Numerous speakers that participated in the conference slammed Iran for its belligerence, for its ballistic missile and nuclear program, for its interference in the internal affairs of other nations in the region, for its fuelling of the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, for its meddling in Iraq, and so on.
However, one thing that was not emphasised enough was the Iranian regime’s neglect of the human rights of its own people and the recent protests that shook the country at the end of last year and beginning of this one.
At the end of December, millions of Iranian people participated in protests centring around the economic issues that were making life very difficult for a large part of the population. While the poor were getting poorer, the officials in the Iranian regime were getting richer and richer.
The protests soon turned into anti-government demonstrations and the people made it very clear that they will not accept the corruption in the regime. They called for political change and even for the death of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani.
The people of Iran have been patient and have waited for positive change to come. They were told that when the nuclear deal was signed there would be great economic change in the country and the regime’s behaviour would become more inline with what is expected by the international community. However, the nuclear deal was negotiated, then implemented, but still there was no change.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran, the NCRI, is the main opposition to the Iranian regime. It is a coalition of opposition groups, one of which is the People’s Mujahedeen of Iran (PMOI), also known as the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK).
It is essential for the US administration to befriend and listen to these opposition groups because they have been instrumental in revealing some of the regime’s crimes. They have an extensive network of people in the country and have worked tirelessly to protect the people of Iran.
The people of Iran have been denied human rights, freedom and democracy for too many years and all they need is the backing of the international community. Innocent and peaceful protesters were attacked by suppressive forces. Unarmed Iranians were shot at. Thousands of people were arrested simply for protesting. And numerous people died as a result of the violence shown by the authorities.
Instead of improving the social conditions in the country, the Iranian regime is plundering so much money on Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad and the war in Syria and it is financing numerous proxies and militias across the whole region.
It is very apparent that change is not on the agenda for the regime, therefore there is no other option but to ensure that it is replaced by a more suitable alternative.
Former American UN Ambassador John Bolton said it best last year: “The behaviour and the objectives of the regime are not going to change, and therefore the only solution is to change the regime itself!”