Iran Will Get Moderate Leader, but Not a Mullah

To the Editor:

Thomas L. Friedman's hope for an "Ayatollah Gorbachev" (column, Sept.8) to moderate the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a pipe dream. Many people have been searching for years for moderate mullahs, but it has been an exercise in futility. The mullahs have continued to sponsor terrorist activities, and have tortured and murdered dissidents inside and outside Iran.

The majority of Iranians hate the Islamic Republic and its leaders for violating the rights of the Iranian people and for damaging the interests of Iran. Iranians consider the mullahs to be responsible for the drop in the standard of living in Iran since the republic's creation.

A few miles from the Islamic Republic's Guidance Ministry that Mr. Friedman visited (column, Sept. 4), the mullahs torture and execute Iranians who oppose the regime's tyranny. Instead of referring to repression in general, he could have asked his hosts at the ministry to give him a tour of the regime's prisons.

Iranians will replace the illegitimate Islamic Republic with a secular democratic government sooner than Mr. Friedman believes. There were many who didn't think that democracy could come to South Africa or Eastern Europe. Iranians will surprise Mr. Friedman and the mullahs.


General Secretary

Constitutionalists Movement of Iran

Washington, Sept. 8, 1996