Shirin Ebadi, who has spent many years representing Iranian dissidents in the country’s so-called justice system, once advocated for reform in the Regime, which she now admits is “not reformable”.
Ebadi said: “Reform is useless in Iran.”
Her comments, perhaps prompted by the nationwide people’s protests in Iran that are still sweeping the country, will shock those in the West who are still operating under the mistaken impression that President Hassan Rouhani is a moderate. For everyone else though, who have seen Rouhani break his promises on reform since 2013, they will support Ebadi and the Iranian people in their calls for Regime change.
How should regime change be achieved?
In February, Ebadi and 13 other Iranian dissidents and human rights advocates called for an UN-monitored referendum on the constitution, which proposes the elimination of the position of supreme leader (an unelected role).
Of course, while this would have great support among the Iranian people, there is basically no chance that the Regime would allow such a referendum to take place. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has unchecked power in Iran; he would veto this suggestion and likely call for the execution of anyone who suggested it.
Ebadi wants to see the protests succeed and bring about the end of the Regime and the start of a democratic Iran. She told Bloomberg that the US and the international community could help with this in many ways, but that a military invasion or US-led regime change was not necessary.
She said: “The regime change in Iran should take place inside Iran and by the people of Iran.”
She advised that the West place further sanctions on Iran’s vast media empire (read: propaganda network), that Western businesses stop striking deals with Iran, and that the US establish a relationship with the legitimate Iranian opposition.
Of course, this would also mean cutting off contact with organisations that purport to be independent but are really just Regime shills, like the National Iranian American Council (NIAC); a group she once collaborates with on a one-time basis.
Of the NIAC, Ebadi said: “When I analyzed what they say and do. I realize what they say is closer to what the government says than what the people want.”
While many Western liberals still hope for reform, Ebadi has no such hope for that.
She said: “People spontaneously came out onto the streets in  cities and called for a referendum. As a human rights defender, I have the duty of helping our people reach these goals.”