A Show of Iranian Unity

Helle Dale /

Iranian political dissidents are notorious for their bitter factions and for not being able to work together—probably the single biggest cultural asset the Islamic Republic regime has. However, the Iran Democratic Transition Conference showed Iranians finding unity on a common purpose, bringing democracy to their home country where the longing for it runs deep.

Taking place over the weekend at George Washington University and sponsored by the Institute for World Politics, the conference concluded on Capitol Hill Monday with the announcement of the creation of the Iran Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, co-sponsored by Representatives Trent Franks (R–AZ) and Ted Deutch (D–FL). The purpose of the conference was education, debate, and networking, and there was plenty of all three going on.

The gathering was organized by leaders of the student movement in Iran who are exiled in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Malaysia. For perhaps the first time, it brought together bitter opponents of the regime and of one another who finally sat down together in a public setting and agreed to bury the hatchet and work together. This included people who had refused to even speak to one another for as long as 40 years. (more…)