Forty years ago this month, the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was overthrown, replaced by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in what has become known as the Iranian Islamic revolution, a bloody affair that created the theological dictatorship of the Ayatollahs, and destabilized the Middle East. The Islamic Republic of Iran began its days with a murderous spree that eliminated all opposition. First to be murdered was everyone associated with the Shah, including top military and intelligence (SABAK) brass. Next, the Khomeini gangs murdered their leftist partners in the revolution, and finally fellow Islamists such as Mujahedeen e-Khalq, whose remnants have been moved to Paris.
In the meantime, this week, Warsaw, Poland is serving as host city for an international conference (February 13-14) initiated and organized by the Trump administration in what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo termed as a ministerial conference “on stability, peace, freedom and security in the region and beyond.” The ostensible reason for the gathering is however, Iran’s destabilizing influence. According to Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, 11 Middle Eastern countries responded with confirmation of their attendance, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Israel. Egypt and Tunisia also agreed to attend. Significantly, President Trump is aiming to build a wide coalition of countries from the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Europe to thwart Iran’s threat to the region.
Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iran has subverted Lebanon, with Hezbollah practically running the government and the country. In Iraq too, the Shiite-Muslim government is directed by the powerful Shiite militias loyal to Iran. In Yemen, the Tehran regime supports the Houthis, a Zaidi-Shiite confessional group cum militia, who control Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. The Ayatollahs regime has been the primary military land force (along with Hezbollah and Shiite militias from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, commanded by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp) that helped Bashar Assad, the Syrian Alawi (branch of Shiite Islam) minority dictator, survive the civil war in Syria. The result is Iranian entrenchment and attempted control of Syria.
On the nuclear issue, the Ayatollahs took notice of how the U.S. overthrew Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi-Sunni dictator. Hussein’s Iraq was suspected of developing nuclear weapons. To preserve their regime, the mullahs were determined to possess nuclear weapons, and built them in secret. The U.S. was able to invade and defeat Saddam Hussein’s Iraq because he didn’t yet have nuclear weapons. Had Saddam possessed them, the Iranian Ayatollahs reasoned, the U.S. would not have dared to invade. Hence, they deducted, they needed to possess nuclear arms. While Iran was a signatory to the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on July 1, 1968, it had nevertheless, already began research and development during the Shah’s tenure.
On June 16, 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) led by Egyptian Mohammad El-Baradei, declared that “Iran failed to report certain nuclear materials and activities.” A year later, Kamal Kharrazi, Iran’s Foreign Minister, responding to numerous demands by the IAEA that Iran halt its nuclear program, said, “We won’t accept any new obligations. Iran has a high technical capability, and has to be recognized by the International community as a member of the nuclear club. This is an irreversible path.” On July 31, 2006, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities. Then, in late 2006, new traces of plutonium and enriched uranium had been found by the IAEA, in a nuclear waste facility in Iran. These were potential materials for nuclear warheads.
Iran has repeatedly cheated all the way through the Iran Nuclear Deal and beyond. Israel has recently exposed Iran’s deception with material proof, as revealed by Prime Minister Netanyahu. Iran is however, clinging to the nuclear deal because it knows that the agreement does not permanently block, but only delays Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
In Warsaw this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may bring up the conditions he set for Iran to resume future negotiations. They include: Providing full account of the military dimensions of its nuclear program, and verifiably abandon such work; End uranium enrichment and never process plutonium; Give international inspectors unfettered access to all nuclear sites; Release all U.S. citizens and others unjustly imprisoned; Stop proliferation of ballistic missiles, and the development of nuclear capable missiles; End support for Houthi rebels in Yemen; End support for Taliban and other terrorists, and end the harboring of Al-Qaeda terrorist leaders in Iran; End support for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists; Respect Iraqi sovereignty, and the demobilization of the Shiite militias; End the IRGC support for terrorism and terrorists worldwide; Stop threatening U.S. allies including, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Unlike the 2015 toothless Iran nuclear deal, which ignored Iran’s cheating, its mischief worldwide, its development of ballistic missiles (aiming one day to hit Europe, the U.S. and of course Israel) and support for terrorism, the Warsaw conference puts Iran on notice on all accounts. As James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation pointed out, “The Trump Administration is going big: expanding the parameters of possible negotiations while staking out broad red lines to deter Iran’s maligned behavior, and offering a vision of mutually beneficial bilateral relations. The diplomatic ball is now in Iran’s court.”
After forty years in power, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror. And like forty years ago, it still takes American and Western journalists and others as hostages. The Ayatollahs regime continues to incite the masses with rallies that dub the U.S. as the “Great Satan and Israel as “Little Satan.” The regime defies the international community by parading its latest missiles in Tehran. The same Ayatollahs of Iran still seek Shiite-Islam domination of the Muslim world. They are certainly trying to dominate the Middle East region, and possibly the entire world. In the process, the regime has created clandestine terrorist networks around the world including South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, North America and the U.S. as well.
Internally however, the Ayatollahs regime has encountered several uprisings. Ten years ago, crying “Allahu Akbar,” a huge segment of Iran’s population flooded the streets of Tehran protesting against the fraudulent reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. They coopted the slogan and tactics the revolutionaries used 30 years earlier. The protesters included sons and daughters of the regime’s elites. Last year witnessed a series of nationwide demonstrations that included many with close connections to the regime. They railed against the regime’s corruption, its imposed restrictions and failures, as well as its unfulfilled promises of freedom from tyranny, and its inability to deliver economic prosperity. The demonstrators did not blame the sanctions imposed by the U.S., rather, they held the regime’s corruption and ineptitude responsible.
Revolutionary Iran, forty years later, is a much more dangerous country. It is on the way to becoming a nuclear power. It is building delivery systems, namely ballistic missiles, to actualize its ambitions to control the Middle East and beyond. In the meantime, the Islamic Republic of Iran is using terrorist groups to cover its nefarious designs. Hopefully, the Warsaw conference has shined a light on the danger Iran poses to the region and the world, and with some providential luck, it might help bring about a regime change.