The Iranian regime is facing the most serious threat from mass protests in the streets since the failed Green Revolution in 2009. What started out as scattered unrest over unemployment, rising food prices, costly military adventures and corruption has morphed into widespread anger at the country’s theocracy itself and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While Iran’s figurehead President Hassan Rouhani called for calm and claimed that people had the right to protest under Iran’s Constitution, riot police have lashed out at demonstrators, some of whom were reportedly heard chanting “death to the dictator,” “death to Khamenei,” “we don’t want an Islamic Republic,” and “clerics should get lost.” The death toll linked to the unrest is reported to have risen to at least 13, including the death of one policeman. Arrests are in the hundreds. The regime has attempted to thwart communications among protest organizers by blocking access to the Internet and popular messaging applications such as Telegram.
Former President Barack Obama turned his back on the Green Revolution demonstrators in 2009 in order to curry favor with the Iranian regime, paving the way for the disastrous nuclear deal his administration negotiated with Iran’s leaders several years later. As a result of that deal, Iran received sanctions relief and hard cash up front. However, it continues to launch ballistic missiles in violation of the United Nations Security Council resolution that had endorsed the deal. And it continues to fund Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations, while denying its own people the economic benefits that were supposed to come from sanctions relief. Iran’s unemployment rate is worse now – over 12 percent – than it was two years ago when the sanctions relief began. Inflation has increased from 6.8 percent in June 2016 to approximately 9.6 percent today. Economic conditions are clearly moving in the wrong direction, thanks to mismanagement and squandering of much needed resources by the Iranian regime. No wonder the people are angry.
President Trump is taking the side of the people, unlike Obama. “The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years,” he tweeted as the protests continued to grow. “They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!” He warned the regime that “The world is watching!” Making clear the distinction between his administration’s full support for the Iranian people and its implacable opposition to the oppressive regime, President Trump tweeted that “other than the vast military power of the United States…Iran’s people are what their leaders fear the most….”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley issued a statement expressing sympathy with “the long-repressed Iranian people,” who “are now finding their voice,” and praying that “freedom and human rights will carry the day.”
President Trump vowed in his recently released National Security Strategy document to work with partners “to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon,” “to neutralize Iran’s malign activities in the region,” and to deter Iranian-backed terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. He has refused to recertify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal and has held out the prospect of further sanctions. Since our allies in Western Europe prefer Obama’s appeasement policies, President Trump is turning to other countries who feel threatened by Iran, primarily Israel, for significant cooperation.
Several days ago, it was reported that the Trump administration entered into a secret memorandum of understanding with Israel to devise common strategies against the Iranian regime’s multiple threats. These threats include Iran’s nuclear ambitions, missile program, expansion in Syria, and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah.
There is also a report in the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida, quoted by the Times of Israel, that the Trump administration has given the go-ahead to Israel to target for assassination Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian regime’s Quds Force. The Quds Force is the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards that exports its violence and destabilization worldwide. Qassem Soleimani has American blood on his hands.
Contrast the Trump administration’s realistic approach to the Iranian regime’s hegemonic ambitions with the Obama administration’s policy of appeasement to secure its nuclear deal with Iran. For example, it turned a blind eye to the Iranian terrorist proxy Hezbollah’s multibillion dollar criminal enterprise used to finance its terrorist attacks.
“In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States,” according to Politico, which conducted an extensive investigation. The Obama administration was reportedly trying to seek a rapprochement with what it foolishly believed were the more “moderate” elements of Hezbollah, much as it had tried to do with the Muslim Brotherhood. Although some Obama officials have sought to pooh-pooh the Politico report, it jibes with the testimony of an Obama-era Treasury official, Katherine Bauer, last February to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, in which she acknowledged that “under the Obama administration … these [Hezbollah-related] investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.”
The Iranian regime no longer has a patsy in the White House. Perhaps that is why Iran’s figurehead President Rouhani whined on Sunday that President Trump “has been constantly creating problems for us, nonstop and continuously for the Iranian nation,” ever since he entered the White House. Rouhani is confusing his dictatorial regime with the Iranian nation and its people. President Trump is determined to cause as many problems as possible for the regime, hoping that it will collapse from within, while helping the Iranian people any way that he can to secure their freedoms.