Amir Basiri, an Iranian human rights activist, wrote an op-ed on the Washington Examiner, positing that Trump should set his sights directly on the Iranian Regime and its human rights abuses.

Basiri acknowledges that there is a military threat from Iran, especially given its support of terrorism and the recent revelations that Iran has not ceased production of nuclear weapons, but he argued that their human rights abuses were infinitely worse and had received considerably less attention that they deserved.

Basiri wrote: “In fact, US interests can be advanced through a robust challenging of Iran’s domestic dissent crackdown. US strategy seeking to confront Iran would receive a correct boost through combating Tehran’s authoritarian dogma.”

He notes that the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is heavily invested in the idea that the US will launch a military offensive against the country and has managed the rally the Regime ever-dwindling supporter base against an American attack.

A “cultural war” on the other hand, would weaken support for the Iranian Regime, whose human rights violations are well-known throughout the country, especially given the recent surge in abuses in the run up to the 2017 ‘elections’.

Some 200 people have been executed by the Regime so far, this year, while many civil rights activists, ethnic and religious minorities, journalists and social media users have been imprisoned.

It is thought that this is because the Regime is worried about a repeat of the 2009 uprisings in which people took to the streets to protest the sham elections.

Of course, the Regime’s human rights policy has always been disastrous.

In the four years since so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani took office, he oversaw more than 3,000 executions. Following the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015, the Regime cracked down heavily on protesters and political activists because there was no need to hide their true colours; they’d already gotten their agreement.

Basiri wrote: “The Trump administration can utilise the opportunity of Tehran’s utter fear of cultural infiltration, being the force behind its domestic repression. Iran must understand Trump’s overall strategy of confronting its Middle East belligerence, including its involvement in Syria, and nuclear/ballistic missile ambitions also increase the cost of human rights violations. Through such an approach, Washington can weaken Tehran’s thirst to challenge US interests across the board.”

He also advised that America stands with the organised resistance forces, led by Maryam Rajavi, who oppose the rule of the mullahs and advocate for a secular, non-nuclear Iran that respects gender equality and religious freedoms.

He implored the US Senate to pass the bill which is currently being heard, which seeks to impose sanctions on Iran for human rights violations among other things. 

Basiri wrote: “Such measures would also send messages to the international community regarding the dangers in seeking short-term economic interests at the cost of the Iranian people’s long and ongoing misery.”