Iran is at a turning point. All parties are before a major decision. Anything short of supporting the Iranian people’s legitimate demand for regime change would be tantamount to betraying a nation suffering for nearly forty years under a brutal and repressive regime willing to resort to all measures to remain in power.
We must put all differences aside and focus on the main issue at hand: the Iranian people’s demands for regime change, heard vividly through their “Death to Khamenei” chants, in reference to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. They should receive the support they deserve in realizing this rightful objective.
This is of vital urgency as the country judiciary chief, Sadeq Amoli Larijani, is calling for decisive action against the protesters. For those unfamiliar with the language used by senior Iranian regime officials, this is a prelude to major crackdown.
In 1999 the so-called “reformist” former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami ordered the intense quelling of college students demonstrating across the country.
In 2009, the government of former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known as a hardliner, also presided a massive crackdown of protesters demanding their votes back following that year’s controversial presidential election results.
Current President Hassan Rouhani, dubbed as a “moderate,” was then the secretariat of the regime’s Supreme National Security Council, specifically ordering security forces to take decisive action against the protesters.
This shows there is no difference between so-called moderates/reformists and hardliners in Iran. Both factions have no tolerance for even peaceful protesters.
Voices continue to support the policy of former U.S. president Barack Obama in staying clear from supporting the 2009 uprising in Iran, and thus not allowing the regime to blame the U.S.
Where did that lead? Throughout the Obama tenure we continued to witness provocative measures by the Iranian regime domestically and abroad.
“… the regime will seek to paint protesters as foreign agents regardless of the reality. The best way to counter this is not to remain silent but to ensure that U.S. statements of support are broadly multilateral and are backed with more practical steps,” as explained by Michael Singh, the Lane-Swig Senior Fellow and managing director at The Washington Institute, in a recent Washington Post read.
Human rights violations continued and under the watch of Rouhani – whom the Obama administration displayed as a figure to cooperate with – Iran has been witnessing at least 3,500 executions and counting.
The regime’s state media continued to broadcast slogans of “Death to America” and the Revolutionary Guards test-fired missiles.
Iran’s regime is notoriously known for its belligerence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon, and against the billions of dollars provided to terrorist proxies like Hezbollah.
This clerical regime is also described as a staunch supporter of terrorism constantly destabilizing the Middle East, driving forward a completely unnecessary ballistic missile and nuclear program under the pretext of self-defense and nuclear energy.
All this is coming out of the Iranian people’s pockets, and the lives of so many executed, tortured and imprisoned inside the country, and millions killed, wounded, jailed and displaced throughout the region.
There is a variety of arguments about how to move forward and what policy to adopt vis-à-vis a regime in Iran that is literally resorting to brute force against its own people (of course, the Iranian people do not consider this their own government).
The language Iran’s regime understands is through political and economic relations.
- The West, especially Europe, and other partners Iran has relations with, must condition all relations with Tehran to the immediate stoppage of crackdown measures, the release of all political prisoners, including recently detained protesters and activists.
- The Iranian people must be allowed to voice their opinions, especially regarding this regime. This means providing unrestricted internet access across Iran to allow activists report the truth of the people’s demands for regime change and the regime’s massive crackdown against peaceful protesters.
- Iran’s oil and gas exports must come under all-out sanctions to deprive this regime of the very revenue it allocates so drastically to domestic oppression, destructive foreign meddling and other notorious bellicosities.
It is the time for the world to unite in encouraging the protesters in Iran, having them realize they are not alone in their struggle.