New Inclusive Coalition of Iranian Opposition Organise Cologne Conference
On 14 July 2018, “The Council of Iranian Democrats" – a new inclusive coalition of Iranian political opposition – held its second conference in Cologne, Germany. UNPO representatives attended the conference, which aimed to unite Iranian political opposition across the political spectrum against the Islamic Republic and create a coherent, united front through dialogue and cooperaiton. Council leaders asserted their belief that Iran should be governed by a federal, decentralised democracy which respected the rights of all ethnic and religious minorities, and their intention to transition peacefully and non-violently by protesting the Islamic Republic. They also criticised the EU for its failure to end cooperation with the current regime and support the Iranian peoples instead.
The council is a coalition of political organisations made up of the Iranian Democratic Front; the Iranian Kurdistan Party; the Democratic Solidarity Party of Al-Ahwaz; the Azerbaijani Cultural and Political Center; the Kurdistan Democratic Party; the Baluchistan People’s Party; the Turkmen Political Cultural Center; the United Front of Baluchistan and the Bakhtiari and Luristan Federation. It also includes a number of trade unions, civil society activists and independent political figures.
Individually interviewed by Al-Arabiya, council leaders shared their views on the conference’s goals, as well as the coalition’s vision for a peaceful, non-violent transition from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The council proposes a democratic, decentralised federalism in which the rights of all ethnic and religious minorities are respected. It believes the only way to avoid the concentration of power into another dictatorship is the division of power among all Iranians regardless of gender, ethnicity and religion.
Since the council believes no single party, nationality or organisation can singlehandedly remove the regime, they have announced their solidarity and willingness to cooperate with Iranian opposition groups across the political spectrum. The coalition founders believe in 3 main axes which are: the Universal Declaration of Human rights, democracy and the separation of religion and state.
The following is the final resolution of the Council of Iranian Democrats, a copy of which was provided to Al-Arabiya:
“The Council of Iranian Democrats, by holding its second conference, has taken another major step towards the achievement of freedom, social justice and the establishment of democracy in Iran. The Council, which consists of all parties and organizations belonging to the Iranian nationalities and ethnic groups (Baluch, Arab,Kurd, Turk, Turkemen, Lurs, Persians), has indeed carried out a historic action with its alliance.
Its purpose is to deny any tyranny in Iran and to create the appropriate political, economic and cultural freedoms and to provide appropriate social conditions for the peaceful living of the peoples of Iran.
The council of Iranian democrats’ second conference aimed to resolve the most basic problems of the opposition, namely, unity incoherence and lack of solidarity among them – thus enabling dialogue and coordination among all major opposition groups and the stakeholders towards achieving its goals.
By convening the conference of the Council of Iranian Democrats, the parties sought a common ground, as well as practical and achievable objectives and strategies, as follows:
The conference has addressed and responded to the essential needs of the time which are unity and solidarity between the opposition forces and to make preparations for further works in the field. It was unanimously agreed upon that the Islamic Republic is a corrupt regime that operates against the interests of all Iranian nationalities, essentially being a national security risk to the peoples of Iran – hence it must be removed. The Iranian peoples who call for democracy are all united in the demand of removing the government that is currently standing in their country. The removal of the Islamic Republic will be achieved by the peoples of Iran through their political activism, such as protests, with the support of the Council of Iranian Democrats in cooperating and creating solidarity between all other opposition groups inside and abroad. It is emphasized that the establishment of democracy and social justice in a country that is as diverse as Iran would inevitably involve unity and solidarity of the opposition forces and an inclusive approach covering all, regardless of their cultural, religious and ethnic differences. Formation of a democratic alternative will be an important stepping stone in changing the Islamic Republic and will be pivotal in the planning process immediately after the removal of the Islamic Republic in Iran. The conference criticised the European Union, in particular Germany, Britain and France, for its support of the Islamic Republic, and called upon these countries to put an end to their cooperation with the despotic Islamic Republic and instead address the demands of the oppressed people of Iran and their long-term interests.”