My article on Iran posted on Practical Politicking

Iran’s leaders are criticizing Trump’s recent visit to the Middle East and the resulting agreements. But sanctions and public pressure are having an effect. 

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei lashed out strongly at the Arab coalition and the United States in strong remarks recently.

“The U.S. president stands alongside the leaders of a tribal and backward system and does the sword dance, but criticizes an Iranian election with 40 million votes… Even with a multi-billion dollar bribe to America, the Saudis cannot achieve their goals in the region,” he said.

Despite weeks passing since the presidential election in Iran, the political situation in the country has failed to improve, and has actually deteriorated by the day. Crises have been escalating, signaling a major weakness and an intense power struggle simmering among the regime’s senior ranks.

Without a doubt, if these elections had ended as a success as Khamenei claims, today we should be witnessing a lessening of tensions and crises, and Tehran improving its status quo in regional and international circles. Iran’s domestic politics should be witnessing unification, while the scene before us is exactly the opposite.

Political relations in turmoil

US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East and the establishment of a coalition with the US and more than 50 Arab and Islamic countries against Iran coincided with increasing sanctions against Tehran and the IRGC by the US Senate.

Iran’s lobbies in the US and Europe are attempting to portray Rouhani as a “moderate” vitrine as if engagement with the West and improving relations with Iran hinges on supporting the so-called “moderates” in Iran.

The efforts of Iran’s supporters during the Obama administration were effective and allowed Tehran to take advantage of the situation. With this era coming to an end, Team Trump entered the White House and ended the “golden era” for Tehran.

A series of harsh positions and stances began by the US and Saudi government officials in Washington and Riyadh against Tehran, leading to the international community neglecting the re-election of Rouhani for a second term.

“Iran will be judged by its actions and not by claims”, said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, and Rouhani is nothing new for them. The world has seen four years of his claims and actions.

A Carnage

In the summer of 1988, this regime viciously massacred more than 30,000 political prisoners, mostly members, and supporters of the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) during the span of a few months, without any proper court procedure. Juveniles under the age of 18 and pregnant women were also among those sent to the gallows.

Ebrahim Raisi, a conservative cleric, announced his candidacy for the presidency, despite being a member of the notorious “Death Commission” responsible for the massacre. This development brought the massacre dossier and the desire to hold its perpetrators accountable to center stage. Although this issue was used for political reasons amongst rival candidates, Iran’s younger generation began to pay new attention to the events of those years. This entire subject has now become a major crisis for the mullahs.

In a recent speech, Khamenei was forced to acknowledge the 1988 carnage and defended the entire killing spree to prevent this subject from affecting the society. Khamenei made these unprecedented remarks knowing PMOI/MEK supporters will continue their activities after the election, in all streets and corners across the country. They will be voicing the Iranian people’s true desire and supporting the 10-point-plan of Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, a Muslim woman who believes in democracy and pluralism advocating peaceful coexistence with other nations and religions.

Final thoughts

With the Iranian opposition increasing its activities inside Iran, and the people upgrading their demands during the election season, the entire regime and especially Rouhani’s campaign are now engulfed in a major dilemma. The country’s main economic arteries are under IRGC control, used to fund the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and meddle in other countries. The result is an increasing number of protest rallies across the country.

Rouhani’s response to these social unrests is, as always, nothing but more executions. During the first few weeks of his second term in office more than 23 people have been executed in Iran.

Meddling in other countries, warmongering, fueling sectarian conflicts and spreading terrorism are necessary for Tehran’s survival, and to maintain their religious dictatorship in Iran.

“Change in behavior means regime change,” as explained recently by Khamenei. As a result, Rouhani (or any other individual) – who has pledged loyalty to the mullahs’ regime and helps assure the survival of this regime –  has neither the will nor the ability to bring about true reform in Iran.

The Iranian people, witnessing the weakness and rifts amongst the most senior ranks of this regime, have taken even more risks of being arrested for staging public protests against the current regime. The West and Middle East countries must use the current opportunity to establish peace and security in the region and adopt a firm policy against Tehran, including designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization. This will place them alongside the Iranian people and their Resistance in establishing a democratic state that is in line with peaceful coexistence amongst their neighbors and other countries.