Watch Iran closely. Things are happening in Teheran that have not in 40 years. These events are big. They parallel historic predicates, which shook the world.
Some may recall – with eerie similarity – these exact days 40 years ago. On January 16, 1979, a ruling monarch, known as the Shah of Iran, was forced from power. Longtime US ally, the Shah faced mass protests. He abdicated to a “regency council.” The council was overtaken by the “Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini” – who declared Iran an “Islamic Republic.”
From there, a radical Islamic theocracy took over. They killed thousands overnight, initiated universal repression of civil liberties, fomented Islamic terror across the region. Consolidating power, they took over the US embassy in November 1979. Affiliated radical Islamist’s held US hostages for 444 days – until Ronald Reagan assumed power, January 20, 1981. They knew Reagan meant business.
Globally, the Iranian Islamic government has funded Hezbollah, Hamas and myriad terrorists. One goal is a Shite “crescent” – running from Iran, through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. They also underwrite regional violence, Saudi Arabia and Yemen to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Nor have Iran’s surrogates stayed local. Iranian-supported terror cells appear from Africa and Far East to South America. In short, the “Islamic revolution” of 40 years ago has proved a source of continuing global violence, instability, repression and fear.
All this is instructive, as Iran goes through new convulsions. Those who led the 1979 Islamic take-over are aging. The country’s young feel no allegiance to their repression, or terror. Accentuating anger, Iran’s radical leaders pushed nuclear and long-range ballistic missile development, triggering US sanctions. Trump is giving the regime no “out.” That is empowering Iranians who crave self-rule.
Two months ago, they began protesting. Their objections were met by “live fire” from their own government. Informed sources confirmed the Iranian government killed 1,500 innocent protestors, then charged the families money to get the bodies back. Iranians are outraged.
Then Iran ramped-up terror, attacking British and Arab tankers, shooting down US drones over international waters, bombing a Saudi oil refinery, targeting Western allies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Israel.
In an act of profound audacity, they planned attacks on four US embassies, after staging a protest in Baghdad with Iranian-backed Shite Militias. Events accelerated. The US struck first, killing Quds Force leader and IRGC General Soleimani, in Baghdad. Then Iran launched missiles at Iraqi bases with US forces. In the process, they shot down a civilian airliner, killing all 176 innocent passengers.
The rage is now boiling over. If history is an example, this is prelude. While events of 40 years ago are illuminating, the most apt analogy is elsewhere. President Ronald Reagan spoke to the people of the Soviet Union. He emphasized that totalitarian government is not inevitable. Such governments are morally bankrupt, so have no legitimacy. He emphasized a better path – freedom and democracy.
In parallel, President Trump is speaking boldly – first in a press conference and then tweets, using Farsi and English – to the Iranian people. Their government is devoid of moral authority, a danger to them and humanity. It lacks legitimacy.
He is pointing to a better way, self-rule. While he has invited reform, he has not missed the chance to broadcast the illegitimacy of radical totalitarian and Islamic rule. He has distinguished between the immoral government and the beleaguered people. That is a page from Reagan.
Now, Iran’s repressed population is speaking. They are moving in a hundred cities, protesting a government strangling them, pushing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, exporting terror, mowing down 1,500 civilians, repulsively charging for bodies, then shooting down a passenger plane with 176 innocents, lying about doing so. The Iranian government does not care about people.
Far from recent mock rallies, compelled at gun point, most Iranians are not interested in more death, repression, terror and destabilization. They want rights – basic political, civic and economic freedoms. They are done with radical Islam, repressive totalitarianism, and duplicitous, deceiving leaders.
Where will this upsurge end? If the people of Iran and the world are fortunate, these events will compel real change. That is a tall order, given the power of repression and a totalitarian state, but it is possible.
Short of that, reality is undeniable. Iran’s government has zero legitimacy. European allies must now join the US in saying so. Americans should harmonize around this fact. The people of Iran, like those of the erstwhile Soviet Union, deserve freedom.
Watch Iran closely. Things are happening, that have not in 40 years. The events are big. Historic parallels are world-shaking. Let us hope, as winds of change fill Iranian sails, courageous Iranians will not be caught in irons. The next few days, weeks, months are consequential – for all of us.