Politics / Press Releases

Opinion: A Chance to Nurture the Spirit of Democracy in Iran

iran-protest-democracy-tehranWASHINGTON, DC – The ruling mullahs of Iran may be able to silence anti-government protestors but they cannot win their hearts and minds.  The people want an Iranian Republic, not an Islamic Republic.  And you can make book on the fact that the latest unrest that rocked that nation over the New Year’s weekend will continue, notwithstanding the brutality of the country’s security forces.

In 2009, pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of the capital city of Tehran.  An estimated 3 million protestors took part in the hope of igniting a Green Revolution, according to the United States Institute of Peace.  But hundreds of them were killed, maimed and jailed and the uprising was put down.  For the next eight years limited anti-government activities continued.  But, the latest protests are significant because they were countrywide with citizens taking part in big cities and smaller municipalities throughout Iran.

President Obama essentially ignored the 2009 protests and he was widely criticized for doing so on both the right and the left.  Many experts say he was concerned that if he took any kind of stand, it would upset negotiations for a nuclear deal with Iran.

But, President Trump appears to be taking the opposite approach.  He has already been busy tweeting support for the protestors.  And, he has a variety of choices for next steps.

For example, Michael Singh, managing director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, says that just making statements of support doesn’t cut it.  “The United States and its allies should, through public statements, private messages, U.N. resolutions and whatever other vehicles are available, clearly express their support for Iranians’ right to protest.  They should also warn authorities in Iran against any violent suppression of the demonstrations, whether such violence takes place on the streets or — as occurred after the 2009 protests — later on in homes and prisons, out of the public eye.  Both the regime and demonstrators should be made constantly aware that the world’s attention is fixed on them.”

Nurturing the spirit of democracy in Iran has a variety of near-term and long-term benefits.  For one thing, it could eventually lead to the establishment of an Iranian government that is more interested in peace and prosperity for its people and less absorbed with supporting terrorism, nuclear conquest and the destruction of the state of Israel.

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Scottar
5 years ago

Without world wide backing of the protestors change will be difficult in Iran. I can only hope for the best outcome from the protesting. The people of Iran do seem to be better informed that the people of North Korea.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Scottar

While you may be correct that “The people of Iran do seem to be better informed that the people of North Korea,” do you really believe that – were they as well-informed – similar protests might take place, let alone be tolerated, in North Korea?

Janet bemo
5 years ago

Iran and it’s people need our prayers. Only God has the power to remove kings and mullahs.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Janet bemo

Janet, have you not heard or seen the affirmation “God helps those who help themselves?”

SARGE
5 years ago

I don’t like iran. So that being said, why is it ok for the United States to run interference in foreign policy/elections, and stir the pot when another country is having internal problems? Ok, I already said —-iran, but anyone ever notice how this happens. We’ve interfered with more elections and domestic unrest in other countries, than you could count. Just say ‘that’s just the way it is’ and I can buy that. But other wise, we should sweep off our own porch, before we start on others.
It’s not looking good regarding north korea, they seem to own the show.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  SARGE

Sarge, I have to agree. You have hit upon the basic hypocrisy of those who have fixated upon the notion that Russia – or anyone else – interfered with the 2016 elections. Yes, they may have (while this has not been not demonstrated) used modern cyber-warfare to influence the victory of Mr. Trump, but how is that – other than the methods – any different than what we have done in the past?

Tom
5 years ago

Anyone who is pro legalization of marijuana is without question addicted to that drug.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Tom

So may I assume that you are pro legalization?

Mary
5 years ago

Egyptian citizenry managed to overthrow the Muslim Brotherhood and the current president of Egypt, Morsi seems to be friendly with Trump, maybe the Iranian protesters need to take lessons from the Egyptians. They must enact change, we can’t militarily do it for them, If it did not turn out well, the US again would get the blame for interference. Iranians will appreciate their freedom more when they have successfully won it on their own terms. I wish them success.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Mary

And if only Obama had wished them success the last time around…

Angela
5 years ago

Difficult situation. I hope we don’t get into a war with Iran or any other Middle Eastern Country. We’ve had enough wars and as one general said, War is hell. They seem unable to come into the Twenty First Century.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Angela

Yes, “War is hell,” as is living under a despot. “They seem unable to come into” even the 15th Century…not that might make any difference.

Jerry
5 years ago

It is one thing to voice our support for the Iranian people but we should not lead them to believe we will intervene on their behalf. Military action to defeat the Iranian regimen is the only thing that will free the people and we will not do that.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Jerry

Yes, Jerry, spot on, but in the absence of even moral support, what can the Iranian people hope for? Who knows what might have happened if Obama had simply recognized the 2009 protests and encouraged them?

