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May 23, 2018 5:30 pm

Iranians Want Regime Change

avatar by Kaveh Taheri

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A rally in Los Angeles supporting pro-democracy protests in Iran in January 2018. Photo: Reuters/Monica Almeida.

Within 24 hours of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on Iran before the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, tens of thousands of Iranian accounts on Twitter and other social media platforms had posted one simple message: #IranRegimeChange.

This trending hashtag was barely noticed by the world’s media – save for the Voice of America’s Persian service, which reported that the tag was trending on Twitter. As a result, many people outside Iran remain under the false impression that the majority of Iranian citizens are prepared to carry on living under the present regime. They are not.

Pompeo produced a series of demands for Iran’s leaders. He wants them to provide the IAEA with a full account of the prior military dimensions of its nuclear program. He also wants them to stop enriching uranium, to release the five US citizens currently incarcerated in Iranian prisons, to end support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi paramilitaries in Yemen, to curb the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its Quds Force, to respect Iraq’s integrity, to cease threats against Israel’s right to exist, and to withdraw all Iranian forces from Syria.

Pompeo is correct to be worried about these issues, but many Iranians feel that he is deeply wrong if he or President Trump believes that the regime in Tehran will accede to American demands. The regime will never accept these kinds of demands, because it is a regime founded upon violence and chaos. It cannot function unless it is locked in conflict with those it sees as enemies of the Islamic revolution.

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Look at how the regime has responded already. The secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, Ali Shamkhani, responded to Pompeo’s plea for the release of the incarcerated Americans by repeating “the jailed US citizens are spies,” and accusing the US of seizing Iranians as hostages. The deputy foreign minister for European and American Affairs, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, dismissed Pompeo’s remarks as “neither a strategy nor a plan,” alleging that the content of the speech reflected the influence of “Zionists” and “terrorists.” Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani claimed that the international community would not allow the US to made decisions on its behalf, especially as its new Secretary of State is a former CIA director.

But however much Rouhani and the other leaders complain, the rest of the world is unlikely to defy the resolve of the US. That should lead them to understand they face a choice: continued collusion with Mullahs and chaos in Middle East, or actively assisting a peaceful transition to democracy in Iran. Make no mistake – the Iranian people are ready to overthrow this regime and are urging the west to think beyond the short-term financial gains of doing business with this regime.

The Iran nuclear deal gave many benefits to the regime, including a direct cash injection of $150 billion into its coffers. That has funded the regime’s wars in Syria and Iraq and Yemen, and its wars at home against dissidents, minorities, women’s rights activists and secular culture. We will know that the West’s shameful compromise with the Tehran regime is over when Western leaders voice their support for changing that regime, once and for all.

 

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