Western countries must recognize regime change in Iran – OpEd – Eurasia Review

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The 1979 revolution in Iran is considered one of the most important events of the late 20th century. The fall of Mohammad Reza Shah and the emergence of a religious government transformed Iran, dramatically shifted the balance of power in the Middle East and posed serious challenges to the global geopolitical order, challenges that continue to this day. The anti-monarchy revolution in Iran in 1979 changed the face of the region forever and presented challenges to American and European governments. Challenges that have not allowed them to implement a coherent policy towards the Islamic dictatorship that has replaced the Shah’s dictatorship.

Forty-three years after the establishment of the theocracy in Iran, Western countries on both sides of the Atlantic have tested and implemented different approaches towards Iran, a country of strategic importance and fraught with ethnic, religious and political tensions. These strategies were at times similar and at times showed great differences. Sensing this confusion and doubts among Western countries, the regime in Tehran has engaged in contradictory and vicious activities both inside Iran and beyond in order to keep the West in an endless game of guesswork and hopes.

Exposing the regime’s deception

In August 2002, at a press conference in Washington, DC, a group of Iranian dissidents Alireza Jafarzadeh, the representative of Iran’s National Council of Resistance, made a chilling announcement that the Iranian government had a secret nuclear program and was building two plants south of Tehran in central Iran that would be able to produce materials that could fuel a nuclear weapon. Despite questions about the source of the information, the dissidents’ claim that Iran had a covert nuclear program proved true. The hidden sites, a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz and a heavy water facility at Arak, were later confirmed by a UN monitoring group and the Iranian government. Caught in the act, the Tehran regime exposed a series of deceptions and lies to cover up its true nuclear intentions, including that the enriched uranium was only intended to generate peaceful nuclear energy.

After a long delay and possible further advances in Iran’s nuclear activities, the international community responded with both condemnations and attempts to negotiate with the potentially burgeoning nuclear power, the mullahs’ regime, which has already been branded as one of the greatest human rights abusers and a state sponsor of terrorism . Europe took the diplomatic lead in a series of slow and benign negotiations over the next few years that produced nothing but an emboldened regime in Tehran, armed with more advanced nuclear technology in its arsenal.

Curiously, although the nuclear revelations heavily influenced international perspectives on threats posed by the Iranian regime, Western governments clung to the failed notion that they could change the regime’s behavior by making concessions and issuing meaningless ultimatums. On the contrary, the Western countries’ passive and somewhat indifferent approach to the threat posed by the Iranian regime proved ineffective in changing the behavior of the mullahs’ regime or taming its quest for regional dominance.

The “Butcher of Tehran” as President-elect Khamenei

About a year ago, on June 18, Ebrahim Raisi was installed as the new President of Iran by the regime’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. There are no free elections in Iran, where clerics have ultimate authority and candidates can be disqualified at the whim of the Guardian Council. But even by those standards, Iran’s 2021 presidential election was a farce. Raisi, who has long been vocally anti-Western and under US sanctions for human rights abuses, received final endorsement for the presidency from Khamenei. He was elected in June in an election that many Iranians and Western interest groups say was rigged. Even before he became president, Raisi was known as “theButchers of Tehran‘ for his role in the mass execution of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988.

Raisi’s incompetence

Raising taxes and tariffs, charging subscription fees for many services and licenses, building permits, and raising commodity prices were some of the ways the regime made up for its deficit and kept the flow of money to its terrorist proxies in the region and brutal security forces in the country. The recent sharp rise in the price of bread was the latest round of economic decisions by this regime, which has increased the pressure on Iranians.

The regime’s rings of corrupt officials, starting at the top with Ali Khamenei, institutionalized corruption, incompetent ministers and officials, and an unprecedented level of oppression and social injustice still have the wrath of ordinary Iranians who have taken to the streets in recent months stepped up to hold a series of anti-government protests across Iran.

Iranians show disgust for the regime during street protests

The latest of those nationwide protests and public outrage last month began with the government’s decision to scrap subsidies on essential foods. The ramifications of this decision included an immediate increase in the price of cooking oil by about 400 percent and similarly catastrophic price hikes for chicken, eggs, dairy, bread and pasta. Demonstrations began on May 6, mainly in Khuzestan province, and spread to other cities. Anti-government protests also took place after the collapse of a 10-story building in the city of Abadan, southwestern Iran, killing dozens and injuring dozens more. The disaster was the direct result of rampant corruption and nepotism that contributed to substandard construction.

Less than two months after the 2019 nationwide protests, Iranians took to the streets again in response to the regime’s attempt to cover up a missile attack that downed a commercial airliner near Tehran in January 2020. Many participants in these demonstrations turned their attention directly to the entity responsible for the strike, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, although it was also the main perpetrator of the mass shootings the previous November.

From January 2020 and the following year, protest actions were observed across the country, which were met with violence and repression. However, the spread of these protests proved that the government’s crackdown and bloody response was ineffective.

Regime officials, including Khamenei, have always blamed foreign countries and foreign forces as the main cause of social unrest and demonstrations in Iran. Supreme Leader of Iran has accused Iran’s “enemies” of fomenting unrest to try to overthrow the Islamic Republic. The enemy “hopes to turn people against the Islamic Republic through psychological means, the internet, money and mobilization of mercenaries,” he said.

Regime change more possible than ever

The slogans “Death to Khamenei,” “Death to Raisi,” and “Mullahs will be lost” can be heard at most protests across Iran. Iran’s notorious IRGC troops, along with riot police, are mobilized and armed to crush these peaceful protests with tear gas, air guns and live ammunition.

The message of all these protests is plain and simple; The Iranian people are ready for regime change. It is clear that the West needs a new strategy that reflects the growing new reality on the ground in Iran. A strategy that recognizes the Iranian people’s desire for regime change as a more viable solution to problems originating in Tehran, and one that formally recognizes the resistance movement pushing for that outcome from within the country.

In the past four decades, there has been no such strategy because Western politicians were overwhelmingly caught in a false dilemma and delusion, believing their only options were to accept the current composition of the Iranian government or to eliminate and accept it by force of arms the chaos that comes with leaving a country leaderless.

But one clear lesson can be drawn from the eight uprisings against the regime over the past four and a half years: the Iranian people are ready to end the life of the Islamic Republic.

To achieve this goal for freedom and democracy in Iran, for stability in the region and for the cause of peace in the world, the EU and the US must adopt a transatlantic stance that openly supports regime change in Iran by the Iranian people Resistance. This policy would facilitate the country’s transition to democracy.

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