“The voices of Iran’s people have long been missing from Western policy discussions on Iran’s ruling theocracy,” writes Soona Samsami, the representative in the United States for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
However, US President Trump has confronted the regime on its human rights policies in several of his speeches. He placed emphasis on the plight of the Iranian people, and described them as the primary victims of the regime.
In fact, the Tehran regime is the world’s leading per capita executioner. This, and other issues, make the nuclear deal not the only topic deserving of international attention.
National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster asserts that the administration’s position differentiates the Iranian regime from its people. A strategic Iran policy is one that confronts Tehran on its domestic vulnerability.
The Iranian people have an organized opposition in place, that can play a role in helping the world’s democratic powers. The Iranian people, particularly the younger generation, are dissatisfied with the regime, and this reflected in the increasing number of protests across Iranian cities this year.
An important step toward freeing the Iranian people was the terrorist designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who allegedly control vast segments of the Iranian economy, and aid the suppression of domestic dissent. Poverty and unemployment mark Iran’s economy, and give rise to many of the demonstrations against the government that plague the country. The IRGC is also accused of contributing to regional instability, sectarian conflict and the proliferation of ballistic missiles.
The sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department on the IRGC can be expected to go a long way toward countering these trends, but they will be much more effective if they are backed up by supporting Iran’s organized opposition movement. This movement aims to overthrow the theocratic regime and establish true democratic governance.
In his U.N. speech in September, Trump pointed out, “Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever and the day will come when the people face a choice.”
General McMaster has asked, “What could be better than an Iranian regime that is no longer fundamentally hostile?”
There are voices calling for a democratic, non-nuclear, secular republic in Iran and they should be heeded.