What are the policy options for dealing with Iranian regime?

10/10/2017 8:55:01 AM

Iranian Presidency handout picture on October 7, 2017 shows President Hassan Rouhani attending a ceremony at Tehran University

Iranian Presidency handout picture on October 7, 2017 shows President Hassan Rouhani attending a ceremony at Tehran University

By: F. Mahmoudi

 

Al Arabiya, 9 October 2017-- On browsing social media accounts of Iranian activists — on Feacebook, Twitter, Telegram and Instagram — one can feel the pulse of the Iranian society, where a sense of social unease and protest is evidently brewing.

Even regime officials are writing in the social media about the “huge challenges” they are facing from protesting social classes, such as laborers who have not recieved their salaries and farmers who await payment for their produce. There are also investors and depositors whose money has been blocked by state institutions.

University students are facing a hard time finding jobs and there is also a dramatic increase in the number of unemployed and homeless. On the other hand, many families who lost their children in the 1988 massacre in prisons still do not know the burial sites of their loved ones.

These calamities are the handiwork of a corrupt and criminal regime, as was rightly pointed out by US President Donald Trump in his speech at the UN.

 

 

The Trump tirade

 

The average Iranian also believe that Trump’s speech was accurate in its description of the Iranian regime and they feel happy that their voice has been heard in the most important forum of the world.

In his speech President Trump said: “The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. ”

Although Iranian President Hassan Rohani visited New York to attend the annual UN summit in order to keep the so-called Iranian nuclear deal alive, but Trump’s speech against the corrupt and criminal regime of Iran dashed all his hopes. Trump exposed that Rouhani is not a moderate leader but an opportunist following Khamenei’s commands.

In the words of John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is an “agreement with a swindler! ” What has the deal brought for Tehran’s theocrats that they emphasize and insist so much on maintaining it?

The regime agreed to an agreement under heavy pressure of international sanctions and fear of social discontent. Knowing the policy of the West’s deal to overcome the predicament, they have apparently given up their aim to devlop an atomic bomb for the time being.

But for the regime, the actual achievement of the deal has been the acquisition of billions of dollars and the ability to keep selling oil for, continue suppressing the Iranian people, increase production of ballistic missiles and the perpetuate destabilization activities in the region.

Although Trump’s speech indicates a change in US policy towards the Iranian regime, it remains to be seen how the US President executes this policy and what are his real motives behind making this speech.

 

Two policy options

 

There are two possible options with the US president. In order to put an end to the destabilizing activities by the Iranian regime and to curtail its missile programs there is the option of regime change.

In fact, bring about regime change is the mission of Iranian opposition groups that held strong protests against the presence of Hassan Rouhani in front of the UN .This is the only means for gaining freedom and democracy for Iranian people who have been suffering for nearly four decades.

The theocrats in Tehran understand very well the language of power and once they feel the US government is serious about taking action against them, they will choose to retreat. However, they will not allow their weakness become apparent to their own supporters inside the country.

They will try to maneuver their way to avoid and mitigate the pressure of the US government against them. The acceptance of inspections of military sites by Zarif and the regime lobby network is one of those tricks to test the reaction of the White House. Zarif attempts to keep the support of European governments and cheat the international society again with a fake promise; “the acceptance of inspections of military sites in six years”.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iranian regime, has a difficult mission both to issue threats as well as to continue begging to buy time. He feels defeated after the press meeting on 30 September 2017, when he asked European governments not to support the US stance, as that would be the end of the JCOPA.

According to Zarif, Trump will not approve Iran’s compliance of the deal and he will toss the issue back to the US Congress. However, the diplomatic system and lobbies in the US and Europe will seek to prevent the isolation of the illegitimate Iranian regime.

They would seek to take advantage of the differences between the US and Europe. After Donald Trump’s speech at the UN, some European countries including France took positions contrary to those of the US. However,they would eventually be left with the option of either choosing the US or the Iranian regime.

The other weakness Iran will seek to exploit is in the procrastination and lack of coordination among US executive agencies that have still not embraced Donald Trump’s position of supporting the desire of Iranian people and those of the region.

The bill known for dealing with American enemies signed by Donald Trump on August 2, 2017, which put sanctions on Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has still not come into effect.

 

Regime afraid of the people

 

Trump said that the Iranian regime is afraid of its own people more than the US army, since the people themselves want the regime changed. In order to deal with the harmful policies and actions of the Iranian regime, the people of that country should be supported.

This is the best, simplest, and cheapest policy against the regime, along with enforcing effective sanctions to isolate the regime and opening up criminal cases against its policies and acts of terrorism, human rights violations and the 1988 massacre of thousands of political prisoners.

F. Mahmoudi is a Kurdish-Iranian political and human rights activist.

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