Iran: What is to come…
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the birth of the Islamic Republic. While many within the government of Iran would like the world to believe that Iran is unified under the Islamic Republic, that could not be further from the truth.
The disputed elections in Iran of this summer set off a chain of events that will lead to the eventual demise of the Islamic Republic as we know it. Long before this summer, the age of Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone cameras, more than 10 years ago in 1999, students began to rise up and protest the lack of freedom and respect for human rights in Tehran. They were met with brutal suppression in the form of mass killings, torture, rape, and intimidation. The Iranian regime, though it may have succeeded in temporarily lessening the cries of the people, did not succeed in changing the demands and hope for change that Iranian people longed for. The so called “Green Movement” became popular with the unity of millions of Iranians at home and abroad joining under the idea that their votes, mostly for Mousavi or Karoubi, were not counted. Met with the same theocratic and bureaucratic block that would not allow for a real reformist movement to take hold, the Iranian people refused to allow this injustice to go unnoticed. The entire Iranian regime, Khomeini and Ahmadenijad in particular, had lost the charade of legitimacy and the people now demanded not just a vote but a full referendum on the legitimacy of the government.
The Iranian people have repeatedly called out to the world and its leaders to support their call for change. For example, one of the chants that protesters have used time and time again is “Obama ya ba mah ya ba unah” which means “Obama you are either with us or with them.” Instead, thus far, they have received little more than empty rhetoric expressing heartbreak for their plight. When it comes to Russia and China, it’s not surprising that they were less than eager to oust a theocratic regime that is profitable to them. The doomed attempts at engagement pushed by certain Washington advisers have done nothing but waste time and de facto help Iranian regime brutalize its own people further with no gains on the nuclear issue. When it comes to U.S. and world interests on a whole, it is not only immoral but illogical to sit idly by while the regime in Iran brutally suppresses its own people. A free and democratic Iran would be the best possible solution to numerous current crises. With a democratic Iran, the US could have a powerful ally in the region which would be necessary to make headway in Iraq and Afghanistan, be able to aid in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, and would cut financial support for numerous terrorist organizations backed by the Iranian regime. Additionally, a democratic government would not have the desperation to acquire nuclear weapons to forge its own legitimacy and grasp at its last vestiges of power. Not only are a majority of the people of Iran young (70% of the population is under 35), pro-Western, and pro-US, they do not have any ambition for nuclear weapons while the Iranian regime increasingly enriches uranium past what is needed for civilian use. The propaganda and support for terrorism both at home, regionally, and abroad by the Iranian regime has created a great divide between the people and the government. Instead of idly sitting by, the U.S. should push its allies to cooperate in imposing harsh sanctions on the government, freezing the assets of Iran’s leaders, demand respect for human rights and the immediate release of political prisoners, increase support for internet, TV, and radio communication, and at the UN Security council demand that a UN monitored referendum be held as per the wishes of the Iranian people.
Protests have been taking place consistently since this summer showing the resolve of the Iranian people to do away with a government that does not represent them, their beliefs, or their hopes for the future. As reported here previously on January 18th, tomorrow’s long awaited protest against the regime will take place with staggering numbers. Sources estimate large crowds to flood the streets of Tehran tomorrow covered in green. They will be chanting in Farsi “Referendum, referendum, this is the voice of the people.” The regime will without a doubt try feebly to stand on its last leg by harshly suppressing protesters, busing in poor villagers who are paid to look like they support the regime, and using any and all intimidation to convince people not to come out in opposition to the government.