“Cold blooded murders”, a friend of mine cried out recently as she recalled gruesome memories from Iran while reflecting on the newly levied sanctions against Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Encouraged and emboldened, her voice was filled with anger, determination, and a newfound hope that echoed the braveness of protesters and dissident university students in Iran of today. Her hope is a reminder that terror designation on the IRGC pursuant to Executive Order13224 and related Presidential executive decisions carry a subtle but dual message, affecting not only Iranian regime’s activities abroad, but also its enemies within.
Our knowledge of IRGC’s past and present terrorist behavior within Iran has been abstract at best, hindering the development of a practical international response. The real example alluded to here would perhaps serve as a reminder of its brutality and inform the way forward.
Recalling a memory from a sleepy Caspian Sea town north of Tehran, she describes memories from a horrifying mid-summer. As it is a Muslim custom in preparation for burial, her neighbor was washing their recently executed daughter’s body. Fresh red blood streamed out of the house and onto the neighborhood pavement, she recalls. “I stood there wondering: Why so much blood.”
Little did she know at the time, as she evokes the memory today, that a certain part of the young woman’s body had been mutilated by IRGC members, while she was still alive. For those who wonder, the medical term for such mutilation is Liver Resection. For what crime, one might ask? She was a beautiful young lady, barely18 years old, and supporter of a dissident group called Fadayan-e-Khalq, who like the Mojahedin-e-Khalq organization (MEK) opposed mullah’s misogynist and increasingly dictatorial rule. Of the secular opposition groups of the time, only the MEK remains organized and active within Iran.
Historical context for such brutality, while beyond the scope of this article, should be examined for the world to bear witness. In the past four decades, IRGC’s has been responsible for the execution of over 120,000 dissidents, including some of Iran’s brightest minds. From mullah’s “cultural revolution” of 1980-89, to the current wave of executions, to the recent crackdown of protesters; the revolutionary guard’s main goal was and still is to safeguard the clerical regime against internal threats.
Other intended reasoning may be in play, but the blacklisting of IRGC is certainly a breath of fresh air for the Iranian people struggling to breath amidst an environment of repression. For the first time in 40 years, the United States and perhaps the international community have edged themselves closer to recognizing the democratic will of the Iranian people. With every decisive measure aimed at weakening the clerics and their apparatus of fear, more pro-democracy chants will be heard in the Iranian streets.
Irrespective of the “moderate”, “pragmatic”, or “hardline” faces the foxes in Tehran put forth, Iranians have always known that the carnage in Iraq or Syria, the devastation in Lebanon, assassination of dissidents, bombing of embassies, nuclear weapons program, and countless other deeds are perpetrated by the IRGC.
So, what to do next? Will Iran adapt to fiscal or political pressure from the West? Will Iranian people rise and overthrow the regime?
However elusive the answers may appear, one thing is for certain: With protests time and again, Iranian people have welcomed the sanctions because they hasten regime’s demise. As the cost of doing business with Iran/IRGC increases, mullahs will eventually have to face demands from a much larger cross-section of population, which include the middle class. Today then, coupling comprehensive global banking, arms, and oil sanctions with a well-placed trust on the enormous democratic potential of the Iranian people should help unleash their fury against Iran’s Ayatollahs.
Admittedly, organization and mobilization of this great force in the present environment of absolute oppression is no easy task. No one should dream of a fantasy-laden, soft or velvet revolution in Iran. Armed with the richness of Iranian natural resources, stone-aged ideological prowess, and an immense self-awarded righteousness, this regime is the most barbaric mankind has witnessed in the modern era. However distant it may seem, Iranian people and not the regime and its many dubious faces have the needed democratic capacity. In fact, resolving this enigma requires the full capability of the mostly Muslim, secular, and democratic minded people of Iran. They and their resistance are the true antithesis to the darkness of Islamic fundamentalism.
Let us listen then, to the wishes of the Iranian people. Let us attend their gatherings abroad, support their protest within, and hear the organized voice of their democratic opposition. Such, and not the voice of the self appointed “Iran experts” who continue to advocate capitulation to the mullahs, remain the only way to avoid a calamitous war. These “experts” have perhaps never seen the IRGC-shed blood paint the pavements of Iran.
Dr. Majid Sadeghpour is political director of the Organization of Iranian American Communities.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.