London, Asharq Al-Awsat- several Iranian reformists have sent a message to Iran’s supreme spiritual leader Ali Khamenei warning against the damage that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s policies are causing their country Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal.
The group includes former lawmakers and ministers in the government of the reform-minded president Muhammad Khatami, who was succeeded by Ahmadinejad in August 2005.
One of the signatories of the message told Asharq Al-Awsat that hardliner Ahmadinejad’s statements and policies are dragging the country to a destructive confrontation. He added that this confrontation will not be with the United States alone, but also with NATO, since America will not hit Iran single-handedly.
The former lawmaker said a senior European official who has good connections with the reform movement in Iran, sent a letter to former Iranian president and head of Iran’s Expediency Council ‘Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, warning of the negative implications the president’s policies will have in Washington and other European capitals.
He said that the Iranian leadership should take quick and decisive steps to silence Ahmadinejad and change the current course of foreign policies.
The signatories requested a meeting with decision makers and experts to discuss the crisis in Iran. They also asked Khamenei to release political prisoners and to allow freedom of media.
“Iran is going through one of the most severe periods in its history,” the message concluded. “And you, as the country’s supreme leader…the life or death of Iran is in your hands.”
In other news, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday that Iran was a menace for reasons other than its alleged drive to build a nuclear bomb and that the U.S. and its allies have “a number of tools” if Tehran does not change its ways, according to a report from Associate Press.
“I think there’s no doubt that Iran is the single biggest threat from a state that we face,” Rice told a Senate panel.
She claimed strong international backing for the U.S. position that Iran must not be allowed to continue what she claimed is a covert effort to gain bomb-making expertise and technology.
“We need now to broaden that thinking and that coalition, not just to what Iran is doing on the nuclear side but also what they’re doing on terrorism,” Rice said. “Those are some of the discussions that I have with these same states.”
She repeated claims that Iran is meddling in Iraq, bankrolling terrorism in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories and repressing its people.
“We have a number of tools, I think, at our disposal, including in sharpening the contradiction between the Iranian people and a regime that does not represent them,” Rice said. The $75 million that has been requested to promote democracy in Iran could be used for that fight, she said.
Options could include other measures at the U.N. Security Council to “further isolate the Iranian government,” Rice said.