Iran: A Testimony Of Change

On Tuesday the world witnessed US President Donald Trump defining his utmost contrasted difference from that of his predecessor. In his landmark first speech at the United Nations General Assembly, Trump sided with the Iranian people in affirming that the people of Iran are not only far separate from the ruling clerics of Tehran, but also are the main victims and threat to this regime’s survival.

Although long overdue, this is a highly welcomed U-turn in US policy vis-à-vis Iran and a very significant strategic decision to stand alongside the Iranian people. Obama missed his opportunity in 2009 when hundreds of thousands of brave Iranians took to the streets and rattled the regime’s very foundations. What followed afterwards has been more than 8 years of human rights violations at home, and a slate of belligerence abroad.

This can deliver a positive message from the US to the Iranian people in the face of the oppression imposed by Tehran’s regime throughout the past four decades.

Iran is ruled by a “corrupt dictatorship” hell-bent on spreading death and destruction across the Middle East, Trump explained. By demanding Iran cease its support for terrorism, he affirmed how his administration continues to weigh its Iran policy, said to be announced at the end of the month, and is extremely concerned over Tehran’s backing of proxy groups in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and across the region.

Trump’s senior diplomat also voiced his strong viewpoints against the Obama-blueprinted Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We can almost start the countdown as to when they will resume the nuclear weapons capability,” State Secretary Rex Tillerson said, indicating how Iran has sought the ability to obtain a nuclear arsenal.

Tillerson went on to highlight that the JCPOA must undergo significant alterations and enhancements for Washington to remain loyal to the pact. This is viewed as an initial indication of how key “sunset” limitations on Iran’s controversial nuclear program must be extended.

The Iranian opposition welcomed Trump’s speech and underlined the most significant aspect of his words.

“The remarks by President Trump was the first time a US President attested to the need for regime change in Iran by the Iranian people,” said opposition leader Maryam Rajavi.

Rajavi’s supporters and a large gathering of the Iranian Diaspora responded to a call made by the Organization of Iranian American Communities for a New York rally protesting the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly. The demonstrators made their presence felt, voicing how they do not consider neither Rouhani nor the regime in Tehran as their representatives, and demanding he be expelled from the UN.

Prominent US dignitaries from both sides of the aisle joined the rally and voiced their support for the demonstration’s cause.

Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman of the United Against Nuclear Iran, highlighted on the necessity for a collective effort to change the Tehran regime.

While emphasizing Iran’s clerics must not celebrate their 40th anniversary in February and if Rouhani is allowed into the United Nations, Ambassador John Bolton emphasized so should a representative of the Iranian opposition group National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Congressman Eliot Engel, a long-standing supporter of the Iranian people’s struggle, also voiced his backing for the rally’s cause.

“I say to the Iranian regime and the mullahs that the people must have freedom to choose whoever they want for their government, and that would not be the current dictators,” he said.

Former Italian foreign minister Giulio Terzi shed light on a perilous humanitarian plight regarding the summer 1988 massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran, stressing the international community must hold Tehran accountable.

UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran Asma Jahangir recently issued an unprecedented report recognizing the atrocious carnage and seeking actions on this highly sensitive subject.

For many years the United Nations General has been condemning Iran’s human rights violations. Considering Jahangir’s significant reporting, efforts should elevate to the level of seeking an international inquiry aimed at bringing the perpetrators of the 1988 massacre to justice.

Tehran, however, wasn’t too pleased of these recent developments, responding angrily in an undiplomatic fashion.

“Trump’s ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times – not the 21st Century UN – unworthy of a reply,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif through Twitter.

Speaking a day after Trump, Rouhani resorted to merely emphasizing Tehran will not be departing the JCPOA. This proves how the regime is in fact desperately needs the nuclear agreement and will seek to keep it intact. Rouhani knows Tehran will be the main, and maybe sole party to see its interests hampered severely in such a scenario.

Despite previous with his American counterpart, French President Emmanuel Macron shed further concerns over Iran’s growing belligerence across the region and explaining the JCPOA’s limits in this regard. This most definitely will not sit well with Tehran.

The bold tone adopted by the Trump administration will most likely launch a new chorus of Iran apologists threatening how any action against the JCPOA will lead the US into war with Iran.

Such a flawed line of thought would neglect how appeasement vis-à-vis Iran has led to decades of war, destruction and terrorism from the very first days of this regime’s rule.

Washington’s comprehensive Iran policy will shed more light on what the future holds. Certain, however, is the fact that Iran’s “golden era” of the West’s appeasement policy is over and the road ahead looks promising for the Iranian people in realizing their demands for freedom, democracy and human rights for all.