Americans cannot look away from what’s happening in Iran

For nearly 10 months, the U.S. media has prioritized the plight of the Ukrainian people and their desire to be free from Vladimir Putin’s aggression. To their credit, they have remained focused on issues with profound security implications for the United States and the world.

However, an equally dramatic pursuit of freedom is taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran against a brutal dictatorship that has terrorized its people for more than 40 years and has not received enough attention. Arguably, the destabilization and potential overthrow of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people is also a significant national security interest of the United States.

Can Americans support the people of Ukraine and Iran at the same time?

Some questions are related, so it’s easy to connect the dots. “Iran is now at war with Ukraine; Tehran has taken its struggle with the West to Europe,” two experts from the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies said in an article published in Foreign Policy. When Russian forces used Iranian drones to kill Ukrainian civilians and the Iranian regime killed its own people at the same time, it was the responsibility of American leaders to understand that these were not insignificant events. They are part of a long war against the West, freedom and American values.

Many Americans are not fully aware that during the recent protests in Iran, hundreds of innocent people were killed, thousands were arrested, and many were persecuted by a regime that is one of the world’s most notorious and chronic human rights abusers. to torture. In the name of realpolitik, the U.S. government has looked at Iran’s human rights record differently and has sought a nuclear deal with Iran in part.

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Iranian activist Nazanin Boniadi, speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Iran’s Arria program this month, sought to convince international bodies that Iran’s actions against its citizens were crimes against humanity. In a misogynistic society, women lead protests and risk their lives. According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Ranking, Iran ranks 140th out of 144 countries for gender inequality. Women in Iran were arrested, raped, sent to “re-education centres,” tortured and killed — and yet, they persevered.

When did America — or any nation in the free world — disregard its values ​​to appease an authoritarian tyrant? The Iranian regime will not change; it is unreformable. The people of Iran are not asking for weapons, but international solidarity in recognition of their right to protest, speak freely and determine their own destiny. They are a nonviolent movement, and the support they crave is a megaphone for the free world.

Unique in scale compared to previous demonstrations, the current protests have brought together nearly all ethnic groups in Iranian society. In the 2019 protests, the grievance was economic; in 2009, it was sparked by a rigged election by a murderous hardliner president. Today, it opposes the legitimacy of the regime and its stifling theocracy.

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According to Hengaw human rights group, “People of all ages, races and genders in Iran joined the demonstrations, but it was mainly the younger generation who took to the streets. Women led this wave of protests. But everyone else joined. Women and Men shoulder to shoulder. All of Iran is united.”

Trapped in a corner with limited options, a ruthless authoritarian nation will stop at nothing to survive. The regime’s response to the accelerated uprising will test the will of the Iranian people as well as the United States and its Middle East allies. One of the regime’s strategies may be to divert attention through provocations against the United States and its regional partners, hoping to provoke a violent reaction. The strategy will hope that the proud Iranian people will rally around their flag and even support the detestable regime against foreign aggressors.

Retired Admiral James Stavridis said: “Hatred of the United States has long proven to be a force motivating Iran. Out of desperation, the regime could trigger a crisis with the United States. A simple The best way is to assassinate a U.S. official. Our retaliation, if mishandled, could allow the Iranian regime to unite the Iranian people around a besieged flag.” In August, the Justice Department charged an Iranian with planning to assassinate a former national security Bureau adviser John Bolton.

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The best the United States can do is for President Biden to use his pulpit as leader of the free world to support the nonviolent movement of the Iranian people to determine their own destiny. At one campaign event this month, Biden said an off-the-cuff: “Don’t worry, we’ll liberate Iran, and they’ll liberate themselves soon.” Unfortunately, follow-up has been scant.

Too many in the Biden administration clearly still want to return to the Iran nuclear deal. This would undermine America’s long-term security interests in achieving stability in the Middle East and increase the likelihood of a regional war with an economically wealthy dictatorship. It will condemn the Iranian people for more violence, torture and repression.

For our values ​​and long-term interests, this is not where America should be on the side of history. As Ronald Reagan said: “We know all too well that war comes not when the forces of liberty are strong, but when the forces of liberty are weak. It is then that tyrants are tempted.”7

Dr. Eric R. Mandel is password, Middle East Political Information Network. He regularly briefs members of Congress and their foreign policy aides. He is senior security editor for The Jerusalem Report.follow him on twitter @MepinOrg.


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