Ten political groups from various Iranian national communities came together on November 18 in Cologne, Germany, with the ambition to create an alternative choice for the Iranian people.
Under the banner of justice, freedom, security, and human rights, the parties promised as a united coalition to guarantee national minority rights while maintaining territorial integrity.
The new coalition, branded as the Iranian Democrats Council(IDC), is an offshoot of a larger group, the Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran.
In an interview with Radio Farda’s Shahram Mirian, a member of the IDC representing the Kurdistan Democratic Party and one of the speakers at the conference, Khalid Azizi, described the gathering as positive and crucial.
“The Islamic Republic’s strong point is the fact that its opposition has always failed to unify. They have always been dispersed, therefore, this conference is the first step toward creating a unified coalition that could be presented to the people as an alternative to the current ruling system in Iran,” Azizi said.
Another speaker at the conference, London-based women’s rights activist Nahid Hosseini, maintained, “The spontaneous reaction of Iranians to the recent earthquake in western parts of the country, sidestepping the regime and helping the survivors proved their readiness for creating a united front.”
Hosseini said that Iranian political parties “have always come together but never succeeded to create a solid bloc. As soon as they get together, they are accused of plotting separation and secessionist attempts. Yet today we saw that everybody was talking about Iran’s territorial integrity.”
Washington-based Karim Attarian also lamented, “For almost 40 years, we have been an opposition to the Islamic Republic, and the Islamic Republic would love to keep us as its opposition for another 40 years.”
“The Islamic Republic proved that ruling systems based on ideology are doomed to fail. We, as an opposition, are not against the religion; we believe in separation of politics and faith,” he added.
More than 20 dissidents delivered speeches at a series of panels. Most tried to present proposals for a “peaceful, non-violent political transition” in Iran.
The conference, which vowed to meet again, ended with a unanimously approved resolution in Persian and English. The resolution accuses Iran of “mismanagement, plundering of national wealth, suppression and violations of the fundamental rights of the Iranian peoples,” asserting that “the government of the Islamic Republic is a state-terrorist government that has misused the resources and wealth of the country for its evil intentions over the past decades by relying on political Islam and the reactionary system of Velayat-e Faqhih as its ideology.”
While respecting the UN Human Rights Charter, the resolution insists, “We believe that the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran is by no means susceptible to reform.”
Therefore, the resolution concludes, “The change of regime is a national Iranian agenda, using peaceful means to transition to the rule of law, based on a decentralized federal democratic republic…based on separation of religion from the state, pluralism, social liberty, and social justice, utilizing all methods of peaceful struggles including civil disobedience, civil uprising, and other appropriate means of addressing and defending the rights of people of Iran.”
The resolution also promises, “In future democratic Iran, the legal and gender equality between men and women, the freedom of all religious and beliefs, the individual and collective rights of citizens, the freedom of the various cultures, the freedom of the press and the media, the freedom of political and social activities must be guaranteed.”
Besides the Democratic Party of Kurdistan, Komoleh Party of Kurdistan is also part of the new council.
People’s Party of Baluchistan and the Democratic Party of Baluchistan joined the council with the Solidarity Democratic Party of Ahwaz, Political and Cultural Organization of Azerbaijan, Political, Democratic Party of Lorestan and Political and Cultural Organization of Turkmen Sahara.
Solidarity for Freedom and Human Rights Organization is the tenth signatory of IDC.