The nationwide protests that began in Iran in December 2017 continue.
This is a major wake-up call for Iran’s authorities and the international community. Although denied by many through the past four decades, Iran is literally a political, social and economic time bomb closing in on a colossal detonation.
Analysts believing protests seen across the country are scattered events, or that this regime can convince people to return to their homes, are repeatedly wrong. Last Tuesday’s Fire Festival uproar is yet another reminder that this young and restive nation will no longer tolerate the domestic crackdown and international terrorism Iran’s mullahs are known for.
In spite of the extensive repressive measures by the regime, the youth of Iran in different cities turned last week’s national celebration of Chaharshanbeh Souri (Fire Festival) into a scene of protest and expressing disgust against the religious dictators ruling Iran.
According to reports from Tehran and other cities such as Kermanshah, Ahwaz, Qom, Noorabad of Lorestan, Golmoghan of Ardabil, Saveh, … photos and banners of Khamenei, Khomeini and Rouhani as well as many repression centers were set ablaze by the youth, and the slogans “Down with Khamenei” and “Down with dictator” were chanted in many cities of the country. These scenes, following a call made by the network associated to the Iranian opposition People’s Mujahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) — the main member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) coalition – for rallies on Tuesday marking the country’s annual “Fire Festival,” indicate the uprising will continue.
This is a nation with nothing to lose, saying enough is enough mainly to the ongoing internal suppression. As we speak, the Iranian regime is experiencing its weakest conditions.
Alarming comments are coming from even from Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) chief Mohammad Ali Jafari, quoting Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei being concerned about the Guards’ internal status. Social media activists are continuously reporting a considerable number of defections among IRGC and Basij paramilitary ranks.
Undeniable is the fact that Washington has set aside the previously failed Iran appeasement policy, eliminating Tehran’s desperately needed external lifeline. The Trump administration new reshuffling of the State Department will pave the way for a more determined stance against the Iranian regime.
Furthermore, the Iranian opposition’s circumstance is in far contrast to a few years ago. The PMOI/MEK majority members in Iraq were under siege and wrongfully blacklisted. With their delisting by Europe and the United States and subsequent transfer to safety to Albania, the Iranian opposition is now on the offensive, focusing all resources on realizing regime change in Iran.
This movement has proven to be the sole apparatus able to bring about freedom and democracy in Iran.
Today, standing up for democracy and human rights in Iran is tantamount to defending such values across the globe, parallel to fighting for global peace and security.
Confronting the regime of Tehran, being the epicenter of all atrocities and belligerence we are currently witnessing across the Middle East, is the only possible method of realizing peace and stability in this flashpoint corner of the globe.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley is placing her fist down and showing the world how this administration will no longer tolerate the atrocities of Syria. Tehran is placing all its weight behind Assad with massive financial assets and a conglomerate of militia groups, mainly the Lebanese Hezbollah. And Iran convinced Russia to provide the necessary air power their troops needed on the ground.
The Iranian people’s active participation in the protests following the MEK nationwide call in spite of the regime’s violent suppression of dissidents and protests show that the uprising that started on December 28 will continue until the people achieve their goal for regime change in their country.
The West, in general, should adopt such a firm standpoint vis-à-vis Tehran in regards to its internal turmoil. There’s no doubt that conditions will never return to the status Iran’s regime experienced prior to the December 28, 2017 turning point.
“We are like a wave. We come back even stronger, and the Iranian people want regime change,” one of the Fire Festival protesters said in an interview with Fox. “There is no going back.”
This is a message the international community needs to comprehend fully as what lies ahead for Iran is increasing turmoil. After years of Iran receiving unjustifiable concessions, the United States has an opportunity to lead a global effort targeting the pillars of Tehran’s regime, being the Central Bank and the IRGC.
All assets and resources need to place crosshairs on Iran’s belligerence, including its human rights violations and support for terrorism.
As with the Iran nuclear deal, Washington needs to pressure its European allies to realize that rapprochement will render no results with Iran. While raising the price of freedom in Iran, appeasing this regime simply will not change the inevitable regime change. The time has come to stand on the right side of history, being the Iranian people and their organized resistance movement, as they seek to realize a new revolution.
Shahriar Kia is an Iranian dissident and a political analyst writing about Iran and the Middle East.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.