Iranian protests show potential for regime change

The last day of July marked the beginning of the latest in a long line of mass protests throughout Iran. Fueled in part by the precipitous decline in the value of Iran’s national currency, demonstrations broke out first in the city of Isfahan and then spread to approximately a dozen cities over the course of a week.

The economic grievances of those first demonstrations were also quickly subsumed by a much broader anti-regime message, which included chants of “death to the dictator” and statements rejecting both the “hardline” and “reformist” factions of the regime.

Supporters in the Iranian expatriate community and in global policy circles have expressed support for the protests. Notably, the US president has issued a number of statements since January which affirm his administration’s recognition of the Iranian people’s deep antipathy toward the clerical regime.

Various regime officials have acknowledged the leading role of the principal opposition Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in the protests, and have warned against its growing influence on Iranian society, as well as its potential to follow through on the promise of a “year full of uprisings.”

The MEK is part of a broader democratic coalition, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The President-elect of the NCRI, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, called for uprising in Iran at the beginning of the Persian New Year in March.

When it was at its height in January, even Tehran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei acknowledged that the MEK had planned for months to bring the protest movement into being. Much more recently, in response to the protests in Isfahan and elsewhere, an advisor at Iran’s Armed Forces Cyber Warfare headquarters by the name of Reza Hosseini said of the MEK and the movement against the regime, “In the past [they] were riding the wave but today they are creating the wave.”

The regime is redoubling its efforts to destroy the Iranian Resistance both at home and abroad. And this in turn underscores the need for the Western world as a whole to stand against Iran-backed terrorism and Iranian human rights abuses, in order to simultaneously defend its own security and the principle of democracy as a whole.

If there is any doubt about this, it should be dispelled by the revelation that Iranian operatives attempted to bomb a gathering of Iranian expatriates on June 30, right in the heart of Europe. The annual opposition rally outside Paris involves the participation not only of tens of thousands of Iranians, but also hundreds of political dignitaries from Europe, the US, and throughout the world. All their lives were put at risk by the Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, who provided explosives to two would-be bombers in June, with the approval of the leadership in Tehran.

US House of Representatives member Tom McClintock has introduced a bipartisan resolution (H.Res 1034) condemning Iran-backed terrorism and expressing support for the ongoing protests. Europe, however, has been silent.

It says: “On July 2, 2018, the Belgium Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced the foiling of a terrorist plot against the ‘‘Free Iran 2018 – the Alternative’’ gathering held on June 30, 2018, in support of the Iranian people’s quest for freedom.”

The European silence cannot stand. If the world is to seriously confront Iranian terrorism and maximize the chances of a democratic future for the people of that country, then Western powers must maintain unity of thought and action.

As formerly suspended US sanctions come back into effect and Iran’s domestic unrest forces the clerical regime to show its true colors once again, one can hope that the nations of Europe will recognize there is no real incentive for them to go on enabling Tehran.

Europe should take its lead from U.S. House Resolution 1034, which boldly states that Congress “stands with the people of Iran who are engaged in continuing, legitimate, and peaceful protests against an oppressive, corrupt regime” and that it “recognizes the rights of the Iranian people and their struggle to establish a democratic, secular, and non-nuclear republic of Iran.”

The ongoing protests make one thing abundantly clear: The Iranian people are overwhelmingly in favor of the sorts of assertive policies currently being advanced by the Trump administration. In contrast to conciliation and appeasement, those policies boost the morale of the protest movement while impeding the regime’s ability to suppress its adversaries, and thus they move Iran squarely in the direction of a victory over the religious dictatorship.

Source » augustafreepress

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