Tyranny eventually leads to uprising. That is what we are seeing play out against the oppressive regime in Iran as the Iranian people are out in mass protesting against the theocratic, Islamic republic.
Third day of protests
Saturday represents the third day that spontaneous protests have erupted throughout Iran and are as large as the freedom protests, know as the Green Movement, in 2009. Some are even comparing it to the uprising that led to the Iranian revolution of 1979. Unlike the 2009 protests, this one currently lacks the leadership to sustain it, however that could change as the protests grow and potentially organize. The leaders of the last movement, many of whom now reside in other countries, have noted that the current movement contains harsh anti-Khamenei chants and direct challenges to the Islamic republic. There has even been video of protesters removing banners of the ayatollah’s image. Some women have also been seen defying the Islamic dress code.
After the windfall from the release of assets and deal making from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement, Iran’s economy has improved, but that has not made it down to the average Iranian who suffers from high unemployment and high inflation. It has benefited the Iranian regime and elites, and this is obvious to the Iranian citizens; however, now the protests have grown in scope, and they are calling for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme ruler to step down.
Movement support by Trump administration
Unlike the 2009 Green Movement when organizers perceived the United States as turning a blind eye to supporting the freedom protests, the Trump administration is standing in full support of this current movement. The State Department has called on the international community to support the people’s “demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.” President Trump tweeted on Sunday, “Big protests in Iran. The people are finally getting wise as to how their money and wealth is being stolen and squandered on terrorism. Looks like they will not take it any longer. The USA is watching very closely for human rights violations!” He also accused Iran of “squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad”. Predictably, the Iranian government has suppressed social media by shutting down popular apps like Instagram and messaging app, Telegram.
The Iranian regime has now cracked down on the protestors with many arrests and two people reportedly being killed in recent hours. Some counter protests have sprung up in support of the government. It is unpredictable what the next few days will bring. The Iranian regime remains the world’s number one exporter of terrorism, and even after the controversial deal making with the west in the nuclear agreement, they continue daily chants of “death to America” and calls for the destruction of Israel.
Much at stake
The United States and the international community cannot afford to sideline themselves this time, as there is too much at stake with the turmoil in the Middle East, especially in regards to Iran’s growing influence in the future of Iraq and Syria after the defeat of the ISIS caliphate. They are the primary supporter of the terror group, Hezbollah through funding, weapons and training. Also, Iran shares a military partnership with North Korea that includes nuclear technology and ballistic missile development.
Photo credit: Hamed Malekpour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images