PRO-REPUBLICAN IRANIANS MEET IN BERLIN

By an IPS Correspondent

BERLIN, 8 Jan. (IPS) More than five hundreds political activists took part at the first session of the largest ever meeting of Iranian republicans that started Thursday in the German capital of Berlin.image

Aimed at giving the dispersed and often antagonistic Iranians supporting parliamentary democracy for Iran, the three days meeting brought together several veteran Iranian political dinosaurs like Mehdi Khanbaba Tehrani, one of the leaders of a former Maoist group, Babak Amirkhosravi, the leader of the banned Iranian Tudeh (Communist Party), Manoochehr Sabetian, a founder of now defunct Confederation of Iranian Students and Rahmat Khosravi, having one point in common: Their staunch opposition to Monarchy, particularly the deposed Pahlavi dynasty.

In a manifesto to be approved by the Berlin meeting, the participants calls for a secular, parliamentary republic for Iran open to all nations without distinction.

According to one of the organizers, it took them more than one year to prepare this meeting, bringing to Berlin pro-republic Iranian dispersed all over the United States and Europe, as well as some representatives from Iran itself.

Observers said while some points of the manifesto, like the clause that calls for secularism can not be endorsed openly by the delegates who came from Tehran, the staunch anti-monarchist point not only alienates many Iranians who support a constitutional monarchy, but shows the republicans undemocratic attitude.

"Rejecting out hand the monarchists do not augur well for the Berlin meeting", observed Mr. Dariush Homayoon, the leader of the largest pro-monarchy movement based in Switzerland.

However, he wished success to the conference and stressed that it is necessary that the Iranian pro-republic movement speak with one single voice and put an end to its endless bickering, as the monarchists did, by rejecting the ultras from their rank.

"Though most of the participants belong to leftist and secular groups, but it is interesting that for the first time representatives of the Iranian National Front and Nationalist-religious movements are also present", noted Mr. Dariush Homa’i, a correspondent for the Persian service of the BBC covering the meeting. ENDS REPUBLICANS MEETING 8104