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July 25, 2018 1:51 pm

Newly-Formed Dissident Youth Coalition in Iran Urges US Support for Regime Change

avatar by Ben Cohen

An anti-regime protest in Tehran in June 2018. Image: @BabakTagvaee, Twitter.

A newly-formed group of young dissidents inside Iran has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warning that any negotiations with the Islamic Republic’s leaders cannot be carried out in good faith.

“Mr Pompeo: Please take into consideration that any negotiations with the barbaric regime in Iran not only will delay the process of peace in the region, but also will give time to the murderous [Tehran] regime to create new terrorist cell groups for the complete destruction of the Middle East and North African regions,” the letter — dated July 21 and first published by Kayhan, an Iranian opposition newspaper based in London — stated.

“All we are asking your respectful government to do, is to continue to stand with us and support the voiceless people in Iran and to help us achieve our goals in reaching peace, prosperity, secularism, and most importantly, a free democratic Iran,” the letter asserted.

Pompeo delivered a major policy speech — titled “Supporting Iranian Voices” — on July 22, declaring his solidarity with Iranians opposed to the ruling Islamist regime, but still holding out the possibility of direct talks between Tehran and the US government.

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The group behind the letter to Pompeo — the “Coalition of Iranian Youth Inside Iran” — described itself as a non-violent political campaign within Iran’s borders.

“We are ready to work with non-violent groups advocating for human rights, secularism, democracy for a free Iran,” activists from the group told The Algemeiner in a written exchange on Tuesday.

In its letter to Pompeo, the group also underlined itssupport for a “constitutional monarchy” as the legitimate source of authority in a future Iran. Several observers of the recent wave of anti-regime protests in Iran have pointed to the frequency of the chant “Long Live Reza Shah” among demonstrators. Reza Pahlavi — the eldest son of the late former shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown during the 1979 Islamic Revolution — is the present head of the dynasty.

The Algemeiner was told that the Youth Coalition was formed in June with an executive of 15 members. The age range of the group’s members is between 20 and 40.

“Members of the coalition are from all regions in Iran and their numbers are growing,” the activists said.

Members and leaders of the group risk stiff prison terms and possible death sentences if they are caught by the Iranian authorities, who — according to the US human rights organization Freedom House — permit only “political parties and factions loyal to the establishment and to the state ideology to operate.”

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