Brian B
5 years ago

The Iranians want a more liberal form of Sharia law, but that tenet still supersedes any other form of government. ….including the constitution of the United States. Islam itself is the problem and I don’t see an easy solution that would satisfy freedom loving Iranians.

rohl withit
5 years ago
Reply to  Brian B

You may not see it, but there is a simple solution. Stop using fake names and call Islam what it is. NOt terrorists, not radicals, but instead call them , Islamists. Ban the cult. If there is any thing that you disagree with in my statements, then you know nothing of the Sira, the Hadiths or the Koran.

OFBG
5 years ago
Reply to  Brian B

Islam is not the problem any more than any other religion is a problem, it is the way that people in power – or who, like ISIS, wish to be in power – interpret the tenets of their religion and inflict those interpretations upon those they have power over.

Rik
5 years ago

Living here in Progressively Communist Democratic Orange County in Darkest Blue Caliphfornia, we have an over abundance of Iranians, err, here they call themselves Persians! … Truth be told, they’re ALL STILL MUSLIMS, and given the choice would probably still desire Sharia Law. We all know what happened when millions of Ukrainians died protesting Communism, the same will happen in Iran, PROTESTS are NOT ALLOWED. … Case Closed! … Next issue?

Diane
5 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Rick sometimes extreme Sacrifice is necessary for change. Christ himself offered that for all. We know from history that all muslims want sharia. But as a Christian for you and your family if my sacrifice brings change for you and your family i can rejoice in knowing good was brought about just like the Ukrainians, our military, and even the closet muslims.

PaulE
5 years ago

While the approach of President Trump towards the protests in Iran is certainly far superior to the laughable foreign policy of President Obama, we all have to have to agree that our leverage to force positive change in the Iran government is quite limited thanks to the Obama Iranian nuclear deal. While we can certainly introduce whatever number of U.N. resolutions we desire against Iran, the history of such resolutions, by themselves, forcing nations like Iran, North Korea and other repressive countries to change course is poor. Simply because a U.N. resolution without any teeth, either economic or military consequences behind it, doesn’t impose any penalty on the rogue nation for its actions.

We could certainly institute a series of economic actions against Iran, either as part of a U.N. resolution or separately and that might have some effect. However, in the case of Iran, we would be acting alone. Immediately upon the signing of the Obama Iranian nuclear deal, dozens of major companies from all over Europe flocked to Iran to sign various business deals. Do NOT expect any real support from the EU countries for a re-imposition of economic sanctions on Iran. Those deals are worth tens of billions of euros over the long term to a number of European countries. The $150 billion dollars Obama gave Iran within days of the deal signing, meant Iran went from a country in real financial hardship to a country flush with cash. So economic sanctions just by the United States, assuming there is even such an appetite in Congress for the imposition of such sanctions, would have a very limited effect. Our best option, from an economic sanctions perspective, would be to restrict Iranian banks access to the American banking system. That would at least prevent the Mullahs and high-ranking military officials of Iran from laundering their money through the purchase of assets in the Unites States and slowing the easy transfer of their funds globally.

Finally, I could go into the apparent neo-con views the author seems to have, but I’ll skip those. Just remember, Iran was a monarchy before it was a theocracy. The notion that all protests in the Middle East mean that the people must want either a western style democracy or some form of western style constitutional republic have been proven false a number of times now. At least that should be the lesson learned from Afganistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, etc.. Yes, some of the Iranian people want change, but change to what? That is important to understand. The protests this time around seem to cover everything from food shortages, high prices for everything to lack of jobs and various other economic issues. The common complaint seems to be people want the Mullahs to improve standard of living conditions, NOT that they are all calling for the end of Islamic theocracy. At least based on dozens of news feeds around the world so far. So while it is wonderful to hope that the Middle East, over time, will evolve into a series of countries that share a common desire for peace and prosperity for all their people, that is something that THEY have to want to achieve for themselves. It is NOT something that can be imposed upon them. We have already seen that model doesn’t work.

ONTIME
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

Yes he did add more restriction and according to his spokesman is going to turn up the heat and the volume…..I’m for covert Op’s in addition….

Ivan Berry
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

As recent as 2007, a one hundred Bolivar note ($28.00) would purchase 24 dozen eggs. Today, it is equal to .o1 dollar and it would take ten one hundred Bolivars to get just one egg.
Take note that until 1958, Venezuela was a dictatorship and one of the wealthiest of nations. But then democracy raised its head with equal suffrage and other “civil rights.” The first “elected” President, Romulo Betancourt, was a Communist-turned Social Democrat who had founded the Communist Party in Costa Rica as well as helping to found the Communist Party in Columbia. It did not begin with Chavez and will not end with Maduro.

Beware what pure Democracy brings. And beware Cons and NeoCons of either party.
And while we’re at it, leave other nations internals alone. With the mess we are in, what right have our leaders to meddle in other nations’ internal affairs?

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