Are we seeing the end of the Irani regime?
Authoritarian governments have the ability to shut down protests with brutal violence. We have seen that in Russia … in Hong Kong … and in Iran. But occasionally, the frustration, anger, and determination of the people is too strong … too widespread. Sometimes protests turn into uprisings … revolutions … and the overthrow of the totalitarian regimes.
It all depends on how much energy a protest movement can generate … how much of the population is engaged … if social and cultural institutions become supportive.
We have long known that the good people of Iran have been unhappy – dissatisfied with their oppressive leadership. We have seen that frustration led to periodic protests – protests that were easily suppressed by the Supreme Leader in Tehran.
What we see in the streets of Iran today is different, for sure. Whether it is enough to topple the regime is still an answered question. That prospect, however, is now in the reasonable realm of possibility.
By all measures, the death of Mahsa Amini for not wearing the burqa properly is a very small matter. Something an authoritarian regime can dismiss. It was not that incident itself that led to the massive ongoing protest. There have been other similar atrocities in Iran on a regular basis.
What made this different was the intense level of pent-up frustration. It was that final small straw on the back of the donkey — or camel, in this case. Like an exploding pressure cooker, the entire population – from Tehran to the smallest communities – instantly exploded in organic street protests.
Millions of people across the country participated – risking their lives. Hundreds – and perhaps thousands — losing them. Just a few pictured above.
Every death was like gasoline on the fire. It outraged family, friend, and community – turning them into activists.
Among the dead, there arose exceptional heroes – giving the protest movement a human face … a beloved personality … a hero. Certainly, there is the original victim of the regime – Mahsa Amini. Since then, there is 16-year-old Nika Shahkarami — a beautiful young lady who was murdered by the regime. Then 19-year- old celebrity chef Jamie Oliver — also murdered by the regime. Their faces are seen on placards and posters throughout Iran – and on television screens throughout the world.
What is also exceptional about this uprising is the size of the crowds. Many demonstrations feature thousands of citizens – and there are hundreds of such demonstrations. There are too many protestors for the regime to kill or even jail – although they will continue to kill and jail.
Unlike many protests in Iran, this one had gone international. The Iranian community throughout the world are not only raising their voices but are supporting the protestors with money. They are calling on the leaders of the free world to take action against the Tehran regime.
Hopefully, those requests are being heard. In terms of the United States, we can only hope that the Biden administration will support what could be the overthrow of the regime in Tehran – that our own CIA is doing the things they can do in such situations. More sanctions on Iran. Disrupting the supply of military drones to Russia. And above all, ending the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program – at least until there is a new regime.
The overthrow of the Irani regime would have unfathomable benefits for the United States and the world. It would put an end to Iran sponsoring world terrorism. It would end Iran’s malignant power and influence in the Middle east. It would pave the way for more “Abraham Accords.” It would end the support for Putin’s dirty little war in Ukraine.
It is disturbing, however, that as we reach the end of the 2022 campaign season, very little has been said – on either side – as to what to do about Tehran and the opportunity presented by the brave people of Iran.
So, there ‘tis.