled or killed. Its behavior is no different from that of Osama bin Laden or Mullah Omar."

He has repeatedly criticized the fundamentalist doctrines of the Iranian theocratic state, and has dramatically spoken about the most explosive issues in the Muslim world, including anti-Semitism. In 2010 he sent Hanukkah greetings to the Jews of the world, saying "any religious belief that brings us closer to the Source (God) is the truth. This force will lead humanity towards enlightenment. On this great day, we celebrate the unity among the believers of God's light."

The response hasn't been great.  Now that he is out, we have a formidable opportunity to help our kind of Iranian, deliver a stunning message to the Islamic world, and reassert our national values.

Donald Trump should invite Ayatollah Boroujerdi to the inauguration.  Such a dramatic move would deliver several important messages:

--Show our support for the brave, honorable dissidents in Iran.

--Demonstrate that the dreadful period of American support for the expansionist, terror-supporting, mass-murdering tyrants of Tehran is blessedly at an end.

--Show that we understand that there are freedom-loving Muslims, and that we believe they are worthy of Western solidarity.  Our war is with radical Islam, and we intend to win.

Boroujerdi is certainly not the only Muslim dissident we should be helping, but he's a terrific way to start.

Dr. Michael Ledeen is the Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is also a contributing editor at National Review Online. Previously, he served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department.  He has also served as a special adviser to the Secretary of State. He holds a Ph.D. in modern European history and philosophy from the University of Wisconsin, and has taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Rome.

He is author of more than 20 books, the most recent include: Accomplice ot Evil: Iran and the War Against the West; The War Against the Terror Masters;  The Iranian Time Bomb; Machiavelli on Modern Leadership: Why Machiavelli's Iron Rules Are As Timely and Important Today As Five Centuries Ago, Tocqueville on American Character: Why Tocqueville's Brilliant Exploration of the American Spirit Is As Vital and Important Today As It Was Nearly Two Hundred Years Ago; and, Freedom Betrayed: How America Led a Global Democratic Revolution, Won the Cold War, and Walked Away

Dr. Ledeen regularly appears on Fox News, and on a variety of radio talk shows.  He has been on PBS's NewsHour and CNN's Larry King Live, among others, and regularly contributes to the Wall Street Journal and to National Review Online. He has a blog on Pajamasmedia.com.


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